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

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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 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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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 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.

52 review for The Disobedience of the Daughter of the Sun: A Mayan Tale of Ecstasy, Time, and Finding One's True Form

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jen

    yes, yes, yes. like crystals of tree sap melting in the hot sun, then cooling and hardening again into jewels from spring rain this book is all that and back again.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Derek McPhail

    "The Disobedience Of The Daughter Of The Sun: Ecstasy and Time", as retold and analyzed by Martin Prechtel, has the appearance of a simple folktale. Appearance, as Prechtel points out, can be deceiving. This tale, like a single drop of water into a pond, is simple. However, the ever-widening ripples are fraught with meaning, for the myriad life forms that it touches, or for those who care to take the time to delve into its depth. The book begins with a brief telling of the traditional story. The "The Disobedience Of The Daughter Of The Sun: Ecstasy and Time", as retold and analyzed by Martin Prechtel, has the appearance of a simple folktale. Appearance, as Prechtel points out, can be deceiving. This tale, like a single drop of water into a pond, is simple. However, the ever-widening ripples are fraught with meaning, for the myriad life forms that it touches, or for those who care to take the time to delve into its depth. The book begins with a brief telling of the traditional story. The young lady in this tale is the daughter of the Sun and Moon. She is tall and beautiful and her parents have grand dreams for her about her future spouse. He must be tall, handsome, a god in his own right, someone deserving of their daughter. Unfortunately, as in life, the ways of young peoples' heart do not always follow their parent's plans. The young lady falls in love with an ugly, tiny little man. Her parents are appalled. They banish the unsuitable suitor and imprison their daughter within their hut. How this situation resolves itself is the crux of the "tale of the disobedient daughter". Prechtel takes this delightful Mayan tale and elucidates its significance on five different levels of meaning. First, he relates the basic meaning of the tale that speaks about the maturation process of youth and the intricacies of the parent-child relationship inherent in any culture. Secondly, he details the unique cultural significance that only a native of the Mayan culture can bring to this story. Next, he instructs the reader how the structure of Native American language shapes storytelling and communication with non-Amerindians. Finally, he relates the lessons of global significance of this tale for the survival of the world. Prechtel is a wonderful storyteller and educator. He spins a tale that delights the inner child. His words flow in easy simple language accessible to even young readers. It is impossible to walk away from this book without learning something about Mayan culture, Amerindian language structure, Indigenous mythology, or the impact of global warming. Amazing that this can all be addressed through the telling of one simple story. More remarkable that this is done with such depth and clarity, yet speaking within the range of comprehension of a child. Beyond this tremendous feat, Prechtel has illustrated this story with his own elegant line drawings. Martin Prechtel is a "half-blood native American". He was raised in a Pueblo Indian reservation in New Mexico. As a young man, he found his way to Santiago Atitlan in the mountain region of Guatemala, to study with a Tzutujil (Mayan) shaman. He spends years collaborating with his mentor as a shaman for the Tzutujil people, continuing after his passing. Martin previously published, "Secrets of the Talking Jaguar" (1999) and "Long Life, Honey in the Heart" (1999). He since has released "Stealing Benefacio's Roses: A Mayan Epic" (2002), "The Unlikely Peace at Cuchumaquic: The Parallel Lives of People as Plants: Keeping the Seeds Alive" (2015) and "The Smell of Rain on Dust: Grief and Praise" (2015). After the American supported Guatemalan military dictatorship's genocide of over 200,000 traditionalist Mayans, who had nothing to do with the "Guatemalan Civil War", Martin was forced to flee back to the U.S. with his Guatemalan wife and two sons. (https://www.pbs.org/newshour/health/l...) Martin now resides at his ranch in New Mexico, where he now thrives as a writer, artist, musician, healer and charming storyteller. "The Disobedience Of The Daughter Of The Sun: Ecstasy and Time" by Martin Prechtel is much more than the re-telling of an ancient Mayan folktale. It teaches of a way of life and a way of thinking, so easy to read and understand, that it can and should be shared with a child. This book is an absolute delight. It should be read again and again, because each reading will harvest some new insight. It has earned a permanent place in my collection and in my heart. Am sure, it will do so for you and your family also. (this is an edited version of a review by "Su Terry".)

