Author Robert Sitler’s immersion in Mayan culture began with a transformative spiritual experience more than three decades ago in the ruins of Palenque, Mexico. Led by a local to a nearby Mayan village, Sitler discovered firsthand what traditional Mayan life was like—a community of people living in peace with each other and their physical surroundings. In The Living Maya, he shares this experience and many that followed. In the process, he immerses readers in a rich indigenous culture and offers a fresh view of the 2012 phenomenon, focusing on the valuable lessons Mayan culture can teach us in this time of transition. Personal anecdotes are interwoven with factual information about the roots of traditional Mayan customs and traditions, presenting a rare multifaceted view of their simple yet profound way of life. The book showcases Mayan infant care, community building, ties to nature, attitudes toward the elderly, and orientation to spirituality. In The Living Maya, Sitler shows how following “the Mayan way” can help us ground our lives in harmony with nature, broaden our perspectives on human existence, connect us with our capacity for compassion, and use the vaunted cataclysm of 2012 as a unique chance for growth.
About Gaspar Pedro Gonzalez
Gaspar Pedro González is a prolific Mayan author and intellectual who has contributed several books and articles on topics related to Mayan culture. An official for the Guatemalan Ministry of Culture, he is also an instructor at the University Mariano Gálvez in Guatemala, where he lives. He has been honored by officials in the Mayan Q'anjob'al linguistic community and has presented at international events including the conference of the Latin American Studies Association and UNESCO. He has been invited to speak at over twenty universities throughout the United States, Europe, and Latin America.
“Thoughtful with plenty to add to the debate, The Living Maya is a top pick for additions to metaphysics collections.”
—Midwest Book Review
"In The Living Maya, Sitler shows how following “the Mayan way” can help us ground our lives in harmony with nature, broaden our perspectives on human existence, connect us with our capacity for compassion, and use the vaunted cataclysm of 2012 as a unique chance for growth."
—Spirit Village Review
“With the publication of Robert Sitler's book, The Living Maya, the 2012 phenomenon finally has a piece of literature that authentically reflects the Maya and their millenarian effort to align themselves to an ever changing cosmos. Sitler grounds the 2012 phenomenon in the realities of the Mayan world in a sobering yet passionate interpretation of what the monumental meaning of the 2012 might mean for humanity and for the Maya themselves.”
—Vincent Stanzione, ethnographer and author of Rituals of Sacrifice: Walking the Face of the Earth on the Sacred Path of the Sun, The Sacred Count of Days, and Mayan Gods and Goddesses
“This lucid book by a long-time scholar of the Mayan people provides the reader with a rich cultural context against which to weigh the deeper significance of the 2012 phenomenon. Robert Sitler’s approach is balanced, informed, heartfelt, and profoundly respectful of the wisdom of Mayan traditions.”
—Phillip Lucas, PhD, founding editor of Nova Religio: The Journal of Alternative and Emergent Religions; professor of religious studies, Stetson University, DeLand, Florida; and author of
New Religious Movements in the Twenty-First Century: Legal, Political, and Social Challenges in Global Perspective
“Robert Sitler faithfully promotes the values of our millennial Mayan culture and the other indigenous original cultures of Abya Yala (the Americas). He has visited my home in Momostenango, Guatemala. He has a great spirit and sincere love and respect for Mayan culture.”
—Rigoberto Itzep Chachavac, Ajq’ij K’iche’ (K’iche’ spiritual guide), founder of the Misión Maya Waqxaqib’ B’atz, Momostenango, Totonicapán, Guatemala, and author of Ri Ajq’ij Rech Tinamit Xo’lmumus
“Robert Sitler, anguished by our destruction of the environment and civil life, opens The Living Maya with an analysis of the prophecies and predictions around 2012. The very people, who had the astronomical genius to base a calendar on the coming alignment in the rift of the Milky Way, transmit through their way of life, the seeds for our desperately needed personal and cultural transformation. Sitler documents the values and relationships that sustain the Maya and that can sustain us. We walk the ‘road’ with him so we also might live in vital relationship with the earth, be in true and vibrant community with each other, birth and raise skillful and wise children, and be guided again by the great hearts of the spirits.”
—Deena Metzger, author of Writing for Your Life; Ruin and Beauty: New and Selected Poems; Tree: Essays and Pieces; and Entering the Ghost River: Meditations on the Theory and Practice of Healing
“The Living Maya is a remarkable exploration of the significance of 2012 that is both introspective and open-minded, by a scholar who has, unlike most authors on the subject, spent considerable time among the modern Maya.… The book describes the profoundly practical worldview of the Maya, which has enabled them to survive war and catastrophe and may contain the wisdom we need to survive as a species.”
—Matthew Looper, PhD, professor of art, California State University, Chico
“This extraordinary narrative, told by a scholar with many years of experience among the Mayan people, is a path of heart into their worlds, both ancient and modern. At a time when the global New Age and academic communities are stalemated in disagreement over what significance lies in the upcoming December 21, 2012 date, this book steps gently and boldly into that radical middle ground and informs us of the living Mayas’ message to us. Anyone who acknowledges that our crumbling family cohesiveness and fast-paced urban lifestyles are toxic and alienating should pay attention to this message. It doesn't come from other planets or galaxies, or from some other dimension, nor even from some esoteric mysteries that the ancient priests possessed. It arises from the Maya who have had—in spite of conquest and oppression—many generations of connectedness to their land and their sacred shrines. It arises from their ritual observances, their daily rounds which honor the ancestors, the newborn babies and the family, the rains and winds, and the newly-planted seeds. It is another universe of human potential, but one which, if we pay attention, helps us to listen to our own heartbeat.”
—Barbara MacLeod, PhD, independent scholar and author of An Epigrapher's Annotated Index to Cholan and Yucatecan Verb Morphology