Secrets of the Talking Jaguar: Memoirs from the Living Heart of a Mayan Village

Secrets of the Talking Jaguar: Memoirs from the Living Heart of a Mayan Village

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by Martin Prechtel
     
 

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Twenty-five years ago, a young musician and painter named Martin Prechtel wandered through the brilliant landscapes of Mexico and Guatemala. Arriving at Santiago Atitlan, a Tzutujil Mayan village on the breathtaking shores of Lake Atitlan, Prechtel met Nicolas Chiviliu Tacaxoy—perhaps the most famous shaman in Tzutujil history—who believed

Overview

Twenty-five years ago, a young musician and painter named Martin Prechtel wandered through the brilliant landscapes of Mexico and Guatemala. Arriving at Santiago Atitlan, a Tzutujil Mayan village on the breathtaking shores of Lake Atitlan, Prechtel met Nicolas Chiviliu Tacaxoy—perhaps the most famous shaman in Tzutujil history—who believed Prechtel was the new student he had asked the gods to provide. For the next thirteen years, Prechtel studied the ancient Tzutujil culture and became a village chief and a famous shaman in his own right.In Secrets of the Talking Jaguar, Prechtel brings to vivid life the sights, sounds, scents, and colors of Santiago Atitlan: its magical personalities, its beauty, its material poverty and spiritual richness, its eight-hundred-year-old rituals juxtaposed with quintessential small-town gossip. The story of his education is a tale filled with enchantment, danger, passion, and hope.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
As late as the 1970s, among the Tzutujil Indians of Santiago Atitlan, in Guatemala, there was no word for "time," and the concept closest to the verb "to be" was the state of "belonging to"--in this case, to their village, which these descendants of ancient Mayans believed was the center of the universe. At the core of their philosophy was a rejection of progress--everything of importance had happened in the past. Their religion, which relied on communion with animal and plant spirits to understand daily existence, appealed deeply to Prechtel, a half Native American who grew up on a Pueblo reservation near Santa Fe: "The new aromas, the new sounds, things that I'd never seen before, spun me into a trance, amplifying my already well-established erotic relationship with the landscape, my verdant quest to find a way to merge and mate with the spirit of the world." In his engaging first book, Prechtel describes his apprenticeship to Nicolas Chiviliu Tacaxoy, a shaman who taught him healing and divination skills, and his 13 years living as a Tzutujil. While his view seems at times romanticized, the picture he creates of idyllic Indian life--of the Indians' well-being, colorful rituals and rapport with nature--is so beautifully drawn that his delight in their culture becomes contagious, as does his grief when civil war creates havoc in their village. (Aug.)
Booknews
An intimate view of contemporary Mayan village life, describing the sights, sounds, personalities, rituals, gossip, shamans, and spiritual values. Prechtel, who grew up on a Pueblo Indian reservation, apprenticed himself to a Mayan shaman, married a Mayan woman, and became a village chief and famous shaman. He now leads workshops and gives lectures in the US and Europe. The brief introduction is by Robert Bly. No index or bibliography. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780874779707
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
08/28/1999
Edition description:
1ST TRADE
Pages:
304
Sales rank:
552,743
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.82(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

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The Secrets of the Talking Jaguar: Memoirs from the Living Heart of a Mayan Village 1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Martin Prechtel paints a magic world that we all at some points of the book wish we could live in. But I feel that the book is far from in the truth as any sci-fi book I have read in the past. The book outlays personal Spirits and ways in which we can find our indigenous soul. I worry that in Martin Prechtels search he lost sight of what he was looking for. If you are looking for a book that will through you into a vivid world of imagination and full of exciting metaphors and mental illustrations this is the book for you. However if the book details the beliefs of the Tzutujil people correctly I seriously doubt the fact of him publicizing about them. I find the book is in the wrong genre and if you want to know about the Tzutujil/Mayan people then read something else.