The new Mayan rite of Mass encouraged by Pope Francis is replete with pagan idolatry and symbolism
Various photographs, images and statements from the Mexican diocese of San Cristóbal de las Casas clearly show instances of pagan idolatry, symbolism and heretical practices being adopted into what is meant to be the Catholic Mass.
Resisting voices in the Church
In light of these many troubling elements of the new form of the Roman rite that is energetically being prepared by Mexican bishops with the explicit support of Pope Francis, let us conclude this essay with some resisting voices, voices who call for loyalty to the one True God and the Catholic Faith as established by Jesus Christ Himself.
One of these voices is the African priest, Father Jesusmary, who not long ago was expelled from Opus Dei for publicly rebuking Pope Francis’ support of same-sex unions.
In a new article published on LifeSiteNews, Fr. Jesusmary reveals that his grandfather was killed by relatives because he had chosen to leave the idolatry of his own people and to embrace the Catholic faith.
It is due to this family history that Father Jesusmary responds strongly against the fact that Pope Francis himself, during the 2019 Amazon Synod, had welcomed pachamama idols into the Vatican.
“Perhaps those who do not come from paganism do not realize what this means for us converts,” Father writes. “It is hard, very hard to see that the idols we have left to turn to Jesus are being honored in the Vatican, in the presence of Pope Francis!”
A Catholic laywoman and widow, Cynthia Sauer, showed her indignation about the fact that the prelates of the Catholic Church silently watch on as this new indigenous and idolatrous rite of Mass is established in Mexico.
In her comments to LifeSite, she addresses the prelates personally: “Bishops and Cardinals, you who are chosen princes of the Church: what are you prepared to do in light of this sacrilegious situation for which you will give an account before the judgment seat of God?” “For the sake of the Suffering Christ in this penitential season of Lent, with prayers and in fear and trembling, I beg you princes,” she continues, “to be worthy of your vocation which He has so graciously bestowed upon you.”
Mrs. Sauer calls upon the prelates of the Church to act. “Will you join arms as brothers and hold Pope Francis accountable? To hold your brother Bishops in Mexico accountable? Will you, courageous Bishops and Cardinals, have ears to hear and eyes to see in order to take action and defend your Mother, the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church unto the salvation of souls? And if so, then, when? Will you do something or nothing?”
“The Faithful are counting on you,” are her final words of challenge to the princes of the Church.
Finally, the traditional blog Rorate Caeli, when posting the news about this forthcoming Mayan rite of the Church, draws a fitting comparison to the suppression of the traditional Latin Mass in the Church under Pope Francis.
It states: “Mayan dances, music, and new roles for women — all for the sake (apparently) of appealing to small ethnic groups speaking rare dialects. What about the ‘tiny minority’ of Catholic traditionalists who wish to worship as the entire Church once did? Or is the traditional Latin Mass not sufficiently exotic to win approval from today’s multiculturalists?”
Or, as one also could put it: so the Church persecutes Jesus Christ in one of His ancient rites of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass while she welcomes at the same time liturgies that honor false gods and demons?
(LifeSiteNews) — At the beginning of March, news came out of Mexico that a group of Mexican bishops had met in the diocese of San Cristóbal de las Casas with Bishop Aurelio García Macias, undersecretary of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments in order to work on a new indigenous rite of Mass inspired by Mayan traditions. The Mexican bishops had met Pope Francis in February during their ad limina visit to Rome, and they announced that they wish to send a proposal of such a new rite in May to Rome for approval. Such a Mayan rite has already been practiced in the diocese of San Cristóbal, as it has been approved by the Mexican bishops’ conference. As with the Amazonian rite, it is clear that Pope Francis is in support of these new “inculturated” forms of the Roman rite of the Mass.
At the center of this new Mayan rite in Mexico are several elements that were already on the reform agenda of the 2019 Amazon Synod, namely a strengthening of the role of women in the liturgy (a step toward female “deacons”), a prominent role of married indigenous deacons (a step toward married priests), and a form of liturgical inculturation that has clear signs of idolatry, as we all were able to see in the worship of pachamama idols at the time of the Amazon Synod in Rome.
