Since the mid-1980s, when Guatemala returned to civilian rule and achieved relative peace and stability, the Maya have begun openly expressing their spiritual beliefs and practices. Jean Molesky-Poz draws on in-depth dialogues with Maya Ajq'ijab' (keepers of the ritual calendar), her own participant observation, and inter-disciplinary resources to offer a comprehensive, innovative, and well-grounded understanding of contemporary Maya spirituality and its theological underpinnings. She reveals significant continuities between contemporary and ancient Maya worldviews and spiritual practices. Molesky-Poz opens with a discussion of how the public emergence of Maya spirituality is situated within the religious political history of the Guatemalan highlands, particularly the recent pan-Maya movement. She investigates Maya cosmovision and its foundational principles, as expressed by Ajq'ijab'. At the heart of this work, Ajq'ijab' interpret their obligation, lives, and spiritual work. In subsequent chapters, Molesky-Poz explores aspects of Maya spirituality—sacred geography (the reciprocal relationship between the earth and humans, sacred places, and the significance of the cross or quatrefoil map), sacred time (how the 260-day sacred calendar is "the heart of the wisdom of the Maya," the matrix of Maya culture), and ritual practice (the distinct way and method of ancestral study, with special attention to fire ceremonialism). She confirms contemporary Maya spirituality as a faith tradition with elaborate historical roots that has significance for individual, collective, and historical lives, reaffirming its own public space and legal right to be practiced.
Since the arrival of the Europeans, the indigenous people of what is now Guatemala have endured massacres, persecution, and discrimination. Their religious beliefs and practices have been condemned as superstition and witchcraft. Yet the spiritual worldview of the Maya has survived and even flourishes, five centuries after the invaders' first attempts to destroy it. InThe Ancient Spirituality of the Modern Maya, Thomas Hart weaves together the stories and experiences of those who practice Maya spirituality today, based on the relationship between God, the World, and the Ancestors, and provides a sense of the Mayan worldview as it is revealed through myth, ceremony, and teaching. The information provided by Hart adds a modern perspective to this largely oral traditional culture and provides a unique insight into its practice today, with its many variations and with the adaptability that has sustained it for over five hundred years.
Religion and Modernity in a Transnational K'iche' Community
Author: C. James MacKenzie
Pubpsher: University Press of Colorado
Category: Social Science
Indigenous Bodies, Maya Minds examines tension and conflict over ethnic and religious identity in the K’iche’ Maya community of San Andrés Xecul in the Guatemalan Highlands and considers how religious and ethnic attachments are sustained and transformed through the transnational experiences of locals who have migrated to the United States. Author C. James MacKenzie explores the relationship among four coexisting religious communities within Highland Maya villages in contemporary Guatemala—costumbre, traditionalist religion with a shamanic substrate; “Enthusiastic Christianity,” versions of Charismaticism and Pentecostalism; an “inculturated” and Mayanized version of Catholicism; and a purified and antisyncretic Maya Spirituality—with attention to the modern and nonmodern worldviews that sustain them. He introduces a sophisticated set of theories to interpret both traditional religion and its relationship to other contemporary religious options, analyzing the relation among these various worldviews in terms of the indigenization of modernity and the various ways modernity can be apprehended as an intellectual project or an embodied experience. Indigenous Bodies, Maya Minds investigates the way an increasingly plural religious landscape intersects with ethnic and other identities. It will be of interest to Mesoamerican and Mayan ethnographers, as well as students and scholars of cultural anthropology, indigenous cultures, globalization, and religion.
Religious Pluralism and the Problem of Race in Guatemala
Author: Andrea Althoff
Pubpsher: Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co KG
Two unprecedented, striking developments form part of the reality of many Latin Americans. Recent decades have seen the dramatic rise of a new religious pluralism, namely the spread of Pentecostal Christianity - Catholic and Protestant alike - and the growth of indigenous revitalization movements. This study analyzes these major transitions, asking what roles ethnicity and ethnic identities play in the contemporary process of religious pluralism, such as the growth of the Protestant Pentecostal and neo-Pentecostal movements, the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, and the indigenous Maya movement in Guatemala. This book aims to provide an understanding of the agenda of religious movements, their motivations, and their impact on society. Such a pursuit is urgently needed in Guatemala, a postwar country experiencing acrimonious religious competition and a highly contentious debate on religious pluralism. This volume is relevant to scholars and students of Latin American Studies, Sociology of Religion, Anthropology, Practical Theology, and Political Sciences.
One Woman's Journey Among The People of the Rainforest
Author: Mary Jo McConahay
Pubpsher: Chicago Review Press
Drawing upon three decades of working, traveling, and living in Central America's remote and dangerous landscapes, this memoir chronicles a journalist's fascinating experiences with the people, politics, archaeology, and species of the rainforest, the cradle of Mayan civilization. The intense beauty of the forest, the fantastic locales, the ancient ruins, and the horrific violence of the jungle are brought to life through clear and compelling language. The author plays witness to archaeological discoveries, the transformation of the Lacandon people, the Zapatista indigenous uprising in Mexico, and increased drug trafficking, and she assists in the uncovering of a war crime. Great changes of the region, from a time when the jungle had virtually no roads and no visitors to the vacationers and adventure travelers who now arrive daily, are revealed in this unique exploration of the adaptation and resolve of a people.
