By Daniel Croles Fitjar
In Balancing the World, the writer illuminates what an ajq’ij, or «daykeeper», is through featuring fabric he accumulated in a chain of interviews with practitioners of Maya spirituality. usually categorized as Maya clergymen, shamans, religious publications, or perhaps witches, the lads and girls known as ajq’ijab do various paintings to assist their viewers, their ancestors, the spirits and the area itself. 9 interviewees from the Quetzaltenango sector within the Guatemalan highlands inform approximately how they therapy and dodge disease, practice divinations, speak with the ancestors and do their half in balancing the area. such a lot of them agree that they've been selected for this accountability they usually see it as either a present and a burden.
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Additional resources for Balancing the World: Contemporary Maya ajq’ijab in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala
Although these two languages are related, speakers of one of them will normally not be able to understand the other. K’iche’ has more similarities with other languages in the region than Mam has. In general, people in the city of Quetzaltenango will speak K’iche’, but one needs only travel a few kilometres to the West of the city to hear people speak Mam. In daily life, a lot of people in these areas will communicate in their respective Mayan language. Most people speak Spanish as well, but some are not fluent, and some do not speak it at all.
During the interview, her son sat on her lap and her husband was working outside. They have a little field, a pig and a cow, and make their living selling produce on the local market. Rosa has been an ajq’ij for 17 years and regularly receives visitors, both family and non-family. She lives in a Mam community and speaks Mam. She also speaks some Spanish, but only at a basic level, so Teresa came with us to the interview to translate if needed. Carlos Carlos is Teresa’s great-grandfather and lives in the same Mam community as she.
We met Byron alone in my apartment. He is very interested in history, and he could tell me a lot about the K’iche’, the Maya, his city, and Guatemala. Like Manuel, he told me that he primarily sees himself as an “investigator,” with a scientific, analytical interest in the culture and history of his people; but he also sees a spiritual element as important to him and regularly participates in ceremonies. At the time of the interviews, Byron was working on a book on Maya spirituality. He speaks both Spanish and K’iche fluently.
Balancing the World: Contemporary Maya ajq’ijab in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala by Daniel Croles Fitjar