Category Archives: Reading List

Yearning for the Wind

Yearning for the Wind: Celtic Reflections on Nature and the Soul, by Tom Cowan.

Throughout the ages, shamans and mystics have recognized that all created things share some level of consciousness, and that ordinary and nonordinary realities interact at some point. This book by a well-known Celtic American shaman explores those interactions and interconnected pathways, looking at the interdependence of our material life with our inner life and that of nature. Each chapter is a small window into the mysteries of nature and soul as they infuse daily life. Cowan draws on the teachings of medieval mystics, fairy legends, Celtic songs, present-day poets and seekers, Native American stories, and other traditions. From these strands he weaves a Celtic knot of spirit that is both beautiful and strong.

The Power Path

The Power Path: The Shaman’s Way to Success in Business and Life, by Jose Stevens.

According to Jose Stevens and Lena Stevens, business leaders and shamans share many important traits: the ability to solve problems, achieve goals, see the big picture, and forecast events. What their previous book, Secrets of Shamanism, did for the growth of the individual, The Power Path does for the growth of business managers and entrepreneurs. Based on years of study with shamans, the book shares a new way of thinking about the nature of power. By applying shamanic traditions of power to the workplace, readers learn how to improve work relationships, understand employees’ strengths and limitations, and inspire effective teamwork — techniques aimed ultimately at increasing business success.

The Mist-Filled Path

The Mist-Filled Path: Celtic Wisdom for Exiles, Wanderers, and Seekers, by Frank MacEowen.

In this book, MacEowen, a teacher of the spiritual traditions of Scotland and Ireland, issues a call to readers longing to live a more authentic life to wake up from “the land of sleepwalkers.” “Too many of us squander our lives,” he writes, “filling our minds with a crazed habitual raciness that is hard to throw off.” MacEowen’s purpose is to show us how to break free of our unconscious habits to place our awareness where it matters, living from the perspective of our inner senses and informed by our souls. The “Mist” he speaks of is a metaphor for spirituality used by Celtic peoples. Drawing on his own personal experiences and myths and poems of the Celts and Druids, MacEowen introduces readers conditioned by modern Western society to a world of mystery and meaning that is ours to enter into at any time, were we only to become more aware of it.

Spirit of the Shuar

Spirit of the Shuar: Wisdom from the Last Unconquered People of the Amazon, by John Perkins.

What can we learn from a people who can’t read, have no laws to speak of, who make a practice of shrinking the heads of their enemies, and let their children run around naked? In John Perkins’s eyes, plenty. The Shuar of the Amazon rainforest have lived in harmony with their surroundings for countless ages. Perkins came into contact with them while on a Peace Corps stint in the 1960s, and has sought to spread their philosophy of simplicity and balance ever since. Spirit of the Shuar intertwines transcribed tape recordings of Shuar voices with Perkins’s experiences. Unlike anthropological accounts, such as Philippe Descola’s more eloquent but detached Spears of Twilight, Perkins’s book is conversational and enthusiastic. He teaches us about a spirituality that arises from a deep connection with nature, one in which shamans use hallucinogens to go on spiritual journeys; the spirits of nature yield hidden knowledge about plants; and dreams can always be fulfilled.

Medicine for the Earth

Medicine for the Earth: How to Transform Personal and Environmental Toxins, by Sandra Ingerman.

Medicine for the Earth offers hope for all of us in the power of our intent: to cleanse environmental toxins, to heal our world under attack, and to open our hearts. Ingerman focuses on solutions, weaving research and personal experience, tools for shifting consciousness, and a philosophy of healing as she returns always to what we can do. Many writers talk about consciousness of the earth and our relationship with all beings; few provide such a clear map and so many experiential vehicles to us for visioning a different future and making it happen. Motivated by her near-death experiences, she contemplates unconditional love through respect for sacred space, divine power, and nature’s elements.

Shamanic Guide to Death And Dying

Shamanic Guide to Death And Dying, by Kristin Madden.

Originally published in 1999, the author has revised and expanded this book to 324 pages of rituals, meditations, and stories from her own experiences. Touching and beautiful. The book helps to pave the way to talk about one’s own passing in a constructive, positive manner.

Of Water and the Spirit

Of Water and the Spirit: Ritual, Magic, and Initiation in the Life of an African Shaman, by Malidoma Patrice Somé.

