Fran Antmann's photographs explore the power and mystery of ancient indigenous healing practices among the Maya people of Guatemala who live along the shores of Lake Atitlan.

 In our data driven world, there is increasing interest in indigenous knowledge as a source of enlightenment for those who can apprehend patterns in nature and use their own bodies as sources of healing. The photographs speak to the close relationship of these communities with the natural and spiritual worlds - lives bound up with the lake and its winds and the surrounding volcanoes.

"I accompanied these healers to small windowless spaces where ancient rituals are practiced over dirt floors. I listened to the voices of those who are believed to have connections with the supernatural and derive their knowledge from dreams as they practice a craft that’s outside the realm of western medicine. These rituals survive despite the genocide of the Maya people perpetrated until 1996 by government and paramilitary forces. The resurgence of Maya identity celebrates their endurance in the aftermath of trauma and violence, part of the larger process of healing." says Fran Antmann

Lidia Gonzalez, Maya healer, on the shores of Lake Atitán.

At Lidia’s birth, the midwife neglected to tell her mother that her child was born with the divine gift, to be both a healer and a midwife. So it all came to Lidia only in her dreams.

“The priests think we practice witchcraft. They say it’s a sin to pray to Nature. Yet when the pastor’s son was sick for more than five days, it was to me that his mother brought him. With the right mixture of plants that I know so well, I was able to cure his asthma.”

Maya Healers: A Thousand Dreams: Photographer: Fran Antmann

Where to find the medicinal plants, how to recognize them, when to cut them down, and how to use them—all were revealed through dreams.

 Samuel, shaman with the sacred, ritual Maya calendar used in his healing practices.

 Josefina Vazquez de Gonzalez, healer and midwife

 Josefina during the healing. 

Healer Josefina with her sacred bone, wrapped in cloth.

Berta Navichoc, healer and bonesetter, treating Pedro Sicay Mendoza's broken arm. 

Villagers from all around the lake waiting to be seen by a healer in San Pdero La Laguna.

Shaman Antonio Mendoza prays to an ancestral mask. 

 Marta Mendoza's sister  at the healing. 

Berta Navichoc, bonesetter, healing Marta Mendoza in Santiago Atitlán. 

Responses to "Fascinating Photos Give a Glimpse into Modern Mayan Healers With Ancient Knowledge"

Write a comment