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Shamanic use of Drums, Rattles, Flutes, Staffs and Incense

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Useful informative reading

shamanic book list

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There are many exciting books about shamanism. Here is a selection we feel are enlightening, respectful and solid, including a few you won’t find at the neighborhood bookshop. Be inspired! But please remember not to give your power away to a book. Your own experience is also valuable.

The Way of the Shaman, a Guide to Power and Healing
by Michael Harner (Random House)
This is the classic introduction to practical shamanism by the grandfather of the shamanic revival in the western world, together with stories from Harner’s early days.

Shamanic Voices by Joan Halifax (editor) (Arkana)
In this book, Joan Halifax has gathered dozens of accounts of shamanic practice as described by traditional shamans.

The Wounded Healer by Joan Halifax (Thames and Hudson)
A fascinating text, exploring shamanism as practiced in many traditional cultures. Beautiful and unusual photographs.

Soul Retrieval, Mending the Fragmented Self by Sandra Ingerman (Harper San Francisco).
The basic book on soul retrieval in modern shamanic practice, as well as in traditional cultures.

The Sacred: Ways of Knowledge, Sources of Life by Peggy V. Beck, Anna Lee Walters, Nia Francisco (Navajo Community College Press). More than any other book, this is the book on native North American spirituality. It is sacred in itself.

The Sprits are Always with Me by Jane Shutt (Rider)
UK shamanic practitioner and teacher Jane Shutt shares her knowledge and experience. Especially good if you are interested in working with the Spirits of Land, Houses and Places.

Shamans, Healers, and Medicine Men by Holger Kalweit (Shambhala)
An exciting and comprehensive look at shamanic traditions practiced in many parts of the world.

The Dancing Healers by Carl A. Hammerschlag, MD (Harper Collins)
A moving account of a young doctor's meeting with his southwest US Indian patients, and his eventual understanding of what their spiritual and healing traditions can bring to Western medicine.

Tales of a Shaman’s Apprentice by Mark J. Plotkin (Penguin)
The fascinating story of an ethnobotanist’s search for medicinal plants in the South American rainforests, and becoming aware of the vast knowledge held by the shamans there.

Plant Spirit Medicine by Eliot Cowan (Swan Raven& Co)
A shamanic practitioner’s sharing of his way to meet plants. Interesting and instructive.

Singing for Power by Ruth Murray Underhill (University of Arizona Press)
A classic anthropological work of rare sensitivity, power and beauty, exploring the powerful singing of the Tohono O'odham tribe in Arizona, USA.

Encyclopedia of Native American Healing by William S. Lyons (ABC-CILO)
Full of facts and inspiration, Lyons has a deep understanding and respect for the subject.

Voices from the Earth by Nicholas Wood (Godsfield Press Ltd)
Excellent handbook for the shamanic practitioner. With an emphasis on craftmaking and ceremony, this offers a lot of practical information and spiritual invitation.

How to Make Drums, Tomtoms & Rattles by Bernard S. Mason (Dover)
Originally published in 1938, this inexpensive guide will still tell you all you need to know. Fun!

Shamanism: Archaic Techniques in Ecstasy by Mercia Eliade (Princeton)
In the 1940’s Eliade gathered information on shamanism from around the world. A fantastic reference book. The bibliography is a goldmine of classic anthropological studies of a world gone by. The reading is not that difficult and well worth it.