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Posted on Monday, December 26 - 2005

" It was not so long ago, perhaps as recently as 30 years, that Maya Daykeepers kept their knowledge of ancient and deeply spiritual traditions very quiet, often completely secret.It is of course still a thing of quiet respect for many today, but certainly enough information has been circu..."

Mayan Calendar

It was not so long ago, perhaps as recently as 30 years, that Maya Daykeepers kept their knowledge of ancient and deeply spiritual traditions very quiet, often completely secret.It is of course still a thing of quiet respect for many today, but certainly enough information has been circulated on these alive and comprehensive Indian spiritual cultures that a much wider circle of people have come to appreciate and incorporate the Maya lifeways.The Maya Daykeepers are the people, mostly from traditional, corn-growing Maya villages of the highlands of Guatemala, who sustain the active religion of the sacred Mayan calendar, the Cholq'ij, in their daily lives. This is an ancient practice ofcosmological interpretation of what the Maya know as ''the medicine of time itself,'' as revealed by the characteristics of a complex, interrelated set of day spirits. The 20 Maya day spirits are closely linked to Maya cosmological creation, to lineage ancestors and to mountain altars, down to the present generation of 6.2 million Maya people in Guatemala alone. The ways of the days is a tradition that ''works in the practice,'' and which has been maintained in perpetuity over the generations by core indigenous Maya extended families, cofradias (co-fraternities) and Pueblos, even through times of great violence and genocide.

(As late as 1987, in the days of severe repression, we have a recorded case of the torture and murder of a Maya Daykeeper as a guerrilla brujo by a government squad.) Nevertheless, this religion of thesacred days is deeply felt and used consistently by the Maya population of some 22 related language-nations to balance worldly and spiritual life. This spiritual-philosophical system is the flower of cultural resistance to annihilation and acculturation by the indigenous peoples of the hemisphere. The old-timers of the Mayan calendar had plenty of reason, from the assaults of the Spanish conquest through to the massacres of whole villages in the 1980s, to hide their deepest cultural traditions. It certainly occurred to many as well that beyond the violence, the evangelizing of Christian sects plus modern individualism could wreak havoc upon their spiritually sensitive communities. With the peace accords of the mid-1990s a new, more reflective and expressive approach seems to have been signaled. Movements to revitalize the Maya culture from the inside......


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