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One has to choose one or the other

Juan and Odilia were more negative. In their opinion, an ajq’ij needs to choose one or the other.

Well, some mix it, or that is, they change it. We call that syncretism, but it shouldn’t be like that. There are some ajq’ijab that do that. Those are the indecisive ones. They are neither this nor that. They are of no use.

- Juan

Like Byron, Odilia thinks there are ajq’ijab who are Christian only in name.

Well, there are many persons who [are both Christian and ajq’ijab], that have converted into Catholicism and entered into that culture, in a way that is mixed - a little of this and a little of that. But, for example, in a meal, let’s say ... I’m not going to mix ... If I eat soup, and then add rice and beans, I won’t mix beans with the soup. If I eat soup, I eat soup; and if I eat beans, then only beans. Then I can really taste it. What is more tasty? What is more bland? So yes, you can’t be both at the same time.

You can’t both practise Maya spirituality and go to Catholic mass or be a Catholic?

Well, some are like that, but they are ajq’ijab that are not professed, they are in hiding. They are afraid to show their culture, they are ashamed. I mean, they are ajq’ijab, but they are showing off when there are many people around them, so that the others won’t think badly about them, so they won’t discriminate against them. Because many think that the ajq’ijab are witches; that they do evil; that they do bad things and other things, so ... in general, that’s what people think. [.]

The real ajq’ij, on the other hand, is not ashamed; is not afraid - because her or his culture is clean; it’s true; it’s a clean path. [The ajq’ij is a person] of light, there is no evil in what he or she is doing. And so, many persons do it.

- Odilia

The intermediary

All of the interviewees describe the work of an ajq’ij as being the work of an intermediary. An ajq’ij can communicate with one or several beings or concepts - ancestors, nahuales, God, ajaw, the sacred, the universe itself, and so on - depending on whom one asks or what one asks about.

This chapter has looked at whom or what the ajq’ijab is an intermediary with, and in a way that is what sets them apart as a group. In the next chapter, I will look at how this role as an intermediary is performed in practise.

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