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Balancing the World

Contemporary Maya "ajq’ijab</I> in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala

Daniel Croles Fitjar

In Balancing the World, the author illuminates what an ajq’ij, or «daykeeper», is by presenting material he collected in a series of interviews with practitioners of Maya spirituality. Frequently labeled as Maya priests, shamans, spiritual guides, or even witches, the men and women called ajq’ijab do a variety of work to help their visitors, their ancestors, the spirits and the world itself. Nine interviewees from the Quetzaltenango area in the Guatemalan highlands tell about how they cure and avert illness, perform divinations, communicate with the ancestors and do their part in balancing the world. Most of them agree that they have been chosen for this responsibility and they see it as both a gift and a burden.
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About the author

About the author

Extract

Daniel Croles Fitjar studied religion at the Department of Archaeology, History, Cultural Studies and Religion at the University of Bergen (Norway) as well as US history and colonial history at the University of Amsterdam (the Netherlands). His studies have focused on theories of religion, indigenous religions and eurocentrism within the study of religion and history. The author has also lived and worked in Quetzaltenango (Guatemala).

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