Personal tools

Paypal Donations:

Enter your donation amount (USD)
How many times would you like this to recur? (including this payment)
I'd like this to recur?


The Mayan People Way of Praying

As Pope Francis invited us to spend 24 hours of prayer for the Lord this Lenten season, Sr. Ana Evelyn (Evie) Vázquez, ICM, shares this beautiful way of praying.

Sr. Evie shares the profound and meaningful way of praying that she has experienced with the Mayan people of Guatemala.

For six  years (from 1994 to 2000) I lived and worked with the Ixil ethnic group in the mountains of Chajul,  in the department of Quiche.  The people are grouped into CPRs (Communities of Peoples in Resistance) due to the presence of armed conflict in the country that lasted for 36 years. These people did not flee to Mexico, nor go to the city, but resisted and survived in the mountains near home.  Many were killed.

For the last three years I have been with the Poqomam ethnic group in the village of El Durazno, in the municipality of Chinautla, a marginalized area in the outskirts of Guatemala City.  


The Mayans create a cosmic altar when praying.  It is beautifully decorated with white corn spread out on the floor facing the north.  Yellow corn faces the south, red corn faces the east, and black corn faces the west. Added to this are candles of the same colors, flowers, pine, etc.

Literally speaking the white represents the color of their teeth, the yellow the color of their skin, the red the color of their blood, and black the color of their hair.  There are also a variety of interpretations. The north is white and represents the cold weather, the south is yellow and represents warm weather where the land is moist and ready to receive the corn seeds.  The east is red and represents the rising of the sun.  The west is black and represents the setting of the sun.

Historically speaking, from the north came the conquerors.  The flat and fertile lands in the south were occupied by the conquerors.  The east, which is red, represents the blood shed during the oppression and wars with the conquerors.  The west, which is black, represents  fear, violence and death.


A deeply spiritual people, they ask God for good and safe paths, for good weather (not too much rain nor too much drought) for their agricultural endeavors in planting  and harvesting  so as to feed their families, safe travel wherever they go, protection from evil for all peoples, protection for the land, the water, and the air,   peace, justice and equality  for all, etc., etc.  And as they dance, sing, and pray around their cosmic altar they offer incense stopping at the four cardinal points. The cosmos encloses their traditions, customs, life style, and their history of struggles for a better and dignified life.

Document Actions