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Secrets of the Talking Jaguar


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Secrets of the Talking Jaguar: Memoirs from the living heart of a Mayan village

Twenty-five years ago, a young musician and painter named Martín 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 was immersed in the 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 handmade life and spiritual richness, its eight-hundred-year-old rituals juxtaposed with better-than-usual tribal gossip. This is a story of real education, a tale filled with enchantment, danger, passion, and hope.

Spanish Edition: Los Secretos Del Jaguar is also available in paperback for $16.95.

“This new language would have to grow from the indigenous hearts we all have hidden. It shouldn’t be a language of oneness, not one language, not a computer tongue of homogenization, but a diverse, beautiful, badly made thing whose flimsiness and inefficiency force people to sing together to keep it well-spoken and sung into life over and over again, so that nobody forgets to remember. We need to find gorgeous, unsellable ritual words to reanimate, remeasure, rebuild, and replaster the ruined, depressed flatness left by the hollow failure of this mechanized, orphaned culture.

For this, we need all peoples: our poets, our shamans, our dreamers, our youth, our elders, our women, our men, our ancestors, and our real old memories from before we were people.

We live in a kind of dark age, craftily lit with synthetic light, so that no one can tell how dark it has really gotten. But our exiled spirits can tell. Deep in our bones resides an ancient, singing couple who just won’t give up making their beautiful, wild noise. The world won’t end if we can find them.” — excerpt from Secrets of the Talking Jaguar

“[Prechtel’s] view of the Maya allows us to hear the snap of twigs, the hiss of burning wood, the ageless power in an elder’s voice, the sound of people’s laughter, the sound of his own breaking heart, the beating wings of many fierce souls. And I think that, although they keep a squinting, watchful eye on ‘written accounts,’ the Mayan gods, who hold eloquence above all else, must surely be pleased with this soul, who, in this lifetime, is named Martín Prechtel.”

Additional information

Weight .725 lbs
Dimensions 9 × 6 × .875 in
Purchase Options

Paperback – with autograph, Paperback – no autograph, Spanish Edition – Los Secretos del Jaguar – con autógrafo, Spanish Edition – Los Secretos del Jaguar – sin autógrafo

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