Secrets of the Talking Jaguar: Unmasking the Mysterious World of the Living Maya
Martí:n Prechtel's astonishing and highly acclaimed first book is a powerful and vivid account of his life with the Mayan community in Guatemala.
'It's a precious thing, this book. I've never known another like it. It's a great encyclopedia of beauty…:it is a treasure house of language, in service to life.'
ROBERT BLY, author of Iron John
Martí:n Prechtel, who grew up on a pueblo Indian reservation in New Mexico, wandered as a young man through the brilliant landscapes of Mexico and Guatemala. Drawn in his dreams to the traditional Mayan community of Santiago Atitlá:n, he carved out a life for himself among the villagers. Though an outsider himself, Prechtel was adopted as an apprentice by a powerful, ancient shaman named Nicolas Chiviliu Tacaxoy. He married a Mayan woman and became a village chief and famous shaman in his own right, entrusted with the rich legacy of Atitlá:n's ancient Mayan heritage and its deepest cultural traditions.
In Secrets of the Talking Jaguar, Prechtel brings to vivid life the sights, sounds, scents, and colour of the village: its magical personalities: its beauty, its material poverty and spiritual wealth: its eight-hundred-year old rituals juxtaposed with quintessential small-town gossip and passions. In a tale filled with enchantment, danger, rich cultural descriptions, shamanic rivalry and hope, Prechtel takes us into the heart of both untamed nature and intimate community life. His spellbinding narrative compellingly explores the complexity and joy of contemporary Mayan village life –: a culture that is fast disappearing in the wake of modernization. Full of compassion, humour and wisdom, his unforgettable account reads like the most gripping adventure novel. Yet every word is true.
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