Mesoamerican Teachings: ancestral survival liberatory Spirituality

I took a lot of time to write this piece. There are no words to describe the feelings of sorrow, pain, loss, and devastation from the deaths of so many Black and Brown people in the United States and around the globe. Pain that has been enacted due to anti-Blackness, imperialism, racism and white supremacists. May the Spirits of these Black and Brown unjust killed people rest in power. May their Spiritual energy come back from the womb of Mother Earth to give us strength towards healing and collective liberation.

I want to appreciate the Spirits of my ancestors who have visited me in my dreams the last few weeks to give me permission to speak up and share their wisdom with gratitude and humility so that we can continue to work towards politics of solidarity and healing.

In this altar, I burnt sage and palo santo as an offering to honor my lineages.

During these times of deep reflection and transformations around the world, I’ve been having powerful conversations with my collectives. We have been reflecting and dialoguing on these questions:

  • Why do we want to survive this current and future chaos? What do we need to survive? What does solidarity mean to us?
  • How can we show up to amplify Black peoples’ power, stories, and struggles right now?
  • Why is it important to be in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter Movement?
  • What are the survival skills mama, mamita, and our communities have taught me? How can I offer these survival skills toward collective liberation? How can we learn anti-racist practices locally and globally?
  • Where do I truly want to be? On which side of the imposed borders [mental, racial, social, geographical, etc.] will my physical and spiritual presence be more effective/useful?

There is no right or wrong answers. We are all at different moments in our learning and healing journeys. We are committed to aligning our mind, body, and Spirit towards the liberation of Black, Indigenous, and people of color. Towards global decolonization.

Military dictatorships, civil wars, massacres, disappearances of community members, sexual violence, human rights atrocities, post-traumatic stress, etc. in Latin America and the Caribbean – all these problems are rooted in colonization, imperialism, and patriarchy. In other words, white supremacy and anti-Blackness.

I have been connecting with my sacred Spiritual praxis and values, and embodying them through poetry, adapting cantos that I grew up singing with the grassroots faith-based communities in the ’80s and ’90s in El Salvador.  Most of these cantos are compiled in the El Pueblo Canta book which was [and is] a Spiritual storytelling tool that popular movements created to reclaim practices of love, faith, and peace in defending their dignity of belonging. Singing connects me with my roots, my lineages, my relatives, our Abuelo Sun, our Abuela Moon, our relatives Trees, animals, all part of the Creation, as we all belong to Mother Earth.

See, growing up in critical Spirituality was the cornerstone of my family and community’s survival. Our Spiritual praxis was rooted in the liberation theology framework to support class liberation for the peasants’ popular movements of that time. These movements included Indigenous liberation, and nowadays queer communities are reclaiming a liberatory Spirituality in Central America as well.

In Indigenous cosmology a balance in dualities is crucial, therefore change is a spiral and is ongoing, Mother Earth is crying for deeper transformations now. Many of these structural struggles are prevalent nowadays because Mesoamerican economies continue to be dependent on capitalistic systems of free trade; these continue the culture of extracting resources that destroys Mother Earth – and us as a result of her destruction.

This framework supported the facilitation of very hard conversations. Mama was one of the millions of women facilitators in grassroots faith-based communities. She combined readings from the Biblia Latinoamericana, with cantos and people’s stories to guide the conversations. She was committed – she believed and acted towards justice and the liberation of all.

To break it down [or simplify it], the reflections focused on three main elements: a) awareness, b) reflecting, c) acting. The faith-based collectives met weekly and there was at least one per barrio. Mama believed in the power of collective ceremonies. After reading, the participants sang, and whoever was hosting would share a cup of coffee or whatever was available.

Consciousness-raising was about people being empowered in their dignity as human beings. People would argue the need to center our lives in resistance of the bombings led by state terror and U.S. military intervention. Answering hard questions: what are the causes of the civil war? Why are we, as peasants/Indigenous communities, historically marginalized? What resources do we need to move forward with popular education, healthcare, childcare, and rebuilding houses? Folks shared their hopes that the civil war would end and bring about peace. We named the causes of our problems – how structural sins like poverty exist, and also how peasants were demanding access to land, organizing to demand an end to human rights atrocities, and mobilizing to defend families and communities. Finally, the faith-based communities talked about the urgent need to transform that unjust reality. Mama would guide the dialogues in ways that allowed each person to commit to taking actions in being part of that change. Anger, rage, fear, laughter, togetherness, prayer were feelings and actions that constantly were expressed during these Sacred reflections.

Some of the great outcomes of these faith-based conversations included strengthening cooperatives, creating committees, and embracing youth voices as they volunteered as popular educators of each escuelita. There were also doulas and promotoras de salud who facilitated health visits directly in people’s homes. Mama was doing her part – she traveled with groups of women to San Salvador the capital, visited nonprofit organizations and churches to tell our villages’ stories, and requested donations to rebuild the houses, pipelines, clinics, and other talleres for the well-being of our people. These faith-based communities centered Spiritual Healing, life and collective well-being.

