BOOK ALERT Los Nawales: The Ancient Ones

Los Nawales:
The Ancient Ones
Merchants, Wives and Lovers:
The Creation Story of Maximón
by Vincent Stanzione

Storytelling is a traditional art form that has existed since the beginning of time. All societies pass down stories from one generation to the next using various mediums, including folktales, myths, rituals and artifacts. Stories illuminate the essential nature of a culture, how it came to be, connecting its past with the present.

Los NawalesVincent Stanzione is a master storyteller, and in his new book, Los Nawales: The Ancient Ones, he tells the ancestral story of the Tz’utujil Maya market women, their wandering merchant men and their eventual need to create a protector and guide: Rilaj Mam-Maximón, the Beloved Ancestor.

By imitating the voice of Maya storytellers, Stanzione seeks a blurring of oral and written genres with ethnographic interpretation that is still bound to empirical knowledge in Mesoamerican traditions. In so doing, he has preserved an important story for descendants of the Nawales – the Tz’utujil Maya – in the form of written text that will take them back to an ancestral past, which at this moment in time is slowly being forgotten.

Stanzione is an anthropologist and a researcher specializing in ancient and contemporary Maya religion. He has lived in the Guatemalan Highlands since 1990 and worked alongside the Tz’utujil Maya in Santiago Atitlán for over 20 years. Other notable publications include Rituals of Sacrifice: Walking the Face of the Earth on the Sacred Path of the Sun (2000); Mayan Gods and Goddesses (2005) and The Sacred Count of Days (2006).

Learn about the ancient ways of Los Nawales and how once upon a time they lived paradisiacal lives on Flower Mountain. Join Vincent Stanzione at CIRMA (Centro de Investigacione Regionales de Mesoamerica), 5a calle oriente #5, La Antigua Guatemala on Thursday, Feb. 16 at 5 p.m. for a bilingual presentation on his newest book, Los Nawales: The Ancient Ones.

REVUE article by Kerstin Sabene

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