Shaman, meaning "intermediary between spirit and the natural world", has become a much overused word in the West. It's not a job title one can give oneself, and in indigenous societies a shaman is usually born to this role. Ya'Acov Darling Khan is one of the few Westerners who have been acknowledged as shamans by indigenous elders or teachers. After being hit by lightning, Ya'Acov took a 30-year journey into the heart of shamanism to seek his own healing and to learn how he could serve others with the wisdom he acquired through his experiences. He has studied with indigenous teachers from the Arctic Circle to the United States and South America and has taken part in ceremonies in such diverse locations as Welsh caves and the depths of the Amazon rainforest. Nowadays Ya'Acov continues to study and regularly journeys to the Ecuadorean Amazon to work alongside the Achuar and Sápara people.
For thousands of years, shamans helped the people in their communities remain in balance with themselves, each other, the natural world, and the spirit world. This audiobook is not only a powerfully honest, humorous, and inspiring memoir but a guidebook for those from many cultures and walks of life wishing to return to their indigenous roots and be part of midwifing a more benign human presence here on Earth as part of a new dream.
With music from Susannah Darling Khan's album Torch Songs (featured song: "Drum Song"), available from music-medicine.co.uk.
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Not for me
I think people who want to have their pre-existing idea of shamanism validated might really like this. He says a lot of the right things.
No, the things I see as untenable in this story are commonplace in books in this genre. The are some authors who truly see and can elucidate this path with great clarity, so I certainly would never give up.
Lots, but I am glad I made it through the book.
- Michael Suter