" ... Explaining how we can use the era of 2012 as a unique opportunity for growth, Sitler proposes that following the Mayan way has "the potential to ground our lives more harmoniously in nature's infinitely complex ways, to broaden our perspectives on human existence, and to connect us more substantively with our innate capacity for comassion.""--Back cover.
Release on 2016-04-30 | by Anna Kasafi Perkins,Donald Chambers,Jacqueline Porter
Contemporary Catholic Reflections
Author: Anna Kasafi Perkins,Donald Chambers,Jacqueline Porter
This collection of critical essays and personal reflections explores the insights provided by official statements of the Roman Catholic Bishops of the Caribbean. In so doing, it presents a critical reading of the corpus with a view to presenting its relevance to the regional and global conversation on matters of human flourishing.
Each year in the Highland Guatemala town of Santiago Momostenango, Maya religious societies, dance teams, and cofradías perform the annual cycle of rituals and festivals prescribed by Costumbre (syncretized Maya Christian religion), which serves to renew the cosmic order. In this richly detailed ethnography, Garrett Cook explores how these festivals of Jesucristo and the saints derive from and reenact three major ancient Maya creation myths, thus revealing patterns of continuity between contemporary expressive culture and the myths, rituals, and iconography of the Classic and Postclassic Maya. Drawing on fieldwork conducted in the 1970s and renewed in the 1990s, Cook describes the expressive culture tradition performed in and by the cofradías and their dance teams. He listens as dancers and cofrades explain the meaning of service and of the major ritual symbols in the cults of the saints and Jesucristo. Comparing these symbols to iconographic evidence from Palenque and myths from the Popol Vuh, Cook persuasively argues that the expressive culture of Momostenango enacts major Maya creation myths—the transformative sunrise, the representation of the year as the life cycle of anthropomorphized nature, and the erection of an axis mundi. This research documents specific patterns of continuity and discontinuity in the communal expression of Maya religious and cosmogonic themes. Along with other recent research, it demonstrates the survival of a basic Maya pattern—the world-creating vegetative renewal cycle—in the highland Maya cults of the saints and Jesucristo.
Release on 2012-12-07 | by Chandana Chakrabarti,Sandra Jane Fairbanks
Author: Chandana Chakrabarti,Sandra Jane Fairbanks
Pubpsher: Cambridge Scholars Publishing
The contemporary world faces a number of problems that are both deep-seated and interrelated, since they arise from the very nature of technological society. The environment upon which all life depends is seriously threatened by climate change, rising sea levels, pollution, overpopulation, resource depletion and increased risks of droughts, forest fires, floods and other extreme weather events. Environmental degradation is intimately connected to the consumer lifestyle of developed countries. This lifestyle promotes materialism, entertainment and hedonistic superficiality that ultimately lead to moral corruption. Our insensitive and destructive attitude towards nature is not isolated, or unrelated to other problems of social justice. The environmental crisis reflects human structures of domination that include political and economic exploitation, racism, sexism and ageism. These challenges are immense, and solutions to them will require a renewed dedication to moral reflection and a commitment to social justice. This book discusses the challenges in connection with topics such as human rights, economic exploitation and inequality, environmental protection, globalization, global food justice, technology, gender equality and ageism. It provides a plurality of moral and spiritual perspectives including Hinduism, Buddhism, Daoism and Christianity that offer guidance in finding responses that are both possible and reasonable.
Far from Ottoman Turkey and the Balkans, an expanded farmhouse in southern Michigan provides the secure if improbable setting for Baba Rexheb and his Islamic Bektashi community. This is also the setting for Spiritual Discourse, a study of the process by which Baba Rexheb, a ninety-year-old Albanian leader of the Bektashi order, and Frances Trix, an American student who has studied with him for over twenty years, come to share a common universe of experience and attunement. The focus of the study is one lesson with Baba - a lesson that is rich in poetry and parable, narrative and face-saving humor. As Trix seeks to understand how Baba teaches, she contextualizes the lesson internally in terms of episodes and dialogic patterns, and externally in terms of the societal, personal, and ritual histories it presumes. Overall what is being passed on is not facts but a relationship, for the relationship of "seeker" and "master" mirrors that of human and God. Yet on a more immediate level, Baba teaches through a highly personalized, recursive sort of language "play" that engenders current attention while constantly evoking an ever-growing shared past. For scholars of discourse and interaction, the study contributes the central concept of "language attunement"--A form of "linguistic convergence" that operates not at the level of speech community, but rather at the level of dialogic encounter, and that occurs most often among people who have long interacted. For scholars of Islam and religious studies, the study represents a rare application of sociolinguistics to transmission of spiritual knowledge. The importance of oral interaction in such transmission has long been appreciated, but the conceptual framework and methodology for its analysis have been lacking. An ethnography of learning, a sociolinguistics of mysticism, above all Spiritual Discourse illuminates the process of interpersonal encounter. It is a story gracefully and unpretentiously told.