How can these Mesoamerican Teachings guide us as we move toward a global Spiritual liberation? How can a liberatory Spirituality framework lead us toward undoing anti-Blackness and support our collective liberation? How can Black, Indigenous, and people of color build and strengthen solidarity during an unprecedented time of living in the middle of a global pandemic and structural policing? What are the Spirits of your lineages and Mother Earth asking you [body, mind, Spirit] to do now? How are you all tending to your spiritual needs right now? Saying “I am not racist” is part of the problem within non-Black communities, so please let’s try do more than that.

I want to amplify the voices of Black and Indigenous communities locally and globally below:

  • Become a monthly donor with Birth Detroit, and join our #SAFETYCircle. Safety is the foundation of Birth Detroit. We know birth center care improves health outcomes and enhances the birth experience. All families should have access to a full range of safe birth options (birth center, home, and hospital). Leseliey Welch shares in this video more about her story and how she and her team began this amazing labor of love.
  • Support Canasta Solidarias, a fundraiser to support impoverished families impacted by storm-season and COVID-19 in El Salvador. This campaign is organized by a small group of locals who source street vendors and coordinate with community leaders to deliver solidarity “baskets.”
  • Buy a book at a local Black-owned bookstore in your town or city.

Many of you may be asking yourselves: how do I begin to amplify Black, Indigenous, and people of color voices when my body is in “flight, freeze, fight” mode? As a self-Healer, I practice and sustain daily rituals to build boundaries to protect me from all the toxic energy enacted from the systemic violence surrounding us. I am embracing life in abundance and staying away for any type of scarcity pattern. You can also begin there, in your inner-home. Recognize your deepest fears, shame, emotions, thought process, joys, visions, values, and find ways that work for you to release them, to unlearn the ingrained limited beliefs about yourselves. How do I release, connect, and heal? I dance it out, I smudge it out, I sing it out, I laugh it out, and I cry it out.

Finally, if you are an action-oriented person, here are a few resources in English and Spanish that folks have shared with me. These are for you to engage, educate, and disseminate [at your own pace] to continue decolonizing from the toxic roots of anti-Blackness, racism, and colorism in Latin America, the Caribbean, other Spanish speaking countries, and within the U.S.

In solidarity.

Let’s go everybody to the banquet

Let’s go everybody to the banquet,
to the table of creation,
Everyone, with their chair,
has a place and a mission.

Today I wake up early,
Community waits for me,
I am walking up the hill very happy,
I am in search of your friendship.

God [Mother Earth] invites all poor people
To this common table for faith,
Where there is no capitalist greedy
and nobody lacks “nourishment.”

God [Mother Earth] is inviting us all
to transform this world
into a table of solidarity;
Working and praying together,
sharing all the resources


Copyright © 2020-2021, Erika Murcia | All Rights Reserved

Writing as a Bridge between Death and Life

Throughout 2019, I wrote more frequently. Writing from emotional, spiritual, intellectual, and bodily sensation perspectives. Writing poetry. Writing my memories and anecdotes of my mother in her multidimensional life experiences. Writing as a storytelling tool was my automatic way of responding to my pain. And a powerful habit. Writing on actual paper. It was, at the same time a conscious response to gently show my Spirit its path through one of my worst metamorphoses. Either way, I am very grateful for doing so. In Indigenous mystique, this whole process means that I was shedding my Serpent skin.

In September 2018; mother, a powerful and resilient Medicine Woman had a stroke. She fell into a coma. This was a devastating process for me and my family and still is. It was especially hard for me, as this happened two days before my birthday. As a believer of a deep spiritual Indigenous mystique rooted in Mother Earth, I feel this has been one of the hardest tests I have been exposed to. Death and life are fully intertwined.

Mother was in such a vulnerable state for ten weeks. One of the first barriers I experienced was being separated from her physically, as she was in El Salvador. Also as a working-class family, we could not afford private health care and had to go through all the systemic bureaucracies that impoverished and working-class families go through within public hospitals. These barriers are only an example of how little control we had during this radical change. Hence, the hardest to deal with.

I still remember how my body trembled the moment I saw my mother connected to many machines at the hospital. During the entire time she was at the hospital (September through December 2018), and most of last year after she transitioned, I had panic and anxiety attacks daily. I still get mild anxiety moments, but less regularly. All of these experiences are normal to my grief process. It was both a traumatic and stress-inducing change.

In December 2018, after my mother passed on, I felt as if life did not have a purpose. Though, this process of feeling uprooted pushed me to dive into a mindful reflection. Through her unconditional love, she gave me the trust, freedom, and courage to pursue change and transformation.

Journaling, and seeking for holistic medicine supported me being present in my pain and all the emotions that came with it. Aha moments kept me rooted. One of the reasons it has been harder for me to let go, was because in my body, her death felt like a part of me died with her and part of her spirit was born within me. Confusing, right? Not really!

