An ancient Mayan ritual, a cleansing of the soul, a one to one experience with

Mother Nature. This is what Italian photographer Nicol Vizioli captured on the 7th.

 of September, the Day of the Snake on the Mayan calendar, in a narrow street in

 Antigua, Guatemala. The editorial portrayed how nature, the soul and raw

 beauty came together thanks to Guatemalan shaman Tzules Sunun.

With the help ofthe four elements of nature, Tzules covered Maryliz’s bare skin with soil, she burned

 candles and leaves to purify the soul and to honor the ancestors which created a

 soul-cleansing that ended with washing away Maryliz’s soil covered body with

 what Tzules called “agua ardiente”.

This little known ritual provides well being to

 the physical health and creates a natural conection with the person’s self and

 what surrounds it.

The ritual finished thanks to a light tropical rain proving how

 nature was present throughout the whole editorial and dictated when it was over too.


Rita Arevalo





Tzules Sunun is a shaman who still lives according to the ancient traditions of the Maya.

She is descended from a long lineage of healers and spiritists, and lives at the base of an active volcano just out of the city.




Tzules whispered words, she invoked the 4 elements, she praised Mother Nature. She burned leaves as

incense to purify the soul; candles were thrown into the fire to honour the ancestors. The fire grew as

a supreme force, its piercing heat and timbering crackle, amidst a soul-cleansing column of smoke.

Everything to fortify the spirit, to cleanse the soul, to exorcise the evil. There was bare flesh covered in

soil, soil from the wild garden that surrounds the place where Tzules practices her rituals, just off a

narrow street in Antigua. Earth then washed away by what she called agua ardiente, and at last, by

that beautiful tropical rain that I will never forget.

Nicol Vizioli