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The Disobedience of the Daughter of the Sun: A Mayan Tale of Ecstasy, Time, and Finding One's True Form [Paperback]

Martin Prechtel
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: £8.66 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Book Description

10 July 2005
Author and illustrator Martín Prechtel is internationally known for his explorations of ancient folklore and uncovering the lessons therein for modern readers. In The Disobedience of the Daughter of the Sun, he revives a hitherto unknown Guatemalan Tzutujil Mayan tale of the beginnings of the world with a poetic retelling of the story, 28 evocative drawings, and a critical analysis that both enlightens and entertains. Having lived with the Mayans and learned their language, Prechtel authoritatively retells the powerful tale of the Tall Girl who weaves the world in a loom, her parents the Sun and the Moon who repudiate her suitors, and the mysterious man who disguises himself as a hummingbird to lure her away. Prechtel expands this archetypal story with five layers of commentary, each teasing out a different wisdom and revealing its relevance to the world today.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 164 pages
  • Publisher: North Atlantic Books; First Printing edition (10 July 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1556436009
  • ISBN-13: 978-1556436000
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 15.5 x 1.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 432,641 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Wondrous unraveling! 22 Feb 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
How difficult it is to even start to describe the beauty of this tale and the multi-layered understanding of the wisdom held within! Reading this tale will awaken one's innate sense of beauty and spark the desire to read more of Martin Prechtel's work
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.5 out of 5 stars  12 reviews
41 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Of Time and Water - an Ecology of Spirit 1 Dec 2001
By Pam Hanna - Published on
We in the West have at least a nodding acquaintance with the coded language of various mythic traditions - the Greco-Roman, the Norse, the Celtic - but here is something unique. It is a centuries-old story to live by - an ecology of the spirit - told by an ancient people, recorded and interpreted by Martin Prechtel.
Prechtel gathered the Story over years of living among the Tzutujil Maya in Guatemala where he learned their language. Since these people were almost totally wiped out by American-backed death squads in the '80s, this a treasure book.
The Story, then, is of the beautiful Tall Daughter of the Sun (a workaholic) and his wife, the Moon (somewhat of a shrew). Their daughter weaves the world alive on her loom - a womb of creation. She is a being too elevated in her parents' eyes to have a mate because, of course, no man is good enough for her. [Sound familiar?]
Enter the Short Boy - a little man shining with "...a green brilliance, which in the right light sparkled iridescent..." He comes in the morning after her parents have gone to work. They recognize each other immediately as the Beloved. Turns out that he is the son of Hurricane and Ocean (but she doesn't find that out until she is running away with him). When their liaison is inevitably discovered, the Daughter, in her own defense, truly maintains that they never touched. "What they did do for hours was lose each other fast and far inside the other's eyes." [Remember that?] She loves him.
Mother Moon, in a hissy fit and a twirling rage, says.."Love him! Him! How can you love something that can only lick your knees? Well?!! And the Daughter is "...chilled by the winds of her mother's hatred and by the shock of being hated for the first time." [Been there, done that - yet?]
How their arch-enemy, the Northwind, blows all their hopes to smithereens and how the Beloved Daughter of all creation is re-membered into a new form, is the substance of the rest of the story. It has elements of other world myths in it (the gathering of her parts somewhat like Isis gathering Osiris, for instance), but unlike the Norse Baldar myth where all present pass the buck for the god's demise, or the compromise cyclic disappearance and return myth of the Greek Eleusinian Mysteries, all creatures in the Mayan world accept responsibility for their complicity in either precipitating the tragedy or letting it happen. And they all cooperate, with grief, repentance and hope, in an effort to bring the Daughter, who is life itself, back to life in any form.
Told with humor, compassion, mystery and understanding, I wouldn't call this story a myth set in granite. It's an interactive live Story of Life reverberating through time. I read the entire book with the author's five levels of commentaries (aloud in parts. The entire narrative reads like a prose poem). And then I went back and read the Story again, and its world view began to enter my dreams. [No kidding!]
Prechtel's commentaries add layers of understanding. In the first layer, he observes that, "To punish or trivialize the youth for having subtlety of vision is what makes depression an epidemic in modern culture."
"So often the artist is sacrificed for the art and the art is what lives. This story tells us that our art must be sacrificed, turned into a magic that puts us back together in a new way and hatches the world back to life" and that " the life of an artist is not as useful as living our lives as a work of art."
