In this debut holistic book about human rituals, myths, and ancestral history, a clinical psychologist infuses modern life lessons with ancient ones.
Beginning with a history lesson about the ancient Aztec and Toltec civilizations, Partida delves into these ancient worlds and the ways they were altered forever by the intrusion and oppression of Western cultures. As the author explains, “By controlling the native culture’s mythology, rituals and faith, the dominant culture had an ability to control the destiny, the minds and bodies of those who were now servants and workers.” The volume then looks at how history and myth affect present-day individual experiences—the conceptions about one’s ancestors and the impact of dominant cultures in the subconscious valuation of the self. The author asserts: “A dominant society assigns its expectations to every individual within its confines. Each individual’s worth is determined by” his or her proximity and relationship “to wealth and power.” Partida encourages readers to sift through the noise of lore and the conflicting information received from family members, the media, and social messages and reconnect with the human values that produce fulfilling and abundant lives: gratitude, awareness, and mindfulness. The book helps readers become aware of both the conscious and subconscious myths that drive perceptions about race, ethnicity, gender, age, and other constructs. Weaving psychology with anthropology, the author reveals the psychological impact of these human stories so ingrained in readers’ thinking: “Internalized oppression occurs when we become just like the power that we feel is controlling and directing our lives. When you feel abused or mistreated, you begin to act like the persons or institutions you feel inflict harm on you.” The book goes further than simply revealing problematic myths and examines lessons and practices that readers can implement to find healthier perspectives and self-valuations. The author suggests exercises such as defining fears with words and names, visualization, and self-forgiveness. Overall, the smoothly flowing book takes a complex topic and breaks it down into understandable and enriching ideas, producing a self-improvement guide that teaches rather than preaches.
A successful exploration of myths and cultural norms that affect an individual’s perspective and well-being.