Somé, who was born about 1956 in Upper Volta, was close to his shaman grandfather. But this relationship and his tribal way of life was destroyed when, at age four, he was kidnapped by a French Jesuit missionary and raised in a seminary, from which he escaped at age 20. Returning home to his Dagara village, he was viewed by some as too tainted by white knowledge and ways to be able to join fully in tribal life; nevertheless, he underwent an intensive and dangerous six-week shamanic initiation that thoroughly established him as a member of the tribe. Later, he was dismayed to learn his destiny as revealed in divination and decreed by tribal elders: to return to the white world as a bridge to save his tribe from complete inculturation. This fascinating autobiography illustrates the profound culture clashes between Western civilization and indigenous cultures.

The World As You Dream It

The World As You Dream It, by John Perkins.

John Perkins’ book, THE WORLD IS AS YOU DREAM IT is one of those rare books that tells a riveting story at the same time as it provides deep insights into what makes us who we are and the world what it is. I was so riveted to this book that I couldn’t put it down for a second until I finished reading it. The big idea in THE WORLD IS AS YOU DREAM IT is outlined by shamans in Ecuador who describe to Perkins the difference between living one’s fantasies and living one’s dream — and how this difference has enormous personal and global repercussions. Healing involves changing one’s dream; replacing a dream of illness with one of health. As one shaman tells Perkins, “I don’t heal. I simply help them change their dream.”

Fire in the Head

Fire in the Head: Shamanism and the Celtic Spirit,by Tom Cowan.

A remarkable exploration of shamanism using cross-cultural myths to explain the history and roots of the Celtic spirit. Cowan presents the traditional fantastic experiences of the shaman in an amazingly perceivable framework. His depiction of archetypes in well-known myths and legends opens one to the ability to read all things symbolically, thus, as the dynamic spiritual presences that they are. His telling of olde tales connects their spirit with a modern audience.

 

Owning Your Own Shadow

Owning Your Own Shadow: Understanding the Dark Side of the Psyche, by Robert A. Johnson

The shadow in Jungian psychology is the unconscious dumping ground for undesirable characteristics of personality. “Owning” the shadow–accepting it as part of one’s self–is seen as the first step toward wholeness. Using examples from history, mythology, and religion…. offers a tour of the shadow, showing its origin and features, and demonstrating how and why it bursts into consciousness when least expected.

…this archetype needs to be integrated into, not rejected from, our lives if we are to live holistically.

Soul Retrieval

Soul Retrieval: Mending the Fragmented Self Through Shamanic Practice, by Sandra Ingerman.

Fascinating and illuminating. An excellent introduction to the power of shamanic healing by an authentic, experienced practitioner. Author Sandra Ingerman shares ancient soul-retrieval practices in very down-to-earth terms in her pioneering book. While the requirements for doing successful shamanistic healing are simple (requiring crystal-clear intention and complete faith in spiritual assistance), many of us raised within modern-day Western society are likely to face our own inner skepticism that this method of healing can be effective. Ingerman masterfully addresses this and other common pitfalls, as it takes the reader on a journey of rescuing soul fragments from one’s past.

The Way of the Shaman

The Way of the Shaman, by Michael Harner.

An intimate and practical guide to the art of shamanic healing and the technology of the sacred. Harner has impeccable credentials, both as an academic and as a practicing shaman. Without doubt (since the recent death of Mircea Eliade) the world’s leading authority on shamanism. Mr. Harner has taken a misunderstood and often misinterpreted subject and has written a very good book for those who have little to no experience with cultural shamanism. He has extensive experience with native shamen and tells of his adventures in a way that allows the reader to grasp the ecstatic methods of these priests.

Inner Work

Inner Work: Using Dreams and Active Imagination for Personal Growth, by Robert A. Johnson

In this book Johnson introduces a simple four-step method aimed at helping us explore the unconscious. He encourages us to pinpoint the symbols that appear in our dreams and active imaginings; to note our conscious associations to these symbols; meaningfully to personalize what we have accomplished in these first two steps; and finally through rituals to translate the insights gained into memorable conscious experiences.

The Teachings of Don Juan

The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge, by Carlos Castaneda.

“The Teachings of Don Juan” is the first in a series of about 15 books by Carlos Casaneda describing the author’s experiences with Yaqui Indian shamanism in Northern Mexico. Carlos Castaneda has taught us that we can indeed, under the right circumstances, leave through the window. Castaneda, during his course of study with don Juan Matus, Yaqui man of knowledge, learned to move into nonordinary reality, and experience not only magical events, but also that the ways of knowledge and power are difficult and dangerous.