Visiting the Maxímon
photographs & story by Shane Solow
While in the Lake Atitlán region of Guatemala I heard rumors of a godlike idol called the Maxímon, also referred to as the Mam, located in the Tzutujil town of Santiago. I had just met a girl from Pamplona, Spain and we decided to look for this legendary Mayan figure together.
We rode on the roof of the ferry from Panajachel across the lake to Santiago Atitlán, and we asked the locals where we could find the Maxímon. Some people said they didn't know, others gave vague or inaccurate directions.
We eventually came upon a large house off a nondescript cobblestone street. As we entered I was a bit apprehensive that we wouldn't be welcome; I felt we might be intruding on their religious rituals.
The scene was very domestic, children and old men were lounging about in and outside. I was struck by how this raw link to Mayan ritual was occurring in this mundane, domestic environment. There was a complete absence of pomp in the ceremony.
photographs by Shane Solow © 1999--2002 Lost Trails
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