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Try the Deity with Alcohol Dribbling Down His Chin

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The first time I saw him in Guatemala, he was sitting on a chair in a native marketplace, dressed in a black suit, black shoes, and black hat. His mouth was open, shaped into a small “o.” He was appealing but also had a streak of danger about him.“Who is he?” I asked my new Guatemalan friend.“Maximon,” she answered, pronouncing it Mah-she-mone.The second time, it was a hot, humid day, and I was looking for a grocery store to buy a bottle of water. He was in a shop that sold masks and textiles. He was clearly staring at me.“I see you like him,” said the shop owner.I nodded tentatively.“Here,” he said, and he handed Maximon and his chair to me. You see, Maximon was less than a foot high, and he was made of wood.“Would you like to have him?”I opened my wallet, and then hesitated. “Maybe later,” I said.The third time, he was sitting in a room in the home of a Maya healer named José. José was a member of a cofradia, or religious brotherhood, and Maximon occupied the place of honor on an altar, flanked by two Christ figures. He wore the same black, European garb, but he was also adorned with colorful textiles …

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TravelJudith FeinReligionGuatemala

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