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The Way Of The Shaman Paperback – Oct 1 1990


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Harperone; 3rd Revised edition edition (Oct. 1 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062503731
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062503732
  • Product Dimensions: 23.7 x 15.7 x 1.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 358 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #7,212 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By OAKSHAMAN on 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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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 10 1999
Format: Paperback
I'm a bit upset by the number of people who have been fooled by this book. I can say this because I am Native American, and 'Shamanism' has always been in my family. This author has stolen our traditions, took them as his own, warped them, and is now attempting profit. I would have given this book a lower rating if it were possible. Please don't look to him as an authority on this subject. He doesn't even always focus on the important aspects of 'Shamanism' anyway, he kind of gets caught up in his own ideals of it.
For those of you who're sincerely interested in this subject, just look inside yourself. Realize there is no 'imagination', pay attention to what you feel, and knowledge will come. If you Really want a book on it, try a book written by Natives, such as "Medicine of the Cherokee" by Garrett.
Hey, you wouldn't go to a Russian to learn about South American beliefs, or an Australian to learn about Canadian beliefs, would you?
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Makula Aulanchis on May 29 2003
Format: Paperback
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 package. If this is all day-dreaming - then it's no big deal, why can't suburbanites spend some time reconnecting with their subconsciousness?
If, on the other hand, we take this stuff for real - if there is an energy body, if there are worlds into which the energy body travels during the "altered states of consciousness", then the Harnerian method is not only irresponsible, it is downright dangereous. It takes decades to train an indigenous shaman precisely because these passageways into the astral and beyond are so tricky, its inhabitants so unpredictable and our mind so untrained and incapable of distinguishing between what is personal and what is impersonal. Any would-be "shaman" working out of his own personal space, or "subconsciousness" is asking for trouble.
I have, as the years go by, started to look at the Harner Enterprise (which he runs together with his wife) as a tremendous money-making machine. It is all rather shameless and it is perhaps no wonder that Harner himself is not being taken seriously anymore.
If you want to be a shaman, go into nature, pray to God, talk to your allies and ask them to send across your path a true teacher who will be devoted to your progress into this amazing Mystery. God ALWAYS answers when the plea comes from a pure, humble heart. I think the Harners lost that innocence necessary for contacting the spirit world in a wholesome and beneficial manner. Moreover, they have apparently never been trained in understanding the energy body and how it works during ASCs. That's why this book is unconvincing, unreliable and potentially dangereous.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Zekeriyah on Oct. 15 2002
Format: Paperback
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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