Celestial Bodies and Ancient Maya Women: Shedding (Moon)light on Divine Power

Head shot of Anna Russell

Name: Anna Russell
Major: Archeology
Advisor: Olivia Navarro-Farr

Outstanding Intersectional Research Award Research Supported by the Copeland Fund

This project explores the ways in which ancient Maya women drew power from the moon, utilizing its prognostic value and associated lore to establish and advance political influence, and imbuing women of all socioeconomic levels with creator power and creative energy. I present these forms of feminine power as complementary to more masculine activities, and necessary to the balance and efficiency of Maya society. Cross-referencing a visual canon with ethnographic data and the Popol Vuh, historic creation narrative of the K’iche’ people, I shed (moon)light on the link between the divine and mundane realms. I take an intersectional approach to analyzing these bodies of evidence, centering Indigenous and feminist theory in an effort to challenge dominant androcentric scholarship. Drawing upon imagery with textured meanings encoded, I reconstruct an ancient nightscape in which women flourished under the light of the moon.

Posted in Comments Enabled, Independent Study, Symposium 2023 on April 11, 2023.

3 responses to “Celestial Bodies and Ancient Maya Women: Shedding (Moon)light on Divine Power”

  1. Shawn O’Kane says:

    I’ve loved listening to you rave about this topic for the last year and am so proud of how dedicated you’ve been to doing this work justice. I know that everyone seeing your finished product will be as blown away by you as I am 🙂

  2. Anabelle Andersen says:

    What a fascinating topic, and so well composed! I am so excited to see you thriving and wish you all the best, both with your remaining time at Wooster and in the incredible things you will accomplish after!

  3. Hannalori Frick says:

    his is an inspiring culmination of a lot of work. The depth of your insights makes it quite evident you completed an impressive amount of research. Plus, your ability to demonstrate connections and relationships illustrates how history can be so relevant to the present day.