In the second layer, he notes that: "In this story-method of learning, we humans become part of the geography of nature, important not because of our inventories or conquests, or chronicles of having been victimized, or our labor-saving inventions that kill this geography, or our egalitarianism or our capacity to get to heaven, but just for having been born and showing up for work, the work of living out our part of the story."
In the third layer, the author talks about indigenous languages that eliminate the verb "to be." I'm still having trouble wrapping my mind around this concept, but as I understand it, "to be" is an abstraction and indigenous people don't distance themselves from the rest of creation by abstractions.
"The brilliant ingenuity of Indigenous language...though often mounted on rails of metaphor, is the way they zoom way past metaphor into realms of undertandings that have metaphor looking rather naive," says Prechtel.
"A ritual can "be" the universe, because the ritual and the universe can be the same thing. In this way our bodies are not metaphors of the Earth; they are the Earth."
Unlike her future in-law, the Sun, whose Time only lives now, the Ocean is nonsequential time, time already done, time to come, time that will never happen, time that could have happened and more, all mixed into one large matrix of Gathered Time." Time and water. "To the Tzutujil there is only one water which rushes, puddles or is captured in a multitude of diverse forms like plant leaves, hot springs, rivers, lakes, ponds, ice, tears and streams, and like the amniotic flood at our births, all this water is trying to get back home to the original mother of life, the Great Grandmother Ocean, the great dream pool."
The fourth layer is a true story in present time that puts it all on the palm of your hand like a Hummingbird and the fifth layer is a perfect round waterdrop - a distillation like brandy from the wine of the Story.
I wish I could give this work 8 stars. Eight would be just about right.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Artful & Significant 14 Mar 2002
By Tino Plank - Published on
Much as he does with his paintbrush, Prechtel as storyteller excels in painting a vibrant landscape of words. As he draws out the subtle details of the book's central myth, like the nuances of various hues on a canvas, he pulls us deeper into the bigger picture of this ancient tribal teaching story. Here we are introduced to the concept of the Indigenous Soul.
Prechtel descibes the Indigenous Soul as "...that natural non-human, spiritual origination place inside all beings, peoples, animals, and plants that is older than anything ancestral, past the ancestral greatnesses and sucesses, past the ancestral ruts, prejudices and stupidity."
This story a significant gift--an invitation to recover our own innate indigenousity--that comes from the Tzutujil people and is made possible through Prechtel's artful use of metaphorical language. I encourage those concerned with the loss of native traditions and wisdom to read this story, or better yet to live this story, and help bring the world back to life.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very deep and interesting book 20 Jan 2002
By Amisha Mehta - Published on
I reviewed an ARC of this book a couple of months ago, and was quite intrigued by the story that was retold by Prechtel, an experienced shaman, or medicine man of sorts. According to the publisher, Prechtel previously published two non-fiction books, but this is his first work of fiction. Although the story starts off as a simple tale, it is soon apparent that there is much more behind the scenes than was evident at first glance. For a wonderful and concise summary of the content, please read the review below this one - I could not have said it better myself, so I won't even try.
The tale is the probably the easiest part - deciphering the several layers of deeper meaning is where the experience becomes much more complex. There are a few passages that come to mind that I have already outlined, and I definitely plan to read this book again in the future. I would recommend that anyone, like me, is not well-versed in complex philosophical thought, read the explanations behind each layer in a couple of sessions rather than all at once. The material is a bit much for the average reader, particularly people that, like me, are mostly used to reading works of fiction, but that should not detract from its appeal. Of course, much of the discussion covers some universal truths, and everyone could stand to pick up some valuable lessons from the book. This is a book that I don't plan to get rid of anytime soon. Check it out, if you dare..
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful teaching metaphor; life changng 27 May 2010
By Budster - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have read all of Martin's books and they are some of the most inspiring works I have read in over 60 years. To know that such a person lives, breathes and to some extent is available to see and hear is such a gift. This book is a powerful life changing tool for those who will spend the time to use it.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Disobedience of the Daughter of the Sun 10 Jun 2008
By Nancy Schluntz - Published on
The Disobedience of the Daughter of the Sun: A Mayan Tale of Ecstasy, Time, and Finding One's True Form
Wonderful storytelling of a creation/coming of age(s) myth that has echoes in myths from many cultures and lands. The exploration into five layers of meaning that follow the story give a greater depth and breadth to the mastery (and mystery) of storytelling and myths, which is transferable to reading and understanding other myths. Very resonant with Kabbalah and earth-based traditions.
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