There is nothing more attractive than the mysticism of ancient civilizations that have been located around South and Central America. The famous Incas, Mayan and Aztecs gave to us so much treasure that we need to discover yet. Their high intelligence and intuitive approach to the life design and existence struggles are still the big mental challenge to the modern world. Why they did something they did and how they did will hunt us till the eternity, as it seems. The Homo sapiens of new age doesn’t have time to solve all those riddles of indigenous people but indeed there are some interesting points that need to be checked, presented and discussed as the matter of cultural wow effect.

I have always enjoyed following the dust of legends and trying to put them in some rational framework. It is not always easy or possible but usually it works out that some of the urban myths is demystified and the supernatural perspective is excluded. Nevertheless, there are some areas where religion and mythology are so merged into the society and its public culture that legends are the color of the authenticity, something that is calling us to visit, share or retell.

My plan is to visit Guatemala. I am not really sure when that will happen but it will happen. I can’t allow myself to miss to see the land of archeological ruins, mesmerizing rain forests, crystal blue lakes and traditional villages in highlands, decorated with local colorful markets. This is like life itself, full of contagious vibrations and good energy. The people who love and live their heritage on the every single step but they are also willing to introduce you into the secrets of glorious Guatemalan culture and belief.

One of my previous articles reported about abounded Mexican doll island but I am pretty much convinced that worry dolls from Guatemala are even more thrilling for the story knitting. Somebody would think that I am into the doll tales and urban legends more than into the scientific explanations but I let the legends simply be that what they are, even if I fail to unveil them, I remain impressed.

The history of Guatemalan dolls is taking us back into the first generations of people who lived deep in the villages, fighting to survive due to the difficult life conditions and touch of terrible poverty. The family of old Man, his daughter Flora and his two grandchildren, Maria and Diego , experienced the most of the troubles. They didn’t have enough rain for the dry fields, they didn’t have enough trade to keep the food coming and they walked on the real edge. The grandpa used to comfort grandchildren with the optimistic narration about powerful tiny dolls that hear your worries and take them from you during the night. At the moment of total despair, two young kids made their own little dolls, hoping to sell them in the local trade market as magic dolls and to save some money for food. Their mom was sick, the grandfather also not in great health but Maria and Diego didn’t give up to believe that their own hand made dolls have magic spells and that they can bring luck. That’s how they sold them all and earned money to keep the family safe. It is said that the family has been happy after while and that magic dolls have never left the kids and that the blessings have been ensured:”Tell these dolls your secret wishes. Tell them your problems. Tell them your dreams. And when you awake, you may find the magic within you to make your dreams come true.”

Actually, the worry dolls are there to share the fear, concern and discomfort of the children. It is believed that when child is saying the worry to the doll and let it closed it in box or under the pillow, the worry is gone. This specific Muñeca quitapena is not only the fascinating example of Mayan tradition from the heart of Guatemala but also the great case study of how Mayan civilization knew the main principles of counseling and psychology. Just the idea about creating the pocket figure that will help the child to deal with daily troubles is the archaic introduction into the modern child psychiatry. Who will better understand the child and his/her worries than the petite marionette with large strength to offload the real problems. This is not only the successful formula for children but also for adults to learn how to cope with the emotions, anxiety and trust. The pocket, colorful doll is more than the primitive amulet or souvenir from the travels, it is psychological tool that is rediscovered. It is always another feeling when you share your problems with or, at least, believe they are shared. The load of troubles for one young child is something that must be clarified and settled in the early phase of childhood, long before the adult abnormal fears and anomalies overtake the sunshine in the soul. Don’t forget that sun god in Mayan legends promised the princess Ixmucane the perfect solution for humans. Worry dolls:”In Guatemala, they’re handcrafted using a wire or wooden base, with a face made with cardboard, cotton, or clay. The dolls’ traditional Mayan dresses are woven with aguayo, a cloth that originated from Guatemala. Wool and colorful textile leftovers are also used. Mayan worry dolls are often stored in groups of six to allow the owner to pick one doll for each day, with the option to make one day of the week a rest day for the doll and the person.

The experts for worry dolls say that the damaged dolls need to be buried in the ground and the one should always avoid to use someone else’s worry doll since it means bad luck and the reverse of fortune and also the pathology of talisman.

The worry dolls could be ordered by many purchasing portals but keep in mind that is just commercial trend and not the real, authentic gem from Guatemala. There are suppliers who can distribute the dolls directly from artisans in the western highlands of Guatemala and help this craft skill being preserved and poor indigenous people also being supported to keep on their local culture and faith. The Region they live in is a bit remote from popular touristic zones and hidden into the paradise of vibrant cloud forests and talkative nature. If you want to meet the soul of Guatemala , this is where you need to go and to live Mayan dream and to learn how to share troubles with your new friends with all power of Mayan amazing civilization.


  1. Sarah’s intriguing and informative article induced me to ponder the original materials employed by the ancient Mayans to create the dolls: ancient Egyptians had long been producing dolls for their children (c. 3000 BCE) and for similar reasons that the Mayans and Aztecs would, later on…

    Ancient toys unearthed by archaeologists in Mesoamerican regions have included ceramic figures of jaguars and dolls with moveable appendages.

    One purpose of the dolls was to organically-evolve children with specific adult societal concerns (i.e. apprehensions). As the children developed in a psychological manner, the dolls functioned as both amusement and security.

    Original materials for the dolls included wood, cloth, corn husks, straw, seeds and or clay. Quite different from the contemporaneous materials. This means ancient Mayan children were interacting with natural substances, more so.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

About Sarahowlgirl1982

I am a master of Political Sciences, with special focus on Security Studies, Islamic Counter Terrorism and Weapons of Mass Destruction. I enjoy discovering and commenting things which are " in the air" but still not spoken.I also do like science writing and planing to move myself into the pure science journalism !