Now it is another form of paganism that is being promoted by Rome. The ancient Mayan religion is permeated by polytheism (the earth, the sun, the moon, and animals are all regarded as being gods), by animism (belief that objects and creatures have a soul), by the belief in communication with one’s ancestors (and even worshipping them), and by human sacrifice (to include women and children) as part of its worship. As we shall show, many of these idolatrous elements will be included in this new rite of Mass.
Cardinal Felipe Arizmendi Esquivel – the former bishop of this particular Mexican diocese, San Cristóbal de las Casas in the southern Chiapas region – is a leading force of these adaptations of the Roman rite and has made it clear in multiple interviews and statements that Pope Francis has encouraged this work early on in his pontificate.
Arizmendi is also closely affiliated with 81-year-old liberation theologian Fr. Paolo Suess, the architect of the infamous Amazonian Synod.
Despite the current friendliness with Francis, the San Cristóbal diocese had been for decades a source of concern in Rome, due to its syncretism, community-based decision-making, leftist political activism, and the ordination of hundreds of indigenous permanent deacons whose wives are considered to be part of their ministry, all of which is part of the concept of an “autochthonous church.”
Bishop Samuel Ruiz Garcia, who led this diocese from 1960 until 2000, was the major force behind these new concepts and actions. He is still being held in high esteem, even though he died in 2011. Bishop – now Cardinal Arizmendi – when taking over this diocese (2000-2017), continued this leftist agenda which caused much concern in Rome.
In 2000, the Vatican intervened and insisted that, during the ordination of permanent deacons the bishop does not lay his hands also on the head of the wife of the deacon, as had been the local practice. There were other numerous liturgical abuses taking place. The suggestion to suspend these ordinations altogether was ignored by Arizmendi at the time.
In October of 2005, the Vatican had told Ruiz’s successor, Felipe Arizmendi Esquivel, to stop these ordinations to the permanent diaconate altogether as they seemed to establish a new form of ministry outside of the Church’s precepts. Then-Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, Cardinal Arinze, informed the diocese that a decision had been made “for a suspension of eventual ordinations of permanent deacons until the underlying ideological problem has been resolved,” and that the concept of priestly celibacy should be strengthened. Arinze added that “the formation of more candidates for the permanent diaconate be discontinued. It is indeed an injustice against these faithful Christians to encourage hope [for the married priesthood] without real prospects.”
With regard to the “female” part of the indigenous permanent diaconate, the official directory of the diocese of San Cristóbal de las Casas is very revealing. We shall quote here from the official directory of 1999, since we were not able to obtain from Cardinal Arizmendi the newest version of the directory that was approved by Rome in May of 2013.
In 2007, Cardinal Arinze had instructed the diocese to remove the controversial passages in the directory that indicated that these permanent deacons could later become married priests.
The 1999 directory states: “The Indigenous Deacon and his wife, in order to receive the office of the Diaconate, should prepare themselves according to the tradition of their culture. For several days fast from food and companionship; seek time and places for prayer and contemplation; take into account the words of advice given to them by the wise people of the community who have long carried the life of the people, and who speak to them about what God is calling them to at this time; perform and participate in various rites and ceremonies of their own.”
It is clear here that the deacon’s wife is considered being close to “co-ordained,” as is also insinuated when she lays her own hand on the hand of her husband during his ordination.
At that point, when the Vatican forcefully intervened in 2005, the diocese had around 340 married permanent deacons (here are some of them with their wives) and only a fourth of that number priests, thereby creating a new ecclesial reality where parishes were mostly run by permanent deacons and their wives. This disordered situation was further encouraged when Pope Francis came into power.
In 2021, Cardinal Arizmendi – whose recent elevation to the cardinalate has been seen also as a papal encouragement for this reform project in Chiapas – recalled his first encounter with Pope Francis only a half a year after his papal election:
In December 2013, I requested a personal audience with him, to discuss matters in my diocese of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, such as liturgical translations into the indigenous languages of the place, and especially the permanent diaconate for indigenous people,” which, according to this prelate, was stopped “due to inaccurate reports reaching Rome.
He received me together with my then-Auxiliary Bishop, Enrique Díaz, and listened to us very attentively and kindly, with great openness. He has since told us that the permanent diaconate could be a very timely solution in indigenous communities, and that more should be encouraged. This is recommended in [the post-synodal exhortation] Querida Amazonia, No. 92.
Only months after this meeting with Pope Francis, the prelate explained, “we were authorized to continue these ordinations.” Here is a report on these ordinations in 2014.
