12 Cimi

Today is the day of Death, so… rejoice!

For the most part, my Mayan friends regard the day of Death as an auspicious day. When a Momostecan friend born on Kame (Yucatec: Cimi) had her “cumpleaños cosmico” (her tzolk’in birthday), we all enthusiastically went out for pizza.

In some ways, these people have it all. Those born on Kame are both mystical and practical at the same time. Best of all, they always have a youthful appearance. It is almost as if the guardians of their nawal – the Underworld Lords – have given them the gift of being “forever young.” These people look like they’re forty when they’re actually sixty.

This may seem strange to us, but let us remember that the notion of a dark, tormented place called Hell is a Christian concept that had nothing to do with the ancient Maya. To them, the Otherworld was the abode of the beloved ancestors. The famous king Pakal of Palenque (formerly mistaken for an ancient astronaut) is depicted traveling the Tree of Life to the world of the gods after his death, and the symbolism upon his sarcophagus is overwhelmingly positive.

If the ancestors live beneath us, then every flower that pushes its way up through the earth from below is a gift that they give to us.

Here is a “secret meaning” that I learned from the well known Mayan scholar Lem Batz. The word kame is derived from kaminaq, which really does mean “death.” But… In both the Tz’utujil and K’iche’ languages the word kamik, which has the same root, signifies the present tense in grammar. “Death” is “the Eternal Now!”

Living, as we do, in the Eternal Now, our eloquent poetic words and our beautiful lives feed the past – which is to say “the dead,” the world of the ancestors – and thus we create the blossoming of the future. Death can only happen in the Eternal Now. As Martin Prechtel once wrote, we are not fully “cooked” in the glorious oven of human life until we die; death completes us.

Therefore, welcome to the Eternal Now!

What to do today? Well, the answer is: Anything you please! Kame is just as favorable for worldly pursuits as it is for more meditative ones. Today is a 12 day, and some Daykeepers say that 12 means “completion,” so today is an excellent day to wrap up your projects, being them to a positive conclusion, and get ready to begin something new when the trecena of Lamat arrives on Tuesday.