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Developing DestiniesA Mayan Midwife and Town$
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Barbara Rogoff

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780195319903

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195319903.001.0001

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Born to a spiritual calling, across generations: cultural heritage and resistance

Born to a spiritual calling, across generations: cultural heritage and resistance

Chapter:
(p.75) 5 Born to a spiritual calling, across generations: cultural heritage and resistance
Source:
Developing Destinies
Author(s):

Barbara Rogoff (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195319903.003.0051

Chona's birth destiny of being a sacred midwife connects with spiritual practices stemming from centuries of confluences and conflicts in Mayan, Spanish, and United States history. Her family history illustrates the historical processes, combining Mayan and nonMayan ancestors and practices. Chona's mother was also destined to be a sacred midwife, but she did not accept her calling and died young, although Chona's father, a shaman, had told his wife that she risked dying young if she did not accept her calling. In the local conception of destiny, signs apparent at birth set out an individual's possibilities but do not determine them. Some women resist becoming a midwife because of the dangers inherent in this powerful role. However, they may be persuaded by family illness and by visits in their dreams from ancestor midwives who explain the dangers of refusing their destiny and who promise to instruct and help them.

Keywords:   sacred professionals, spiritual practices, Mayan religion, catholicism, ladinos, ancestors, resistance

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