Not only did Pope Francis encourage an indigenous permanent diaconate in which the wives were considered to be a form of co-deacon (more on this later), he also encouraged the development of an indigenous rite of Mass.
Arizmendi wrote this year that “a little over two years ago, Pope Francis gave me this book: Papa Francesco e il Messale Romano per le Diocesi dello Zaire,[here a Vatican News report on the book] in which the process to reach the approval of the African rite of the current Democratic Republic of the Congo in the Mass is narrated, and encouraged me to follow this path of inculturation of the indigenous rites in the liturgical celebration, not only of the Mass, but of the entire Catholic liturgy.”
The undersecretary of the Dicastery for Divine Worship, who is involved in the planning of this new rite, also encourages this process. Bishop Aurelio García Macías is being quoted in a recent media report as saying that the Mexican bishops have “invited us to feel involved in this process and this is to be appreciated because it is an example of the collaboration of the churches’ work.” He called the recent meeting with the Mexican bishops “a personal enrichment for me because I believe that the local experience of San Cristóbal de Las Casas has discerned, has been able to study, reflect and can be enriched with the universal experience of the Catholic Church
Elements of the new Mayan rite of Mass
In light of these high-ranking encouragements coming from Rome, let us now consider more deeply what is being planned in Mexico, and in some cases what has already been implemented at the local level.
The current bishop of the diocese of San Cristóbal de las Casas, Bishop Rodrigo Aguilar Martinez (appointed in 2018 by Pope Francis), described the elements of the new rite of an indigenous Mass with Mayan elements in a March 14 interview.
He calls the new rite the “Roman rite with three main elements of adaptation: They are the prayers led by a ‘principal’ who is a morally upright layman; the office of censing mainly conducted by laywomen, and some [indigenous] thanksgiving dances as a form of prayer at the end of Mass.”
As can already be seen here, this local church is much more led by laymen and by women, the exact ideas now being promoted also by the German bishops’ Synodal Path.
“There are many catechists and permanent deacons, along with their wives, who uphold the faith of these communities,” explained Bishop Rodrigo Aguilar Martinez in the interview, “and there is a well-organized system of positions or services both at the level of their community life and of the Church.”
Here comes in the so-called “principal,” “who is an already mature person, both in his faith and in his person, who is in charge of caring for the harmonious life of the community, and in the liturgy has the role of direct certain prayers with the proper way as expressed by the original peoples,” according to the prelate. This principal is leading the faithful in prayers during this new indigenous Mass that is already implemented in the Chiapas region, with the approval of the Mexican bishops’ conference.
Examples of a Mayan rite of Mass as already practiced in San Cristóbal
Women incensing the altar at different moments of the Mass is also foreseen (as it is being practiced already, for example here at a priestly ordination; here (pictured below) is another example of a woman holding the Mayan incense burner; in this video, around minute 1:37, one can watch an indigenous woman incensing first the altar and then the people).
The scholarly World History website describes Mayan dance rituals as follows: “Dance is another overlooked ritual. Dance rituals were performed to communicate with the gods. The dances would feature lavish costumes which depicted the visages of divinities. Often the Maya would wear or include ornaments such as staffs, spears, rattles, scepters, and even live snakes as dance aids. The Maya believed that by dressing and acting as a god, they would be overtaken by the god’s spirit and therefore would be able to communicate with him or her.” Further research would be needed to establish its fuller meaning during a Catholic Mass, but Bishop Rodrigo Aguilar calls this dance a “form of prayer.”
The Earth as “Mother Goddess”
There are many more forms of “inculturation” in this new indigenous rite, as we shall see, but they all relate to the earth as “Mother Goddess” (or pachamama, in another language).
The website Inculturacion.net, on which Cardinal Arizmendi has published several articles, explains this concept as follows:
In the ‘Indian Theology’ the earth is essential, they know her as the Mother Goddess. She has her own personality. She is sacred. She is the subject with whom one speaks and who is worshipped. The earth is the divine fecundity. Plants, especially corn, are the flesh of the gods that have been given to man for his subsistence.
This new liturgy is clearly permeated by Indian Theology as part of Liberation Theology, a theology that the Vatican has previously rejected.
In 2021, for example, the diocesan seminary of San Cristóbal hosted a seminary on Indian Theology with Professor Eleazar Lopez Hernandez, one of the main proponents of this theology who himself has been in conflict with Rome.
