Martin Prechtel was raised on an Indian reservation in New Mexico. A series of dreams led him to Santiago Atitlan, a Mayan village in Guatemala that became his spiritual home. Here he learned the essentials of the indigenous way of life.

Rescuing the Light presents a passionate, creative, and soul-stirring collection of quotations and sayings from a four-year course he taught on the sacred dimensions of language, history, cooking, farming, and crafts. Students from around the world also have benefited from Prechtel's teachings on an earth-centered life, the importance of initiating young people into adulthood, and the use of other rituals as "memory feasts."

After reading this shaman's memoir Secrets of the Talking Jaguar, poet Robert Bly called it "a great encyclopedia of beauty." Here are four pathways from this new book into this spiritual practice:

  • "Beauty isn't the way you look -- it's the way you look at the world."
  • "Be beautiful on the way to the answer. That is the answer."
  • "There is no way to live in this world without making a mistake. The trick is to make beautiful ones."
  • "When you can't remember what to do, what to see, or what the deeper teachings are, when all else escapes you, just remember: Always feed what needs feeding. Always make beauty."

Chapters in this new book cover a wide range of topics: blessings, language, time, loneliness, memory, nomads, slavery, freedom, love, grief, ignorance, flight, clothing, debt, science, water, place, courtesy, and so much more. Prechtel offers idiosyncratic advice that takes us to new places where we can become transformed people. He challenges us to see many possibilities and approach things from different perspectives. Here are some examples of the rich short and sweet wisdom here.

  • "When the fascist comes to the door: invite them in and give them dinner.
    When friends come to the door: invite them in and give them dinner.
    When the Holy come to the door: invite them in and give them dinner."
  • "Style is 90% of the goodness of doing anything. How you do something truly matters."
  • "The problem is not that you can't see God, but that you refuse to see God. Because when you do see God it's not good enough for you."
  • "People always want a miracle when they lose their capacity to see the miracle of the life they've already been given."
  • "Have a little of the grace of the Holy . . . have a sense of humor about yourself."
  • "Hope is knowing what to do with what you got."
  • "Instead of killing the enemy, outgrow your hate."
  • "Be happy whether you like it or not!"
  • "No one can remember everything. The point is to love the deliciousness of its infinite possibilities."
  • "Rescue the light. The light is always there. You just have to uncover it and keep it uncovered. It's harder than it sounds."