Transcendent Wisdom of the Maya (Paperback)

The Ceremonies and Symbolism of a Living Tradition

By Gabriela Jurosz-Landa

Bear & Company, 9781591433347, 224pp.

Publication Date: March 26, 2019

List Price: 18.00*
* Individual store prices may vary.


An initiate’s inside account of ancient Maya spiritual practices alive today

• Includes a Foreword by José Luis Tigüilá NABÉ kaxbaltzij, spokesperson of the Maya municipality

• Details the initiation process the author went through to become a Maya shaman-priestess, including rituals, prayers, and ceremonies

• Explains the foundational spiritual wisdom of the Maya calendar as a living entity, its cycles of time, and the significance of “the counting of the days”, which helps keep time itself alive

• Examines the power of dance and Maya ceremonies, Maya future-telling, and communication with ancestors through the sacred fire

Offering an insider’s experiential account of ancient Maya spiritual wisdom and practices, initiated Maya shaman-priestess Gabriela Jurosz-Landa opens up the mysterious world of the Maya, dispelling the rampant misinformation about their beliefs and traditions, sharing the transcendent beauty of their ceremonies, and explaining the Maya understanding of time, foundational to their spiritual worldview and cosmology.

The author, an anthropologist, details the initiation process she went through to become a Maya shaman-priestess in Guatemala, including rituals, prayers, the presence of numinous forces, and the transmission of sacred knowledge. She explains the spiritual wisdom of the Maya calendar as a living entity, its cycles of time, and the significance of “the counting of the days,” which helps keep time itself alive. She examines Maya spiritual and cosmological concepts such as how the universe is shaped like a triangle over a square. She reveals the profound power of dance in Maya tradition, explaining how ritual dance halts the flow of time, reactivates primordial events, and captures vital energies that keep the Maya spiritual tradition vital and alive. Exploring other Maya secret knowledge, she also details Maya ritual attire, Maya future-telling with the calendar, the reading of the Tzi’te beans, and how the Maya communicate with ancestors through the sacred fire.

Illustrating how contemporary Maya life is suffused with spiritual tradition and celebration, the author shares the teachings of the Maya from her initiate and anthropologist point of view in order to help us all learn from the ancient wisdom of their beliefs and worldview. Because, to truly understand the Maya, one must think like the Maya.

About the Author

Gabriela Jurosz-Landa is an anthropologist and Maya shaman-priestess initiated by her teacher Tomasa Pol Suy in Guatemala. She has researched Guatemala for more than 20 years, living there for 6 years, during which she participated in ceremonies with Maya spiritual and political authorities, including the 2012 New Era celebrations. The founder of the Forum of World Cultures, she writes and lectures internationally. She lives in Connecticut.

Praise For Transcendent Wisdom of the Maya: The Ceremonies and Symbolism of a Living Tradition

Transcendent Wisdom of the Maya bridges the Western scientific worldview and the spiritual world of the Maya brilliantly. Its wonderful photographs and detailed storytelling are very compelling. I have enjoyed time with the Maya in the Yucatan, and Gabriela’s wonderful stories of weaving, dancing, healing, and divining brought it all back to me as if I’d never left. Her description of her welcoming ceremony by the Quiché Maya is a significant contribution to anthropological literature, and the New Era celebration in 2012 offers hope for our future. This is a heartfelt and genuine story of Maya life, a must-read for understanding their time cycles and culture.”
— Barbara Hand Clow, author of The Mayan Code and Awakening the Planetary Mind

“Gabriela Jurosz-Landa’s rich and enlightening book is a surprising spiritual journey to mysterious cultures, an inner-self journey, and possibly a road map for our culture’s future survival. Her destined journey from her native Czechoslovakia to Germany to the United States and Guatemala, where she was initiated as a daykeeper (shaman-priestess), is fascinating. Gabriela generously shares deep knowledge and wisdom of the ancient Maya heritage as she takes us through the process of her initiation. I highly recommend this superb book.”
— Itzhak Beery, author of The Gift of Shamanism

“This book brings to life glimpses of the ancient Maya sacred texts and artwork. It is a gift to see their ancient underlying beliefs live on through the Quiché Maya of Chichicastenango.”
— Erika Buenaflor, M.A., J.D., author of Cleansing Rites of Curanderismo

“Ancient Maya culture comes alive in Gabriela Jurosz-Landa’s Transcendent Wisdom of the Maya. The book offers many insights into centuries-old rituals and spirituality which are still lived today by contemporary Maya. Filled with personal observations from fieldwork, the author presents studious thoughts and goes deep into Maya mythology to contrast the Western worldview.”
— Stuart A. Goldman, executive producer of the PBS series Joseph Campbell: Mythos

“If you suspect that our technologically proficient culture is losing its soul, then dive into Transcendent Wisdom of the Maya where you will find an entrancing alternative to the relentless sense of urgency that dominates our times.”
— Rand Flem-Ath, librarian and coauthor of Atlantis beneath the Ice