This powerful memoir of an American who was adopted by a shaman and allowed to study the secrets of a Tzutujil Mayan village in deepest Guatemala "offers readers a privileged and rare glimpse into [the village''s] complex and spiritually rich life." (Rocky Mountain News)
Twenty-five years ago, a young musician and painter named Mart''n 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.
"The picture [Prechtel] creates of idyllic Indian life is so beautifully drawn that his delight in their culture becomes contagious, as does his grief when civil war creates havoc in their village." --Publishers Weekly
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