Today I would like to share with you some Mayan superstitions as observed by PCV Cristina Monterroza during her time in San Antonio Aguas Calientes in the department of Sacatepequez, Guatemala. Cristina, now one of my sitemates, sheds light upon some of the beliefs of many indigenous peoples which would be considered largely untrue in the eyes of the modern scientific community.
This single family, dedicated to the full-time occupation of weaving, reflects a prevailing lack of consciousness that exists about many of these themes in rural communities. While home to beautiful culture and rich traditions, it is truly a pleasure to live and work with these individuals. We share these observations with you in order to capture a glimpse of the challenges working within this environment that has received scarce exposure to the “outside” world and modern ideas such as contemporary medicine.
- If a woman drinks out of chipped plates or cups, her baby will be born with a cleft lip.
- If a woman has lasso’s out at night (such as for weaving) her baby will be born with the umbilical cord wrapped around its throat.
- If you find a spider in your bed (or maybe in your room in general) someone is thinking ill of you, also if a large amount of ants come from out of nowhere. Immediately upon discovery one must pour hot water upon these uninvited guests- you know why? Because it’s pretty much the same thing as pouring the hot water upon the head of the person who is thinking ill of you. That will surely improve your relationship.
- If you cry in certain places in the mountains while walking, your soul gets trapped by the nahuales (Mayan spirit guides) there.
- If you speak/do “maldades” (bad deeds) with your novio/lover/husband in the dark, near a pila (public fountain for washing), or in certain “mysterious” places (guessing like a cemetery) the woman will get sick. In the sense that she is ill and also has lots of cravings for rich foods/fruits in the middle of the night (sounds a lot like pregnancy) but the doctor will not be able to find anything. The families of these women will then consult a curandero/ hechiciero (healer/ witch doctor) who will be able to know what she had done and will tell the family (could get awkward). The brujo (witch) and the family must then go to the place where the event had occurred and bring alcohol, a black chicken (prepared), fruits and candles of several different colors such as red, black and green. The brujo then appeals to the nahuales to let her spirit free by speaking and flipping a branch and throwing holy water.
- If you step over a broom, you’re bound to be very clumsy. There’s no way around it.
- If you sit on or walk across a weaving tool with 13 protruding sticks, you will have 13 children (young girls are strongly discouraged from doing this by their mothers).