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Home arrow Sociology arrow Balancing the World: Contemporary Maya ajq’ijab in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala

How does one become an ajq’ij?

Exactly how the interviewees had become ajq’ijab varied from person to person. Most of them had had a period of training, and some stressed that they were still learning. Generally, the interviewees told that their training period ended with a ceremony where they “received” - their vara, their mesa and/or their cross - and some told that they had had additional such ceremonies after becoming ajq’ijab as well.

Out of the interviewees who had received crosses to become ajq’ijab, nearly all agreed that four crosses were needed. It is interesting to see that their stories differed from Thomas Hart’s findings - all of his interviewees who had received crosses had only received three. This difference in numbers might indicate that there may be several geographical variations within Maya spirituality - variations that should be examined further at a later stage.

Balancing the world

Teresa, Rosa, Carlos, Odilia, Juan, Isabela, Manuel, Byron and Martin have all shared very interesting stories and ideas with me, and for that I am grateful. In their daily lives, they meet people who struggle with illness, memories of war and other problems. Some of them deal with similar problems themselves. To the interviewees, the ajq’ijab are very special people who are able to deal with such problems. Through their work of curing illnesses, performing divinations, blessing houses, doing ceremonies and more, the ajq’ijab are said to have found ways of countering and preventing negative events and of giving thanks for positive events. In these ways, as several of the interviewees put it themselves, the ajq’ijab do their part every day in balancing the world.

 
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