Memoirs from the Living Heart of a Mayan Village
Foreword by Robert Bly
I love this book; so much so that after making three attempts at writing my own review of it, I’ve decided to let Robert Bly speak from his Foreword instead:
“[Prechtel’s] father is Swiss, his mother a Native American from Canada, Martín is a half-European, half-Huron baby cooked in some darkness he couldn’t have imagined. He settled into the famous Mayan village of Santiago Atitlán from the time he was twenty until he was thirty-three. There he received two initiations, one into the village religious tradition and the other into shamanism.
…Before meeting Martín, I’d never known a representation of such a culture. But I can testify to the integrity, the massive learning, the faithfulness, the lighthearted joy, and the hard-working nature of this representative.
From these metaphors of honey, of Gods crazy about smoke and dancing, we get a scent of the “original flowering earth,” that is, the fantastic fragrance that can come into human life when, despite madness and greediness, old women and old men help the young ones to embody beauty and eloquence, and when eight-hundred-year-old rituals of gratitude get a chance to play themselves out. . . . It’s a precious thing, this book. I’ve never known another like it. It’s a great encyclopedia of beauty that could so easily have been lost if a tree had fallen differently, if a foot had slipped on a rock, if a canoe had sunk in the storm, if the gunman had aimed a little to the left.
. . . it is a treasure house of language, in service to life.”
– Robert Bly
And it is even more than that. I hope you have the good fortune of being able to read Secrets of the Talking Jaguar – every minute of it will love you.