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Maya Underworld



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Two Worlds Converge
Photograph by Stephen L. Alvarez

Preparing for the Day of the Cross in May, community elders in Joloniel, Mexico, begin to decorate the Catholic church with plants that symbolize the season of renewal. As they work, the town's Maya tatuch, or ritual leader, offers his prayers. The celebrations that follow include a Mass as well as a pilgrimage to nearby caves to pray for rain. The crosses at each venue symbolize Christianity as well as the intersection of the natural and supernatural Maya world. Since the time of the Spanish conquest, many Catholic and Maya rituals and symbols have been similarly linked, creating a religion of blended beliefs.

Photo Fast Facts

Camera: Leica M6
Film Type: Fujichrome Velvia 50
Lens: 35mm
Speed and F-Stop: 1/60 @ f/8
Weather Conditions: Hazy                   
Time of Day: Morning
Lighting Techniques: Natural light


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