Maya Cosmovision: ‘a unified system, a science of life’

Paige Sanders, Reporter

The Maya Cosmovision is the valued scientific and spiritual belief system of ancient Maya civilization. The Center for Cultural Engagement and Inclusion hosted a live Zoom event highlighting the significance of Mayan culture, as well as the history and ideologies surrounding this belief system. Maya elder Don Audelino spoke throughout the event about his knowledge and shared stories about several historical Cosmovision topics. 

“The Maya Cosmovision is a unified system, a science of life that includes cosmology, astronomy, philosophy, mathematics and systems of health and wellness,” Audelino said. 

 At the beginning of the event, Audelino spoke about the values of Mayan culture. 

“The ancients say you should be happy and content in your body but you should also be content in your heart,” Audelino said. 

Audelino said his culture proposes many different alternatives to achieve that happy and content state. He then went into depth defining the Maya Cosmovision and the spirituality behind it. 

“Everything is part of something larger and in our culture we are members or parts of a living system called the cosmos. To explain to people time, life, and everything that exists in the cosmos, it is in this relationship with these elements that it’s what we need to have a healthy, spiritual life,” Audelino said. “This way of understanding time, space and these elements allows one to have harmony in their entire being.” 

The second part of the event focused on talking about health and the spiritual beliefs the Mayan culture have on healing from nature and how to heal the body within. 

“My culture explains sickness in two different ways. We say there are illnesses that are natural illnesses, and then there are supernatural or magical illnesses. So we say that physical illness is caused by an alteration to the proper functioning of the body. These cause an imbalance in people’s emotional well-being and these can be caused from emotional or traumatic experiences,” Audelino said. 

Audelino explained how supernatural or magical illnesses “manifest in the body,” and how this type of illness is more dangerous and frequent. Also, Aduelino said there are several ways the Mayan people practiced healing the ill. 

“All the systems of health in the world should be focused on prevention. Indigenous cultures are the ones that are most focused on prevention. When we find that someone is ill, there’s four different ways to heal someone. People can be treated with plants, seeds, flowers, roots and parts of animals such as the grease, bones, feet and the oils,” Audelino said. 

When Audelino, during the question and answer session, asked why people chose to attend the event, Lorri Santamaría, the director of faculty development and inclusive excellence at Cal Lutheran, spoke on why she attended the event. 

“At Cal Lutheran we are a Hispanic serving institution which means we have over 40% of students that are coming from Mexico and I want to be able to serve my students and understand my students much better and I also want to be able to broaden my own spirituality,” Santamaría said. 

Santamaría also commented on the importance of knowing one’s own culture. 

“We need to know who we are and where our roots came from and how we can make meaning,” Santamaría said.