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

4.35  ·  Rating details ·  381 Ratings  ·  45 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
Jan 19, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Chad Carson
Feb 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Saira Priest
Apr 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 01, 2009 rated it really liked it
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.
Jun 26, 2017 rated it it was ok
I rated it two stars because I felt like "okay" was my rating. It was really just a memoir that wasn't very interesting to me. I would have preferred either a scientific take on the maladies and botanical cures, or a anthropological take on Mayan traditional healing, a journalistic look at the phenomenon or even more of a biography of Panti. Basically, I wanted more real information and it really strained credulity for me that the cures were informed by looking into a magic marble or that they w ...more
Mar 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
What a beautiful and authentic story about two healers. If you work in the healing arts or are thinking about it as a career path- this book is touching and eye opening. So many beautiful lessons about working with love and compassion for all in harmony with the plants.
Ryan Fredette
Mar 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
A great depiction of one Mayan Healer's (Don Elijio) life and Rosita's assimilation into the culture of herbal medicine. The book looks at environmental destruction, the interrelation of religion in healing, and the need to protect what nature gives to us before pharmaceutical companies come in.
Camille Cusumano
Dec 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir
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 rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: belize, bio
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
Lourdes Cambridge
Feb 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
May 02, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: gaia-reading
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
Jan 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Fascinating story of the author's apprenticeship with a Mayan healer. I learned about naprapathy, an alternative healing practice involving massage, mostly practiced in and around Chicago, and the whole field of ethnobotony. Arvigo and her husband have gone on to preserve the rainforest where healing plants exist and to promote research into their medicinal uses for treating cancer and HIV among other things. Talk about passion and sacrifice for a greater good as well as the recognition of folk ...more
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 to heal the patient with the background messages of saving the rainforest and of using healing plants rather than drugs and high-tech medicine.
Linda G
Jul 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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.
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!!!!
Abbey Road
Sep 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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.
Karen Trogdon
Sep 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book is amazing. Confirms my belief that we already have with us a cure for all our illnesses. I am so glad the author was able to follow this Maya man through the jungles and learn his remedies. Creating a area to conserve the "healing ingredients" gave me an even more awesome opinion of the author.
Dec 20, 2007 rated it liked it
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.
Jun 04, 2008 rated it really liked it
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.
Sep 21, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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...
Dianne C
May 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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.
Rhonda Petersen
Feb 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. It was uplifting and tragic at the same time. It only reminds us of the continued destruction of the rainforest and the healing plants. It's the world's loss that there are no more healers like Don Elijio
Sep 02, 2008 rated it really liked it
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. :)
Jul 16, 2008 rated it really liked it
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.
Michelle Atkinson
Read this book to prepare for my trip to Belize. Enjoyed it. But probably only for that reason.
Jan 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Very practical and in depth information.
Aug 25, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Apr 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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.
Feb 25, 2010 rated it really liked it
loving it so far...
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