maximon shrine guatemala

Maximon: A Maya God That Smokes & Drinks – Guatemala

Santiago de Atitlan

A God that smokes – and drinks!

This is a god I can relate to.

VIDEO: Ritual offering to a Maya God


So on my birthday, leaving from the town of San Pedro de Atitlan, I crossed the lake by public boat to Santiago de Atitlan to pay homage to the Maya god – Maximon.

BUT.

Who is this god?

Lake Atitlan from the boat - ahead Santiago de Atitlan, Guatemala
Lake Atitlan from the boat. Straight ahead is Santiago de Atitlan – to the right-side of the middle volcano, but hidden by the first volcanic slope.

Well, he’s a blend of Catholicism, local folklore, and Mayan ancestral-worship.

And many Ladinos (Guatemalans of European and mixed descent) also worship him, as they know him as San Simon.


Here in the highlands, the Maya reveres Maximon


He’s assumed to be a mix of many Mayan gods, and strangely, a portion of Pedro de Alvarado – the cruel, as in burning Mayan chiefs alive – Spanish Conquistador of Guatemala, and also a toxic chunk of biblical traitor Judas.

But he is many things to his followers: including Saint Andrew, Saint Michael and maybe even Saint Peter.

And he was also Lord of Diviners and Day-keepers and all who spoke to Holy Earth. Maximon was Lord of Sexual Matters and could make barren wombs bear.

Maximon watched over wives when husbands were away, but sometimes he slept with them himself   … *1

Ronald Wright
shrine of maya god maximon and maya ceremony at santiago atitlan in guatemala
Ceremony at the Maximon shrine in Santiago de Atitlan at Lake Atitlan

Anyway, Maximon of Santiago de Atitlan lives in a private house a few km outside of town, for now., as every year his guardians rotate his abode between them.

These guardians are an influential group known as the Cofradia (Mayan Catholic Brotherhood), and they shape the ceremonies.


Maximon’s big public appearance is during Easter Week


There he is. Composed, regal, smoking a cigarette as a Mayan family makes an offering, asking for blessings.

Before I leave, I also make an offering – hoping my good luck continues.

The guardian pours the bottle of liquor down his throat – local spirits accepted by Maximon, this God of gods.

awesome sunset over volcanoes at Lake Atitlan in Guatemala
Sunset over Lake Atitlan, from San Pedro – looking towards Santiago Atitlan.

SOURCE:  *1 Time Amongst the Maya by Ronald Wright (which, just have read while chilling here at some weeks at epic Lake Atitlan).

Travels in Guatemala – 2009

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