Cave and Cosmos.

Author:Middendorf, Bobbye
Position:Book review

Michael Harner (author); CAVE AND COSMOS; North Atlantic Books (Nonfiction: Body, Mind & Spirit) 19.95 ISBN: 9781583945469

Byline: Bobbye Middendorf

A rich, experiential compendium of journey stories chosen among thousands in conservatory of shamanic knowledge.

When anthropologist Michael Harner's groundbreaking book, The Way of the Shaman, was published in 1980, it laid the foundation for recovering sacred wisdom and indigenous practices that Christian missionaries had nearly eradicated. Together with the works of Eliade, Castaneda, and others, Harner's work nurtured the growing interest in shamanism in the West.

After more than three decades of face-to-face teaching of the traditional way of imparting shamanic wisdom and experience, Harner now shares the fruits of his life's work. Cave and Cosmos is a rich, experiential compendium of journey stories from "nonordinary reality," selected from more than 5,000 such records in the Shamanic Knowledge Conservatory at Harner's Foundation for Shamanic Studies.

His context-setting poses two questions that drove a lifetime of explorations, now brought alive in this book: "whether there is more than one reality and whether we need to be alone in solving the challenges of existence."

Shamanism arose from Siberian culture yet reflects a phenomenon that appears around the world, including pre-Christian Europe. Harner identifies shamans as those who consciously choose to interact with spirits for the purpose of helping or healing others, through "a disciplined interaction in nonordinary reality."

Opening with his own experience as a young anthropologist-in-training, Harner touches on its historical roots, including how anthropologists viewed shamans and shamanic...

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