BOOK REVIEWS
by Sonia von Matt Stoddard

 

 

THE BRAZILIAN HEALER WITH THE KITCHEN KNIFE
and Other Stories of Mystics, Shamans and Miracle-Makers
By Sandy Johnson.
One Shaman belief is that when you have a major illness, an accident or other traumatic event in your life, a portion of your soul leaves the body in order to escape the pain or shock. It is a way for the body and soul to protect itself and survive. Problems develop if that portion of the soul has gone so far out that it can’t find its way back. Traditional Western Medicine heals the body but often leaves the soul to fend for itself.

Author Sandy Johnson does a marvelous job of weaving her own experiences, in her life and with her bout with breast cancer and traditional Western Medicine, into the world of Shamans, Mystics and Healers. She visits with 16 such individuals and relates a variety of practices, disciplines, methods and stages of healing on different levels.

The philosophy of each “guru” within their specialty varies from that which is based in sound, mostly ancient practices to the downright bizarre. For example, after one of the subjects enters a trancelike state, goldlike metal appears on her body; another can heal over the telephone while receiving “flashes” of intuition about individuals.

The author has a very fluid writing style and the stories, rich with alternative and unconventional events, methods and processes, are very interesting. In the author’s own words, if she had it to do over, first she would go (again) to the white-coated wizards for their help, then to the doctors of soul and spirit for healing.

Published by Rodale, this book is available at your local bookstore, or on their website at: www.MysticsAndHealers.com.


PELE’S WISH
Secrets of the Hawaiian Masters and Eternal Life
By Sondra Ray.
From ancient times in Hawaii, the Kahuna teachings embrace all of nature and apply a “big picture” philosophy to everyday life. Living in harmony, loving ourselves and nurturing others are all part of life’s daily practice. Energies are present in everything and are everywhere. Energetic harmony is a force that unites everything in the universe.

Huna Philosophy includes ancient, unique rituals, counseling and prayer techniques that create an everyday magic. By incorporating just a few of the author’s suggestions, we can experience our own personal rebirth, rejuvenation and cooperation. One’s heart then becomes open to receive love, peace and joy.

Author Sondra Ray is a pioneer of the rebirthing movement, a teacher and seminar leader with a nursing degree as well as a Masters Degree in Public Health and Family Sociology. She is recognized throughout the world as a spiritual teacher, lecturer and healer. Her conversational style is easy to follow and you can feel her training as a Nurse Practitioner coming through via her friendly dialogue. Through her stories and examples we can travel to the Islands and feel her particular spiritual life processes.

There is an allure to Hawaiian spirituality that is based on sound philosophies that have worked throughout the ages. Loving yourself, nurturing others, respecting our land and living in harmony with all life can be accomplished by following Ray’s teachings. Add the beautiful images and island settings, and this book transports you to a beautiful place where calm and spirituality prevail.

Published by Inner Ocean Publishing and distributed by Publishers Group West, this book is available at your local bookstore, or at www.innerocean.com.



THE BOOK OF CEREMONIES
A Native Way of Honoring
and Living the Sacred
By Gabriel Horn 
Rituals are relevant to our life and can be perfect, uplifting celebrations for major life events, like birth and marriage, as well as the celebration of seasons, greeting the day, dreaming, and conducting vision quests. Through a pleasing narrative and nurturing tone, with visually alive stories, poems, prayers and songs, celebrated Native American writer Gabriel Horn guides us through ceremonies so important in bringing joy, harmony and daily celebration into our lives.

The Book of Ceremonies offers a guide and means to help master all of life’s transitions by celebrating even those not-so-traditional life events, like greeting the dawn, walking a path of beauty, giving thanks, or even finding a name. Included is a Winter Solstice ceremony, a ceremony of observation, and rituals to catch a dream or call for a vision. Through the use of poetry and prayer, Horn provides specific wording and workings for opening, conducting and closing a ritual. Each one allows a way for you to personalize it to your specific situation.

Instead of focusing on a single tradition, he blends from an array of indigenous cultures. Each chapter melds into the next guide to learning and using concepts fundamental to practicing rituals. Reflecting the age-old knowledge and understanding of traditional Native American ways, Horn offers insight and wisdom in a way that will enrich all aspects of your life.

Published by New World Library, this book is available at your local bookstore, or at: www.newworldlibrary.com.



DREAMWAYS OF THE IROQUOIS
Honoring the Secret Wishes
of the Soul
By Robert Moss 
Unless you dream . . . you will never be fully awake. In big dreams, we wake up. Dreams are the wishes of our soul and can tell us what we need. Dreams can also travel into the future to predict events and circumstances so that, if necessary, you can take steps to prevent bad things from happening. There is limitless power, beauty and healing available to us in our dream worlds. We may also discover that our soul energy is misplaced — or missing entirely — and how to go about the process of retrieval.

Author Robert Moss, creator of Active Dreaming which incorporates dreamwork and shamanic techniques for empowerment and healing, synthesized his work when he began dreaming in a language he did not know: an early form of the Mohawk Iroquois language. In his search for meaning, he communicated with Ancient Mother who was his own true heart Shaman.

As our own personal Shaman at the Breakfast Table, our teacher and healer, he explains how we can all tap into our dreams for guidance, healing and magic. In a step-by-step manner, we start by sharing and telling our dream as a story with a title, having a partner ask key questions, play a game with the dream, then finally take action to honor it.

Moss includes some fun and practical techniques, from thinking up a bumper sticker for your dream experience to creating a talisman to hold energy from it.

He blends his dream stories with history and it is sometimes difficult to keep track of what is actually a recount of his dream and what is reality. However, that style really drives home his primary objective. Without realizing our dreams, we are missing out on a true spiritual odyssey and will not realize our true, whole selves. Moss shows us how to tap into those dreams.

Published by Destiny Books, a division of Inner Traditions, International, this book is available at your local bookstore, or at www.InnerTraditions.com.
 


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