Home Sociology Balancing the World: Contemporary Maya ajq’ijab in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala
Talking to spirits
Isabela mentioned to me that she had the ability to talk to dead spirits, and that sometimes this could help clear up misunderstandings and solve problems. Manuel told me he had seen her do this. He had problems believing this, as he claims he does not believe in anything supernatural at all, but he had no better explanation for what he had witnessed than the one she had given him. A few years ago, Manuel had some personal problems at about the same time as his father died.
She says that she can talk to the spirits of the dead. For example, my dad died, and [she came with me] to his tomb. [...] She said: “I’m talking to his spirit.” [...] She said he had left some money somewhere, and she was right! Incredible!
She said: “In the area that belonged to your father, there’s a rock, a precious one, you need to construct an altar there. And that is what’s bothering you and why there are problems at home. And so, you have to find that stone and build an altar there or bring it to an altar.”
Visitors come to the ajq’ijab with all kinds of problems. The ajq’ijab find solutions to these problems in a number of ways. Nearly all of the interviewees receive visitors on a regular basis, and all of them have been visitors themselves.
But not all of the ajq’ijab’s tasks are done with and for visitors. They also do work for themselves and for the world or people in general. In the next chapter, I will look at non-visitor work, and also at some of the problems an ajq’ij may meet in her or his daily life.
Carlos’ altar to the right and his wife’s altar to the left. Each cross represents a person whom Carlos helps. Behind the altar hang two pictures of Mother Mary, and above them, the flag of Guatemala.
|< Prev||CONTENTS||Next >|