One 2019 study of the case of the diocese of San Cristóbal de las Casas, written by Dr. Irene Sanchez Franco, quotes Bishop Ruiz as saying that “in myths and in popular religiosity,” there are elements of “social utopia” and “signs of a strategy in groups committed to overcoming the system.”
Still today, the diocesan seminary puts the Mayan religious practices – such as the Mayan Altar – in context with the battle against “injustices.”
It is a clearly leftist political and theological theory. The diocese is actively studying and reviving old Mayan symbols and rituals, as can be seen here in a class posted by the diocesan seminary.
Cardinal Arizmendi only recently spoke at a book presentation of an indigenous priest of the Diocese of San Cristóbal, José Elías Hernández Hernández, who dedicated his entire book to the “Mayan Altar.” Feminism is also part of the diocesan work, with their well-organized women’s council (CODIMUJ) calling for “radical change” and for gender equality in the hierarchy of the Church.
Syncretism and religious indifferentism
The revival of Mayan practices and symbols (as promoted by the diocesan seminary) is seen as a return to “pre-Columbian” traditions, that is, pre-Christian.
But for these theologians, however, there is no real contradiction between these two religions.
As stated by Dr. Sanchez Franco: “Bishop Ruiz pointed out that the God venerated in Indian theology was not different from the Jesus worshipped in Catholicism.”
Analogous to this attitude of religious indifferentism, the author describes the incorporation of ancient religious rituals into Catholic practices without seeing a contradiction: “Some groups have incorporated into their rituals elements such as water, fire, colors such as green, yellow, white, and purple as the main symbol of ancestral colors, the petitions have nothing to do with prayers taught by the Catholic Church, but with the inspiration of each one of the people; not only a Christian God is evoked, but also the earth, the mountains, the water, the moon, the sun, among others…”
Women’s liturgical role
Cardinal Arizmendi, in an 2017 essay entitled “Experiences of Inculturation in the Diocese of San Cristóbal de las Casas,” describes in detail the syncretistic elements of this new Mayan rite, as well as the practice of including wives in the ordination of indigenous permanent deacons in the diocese.
Such a wife, Arizmendi writes, “remains at his [the deacons’] side throughout the ceremony [of ordination],” “she even joins her hand to that of her husband at the time of the promise of obedience. At the deacon’s prostration, she remains kneeling at his side.”
The wife’s liturgical participation in her husband’s ordination is very clear: Only the ordinand receives the imposition of hands, but she is at his side. She helps him to put on the alb and stole.”
Furthermore, adds the cardinal, “She receives, together with her husband, the Book of the Gospels. She helps as Extraordinary Minister of Communion. And in the ordinary celebrations, the woman is the one who incenses the altar, the Gospels, the images, the ministers and the other people.”
This incensing by a woman, explains the prelate, stems from the indigenous religious culture where women “are in charge of incensing in all ritual celebrations.”
According to the prelate, “we have authorized two indigenous women to administer Baptism and preside at the celebration of marriage where there are no other ministers.”
Women are also involved when their sons get ordained. In these photos, a woman (most probably the mother) places part of the liturgical vestment on the candidate, on the altar and during the ceremony.
The constant presence of adult women on the altar and in liturgical ceremonies is striking in this diocese, for example here when a woman (presumably his mother) blesses the candidate at the altar during ordination, and in another case (around minute 31), where it is perhaps the father and the mother who do so.
To return back to the elements of an indigenous Mass with Mayan elements in it.
The dominant liturgical role of women is also visible when, according to Cardinal Arizmendi, “upon arrival at the altar, it is kissed by the celebrant and, if present, by the deacons and his wife.” That is, at the beginning of Mass, a woman walks up and kisses the altar, as if she is part of the Sacrifice of the Mass conducted by the priest.
‘Pat o’tan’ (greeting to the heart)
Another lay-dominated element of this new rite of Mass is the “Pat o’tan” (greeting to the heart).
During this practice, a priest and lay people stand in front of the church and a principal is asked by other principals whether they may enter the church.
It is a lay rule, as Cardinal Arizmendi explains: “Inside the church, a principal is designated to lead and initiate a traditional prayer, which is joined by the entire community, all kneeling. Each one speaks to God in a loud voice, greets Him, thanks Him, presents his needs and petitions, asks for forgiveness, gives thanks, presents his or her needs and petitions, asks forgiveness for sins.”
