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Natural Awakenings Lehigh Valley

Maya Medicine Healing

Mar 04, 2013 01:19PM ● By Jennifer O’Hagan

Recently, there has been a widespread resurgence of interest in the Maya calendar and in Maya healing. The Maya calendar systems date back to ancient time. According to the calendar, December 21, 2012 was the end of “The Long Count,” or the end of a 26,000-year cycle and on this day an astrological event that only occurs once every 26,000 years would take place. Mayas believed, as did many ancient cultures, that the Earth lives through a series of successive world ages, each separated by planetary upheaval. December 21, 2012 was the end of the last world age and the beginning of the present age. They predicted this would be a time of great transition, with social unrest and cataclysmic weather changes. Their prophecies have certainly come true.

Archaeologists have shown that the ancient Mayas had an extensive system of mathematics, astrology and medicine. They had medical schools with written journals. When the Spanish conquistadores invaded Central America all written medical journals were destroyed and from that point on medical wisdom was relayed to each generation through teaching and apprenticeships.

Maya medicine healing involved the use of plants, bodywork, prayer, nutrition, lifestyle changes and more to address the root cause of an issue. Plants were used medicinally, as well as for emotional and spiritual healing. Mayas believed that a plant had a physical body and a spiritual body. When harvesting plants for a tea or bath, it was important to ask the plant for permission, inform it how you would like it to help you and give thanks for its divine presence. These steps were essential to the effectiveness of the treatment.

The healing method saw the connection between mind, body and spirit. It was the job of the curandero, or healer, to determine if a client’s complaint was physical, emotional, spiritual or a combination. For example, a child is sleeping peacefully and soundly, when suddenly loud thunder and lightning occur. It can be startling for an adult, but for a child who doesn’t understand what is happening, it can very frightening and that fear can get trapped in their body, eliciting physical symptoms such as digestive upset (nausea, colic, diarrhea and crying). A Maya healer would know that herbs for digestive complaint would not address the root cause of the problem. He or she would realize that the fear that is trapped in the child’s body is the cause. Spiritual baths, prayers and various forms of healing would release the fear, thus relieving the physical symptoms. If the anxiety were left unresolved, the digestive complaints could become chronic. 

Jennifer O’Hagan has been studying Maya Medicine for more than a decade with Dr. Rosita Arvigo, an apprentice to a famous Maya shaman. She teaches classes internationally on The Arvigo Techniques of Maya Abdominal Therapy™ and will soon be offering classes in Maya Spiritual Healing. For more information, visit She will present Maya Medicine Healing, from 2 to 4 p.m., April 13, at Herbally Yours, in Changewater, N.J. Suggested donation is $10. For details, directions and to register call 908-268-0393 or visit 

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