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The Way Of The Shaman [Paperback]

Michael Harner
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Oct. 1 1990
This classic on shamanism pioneered the modern shamanic renaissance. It is the foremost resource and reference on shamanism. Now, with a new introduction and a guide to current resources, anthropologist Michael Harner provides the definitive handbook on practical shamanism -- what it is, where it came from, how you can participate.

Frequently Bought Together

The Way Of The Shaman + Shamanic Journeying: A Beginner's Guide + Awakening to the Spirit World: The Shamanic Path of Direct Revelation
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Product Description


"An intimate and practical guide to the art of shamanic healing and the technology of the sacred. Michael Harner is not just an anthropologist who has studied shamanism; he is an authentic white shaman." -- Stanislav Grof, author of The Adventure of Self-Discovery

"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." -- Nevill Drury, author of The Elements of Shamanism

"Wonderful, fascinating . . .Harner really knows what he is talking about." -- Carlos Castaneda

About the Author

Michael Harner, Ph.D., has practiced shamanism and shamanic healing for more than a quarter of a century. He is the founder and director of the Foundation for Shamanic Studies in Norwalk, Connecticut.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
My first prolonged fieldwork as an anthropologist took place in 1956 and 1957 on the forested eastern slopes of the Ecuadorian Andes among the Jivaro [HEE-varo] Indians, or Untsuri Shuar. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I'm Divided On This Book Oct. 15 2002
It really would be more fair of me to give this book three and a half stars, but it doesn't work that way so I'll leave it at four. Anyway, I must admit that I am of two different mind concerning this book. Harner, who has indeed studied Shamanism amongst various indigenous peoples such as the Jivaro of Ecuador, certainly does know his stuff. I will grant him that. However, in this book he strips it down to it's core, removing many of the cultural trappings, in order to take the reader into the world of the Shaman. This is not a book about Siberian, Native American, Aboriginal, African, Voudon or any other form of Shamanism. Instead, it focuses on Harner's "Core Shamanism" and even attempts to instruct the reader on how to become a Shaman. This presents some serious questions for us. First of all, is this cultural piracy? Shamanism is an old tradition, and can be found among many traditions. No one people, however, have a monopoly on Shamanism. After all, the Shamanic traditions of, say, the Yakuts, Chuckchi and Buryat are just as ancient and valid of those of the Pygmies, Bushmen or Yanomami. Harner seems to be very aware of this and tries not to attach his Shamanic tradition to that of any one particular culture. And certainly more recent traditions do draw from Shamanic background. Voudon and Santeria, as well as certain movements amongst the Native Americans and Australian Aborigines illustrate this. Why shouldn't westerners find a tradition that is acceptable to them? In the end, the reader needs to come to his own conclusions on these issues before he reads through this book. After all, it is a book instructing the reader in Harner's Core Shamanism. I certainly would recommend it to people with an interest in Shamanism and/or Neo-Shamanism, whether from an anthropologic perspective or from a "New Age" perspective. Others, however, might be disappointed or even offended in this book. It all depends on your views I suppose. The best I can say is buyer beware.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Pure Commercialism and Pseudo-Shamanism Oct. 25 2002
Harner deserves most of the blame for starting the modern Pseudo-Shaman movement, where silver spoon fed suburbanites engage in loads of wishful thinking by imagining one can learn to be a "shaman" quickly and painlessly for only the price of a $$$ book or an "advanced" seminar lasting three days for $$$
What the pseudo-shamanism movement is is merely the New Age movement with a new marketing angle, since both movements have always been far more about commerce, and very little about enlightenment other than lightening the contents of people's wallets. REAL shamans don't charge money, don't make a living off it, don't hang out a shingle on the internet or at new age fairs. They also don't live in the 'burbs or profit off of people who do. They remain in their traditional communities where they are needed.
Even worse, some members of the pseudo-shaman movement wind up DYING, as have some people very badly "trained" by Harner who tried to do sweatlodges. This book, and all of Harner's books, are beyond nonsense. They actually threaten (and sometimes take) the very lives of the poor misguided saps who fall for them.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A validation of the shaman's path June 3 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
When I first read this book I thought that it was the greatest thing I had ever found. Not only did it describe experiences that I thought were unique to myself, but I found that there was actually a name for such things- shamanism. I had never even heard the name before. Yet, I knew exactly what was being described.

