9 is a number with more than a few meanings; among other things, it symbolizes our ancestors. Ajpu is also a day of the ancestors, and thus today is a time of deep significance, when we honor those who came before us. When I lived in the highlands, it was never difficult to know that it was an Ajpu day, even if you’d been out of the loop for a while and had forgotten to count the days. I lived near the cemetery, and I could always see the smoke of ritual fires rising from behind the cemetery walls as traditionalists lit fires and did ceremony at the graves of their ancestors. That was how you could tell that it was an Ajpu day. It is said that the rituals celebrated upon the Day of the Dead developed out of indigenous ceremonies held upon Ajpu days. In our own psychological culture, we often focus on family problems, dysfunctional personalities, and our conflicts with parents or grandparents. To many of the Maya, this would be a very inappropriate attitude to take. Instead, we should search our hearts to remember everything that was beautiful about those who came before us.