:: Liyalbe Ta Vo' Vayijel ~ She Said At The Lake Of Sleepers ::

Yaxal Vinajel    tree    Ixim    Jaguar    Thunder    Nichimal    Kawiil    Vayijel    Maruche

:: 2018 :: 45cm x 60cm :: Acrylics, Inks and Markers on Canvas ::

Before we travelled out to Mexico, we had been informed that our schedule would include a visit to Misol Ha', a famous waterfall and cave system in Chiapas, Mexico. In the event, we didn;t make it to Misol Ha', but several times before and during our visit to San Cristóbal, I dreamed of being inside a dark cave filled with spirits. On one occasion, I encountered a female spirit who I knew, in the logic of the dream, to be my cave-based counterpart, my dreaming-spirit twin as it were. She told me the reason I had come to the cave was to meet her.

The next day as I sketched this dream, I was reminded that the Tzotzil particularly and the Maya in general believe that caves are sacred and potent places from where humans can receive various magical powers, from curing to sorcery. From these thoughts, the poem reproduced below emerged, which I also translated into Tzotzil.

The word vayijel, which I have translated as 'sleeper', literally means 'that which sleeps' in Tzotzil. However, it refers to the part of the soul which the Maya believe goes wandering while its owner is sleeping, emerging from the mouth or nose during dreams. This vayijel is separate from one's ch'ulel, the waking soul, and one's chanul, animal spirit counterpart - the Tzpotzil believe that your soul has thirteen parts, and the vayijel is the one you can most easily lose because of its wanderings. Careful what you dream!

Liyalbe Ta Vo Vayijel

Nab ta ch'ul ch'en,
Natil yut lum ta ch'ulel,
Liyalbe ta sbalamil vayijeltik...

"Islup jayib buch'u li kuxlej e ta vo' li’e,
I'och ta j'ilol...

Islup jayib buch'u li chamel e ta vo' li’e,
I'och ta j'akchamel...

Islup jayib buch'u li bak'el e ta vo' li’e,
I'och ta vayijel...

Pero yulemot ta vo' li’e
Yu'un anupon avojtikin no'ox
Li ch'ulel 'antz ti 'oyot xa
Ta yolon avalajel...

Li ch'ulel 'antz ti 'oyot xa
Ta yolon akuxlej li'e..."

A lake in a sacred cave,
Far under the earth in dreams,
She said to me in a world of sleepers...

"Some take life from these waters
And become curers...

Some take death from these waters
And become sorcerors...

Some take movement from these waters
And become shapeshifters...

But you have come to these waters
Only to meet and recognise
The woman soul you were
Before you were born...

The woman soul you were
Before you lived this time..."

 

 

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