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Traveling To Mexica Moon Dance Journal, Entry #4 - Oct 14, 2012

Updated on May 23, 2014
Gifts for the Grandmothers, sacred herbs and tobacco, along with bolt of cotton cloth.
Gifts for the Grandmothers, sacred herbs and tobacco, along with bolt of cotton cloth. | Source

Gift Giving Tradition And Honoring Elders.

As I continue to go through my list of things to pack, I have come across another essential item or items that probably all cultures share. The practice of gift giving and honoring Elders amoung us. When us women prepare for the Mexica Moon Dance, la Danza de Luna, we are always thinking of others and their possible needs within the ceremony or cultural belief. Gathering practical and yet spiritual gifts to share with others is an exchange of good harmony. So as we explore this entry to Traveling To Mexica Moon Dance Journal, allow me to share my thoughts on gifts and traditions of honoring Elders.

First and foremost are the three Grandmothers, who are the very foundation of the ceremony. One is in charge of the logistics, like money, what land to use, porta potties, etc. The second Grandmother is in charge of the kitchen. We have many volunteers who support us and take care of the fires and sweat lodges, who need fed. This second Grandmother serves in that capacity, however, she is also our medicine giver. Us dancers only drink tea during the four days and her magic in making of those medicinal tea is invaluable!

The third Grandmother leads the ceremony and dance. She is responsible for orchestrating all that goes on in the sacred dance circle. He job is the most essential, but can not stand for long with the positions of the other Grandmothers. Three is a significant number, a trinity if you will, a number of strength, wisdom and power!

When we all first arrive and gather as a large group for the first time, we honor these Grandmothers and their hard work. It takes a full year and lots of energy to keep a ceremony perpetuating forward. Last year, we were 300 strong in dancers. Not an easy feat, by no means, to master. Us women will bring items to gather in several baskets, which we usually purchase there in the colorful markets of Mexico City. With great respect and honor we present these full baskets with all our hearts.

When I speak of practical gifts and yet spiritual, I am referring to things that can be used in ceremony, rather at this particular one or another cultural event. My choices to bring this year for the Grandmothers are, a bolt of light blue cotton cloth (a moon dance color), bundle of sage, bundle of juniper with berries, bundle of mugwart and bag of loose tobacco. I will also gift a small bag of special tobacco that was grown, harvest and cured the old way from seeds whose generation goes back over 1000 years!

Wooden painted Jaguar
Wooden painted Jaguar | Source
Leather Medallion with Mayan female symbol.
Leather Medallion with Mayan female symbol. | Source

Honoring Within The Sacred Circle.

First, all of us Moon Dancers, are honored in the circle just by simply being there. But throughout the four nights, there are times that great honor is bestowed. When one moon dancer has reached her four years of dancing, she is honored with a 4 year staff and a name drawn from her star chart. Those four years shows her commitment to the ceremony and she is now the owner of her prayer pipe she has carried for the last four years!

Let me stop here and explain the sacred pipe. When we become a Moon Dancer, just like Sundancers, we are given the responsibility of carrying a pipe for the People. This is not a personal prayer pipe, but one to prayer with for the whole community and the Earth! If anyone asks us to pray for them, we are obligated to take that prayer to these sacred Pipes. With that responsibility comes a lot of weight, but also honor.

Back into the sacred circle and we will find women who have turned 52 years of age. Fifty two is a highly important number to the Mayan culture. Not only is the Mayan calendar segmented into eras of 52 years, but on those close of 52 years, all fires are extinguished and in a great ceremony a new fire lit for the beginning of a new life cycle. As women, when we turn 52 years old, we are transforming from student to teacher. We are now considered Elders and are honored in the circle for that achievement. I am happy to say, I will be receiving this year my 4 year staff, a name and recognition of turning 52 last December!

At the end of the most cultural ceremony, the host gives out a thank you gift. The Grandmothers work all year long on producing over 300 simply yet spiritual gifts for all us dancers. Pictured are two of the gifts I have received in the past, a wooden painted jaguar face and a leather medallion of the Mayan symbol of the female. I now adorn my regalia with these items! Love them!



Bone and glass bead chokers.
Bone and glass bead chokers. | Source
Deer antler earrings.
Deer antler earrings. | Source
Pipe tamper made from deer antler and bone and glass choker
Pipe tamper made from deer antler and bone and glass choker | Source

Exchanging Energies Through Giving.

In general, we find our society loves to give and get gifts! Thank about Christmas...okay some of us don't want to go there! In Native cultures across the world, we understand that it is more than just politeness that occurs when we give gifts. We all have energies and when we exchange gifts, our energy of compassion and love flows with that giving act. Us women usually are gifting each other after the ceremony has completed. We are so full of joy and wish to continue the flow. Our gifts are quiet simple. This year, I am giving everyone a box of matches for their pipes, a small glass stone shaped like butterfly or flower and some tobacco. Just a way of saying thank you to them for being a Moon Dance Sister!

Though this is not really gift giving, all of us women have some kind of trade craft that we bring and try to sell. Most of us are at the ceremony on nickles and dimes! Often some of the women depend on selling of these crafts to make their journey back home. I am one of those women this year! Yeek! However, I have trade blanket items to sell. Hopefully people will see my chokers and deer antler earrings and have the notion to aid my travel fund!

I do believe I have my gift giving under control and tucked safely away for the journey! I am happy to share about gift giving and honor of Elders. I am now a week away from departure and sometimes I feel like it is not soon enough! Be sure to catch my next entry of Traveling To Mexica Moon Dance and learn about my prayer scarf!

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    • backporchstories profile image
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      backporchstories 5 years ago from Kentucky

      Thank you Mr Happy! Yes, we fast for 4 days and nights and the tea is made especially for us to keep our energy and health. Usually there is anise in the teas and sometimes we get mexica hot chocolate drink!

    • Mr. Happy profile image

      Mr. Happy 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      "Us dancers only drink tea during the four days" - "Wow!", is all that comes to mind reading this. That is simply amazing.

      I loved reading your article. It is beautiful.

      Many thanks for sharing your knowledge about the old ways. It is a good time. I wish You well on your journey.

      May Wakan Tanka walk with you. Always.