This article examines early colonial Kaqchikel
Maya notions of the self, souls, and the heart. By integrating
ethnohistorical data and contemporary ethnographic observations,
we show that Kaqchikeles viewed the self as contingent
on a dynamic balance of cosmic forces acting on the individual.
The ways in which these forces are seen to effect one's
state of being are documented through an extensive discussion
of Kaqchikel metaphors of the heart and soul. We conclude
by noting the importance of understanding processes of
continuity (as well as change) in cultural constructions
and argue for the continued utility of such approaches
in ethnohistorical research.