Category: Indigenous Religions in the Contact Zone

Translating the Maya Popol Wuj

It’s the 20th of December and we are in Chichicastenango for its Fiesta Patronal. Just after 3:33 A.M., we are woken up by powerful explosions right above the Hotel Pop Wuj where

Rituals of Resistance

When I first passed along the Guatemalan lakeshore to the Cofradía Santa Cruz, where Maximón spends much of the year, I was out walking. I didn’t know where I was…

Sacred Smoke of Copal

Dozens of Mexican-American women stand in front of their computers at awkward angles. Most are muted per proper Zoom etiquette; many have their eyes closed and hands outstretched. Turning to face…

A Quest for Contemporary Maya and Aymara Spirituality and Identity

I remember Coba, Quintana Roo, as a remote and sleepy Maya village in the 1990s, which had to be reached by a good hour-long drive on a narrow road inland from Tulum. We stayed at the Villa Arqueologica, an upscale hotel, at that time the only tourist hotel in Coba…

Híbridos, the Spirits of Brazil

Eight years ago, in 2013, I received an unexpected email from French filmmaker Vincent Moon, who was looking for a Brazilian partner to undertake an ambitious project: a poetic and…

Herbs, Roots and Magical Remedies

English + Español
The evening of March 25, 1631, a woman named María de Archuleta, of about 30 years of age, was summoned by the Inquisition in Santa Fé, New Mexico. When…

Shamanic Tourism

Today it is hard to find someone who has not heard of the infamous hallucinogenic plant mixture called ayahuasca commonly prepared from the stems of Banisteriopsis caapi and the leaves of Psychotria viridis or chacruna. The brew, well known for its purging and visionary…


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