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Photo + Film: Mayan Medicine (In Production)

This documentary showcases the culture and traditions of thriving indigenous Mayan communities in Guatemala and Mexico who are bringing about a positive change in society by reconnecting with and sharing their spiritual wisdom to the world.

Mayan Medicine showcases the culture and traditions of thriving indigenous Mayan communities in Guatemala and Mexico; communities who are bringing about a positive change in society by reconnecting with and sharing their spiritual wisdom to the world. Local medicinal plant knowledge and holistic healing practices are introduced in rituals and ceremonies to offer a colourful glimpse into the reality of Mayan elders, spiritual guides, and healers.

Medicina Maya © Sarine Arslanian

mayan medicine (medicina maya, 70min, visual anthropology): a film by sarine arslanian and kairi kivirahk. cinematographers: holden daves and colas De Maubeuge. produced by Anu Veermäe-Kaldra.

In the winter of 2016, Sarine experienced a Mayan healing ceremony in Guatemala. She was so moved she decided to share it with her friend and fellow filmmaker, Kairi. That is when the first seed of their magical journey of collaboration was planted. Soon, they formed a small team of Mayan spiritual guides and filmmakers. Together, they walked to El Mirador and other sacred pyramids, taking in the sights of the ancient Mayan world and the majestic grandeur of the Guatemalan rainforest along the way. They met up with the council of elders in Petén, and healers and spiritual guides across the country. In their hearts and minds, they felt called to embark on a long-term journey to help Mayan elders and healers share their age-old wisdom to the world; a wisdom with the potential to help people find peace within themselves.

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PART I: Introduction

The first part introduces the sacred landscapes and people of Guatemala and Mexico. We film the day to day life of Mayan daykeepers, looking into their beliefs, traditions, and living conditions, as well as how they express gratitude for our Earth. We explore misconceptions about faith and their sacred text, the Popol Vuh.

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part ii: rituals and healing

The second part showcases healing rituals and sacred ceremonies held in rural and urban environments, including in the jungle. We learn about the human body and the meaning of illness. We look into sacrifices, life cycles, and death. Finally, we explore our relationship to ourselves, our families, our communities, and nature.

Mayan Ceremony © Sarine Arslanian

part iii: cosmovision and predictions

The third part introduces Mayan beliefs and predictions, the sacred calendar, and the cosmovision. Spiritual guides talk about our soul purpose and give guidance on staying balanced. We climb pyramids (El Mirador and others) and download ancient wisdom about sacred plants and stars in a jungle dream.

The Guatemalan rainforest © Sarine Arslanian

part iv: the end

Mayan elders talk about inner peace, the ways of the Heart, and harmony. They share about their willingness to build a university in the jungle of Petén. The film ends with a scientific experiment where Mayan healers succeed in curing bird flu using their unique healing techniques, a disease that is impossible to heal using only modern medical techniques.