That is to say, this liturgical prayer is not led by the priest, it is lay-led and performed by the entire community.
The Mayan altar
Very important to these practices also, is the Mayan Altar — an altar that is dedicated to the gods and beliefs of the Mayan religion.
These altars can already be found in churches in the area and at many church ceremonies.
On this topic, Arizmendi writes: “In some places, it is customary to make, in front of the altar of the Mass, the so-called ‘Mayan altar’, with flowers and colored candles, according to the four directions of the universe, with fruits of the earth.”
Each color of the candles have a specific meaning, four of them representing the four directions of the earth (North, West, South, East). At some point, the congregation bows down to the center of the altar which has two candles that are meant to represent Jesus Christ, according to Arizmendi, even though there are other meanings for these candles as well, which we shall see later.
Here is an example from the diocese of an indigenous man incensing the Mayan Altar in a Catholic church and kneeling in front of it, as does the bishop himself here. In another photo, a woman is seen kneeling in front of the Mayan Altar and imparting a blessing.
The presence of this altar also opens up the possibility for “Holy Hour” at the “Mayan Altar” (here is an example).
To this, Arizmendi writes: “We have promoted the inculturation of the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in the so called ‘Mayan altar’.” There are the “symbols and prayers that are customary with this ‘altar’, with the Eucharistic Presence of Jesus. One of the names by which, in the Mayan culture, “God is invoked as the Heart of Heaven and the Heart of the Earth [in Mayan terms],” explains the cardinal. “Jesus unites heaven and earth, for He is God and Man.”
Cardinal Arizmendi also describes how the diocesan seminary has tried to combine the Eucharist with the Mayan Altar, “to integrate the Eucharistic liturgy with the ‘Mayan altar’, which is the place and center of prayer for the indigenous peoples of Mayan roots.”
Blue and green stained windows and candles on the altar for Mass also contain Mayan symbolism: blue stands for heaven, green for earth. “We have green and blue stained glass windows on both sides of the central Crucifix,” writes the Mexican prelate, adding that this supports “the indigenous tradition of calling God the Heart of Heaven and the Heart of the Earth.” “For this reason, we also sometimes place candles or candlesticks on the altar of the Mass, candles or candlesticks of blue and green,” he concludes.
Another element of the Mayan Altar are pine needles or boughs that are placed around the altar.
As one description of the Mayan meaning of pine needles explains, they “are the portal to the other world. There is afterlife, often reincarnation depending on status. Memory must be kept, attended to. Here is ancestor worship — generations buried in the same space. The pine needles represent infinity, too numerous to count.”
The seminarians of San Cristóbal have these pine needles in their church, as can be seen here.
Shells as a means of communication with ancestors
Problematic also is the use of a shell, as can be seen being used in different liturgies in the diocese.
In one example, a shell can be seen being carried into the church in a procession.
Here, the shell is displayed by the diocesan seminary, and here it is even used by one of the seminarians during a church ceremony. This latter photo looks similar to the use of the shell by a Mayan shaman here.
The shell is a Mayan practice of communicating with the spirits of their ancestors.
Mayan Day Symbols of the Mayan Sacred Calendar
Furthermore, the diocese of San Cristóbal de las Casas often also places the 20 Mayan Day Symbols (Nawales) of the Mayan Sacred Calendar around their Mayan Altars. These symbols are clearly not of Christian origin, but of pagan origin, and often represent “deities” such as wind or the sun.
Mayan Altar as a connection between heaven and earth
The Mayan Altar’s link to pre-Christian traditions is explained in a 2020 introductory article about this topic by author Claudio Rossetti Conti.
In the article, Conti states: “The Mayan Altar shows the spiritual connection between the Heart of the Earth and the Heart of Heaven, whose creation appears in Popol Vuh, the sacred book of the Maya Quichè, which describes their cosmogony. When the assembly, as the community participating in the ritual is called, wants to get in touch with Mother Earth and Heaven, and with the Cosmos, to give thanks or, for example, to ask for abundance from the earth or rain from Heaven through the prayers and offerings that make up the altar itself, they are asked to form the Mayan Altar, a bridge of contact between Earth and Cosmos.”
