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Sastun: One Woman's Apprenticeship with a Maya Healer and Their Efforts to Save the Vani

4.35 of 5 stars 4.35  ·  rating details  ·  239 ratings  ·  33 reviews
The compelling drama of American herbologist Rosita Arvigo's quest to preserve the knowledge of Don Elijio Panti, one of the last surviving and most respected traditional healers in the rainforest of Belize.
Paperback, 208 pages
Published February 3rd 1995 by HarperOne (first published April 1st 1994)
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Jeannie Mancini
Circle of Life in the Jungles of Belize

Sastun, is the amazing memoir of an American women’s adventure into a renewed way of life as she transports herself and her family deep into the jungles of Belize. Rosita Arvigo, and Italian/Assyrian women from Chicago, together with her husband and daughter, make the difficult decision to leave the hustle and bustle of today’s modern society to attempt a new life by homesteading and opening up a health facility in South America. Rosita is trained in naprap
I have been to Belize and made a point to hike the Panti Trail. I purchased some salve made from products in the rain forest. It worked great! I had a chance to speak with Ms. Arvigo while visiting Chaa Creek. Her story and work in the healing arts inspired me to get her book. It is a wonderful story and one I recommend for those interested in medicine, travel or human interest. If you are traveling to Belize I also recommend visiting Chaa Creek and the Panti Trail.
Saira Priest
I was transported into the heart of the Beliezean rainforest. Having been there a couple of times, I was completely into this story. I purchased this book in 1996 when I was there and finally read it! Loved every delicious page of it. Doctor Rosita's compelling story of healing and our interconnectedness to plants is timeless. Nature has many answers for us when we take time to observe, listen and learn from those who have taken time. You will love the story, you will learn so much along the way ...more
Chad Carson
I picked this book up on the Belize Island of Caye Caulker at a really cool organic coffee shop/art salon/healing center known as 'Coco Plum'. The owner Destino with her glowing eyes recommended it to me and after grazing through the pages I knew I had to have it. I'm personally fascinated by Mayan 'Curanderos' or healers who for thousands of years have learned how to heal, vitalize, and balance the human vessel via natural remedies found in the forests of Central America. This particular book h ...more
Camille Cusumano
An American, Arvigo came to Belize in 1981 to practice natural healing. In San Ignacio, she found Don Elijio Panti, one of the last Mayan curanderas (traditional healers), and asked to apprentice to him. Until Panti’s death at 103 in 1996, Arvigo learned from the bush doctor in his little home/clinic, watching him heal his countryfolk with his hands, prayers, and herbs.

Who would guess that Panti, who drew his pharmacopoeia from among rainforest plants, might leave his mark on modern medicine?

Aug 11, 2012 Mignon rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: my holistic friends
Recommended to Mignon by: Any
A beautiful relationship between an old wise Maya bush healer who's fate paired him with middle aged American woman. Rosita becomes an eager student to her mentor Don Elijo.
The relationship between Don Elijo Panti and Rosita blend pharmacology, botany, and sprit to develop a beautiful relationship between the two to benefit the the well being of local people.

The book is an easy read with vividly written short chapters. Each chapter describes an experience Panti shares with Rosita; collecting
This is the story of how Rosita, an American living in Belize, meets and learns from Don Elijio Panti, Maya healer. This healing is still practiced in Belize today especially amongst the Mayan people.