That's just it, though, this book's importance to me was in its validation of the path that I had already traveled- alone. When I see people claiming that they are shamans, or "neo-shamans", based on reading a few books or attending a workshop or two, I can only shake my head. I mean, I see nothing wrong with such things, no more than I see anything wrong with dabblers in Wicca, it is just that I don't personally believe that it is shamanism. I don't say this out of arrogance, self-righteousness, or a sense of superiority- it is just that I have found that the transition involved in crossing over to the spirit world is absolutely life shattering and soul transforming. There is a good chance that it may kill you. Actually, in a sense, it does kill you, for to be a shaman means to die and be reborn. It is not the sort of thing that a bored yuppy can do on a weekend to demonstrate his "spiritual sensitivity."
Personally, I think shamans are either born, or they result from a certain type of near death experience. As much as I respect Native American medicine people, I do not think that they have any sort of inside track or "secret knowlege." Their advantage lies in being outside of the artificial hell of the modern world- and perhaps in having more of an "opportunity" to hit bottom and reflect on it. They also have open minds- they KNOW the realities of spirits and of a world beyond. These are the advantages of any outsider....
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The first and the best. June 18 2004
As far as I can tell, Michael Harner is responsible for creating the new age phenomenon of Neo-Shamanism. This book was the first of its kind, and although many books on the subject litter the bookstore shelves these days, Harner's is by far the best of the ones I've read and perused.
Most of the complaints by reviewers here are concerned with Harner "stealing" the traditions from other cultures and/or "corrupting" these traditions. Ignoring the obvious flaw in thinking regarding "theft" of cultural or spiritual traditions, I think this is exactly where Harner excels over the others. Rather than turning out some new-age fluff that pretends to adhere painstakingly to any particular tradition, Harner cuts to the viscera of the real phenomenon of Shamanism.
Although there are specific exercises and methods in this book, the fact that they don't rigidly conform to any one tradition is what makes it great. It is rather like the approach of Chaos Magick, which doesn't rely on precise traditional incantations, sigils, etc, to perform magick. Instead, the idea is that this power is latent within us, and is basically archetypal within the framework of the psyche.
In cultures with Shamanism, every once in a while a shaman is born; they are discovered to be "special" (in a way specific to that culture) and/or predisposed to this sort of thing. Even though the modern Western world doesn't have any significant "place" for these sorts of individuals, they are still are born into our society. I like to call them (us) the weirdoes. These are latent shamans or mystics. Books like Harner's just might be a key to helping us "weirdoes" find our "place".
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A Chance To Change Your Life.
This is the one book that can change your life. It changed mine.

Before I read The Way of the Shaman I was blind to the fact that there is a real spiritual reality. Read more
Published on March 18 2011 by Peter
5.0 out of 5 stars the Shaman Journey
for anyone who would like to follow the Shamanic path or to know what Shamanism is, this is the most in-depth book I've read. Read more
Published on April 11 2010 by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic in all Respects
I just can't say enough good things about Way of the Shaman, it is simply the best book of shamanism I have read. Read more
Published on July 5 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars If you're looking for application, this is it
This book is application and technique. It shares some of Harner's personal experiences but it's also a workbook. Read more
Published on Dec 5 2003
4.0 out of 5 stars Early work, but still with merit
One of Harner's early works, "The Way of the Shaman" describes several basic shamanic techniques but is perhaps not as well suited to the beginner as Harner intended. Read more
Published on July 15 2003 by Diane Brzozowski
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Book on topic
This is very good book for basics of shamanism. A good book and worth it!!
Published on July 11 2003 by Moonbrooke
2.0 out of 5 stars A misleading book
I think Harner's error is not that much in that he takes shamanic work out of native context, but that he puts people at danger by making them believe his sanitized teflon-wrapped... Read more
Published on May 29 2003 by Makula Aulanchis
5.0 out of 5 stars Whatever it takes
There will be people who are thrilled to read this book and other people who will be disappointed that Mr. Read more
Published on July 16 2002 by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars A validation of the shaman's path....
When I first read this book I thought that it was the greatest thing I had ever found. Not only did it describe experiences that I thought were unique to myself, but I found that... Read more
Published on June 13 2002 by OAKSHAMAN
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