  3. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    Prechtel's writing is so rich and deep that there are times I feel as if I am drinking from a firehouse of vernacular prowess beyond imagining. This "third" book in Prechtel's retinue is short and yet probably one of the most moving I have read so far. The story of the the Daughter of the Sun would need to be read over and over to absorb its full potency; which is exactly what Prechtel instructs the reader to do. While the story has meanings within meanings and layers within layers, the part that Prechtel's writing is so rich and deep that there are times I feel as if I am drinking from a firehouse of vernacular prowess beyond imagining. This "third" book in Prechtel's retinue is short and yet probably one of the most moving I have read so far. The story of the the Daughter of the Sun would need to be read over and over to absorb its full potency; which is exactly what Prechtel instructs the reader to do. While the story has meanings within meanings and layers within layers, the part that I loved the most and would go back and read over and over again are the chapters following the actual story. Where Prechtel breaks down the story and describes the rights of passage; the layers of meaning; the teachings, lessons and guidance that each character and happening of the story is telling in how to live our lives. Ever the master storyteller, Prechtel has written a book that is more than just a story and has so many life applications. A book I will treasure and read again and again.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Aaron

    Rich, lush, relevant, magical, full spectrum, no stone unturned, absolutely gorgeous book. Everything I could ever ask for, and much much more.. All you can do is bow down in eternal gratitude to the Tzutujil and Martín Prechtel

  5. 4 out of 5

    Alicia Anderson

    I read this book because I was looking for tales of Goddesses who symbolize the archetypal role of "daughter" and there are only a few. Instead of my intended scholarly look at a new myth, I was transported and blown away. Prechtel's use of language is florid and heart-rending. This is a read and read again book. I need the rest of his works! I read this book because I was looking for tales of Goddesses who symbolize the archetypal role of "daughter" and there are only a few. Instead of my intended scholarly look at a new myth, I was transported and blown away. Prechtel's use of language is florid and heart-rending. This is a read and read again book. I need the rest of his works!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Letecia

    Love on so many levels - deep cycles of time. Reading this book was balm to my aching heart.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kacie

    Martin teaches Bolad's Litchen in NM, where some friends go. Trying to get a feel for his ideas. Martin teaches Bolad's Litchen in NM, where some friends go. Trying to get a feel for his ideas.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Caitlin Elizabeth

    i found this book in the cutest book store @twicetoldbooks when i was up in guerneville, california a few weekends ago. to say i'm obsessed with it would be an understatement. have read it twice already and basically underlined every page. the author re-tells a mayan legend that was only passed down orally - and then explains all the different layers of symbolism and meaning in the ancient story. i'll be reading all his books now for the rest of lockdown 📚#newobsession My favorite quote: "Art is i found this book in the cutest book store @twicetoldbooks when i was up in guerneville, california a few weekends ago. to say i'm obsessed with it would be an understatement. have read it twice already and basically underlined every page. the author re-tells a mayan legend that was only passed down orally - and then explains all the different layers of symbolism and meaning in the ancient story. i'll be reading all his books now for the rest of lockdown 📚#newobsession My favorite quote: "Art is no longer what we want to do, we now do our art to bring the world back to life”

  9. 4 out of 5

    Genie Bowdoin

    Not something I'd typically read because my genres are normally crime or supernatural but it was good. My takeaway was that it was about family; parent's influence on their children and whether to give your children the choice to decide if they agree with your thoughts, beliefs, feelings, etc. It was definitely heavily embedded with "social class" issues. The story was cool but the 5 chapters following it, describing the "layers" was more interesting to me. Not something I'd typically read because my genres are normally crime or supernatural but it was good. My takeaway was that it was about family; parent's influence on their children and whether to give your children the choice to decide if they agree with your thoughts, beliefs, feelings, etc. It was definitely heavily embedded with "social class" issues. The story was cool but the 5 chapters following it, describing the "layers" was more interesting to me.

