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Customer Review

on 11 February 2001
This book is a "must read" for anyone concerned with the future of our planet and/or the worrying state of white Western society. A companion volume, rather than a sequel to Secrets of the Talking Jaguar, the story describes Martin Prechtel's demanding and extraordinary duties as part of the village hierarchy of Santiago Atitlan. Co-opted into this body of elders approximately forty years before someone normally would be, he went on to uphold traditional ceremonies and life values in a wholehearted and life-changing way. Of particular relevance to our spiritually impoverished society are the descriptions and explanations of the various levels of initiation considered normal in the hard working, gritty reality of life in a traditional (pre-revolution) Guatemalan village. This is the story of a community that actually has a wholesome place for its teenagers, and whose older members appear to remember being young themselves. Consequently, rather than the: "Young people nowdays....(tut,tut)" routine, the adolescents are rounded up for initiation, and take a huge, conscious leap forward in their lives, which in turn leads them to a more conscious adulthood, and consequently they also will have a more clear recollection of youth for those who follow. Anyone who asks why people in the Western world are in such a depressing mess would gain a great deal of insight and hope from reading this inspired account of a very beautiful way of life. And no, it's not all a rosy-spectacled view. The author is very clear about hardships and shortcomings amongst the villagers, but he is equally clear about the ways these are dealt with. In addition to writing an engrossing account of modern/timeless Mayan society, Martin Prechtel adds the gift of a true poet. He writes beautifully, engagingly and with enormous humour and humanity.
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