Here, once more, the author explains that we are to encounter “Mother Earth” as a goddess: “The smoke of copal [the sacred incense that appears in Popol Vuh ] will bless the Mayan Altar and all the participants of the assembly. Those who lead the prayer will dialogue with God, Mother Earth and the various entities and will lead the community prayer, indicating the moment to literally open the dances, to kneel, kiss the ground three times and conclude the ritual.”
The use of sonajas (rattles)
Always accompanying the Mayan Altar are a type of rattle called “sonajas.”
One of them can be seen being used here in a local church in the diocese.
As Conti explains: “Violin, guitar and bass guide the dance steps and the rhythm of the sonajas, symbol of wisdom of the ancestors, represented by the sound of seeds of a specific orchid and metaphor of the movement of the spirits that dwell in the world. The sonajas represent the presence of the Ancients who return to counsel the members of the community.”
Another source explains that the rattles are used “to make a connection and communicate with the divine.”
Rattles, therefore, are also ways to call the ancestors to communicate with the living.
Let us now further consider the elements of the new rite of the Mass as presented by Cardinal Arizmendi in his own article.
Lighting of the candles
“The priest who presides over the celebration announces to the community that the universal prayer will be made in the modality of lighting the candles according to the tradition of the ancestors,” Arizmendi writes. Note here that, according again to Mayan tradition, one is able to communicate with one’s ancestors. Prior to the beginning of the Mass, a place in front of the altar is prepared where the candles are to be lit and placed vertically on the floor (they are “sown,” in the words of Arizmendi).
The number of candles varies according to what is to be prayed for. The principal – again a layman – invites the people to pray, whilst traditional music is played with harp, violin and guitars.
During this. all the people kneel down. A woman incenses the candles and then the leader lights them. The priest goes to stand in front of the place where the candles are and kneels and prays together with the principal.
“At the end of the homily,” the cardinal writes, “a ritual dance can be performed.” This is a slight movement of the body and feet that can be done in either one or three dances. (Here is an example of two women dancing around the Mayan Altar, as posted by the diocesan seminary).
Papal Mass with Mayan elements in 2016
Cardinal Arizmendi, in his lengthy analysis of the inculturation of the liturgy as it is taking place in San Cristóbal de las Casas, explains also in detail the many Mayan elements that were included in the Mass of Pope Francis when he came to visit the diocese on February 15, 2016.
Most striking, when watching the ceremony, was seeing that Pope Francis incensed the altar together with two wives of deacons, both of whom had Mayan incense burners in their hands, as their husbands, two indigenous permanent deacons, watched.
A ritual dance, as well as other elements of the new indigenous rite were also present.
In his homily, the Francis quoted from the Mayan bible, the above-mentioned Popol Vuh.
Francis, while still on the altar after Mass, spoke with deacons and wives, further giving them the approving support that the diocese has long been searching.
His visit of the tomb of Bishop Ruiz after Mass also gave further insight into how much the attitude of the Catholic Church towards the Chiapas experiment has changed.
Proof that the diocese means to use these Mayan elements in idolatrous ways
A final note, lest people believe that LifeSite interprets the “inculturated” elements of the Mayan tradition in Catholic Masses in Mexico in a less friendly manner than is correct, we would like to refer our readers to a 2022 article from the Chiapas region, in which a representative of the Diocese of San Cristóbal de las Casas explains the meaning of the elements of the Mayan Altar.
Bartolomé Espinosa Vázquez, an expert in the Mayan culture and a member of the South Team of the diocese, was responsible for installing the altar that was placed during the official ceremony held on January 25, 2022, to remember the deceased former head of the diocese, Bishop Samuel Ruiz García.
Some of Espinosa Vázquez’ explanations of the Mayan Altar speak for themselves: “In the center [of the Mayan Altar] is blue and green that represent the heart of heaven and mother earth”; “When we blow the shell we are calling the spirit of our ancestors, we are connecting our hearts with theirs”; among the elements of the altar there is also “a pumpo that has a sacred herb that we use called bankilal, which is like receiving the spirit of the older brother. It is made of tobacco”; “We have the copal. Where the incense is placed, it is to purify the space.”
“The burning of copal is believed to call upon the God Tlaloc and the goddess Chalchiuhtlicue. Both of these dieties were associated with fertility and creation,” as one spiritualist website has it.