“Fran Antmann grew to know a culture, lived in it, merged with it, translated it, and loved it. She photographed the dreams that guide us to wisdom and healing, then wrapped those images in quetzal feathers. Today, she returns her vision of the world to the men and women she met through this encounter between cultures. It is a privilege to have been invited to write the preface to this book which is more than a book—it is a revelation.”
– Carolina Escobar Sarti, Guatemalan poet
Maya healers from Guatemala have a close relationship with the natural and spiritual worlds – their lives are bound up with its extraordinary landscape - the lake, its winds and the mist that rings its volcanoes. Drawing on dreams, intuition and ancient traditions, they heal their sick surrounded by friends and family. I was privileged to be included in these intense and intimate healing rituals over the course of seven years.
I was especially drawn to work in Guatemala where my daughter was born in 1998. From the time she was young, I brought her to Guatemala each summer to live in and understand the culture. During these summers, I accompanied the healers to small windowless spaces where ancient rituals are practiced over dirt floors. I listened to the voices of those who are believed to have connections with the supernatural and derive their knowledge from dreams. Now, I invite the reader to share the world of these Maya healers, bonesetters and shamans.
Such ceremonies could have triggered a brutal crackdown 30 years ago. The Guatemalan government, as part of a campaign of genocide, tried to root out all Maya cultural practices. Despite the deaths of more than 200,000 indigenous people and the destruction of 440 villages, Maya traditions survived underground and are now part of a proud resurgent Maya identity. They celebrate the endurance of these people in the aftermath of trauma and violence and are part of a larger process of healing.
Thank you in advance for your support, which will enable me to pay the supplemental printing costs of $15,000 to have this book published by Nirala Series. With your help I will be able to produce a beautiful and evocative photography book that helps preserve the Maya culture.
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