Everything was difficult to grasp. I kept having dreams about my childhood. Dreams about her life experiences, her storytelling. Those dreams did not allow me to rest at night. The lack of rest only exacerbated my irritability, anger, and fear during the day. I was hurting and my mood changes also brought up behaviors and words with which I also hurt loved ones.

Change has been the daily tortilla for me since I was born. And even though I embrace it most of the time, adapting and transforming requires radical love expressed in nurturing energy and time. It requires a lot of intentionality and patience. 2019 was the most challenging because this painful and saddening experience woke the most creative and healer aspects of my Spirit. What a way to end a year and decade, ha!

Through my writing, I realized these contradictions. In the beginning, I resisted because I felt it did not make sense to be joyful and happy in life when my beautiful mother passed on. Suddenly I would feel a drastic change of mood from guilt to anger and a spectrum of emotions, all of which are normal. At the age of nine, I used to tell my mother very boldly, I will be a writer one day and my writing will be published in other languages. Her death reconnected me with a deep desire to finally sit to write, to fill my days with writing. In writing poetry, journaling and writing my mother’s memoirs to share with future family generations, I kept slowly feeling more awakened, more connected to my Roots. I was Reclaiming Home. I felt a powerful responsibility.

Building new positive habits and returning to inner rituals during change is hard for me. Writing has been the most constant one, which led me to seek other tools to support my healing.

Some of the things I’ve noticed are that to decrease stress, little by little I had to combine various tools. To allow movement in my new process, I needed to NOT run away from fear and anger, and instead HEAR what they wanted to say. One big part came from journaling, at-home yoga practice, meditation, poetry, and coloring rituals that require my time and my presence, no money involved. Another big chunk comes from holistic medicine including talk therapy, massage, acupuncture, and swimming; which requires a lot of planning, prioritizing, and monthly budgeting because financial resources are indeed limited. 

I owned my pain even if people told me I was a “hot mess” and even if they could not deal with the new me. It was my opportunity to not be okay, to keep trying and making sense of all the pieces at my own pace. There is not a “grief formula”.

The third source for Reclaiming Home healing practices are creating and setting new boundaries with loved ones. This is the hardest for me because navigating, nurturing and sustaining healthy relationships while healing takes time, energy, being vulnerable, and the aspects of acceptance and owning being hurt and hurting others. In this process, I also realized that I was craving connection at a deeper level. Somewhere to crash. Somewhere to be nurtured. Therefore, taking time away from social media and choosing social spaces that filled my soul was empowering. Even decreasing the consumption of food that hurts my body was part of choosing. I choose to feel alive instead of exhausted. Reaching out to my partnerships and friendships to host me and feed me for a few days. Unconventional retreats. There is a privilege in that. As a non-US citizen, this is not the case for anyone who goes through these huge metamorphoses. I speak English. I speak Spanish. Most of my life this skill set has allowed me to build community and trust across cultural borders.

I’ve started to notice the benefits of being responsible with my mindful well-being. I am aware that the process of practicing compassion and being patient with myself have supported reconnection with my Creative Medicine. These guided me to reclaim home rooted in a healthy radical healing practice to repair my sacred body, mind, and Spirit.

I’ve recovered my seven-hour sleep cycle after a year and a half-sleeping only 3-4 hours. I am now embracing the sensuality around healthy homemade food. My ancestor’s food.

Change continues to teach me lessons to recognize how resilient I am. Change this past year has reminded me that I am a creative healer. This has been my journey and I deeply believe each human being can find a tune with their inner Medicine. It may look very different from person to person, that does not mean there is a “wrong” or “right” way to do it. One can evoke power in one’s very specific way, and healing is never about “fixing” oneself and/or assimilating into ideas based on toxic social conditioning. Healing can be a self-paced guiding process of what one’s main needs are. During change and in any type of heartbreak, it is normal to not feel or not be okay; while at the same time trying ways to peacefully release the stress, whatever its roots are.

How do we as a global community hold space for our shared stories of death and loss in supportive ways? 

What are rituals rooted in your ancestral wisdom that allow you to feel more connected during moments of death, loss, grief and change?

In this moment of global pandemic and the feeling of global loss: 

Are there intentional ways you wish to be supported while you support your loved ones?

Also, if you have not joined my blog yet, please subscribe to Sanadora Soy directly on my website. 

Sending light and love to all.

Full summer moon

Great Mother
I feel you even if I don’t see you
Awaken inside my spirit
Your force has kept me alive
Is your voice

Great Sister
I sense your light
That grows deep
My soul
It is time to slow down
Observant I am

I call you with my inner desires
Traveling between worlds
I want to balance
Speaking human languages
And the spiritual ones

Full summer moon
Invites me to harvest
A life full of spiral cycles
Re Earthing
Letting go
Returning home


Copyright © 2020-2021, Erika Murcia | All Rights Reserved