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Yoloxóchitl Mixtec
Prayer For a Change of Fortune

Jonathan D. Amith

Martín Severiano of Yoloxóchitl, state of Guerrero, Mexico, performs an ancient Mixtec ritual called ya1 kwa’4a4 nda4-na1ma3 (‘the prayer for change’) on top of a sacred hill: Yu3ku4 nu14u3 ta1chi4 (‘Hill facing the wind’). In this ceremony don Martín prays to sacred spirits, sacrifices a chicken, and lays out offerings of ferns pulling off its leaflets in sequences of thirteen, a hallowed number in pre-Hispanic cosmology. The ritual—which can be performed on hills, near waterfalls, or in swamps—will change the fate of the one for whom it is performed: misfortune will turn to opportunity, heartbreak will be relieved, or an ominous dream will fail to transpire.

Amith Mixtec collaborators

Amith Mixtec collaborators

Video credits:
Videographer: Roberto Olivares Ruiz
Filmed near Yoloxóchitl, municipality of San Luis Acatlán, state of Guerrero, Mexico on January 9, 2016