  10. 4 out of 5

    John Savage

    The story is moving, but the commentaries are not very helpful.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Taylor

    A Mayan tale, told four different ways, revealing wisdom from this ancient earth culture... if you are paying attention and opening your heart. Martin Prechtel is a true poet. Delicious and eloquent are his words. Extremely fortunate are we to hear these stories passed on. Best if read out loud and several times over...

  12. 4 out of 5

    Hope

    I love Pretchel's tales of his life with the indigenous Tzutujil Mayan in Guatemala... I've since heard, not surprisingly, that he is a very controversial figure. So be it. His story (embellished, biased, whatever) is a great lovely adventure, filled with magic, shamanism and spirit. Beautiful. I've read all his books and wish there were a dozen more... I love Pretchel's tales of his life with the indigenous Tzutujil Mayan in Guatemala... I've since heard, not surprisingly, that he is a very controversial figure. So be it. His story (embellished, biased, whatever) is a great lovely adventure, filled with magic, shamanism and spirit. Beautiful. I've read all his books and wish there were a dozen more...

  13. 4 out of 5

    Samuel

    The storytelling tradition this book embodies is one my soul longs for and my voice looks towards the way a lake looks to the moon. It begins with a traditional Mayan teaching story. Then, Martin guides the reader/listener(s) through several layers of meaning, facilitating a journey into a bottomless world of the most integritous metaphor.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Miriam

    I love the ideas in Martin Prechtel's books. However, I found the writing in this book to be really difficult to get through. If you haven't read any of Prechtel's books yet, start with The Secrets of the Talking Jaguar, which clearly had a better editor! I love the ideas in Martin Prechtel's books. However, I found the writing in this book to be really difficult to get through. If you haven't read any of Prechtel's books yet, start with The Secrets of the Talking Jaguar, which clearly had a better editor!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Noelle

    One of the most beautiful books I've ever read. One of the most beautiful books I've ever read.

  16. 4 out of 5

    David

    I love all of Martin Prectel's books. This one I read after I read the trilogy. It was a nice follow up. I recommend reading his other 3 books first. I love all of Martin Prectel's books. This one I read after I read the trilogy. It was a nice follow up. I recommend reading his other 3 books first.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Marie Judson

    Beautiful.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Angela Kirby

    Beautifully written. Martin Prechtel is amazing. You know the age old question, who would you invite to dinner, dead or alive? Martin would most definitely be on my list.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Wood

    Beautiful and heartbreaking. A story meant to feed more than entertainment, a deep digging tale to pull up a passion for life, your everyday wonderfully "mundane" life. Beautiful and heartbreaking. A story meant to feed more than entertainment, a deep digging tale to pull up a passion for life, your everyday wonderfully "mundane" life.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Nathalie

  21. 5 out of 5

    Teressa Rose

  22. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca Austill-Clausen

  23. 5 out of 5

    RowanP

  24. 5 out of 5

    miha

  25. 5 out of 5

    Sarahscarlet

  26. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

  28. 4 out of 5

    Nina

  29. 5 out of 5

    Manja ❁

  30. 4 out of 5

    Floweringmind

  31. 4 out of 5

    Mariel

  32. 5 out of 5

    sarah jane

  33. 5 out of 5

    Sarahmarie

  34. 5 out of 5

    Johannalaemle Hotmail

  35. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

  36. 4 out of 5

    Rommi

  37. 5 out of 5

    Eve Bradford

  38. 5 out of 5

    Nell

  39. 5 out of 5

    Jana

  40. 5 out of 5

    Liz Murray

  41. 5 out of 5

    Kirsten

  42. 4 out of 5

    Anne

  43. 4 out of 5

    Juliezs

  44. 5 out of 5

    Judd Karlman

  45. 5 out of 5

    David

  46. 5 out of 5

    Mary

  47. 4 out of 5

    Joe

  48. 4 out of 5

    Adam Sherrerd

  49. 4 out of 5

    Andres

  50. 5 out of 5

    Magic Penny

  51. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

  52. 4 out of 5

    Thomas

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