The Mayan People are the keepers of some of the most extensive knowledge about cacao, as they cultivated and revered cacao long before Europeans arrived on the American continent.
To learn more about what meaning the Summer Solstice holds for the Mayan people, we interviewed Imish Kuj, a traditional Mayan Medicine man from the Yucatan Peninsula.
The Summer Solstice Is In The Stars
Imish began by explaining that the Maya do not recognize the four seasons we know in the North, as there are really only two seasons for them: dry season and rainy season. The dry season is the time before the Summer Solstice and is a time to work the land and plant seeds.
The summer solstice marks the transition from dry season to the rain season. It is a time to solicit permission for rains from the heart of the sky, and the deity named Chac, ruler of the rains and planting, so that the plants may grow, give their fruits, and there may be abundance for all.
During ancestral times in which the Maya lived in their sacred lands, the elders would draw a line towards the sacred temples or the main doorways of the high priests to observe where the light of the sun would enter. When the light of the sun entered directly in the center of the doorway, they would know they were either in the Winter Solstice or the Summer Solstice.
What they observed was that once the light of the sun was slightly inclined towards the south, there was solar movement, which meant the rains were coming.
There is a specific pyramid in Merida named Dzibilchaltun that was constructed exactly for these purposes of observation. Here, the structure that was built gets filled with sunlight and spills out over the entire surrounding area.
“El conocimiento viene desde las estrellas - Wisdom comes from the stars”
Imish says, “Our elders always said that our wisdom comes from the stars, so we could say that we learned about the seasons and importance of ceremonies for well-living from the Heart of The Sky, and from the observation of the night sky.”
The Mythos of the Summer Solstice
Circling back to the aforementioned deity Chac, we asked if there was any kind of mythological story that could help us understand the meaning of the Summer Solstice from the viewpoint of the Mayan cosmovision. Imish shared that one of the teachings of Chac, as the ruler of rain and planting, is that it is important for human beings to give gratitude to the heart of the sky.
Our gratitude acknowledges the blessing that the rains give us because without water we are nothing.
Imish calls water the “liquid love of god”. It is important for us to respect rain and be conscious that there are powerful energies within the sky such as thunder, lightning (the serpent of light), and the rainbow bridge. Animals, such as frogs and cicadas who sing during the summer solstice, call upon the rains with their songs.
Rain is a union of Earth and Sky; without these two forces joining together, we would not have the nourishment that we need to survive and thrive. Imish shares that traditionally, summer solstice ceremonies are ceremonies in communication with the heart of the sky: asking for rain, making offerings, and giving gratitude.
Cacao is a plant that is just as important as corn within the Mayan cosmovision and often represents the sweetness of life. Since for the Mayan People the summer solstice represents the sky and the rains that give life, we can honor this wisdom by observing the waters within your own community and home.
Take this day to pray for rain for the places around the world that are needing rain now more than ever. Make an offering, and give thanks.
Our Summer Solstice Cacao Picks
Vibrant Vitality: Call upon wellness and abundance along with a balanced body, mind, and spirit
Oaxacan Spice: Activate the energy of fire and personal power
Glowing Guatemala: Tune into the ancient wisdom of the Mayan lands of Guatemala along with their tradition of working with cacao for connection to the consciousness of the Earth.