It's good that the medicinal properties of plants are now part of Belizean history. I understand how the plants can cure physical ailments, but I'm still not sold on how they cure spiritual ailments. Don Elijio told the story how he learned the "business" in Guatemala's forests. One night he saw his
Amazing! Gave me a better understanding of my teacher's herstory, her lessons she gives in coursework and the power of plants, spirit and humor. All of that is medicine.
This was an incredible story! Rosita Arvigo's tale of becoming a Mayan Shaman's apprentice has me thinking about our relationships to plants (Good for Gaia-writing!) Each chapter is headed by a paticular plant or herb, it's Mayan name, scientific name, and common name. and a wonderful description of the healing properties of the plant. The chapter then relays how they used this plant in a practical setting.
What amazed me most was how this "elderly" man hiked up mountains, pre-dawn each day to co
Bernadette Kuhn
Rosita Arvigo, a natural medicine practicioner from Chicago, journeys to the heart of Belize with her husband and child. While in the rain forest, she meets up with a medicine man. The fun begins when, after becoming his apprentice, she starts reading crystals for medical advice and curing patients that have been on the receiving end of "an evil wind". This book is fantastic!It provides an inside look at an entirely different health care system based on-that's right-PLANTS!!!!
Linda G
I read thisi book a few months ago after deciding to enroll in training for Mayan Abdominal Massage. The book isn't the best thing I've ever read - but the story and the people are amazing. If you are into the environment, healing, alternative medicine, herbs, or ancient and vanishing traditions, then you will enjoy this story of a woman from Chicago bent on becoming an apprentice to a 90 year old Mayan H'men healer in Belize.
Sastun; a divining stone used by the H'men. This book is the story of the author's apprenticeship with an old Mayan healer, using plant remedies from the rainforest. Her relationship with her teacher reminded my of the way we teach medicine, but so different in its approach as they work together the heal the patient with the background messages of saving the rainforest and the knowledge of healing plants.
Penny Lane
This book was fabulous and for me, as an herbalist myself, an inspiration. While there is a sadness in the fact that this ancient healing modality is disappearing just as the rainforest is, there is a hop through Rosita Arvigo that not only will the healing methods be carried on but also that the plants will be preserved.
I bought this book after traveling in Belize and staying in the Cayo district near San Ignacio where this book takes place. I enjoyed learning more about the traditional mayan medicines that come out of the rich and beautiful rainforests I visited.

Beyond that it's a great story...
A nurse from Chicago and her family pack up and head south in pursuit of Mayan medicinal healing ways. Rosita, the nurse, finds a Mayan shaman taking the reader an a multi-year adventure. I thoroughly enjoyed learning about how Mayan cultural logic guided shaman healing.
I went and heard Arvigo speak at Apothecary Tinctura in Denver - just for fun - and read her book shortly therafter. I loved reading about Don Elijio - and this culture so different from my own. A neat read, definitely added to my intrique with herbal medicine.
Rosita Arvigo is an ex-Chicago ad woman who studied alternative medicine, then moved off the grid in Belize and studied with a bush medicine man. I found the story interesting... mainly because I'm an alternative medicine/healing junkie. :)
Dianne C
Loved this book. I could not put it down! I enjoyed that it shared the use of the various herbs and remedies, some of which I had heard as a child . Learning from a Mayan intriguing journey.
I think that being in Belize and knowing the locations even more interesting.

I read this over the time I have been here so it probably would be good to go back, reread to get a better sense of the book.
I just read this book for a fascinating workshop on traditional Mayan healing. the book was compelling especially if you have any interest in Mayan traditions and/or womens health.
I don't know what it is about stories of western women learning to practice traditional medicine in a complete different culture, but I love books of this "genre". A light, enjoyable read.
What an inspiring story. . . amazing descriptions of ancient mayan herbal remedies as well as the stories of their healing abilities. . . very touching, a quick read and an uplifting book
A mesmerizing read! Arvigo's apprenticeship with a traditional Mayan healer cracks open the door on this heretofore unknown realm of ancient medicine.
Fascinating book. I had the good fortune to meet and interview the author during research for a journalistic piece I wrote about the interior of Belize.
Joan Brink
Excellent read while I was down in Belize. This woman is still working in the rainforest and can be found easily to converse with! Nice story.
Tammy Tolar
My cousin Barbra has studied in Belize with Rosita Arvigo. This book is a must read for every woman!
Dec 18, 2007 Kathy is currently reading it
Just started, but already completely fascinated...
Sarah Cortes
I loved this book, I'm sure I'll read it again soon
Very practical and in depth information.
Tammy Mabra
Short & sweet, a delightful story.
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