All online classes with Samar are gifted to students who identify as indigenous. We hope this is one small way to say Thank You to the ancestors, Maya and otherwise, who have shared their timeless healing knowledge. We acknowledge that sometimes that wisdom was given, and sometimes it was taken. Our prayer is that this offering will be in integrity with Don Elijio’s dying wish, to look after his people once he was gone.
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Shirley’s pleas to recognize that it is our obligation to protect the living world, and her reminder that Ōtāhuhu is a low-income area largely populated by Māori and Pasifika, many of whom would have no access to green spaces would this plan come to pass, has fallen on deaf ears. The over-simplified media portrayal of native vs. exotic trees has resulted in Shirley’s stance being inconvenient to the narrative, and therefore ignored. She is a hero for the living world and an embodiment of honoring ancestral ways even in the face of criticism.
I (Samar) met Shirley through my work as a founding member of Honour the Maunga (HTM), an environmental organization and sister cause to Shirley’s work at Ōtāhuhu. HTM has been protecting 345 trees at our local maunga, Ōwairaka, since 2019. I fell in love with Shirley instantly, and am consistently blown away by how much she cares about everyone and everything.
You can connect with Shirley’s energy more via this interview we filmed together, and her FB group
Tithing from classes in Aotearoa/New Zealand will go to support Shirley with her work at Ōtāhuhu.
Shirley Waru is a Māori woman hailing from the Te Rarawa Iwi standing bravely to protect non-native trees on her local Maunga (mountain) at Ōtāhuhu in Tāmaki Makaurau/Auckland.
Shirley had a strong belief in the principle of Kaitiakitanga - best understood in English as guardianship - our duty of care to all living beings. Ironically, the removal of these 445 trees from her local Maunga (part of a larger plan to remove 2500 across the city) is being justified as a decolonization project while ignoring the immeasurable loss of life this urban deforestation would leave it in its wake.
Aspen and Kona Mirabal are sisters from Taos Pueblo in Northern New Mexico. Their soul and life paths are imbued with a mission to honor their ancestral traditions, while understanding the needs of their people today.
Aspen is a traditional birth keeper, doula and on the path to become the first midwife at her Pueblo in over two decades. She is a passionate woman of deep integrity and powerful inner sight, with a reverence for the medicine and magic of the body and a calling older than herself to tend the doorway between this world and the other.
Kona works with plant allies through herbal creations and remedies, gifting her community vital medicine and bodywork. Her natural ability to draw people together, old soul wisdom and the capacity to enliven a space are all woven threads towards her dream of creating a healing center on the Pueblo for her community.
I (Samar) had the blessing of meeting these wonderful sisters in Taos in 2018, and receiving the healing gift of them singing together in a community setting. Since then, it is my heart’s joy to know them as friends and learn from them in innumerable ways.
Aspen and Kona share why the healing path has called so strongly in their youth on this community call.
Tithing from classes on North American soil will go to Aspen and Kona.
You can donate privately to support their path via Venmo (Aspen-Mirabal) or PayPal paypal.me/aspenmirabal
Follow Kona on IG @kona.sunrise
Follow Aspen on IG @milk.earth.blood
With tithing, it is vital to us to be in relationship to the people to whom we offer support. This provides accountability in all directions and creates an intimacy and understanding of each other’s works and worlds.
The Arvigo® Institute historically provided tithing to indigenous healers in Belize. That beautiful precedent has provided inspiration on how to honor the relationships and opportunities available to us as a community in the present day.
Below is a gathering of friends whose sacred works we are thrilled to be in service of. This blessed group is living, evolving and likely to grow with time.
I (Samar) met Walter in 2017 on the shores of Lake Atitlán. I was struck by the quality of his intuition, almost like a tea steeped in the energy of the Heart. At the time of the transition of the sale of the Institute, I was so grateful to be able to call on him as a protective force and never fail to be humbled by the quality of his kindness.
Walter’s immense connection to the element of Fire has felt like a gift and means to honor the elemental treasures shared by Don Elijio Panti through the practice of spiritual bathing where water, plants (born of earth) and prayer (copal smoke that enlivens and makes visible the element of air) are revered guardians and healers. The gratitude for this connection knows no words and we are humbled to support Walter in continuing his sacred work.
With permission, we share a Fire Ceremony Walter blessed us with at the end of 2020.
A percentage of tithing from all classes will go to Walter as a deep bow of gratitude.
To book a Maya astrology reading or to make a private donation to support Walter’s work, you can contact him via WhatsApp on +50255509260
Walter Thomas Mendoza Cholotio descends from a long line of Tzutujil Maya healers and spiritual guides. He spent his childhood steeped in ancient rituals and healing ceremonies, coming to an understanding and acceptance of his duty to continue the traditions that were passed to him.
Walter works extensively with Maya Fire Ceremony, the healing symbols of the Maya Calender, herbal medicine and acupuncture - with the intention to raise human consciousness. He currently resides in Santa Cruz del Quiché, Guatemala.
The Elijio Panti National Park
Don Elijio's descendants continue to protect the forest to this day. The Elijio Panti National Park is 13000+ acres of pristine, old growth rainforest, home to rare and precious animal and plant species, as well as several sacred caves and ceremonial sites hallowed by the Masawal Maya people of this bioregion. It is also currently the only are in Belize set aside to preserve traditional Maya medicinal flora.
Protection of this area has been hard won, spearheaded by the local community and the Itzamna Society in particular, of which Don Elijio's neice Maria Garcia is chairperson.
The area is under constant threat from poaching, theft and frequent legislative change. Decades since Elijio's passing, the mission to keep the forest standing still continues, and at this time of rapid climate change, is more urgent than ever. We are honored to be able to support the local community to protect their sacred lands. To learn more visit www.epnp.org