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The Smell of Rain on Dust


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The Smell of Rain on Dust: Grief and Praise

Inspiring hope, solace, and courage in living through our losses, author Martín Prechtel, trained in the Tzutujil Maya shamanic tradition, shares profound insights on the relationship between grief and praise—how the inability that many of us have to grieve and weep properly for the dead is deeply linked with the inability to give praise for living. In modern society, grief is something that we usually experience in private, alone, and without the support of a community. Yet, as Prechtel says, “Grief expressed out loud for someone we have lost, or a country or home we have lost, is in itself the greatest praise we could ever give them. Grief is praise, because it is the natural way love honors what it misses.”

Prechtel explains that the unexpressed grief prevalent in our society today is the reason for many of the social, cultural, and individual maladies that we are currently experiencing. According to Prechtel, “When you have two centuries of people who have not properly grieved the things that they have lost, the grief shows up as ghosts that inhabit their grandchildren.” These “ghosts,” he says, can also manifest as disease in the form of tumors, which the Maya refer to as “solidified tears,” or in the form of behavioral issues and depression. He goes on to show how this collected unexpressed energy is the long-held grief of our ancestors manifesting itself and illuminates the work that can be done to liberate this energy so we can heal from the trauma of loss, war, and suffering.

At base, this “little book,” as the author calls it, can be seen as a companion of encouragement, a little extra light for those deep and noble parts that inhabit us all.

“Like smooth water-polished pebbles, set like jewels in a bracelet at the bottom of the river of the collective human soul, there are noble and profound human beings whose radiance and value are unknown even to their closest neighbors. People whose depth and nobility of soul live unexpressed inside situations that are for them so unnatural, oppressive, and beyond their control, that as individuals they intentionally obscure their own spiritual majesty with a theatrical veneer of the same banal drivel that surrounds them every day to avoid the pain of being mocked or trivialized if discovered by the heartless and uncomprehending.

By doing this they inadvertently subsidize the mentality that oppresses them, adding further still to their own false belief that they are alone and that there are no others like them….” — excerpt from The Smell of Rain on Dust


Listen in to Martín being interviewed by Stephanie Potter on KBOO (Portland, OR)
about his book The Smell of Rain on Dust: Grief and Praise
June 24th, 2015

Catch Martín talking The Smell of Rain on Dust in these two Interviews with Tiokasin Ghosthorse On ‘First Voices Indigenous Radio’
Sept. 9, 2015 (Interview starts at min 14:55)| Oct. 15, 2015

“Martín Prechtel’s book is beautifully written and wise… he offers stories that are precious and life-sustaining. Read carefully, and listen deeply.”

“Martín Prechtel’s genius takes many forms: painting, music, a continuously evolving learning community, and thank God, books like this one. I get so excited reading it, I cannot stay in one place. I sit reading on my porch…then back to my living room to make a fire and watch Martín’s gorgeously alive prose burn inside me. His ideas and language are so enlivening my impulse is to quote great sections of it. I’ll just touch on a few of his brilliant insights around how animals help us to grieve, and to make our way out of grief into the beauty of praising. As he says, animals help us grieve our loss of naturalness. And we have mostly forgotten ‘the very old worldwide tribal custom of having a “grief relative” from the wild living together with us in our houses.’ Caring for animals is a sacred responsibility. To truly grieve and to weep deeply is something the animals really do help us with. And O they help us praise too, to accomplish that most marvelous art of turning the grief into praising. Martín tells us, ‘Let the world jump up and live again,’ and he makes that happen with his delicious sentences. Read this necessary, very beautiful book, and then read it again.”

Additional information

Weight .53125 lbs
Dimensions 8.5 × 5.5 × .5625 in
Purchase Options

Paperback – with autograph, Paperback – no autograph

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