Seeking Balance in Quetzaltenango: Jun B’atz’ and Jun Chowen and the Art of Writing
Happy New Year! As we enter this new decade, as reckoned by the Gregorian Calendar, we must remember that this system of reckoning time is but one among many other systems, and that the sophisticated calendrical system of the Ancient Maya was used for far longer than that which we use today. While it was nearly lost, thousands of Maya people speaking many different Mayan languages are now relearning how their ancestors reckoned time and recorded their histories using their unique writing system. We are very excited to ring in this new and hopeful decade by supporting the upcoming Fifth International Congreso on Ancient Maya Writing this August in Comitán, Chiapas!
This month, we hear from our close friend, Ajpub’ Pablo García Ixmatá, one of the integral members of the Congreso Organizational Team. Last September, working together with the Asociación Qajb’al Q’ij and Rafael Landivár University, Ajpub’ organized a workshop in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala for 35 men and women from no less than eight different Mayan language communities in Mexico and Guatemala—all of them leaders in their respective communities.
In his workshop, Ajpub’ explored the meaning of Jun B’atz’ and Jun Chowen, the monkey brothers from the Popol Vuh, and how they represent the uniquely Maya relationship between writing and art, emphasizing the importance of maintaining a balance between these things in the development of human character.
We look forward to working with Ajpub’ and the Congreso Organizational Team in the coming months as we begin our fundraising efforts for this historic event, as well as to continue our program of Mini-grants for the New Year.
As always, thank you for your ongoing support, and we hope that you all have a prosperous and peaceful New Year.
Michael Grofe, President
Ojeer Maya’ Tz’ijb’
Introduction to the writing and system of the Ojeer Maya’ Tz’ijb’
Municipality of La Esperanza, Quetzaltenango
September 18 and 19, 2019
Workshop facilitator: Ajpub’ Pablo García
For two days an International Workshop of Introduction to the Maya writing system, Ojeer Maya’ Tz’iib’, was held with a group of Maya leaders, men and women who speak the following languages: Tsoltsil, Tseltal, and Mam from Chiapas, Mexico, and Mam, Awakateko, Chuj, Q’anjob’al, Kaqchikel, and K’iche’ of Guatemala. This activity was carried out in coordination with the Qajb’al Q’ij Association for Intercultural Education and Development, and Rafael Landívar University.
The main objective of the group: Rescue the ancestral knowledge and practices from the Ojeer Maya’ Tz’ijb’ and the 260-day Calendar to help people who seek peace and the creation of spaces to discern and develop comprehensive training in Maya villages.
Within the same dynamics of the workshop, the relationship between Jun B’atz’ and Jun Chowen was discussed in depth with the art of writing, drawing, carving, painting and singing and their relationship with the persona to seek balance.
During the two days 35 people participated, of the 40 guests invited. Continue reading