I’m writing you from the remote village of San Marcos La Laguna, Guatemala. “Why?”, you ask?
As you know, we spend a lot of time exploring the traditional herbs of North and South America, but how about the fertile land bridge that connects these two gigantic continents? Don’t let the lack of mainstream media attention mislead you, Central America is home to mysterious and beautiful cultures – and is also a hotbed of ancient plant wisdom.
The team and I are doing what we do best, seeking out indigenous cultures here to help preserve their fragile and priceless healing knowledge. We are in the middle of a two week expedition into the wilderness of Honduras, Guatemala, and Costa Rica and have a ton of incredible interviews lined up. These include talks with native healers, herbalists, and acclaimed field scientists from prominent universities like Harvard and UPenn.
Central America is home to the most advanced pre-colonial civilization that ever existed in the New World – the Maya. You’ve probably heard about their extraordinary temples and sophisticated calendrical systems in high school or university, but what about the medicines they used?
That’s what we’re here to find out 🙂 The short video below is a small glimpse into the forgotten healing traditions of this incredible culture. The elder featured here goes by the name of AumRak. She is a medicine woman and ceremonialist known for her deep understanding of the Maya Sacred Fire Ceremony.
It took us hours of driving on half-paved roads to film this ceremony on the edge of volcanic Lake Atitlán, but it was well worth the voyage. This land is absolutely enchanting.
About AumRak: AumRak was born in Guatemala to a German father and a mother of Maya heritage. She is 63 years of age, and received her initiations as a Maya Highlands ceremonialist in her native Guatemala. She has performed Sacred Fire ceremonies around the world.
Tomorrow we will meeting with renowned archaeologist (and herbalist) Dr. David W. Sedat who should shed some more light on the specific plant medicines that are still in use here today. We will be exploring the origins of popular plants like cacao (chocolate) and hibiscus, as well as a ton of lesser known but extremely beneficial herbs that grow in these forests.
A big thank you to researchers like David and ethnobotanists like Rosita Arvigo (next week) for making a big impact on the quality and quantity of native healing wisdom we bring home to you.
Bye for now. Off to see about some folk medicine!
Nick & The Sacred Science Team