From Publishers Weekly 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 this case, to their village, which these descendants of ancient Mayans believed was the center of the universe. At the core of their philosophy was a rejection of progress?everything of importance had happened in the past. 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, amplifying my already well-established erotic relationship with the landscape, my verdant quest to find a way to merge and mate with the spirit of the world.' In his engaging first book, Prechtel describes his apprenticeship to Nicolas Chiviliu Tacaxoy, a shaman who taught him healing and divination skills, and his 13 years living as a Tzutujil. While his view seems at times romanticized, the picture he creates of idyllic Indian life?of the Indians' well-being, colorful rituals and rapport with nature?is so beautifully drawn that his delight in their culture becomes contagious, as does his grief when civil war creates havoc in their village. Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. Read more
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