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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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Entry and prominence in a sacred profession

Entry and prominence in a sacred profession

Chapter:
(p.153) 9 Entry and prominence in a sacred profession
Source:
Developing Destinies
Author(s):

Barbara Rogoff (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195319903.003.0083

Chona's assistance in a birth when she was about seventeen was by chance—she happened to visit a neighbor who was in labor and whose midwife had not arrived. The neighbor begged Chona to deliver the baby, and she did so perfectly. She also delivered several other babies, but did not yet accept the destiny that was indicated at her birth. As is common among Mayan sacred professionals, she only accepted her destiny after serious illnesses (her own and the deaths of many of her children and her mother). Ancestor midwives warned her in dreams that the problems would continue if she did not accept her calling, and instructed her in both spiritual and obstetric aspects of the profession. Finally, she accepted her divine selection and the commitment of ushering new souls into the world, and became a highly respected and sought-after Mayan sacred midwife.

Keywords:   birth, delivery, obstetrics, midwife, dream, supernatural, instruction

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