Backyard Volcano and Other Mysteries of the Heart

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<<If Kathryn Lane’s novella Backyard Volcano, is next on your reading list, you may want to familiarize yourself with a few terms, such as:

>>Temazcal – a cleansing ceremony in a temazcal hut – usually a round, four foot structure, like a traditional Kiva oven but larger for participants to sit, butt naked, in a circle around a pit of hot volcanic rocks. Water sprinkled over the rocks makes steam, creating the steam bath.




Magliabecchiano Codex XVI Century Early Colonial Period


<<Temazcalli – the word comes from Náhuatl: Temaz = sweat and Calli = house; therefore, it means sweathouse, as in temazcal hut.


<<Temazcalera, or medicine woman, prepares and uses herbal tea, which may or may not include the use of pulque, in the ceremony. Pulque is a fermented beverage made from agave syrup, which originated in the pre-Hispanic era and is not as refined as tequila.


Pátzcuaro – a city constructed on the southern edge of Lake Pátzcuaro, in the current state of Michoacán in west-central Mexico. The United Nations assigned it a “Magical Town” designation which means it is considered an historic world treasure. It was founded by the Tarascan Tribe in approximately 1320, long before Hernán Cortés conquered Mexico.

Náhuatl – the language spoken by the Mexica, one of the last tribes to arrive in central Mexico before the Spanish conquest. The Mexica founded the Aztec empire. Words such as chocolate (xocolātl), avocado (aguacatl) , coyote (koyotl), tomato (tomatl), and names of places, such as Mexico, Guatemala and Yucatán, all come from the Náhuatl language.

P’urhépecha – is the language spoken by the Tarascan people who live in west-central Mexico, mostly in the present day state of Michoacán in Mexico.

Paricutín – known as the “volcano in a cornfield”. It’s the only volcano to be studied by modern scientists from birth to extinction. Known as a scoria cone shaped volcano, it is listed in the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. Paricutín is located in the state of Michoacán, Mexico.

Volcanologist – a person devoted to scientific study of volcanoes.

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