Sr. Ek is a 75-year-old man who carries himself as well as any man twenty years his junior. Quite handsome he attributes his youthful zeal to two things, living a healthy lifestyle and drinking a special drink called Pozole which he consumes every day.
Sr. Ek is the local Shaman and is trained in the traditional ways of the Maya people. He is a living embodiment of a wealth of knowledge so vast it would take years to document it. He openly acknowledges knowing the medicinal properties of over three hundred plants and herbs which he can find strolling into the jungle.
His duties as a Shaman include numerous responsibilities including agricultural ceremonies, health practitioner [doctor] and metaphysical healer.
Sr. Ek is a very serious man and is comparable in knowledge and stature to any top Ph.D. physician.
One thing that strikes the inquirer is how practically based the Mayan ceremonies and rituals are. At first blush a ceremony can appear to be somewhat obscure in its basis in reality however upon closer examination one becomes enlightened to “why” certain functions are performed. Once this is accomplished a keener understanding of what the ceremony is all about, is gained.
Mayan Shaman are curious people by nature. Most do not take things for granted and truly do experiment to see what works and what does not. They are practical people, many living in very dangerous places where a strong knowledge of traditional remedies is necessary due to the lack of any readily available alternative healthcare.
Sr. Ek has 13 children. None of his children are being trained as a shaman to take over. None of his assistants have showed the interest required to excel as his successor. Asked what will happen to his knowledge when he dies he laughs, slaps his hands and says that it is not up to him.
Sitting with Sr. Ek one can only sigh in disbelief that this vast storehouse of knowledge will someday be gone and as more and more of the Elders go, so do the traditions.
Sr. Ek spoke in a unique manner. His sentences were a mixture of Mayan and Spanish whenever he talked about medicine and purely Spanish when discussing non-medical issues.
Sr. Ek has a farm plus a beautiful house in the village where he lives with his family. We were deeply honored to have met him and enjoyed his company.