Secrets of the Talking Jaguar by Martin Prechtel
A Mayan Shaman's Journey to the Heart of the Indigenous Soul

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Twenty-five years ago, a young musician and painter named Martn Prechtel wandered through the brilliant landscapes of Mexico and Guatemala. Little did he know he was traveling toward a destiny that would change his life forever. Arriving at a Tzutujil Mayan village on the breathtaking shores of Lake Atitlan, Prechtel was apprenticed to a powerful, ancient shaman, Chiviliu Tacaxoy. Ten years later, he had become a village chief and a famous shaman in his own right. Many books have been written about the ancient Mayans, but this is the first to provide an insider's view of the complex, joyous culture of contemporary Mayan village life, a culture that is fast disappearing in the wake of modernism. In Secrets of the Talking Jaguar, Martn Prechtel teaches us that all human beings possess within their souls an indigenous spirit that is natural, subtle, generous, and village-oriented. This spirit of wholeness and connection is never beyond our reach; we have only to move past the trappings of materialism and the modern world to hear that special song that is ours alone to sing. In a tale filled with enchantment, danger, rich cultural descriptions, shamanic rivalry, passion, and hope, Prechtel takes us into the heart of both untamed nature and community life, helping us find the secrets of our own hearts and souls. Ultimately, we learn, the shamans' power lies not in magic but in being fully aware and joyously alive as human beings.

About Martin Prechtel

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ROBERT S. CARLSEN recently retired from the Department of Anthropology at the University of Colorado, where he taught for twenty years, and is now an independent researcher. He conducted twenty-five years of field research in Atitlan, where he learned Tz'utujil, was accepted in a local cofradia (Mayan/Catholic religious society), and was a firsthand witness to la violencia.
Published August 30, 1999 by Tarcher. 304 pages
Genres: History, Religion & Spirituality, Biographies & Memoirs, Travel. Non-fiction

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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

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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,...

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Spirituality & Practice

Reviews Philosophy About Our Affiliates Books & Audios Recently Reviewed After spending 13 years in a Mayan village in Guatemala, Martin Prechtel obeyed his Tzutujil mentor who told him to return to the United States to preach and teach the good ...

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