Yucatec Maya: shaman

I went to see Zacarías for a specific reason. I wanted him to cast a love spell, for a friend of mine. The session was arranged by a Maya elder that I know personally, Pastor from Muyil. We went to see him in his home, in the village of Trapich. For this spell, I had to give the exact names of the people involved and other personal details.

The local Maya in Yucatán don’t call Zacarías ‘shaman’. This is a word that the world adopted from šaman in Siberia, meaning 'one who knows’. Here in Yucatán they call such a person Ah Men. People see him mainly when they need some healing. Ah Men (like the shaman) is someone who has access to spirits and who typically enters into a trance state during a ritual, and practises divination and healing.

If you decide to have a session with an Ah Men, you will experience the syncretism of Catholicism and Maya religion. This was the case with Zacarías. On the altar he had two crosses, a common Latin one and another representing a Maya tree of life, dressed in a Maya dress called a sudario (it looks like huipil, the embroidered blouse that Maya women wear). He called to the ancestral Maya spirits in the four cardinal directions and used zastun (a piece of glass or crystal; in his case it was glass marbles) and corn kernels. His offerings included candles. He kept moving the kernels, depending on the force that was 'dictated' by the glass marbles, to give my friend a new direction in life, including new love.

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In Zacarías’s home, waiting for the love spell outcome. April 2019.

In Zacarías’s home, waiting for the love spell outcome. April 2019.

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Rhodri JonesComment