In this riveting follow-up to Secrets of the Talking Jaguar, where he focused on his initiation as a shaman in the Guatemalan village of Santiago Atitlan, Martin Prechtel presents his immersion in Mayan culture, paying particular attention to the rhythm of rituals punctuating courtship, marriage, childbirth, and childhood. During the thirteen years he lived in this community, he helped people "repolish" the spirits by sending them beauty and deliciousness. The Mayans affectionately called the land that fed them "the Flowering Mountain Earth."
Prechtel discusses the importance of the initiation of young people into adulthood as a means of waking them up from spiritual amnesia and bringing the earth back to life. But the villagers faced strong foes who wanted to dismantle their culture and spiritual intelligence Marxists, right-wing government officials, and Christian missionaries. Of course, none of them understood that Mayans were not put on earth to have a good time but to be beautiful. Rituals were tools for becoming "Magnificent Adults."
Prechtel writes poetically about his roles as shaman and village chief. He concludes with the arrival of death squads in the 1980s and his eventual return to the United States. All in all, this impressive book is a tribute to the "indigenousity of the human soul."