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The Healing Wisdom of Africa Paperback – September 13, 1999

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Tarcher; Reprint edition (September 13, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 087477991X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0874779912
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #86,802 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"In this profoundly wise and fascinating book Malidoma Patrice Some has delivered an incomparably meaningful gift to us wanderers and seekers in the West. The way back to the memory of who we once were; the way forward to who we are or might become." Alice Walker --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Malidoma Patrice Somé, born in Upper Volta (now Burkina Faso) West Africa, is initiated in the ancestral traditions of his tribe, and is a medicine man and diviner in the Dagra culture. He holds three master's degrees and two doctorates from Sorbonne and Brandeis University, and has taught at the University of Michigan. He currently devotes himself to speaking and, with his wife, Sobonfu, conducting intensive workshops throughout the United States.

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Customer Reviews

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He respects children, how unusual!
I would hope that all who read this book will take its message to heart and work to incorporate the healing rituals that are described into their lives.
Tino Plank (tino@mlode.com)
I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for other paths and descriptions of spirituality.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 11, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I have read this book along with all of Malidoma's works. I believe Malidoma has one of the best skills at articulating the problem that Western/European reality has posed on the rest of us. I personally do not use the specific rituals that he recommends because I have rituals that my own culture prescribes; however, I think any person that is ready to take a spiritual advance need to read this book and put his suggestions to practice. I have met Malidoma and found him to have a beautiful spirit filled with wisdom and the innocence of a child. I believe that anyone can trust what this teacher has to say. I also recommend this book for all priests and healers in the world because Malidoma has touched something that need not be ignored if we are to heal ourselves and others. Thank you Malidoma.
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35 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Phil Rogers on July 14, 2003
Format: Paperback
To be truthful, this book needs to be read through more than once - it needs to be lived with, and at least a few of the exercises and ceremonies or variants of them must be worked through by the reader.
Malidoma's two earlier books, both obvious 5-star efforts, were more at expository essay and autobiography respectively. Both were jammed full of insights and plentiful quotable passages. And both were sumptuous with detail and inspiration.
Part One of this new volume is not an exception to this - though maybe a little drier in overall tone - still, I found myself leaving little quotes from it on my friend Cynthia's answering machine, for which she later thanked me profusely.
But the purpose of Part Two is to illustrate these illuminations/insights by things to actually do in order to begin feeling your connection with nature and the other elements of the Dagara cosmos. And throughout, Malidoma continues his critique of Western cultural and religious milieu in contradistinction to African ways and means.
There have been other terrific hands-on tutelages allowing a Euro-American to shed parts of his/her dualistic/rationalistic skin in exchange for an animistic one (Starhawk's 'The Spiral Dance', Harner's 'Way of the Shaman', Teich's 'Jambalaya', Ingerman's 'Soul Retrieval', Villoldo's 'Shaman Healer Sage', and Malidoma's wife Sobonfu Some's books). This is the latest "next best thing", and it's really a good one.
One thing about Malidona is that he warns the neophyte to at times exercise some degree of caution - diving headfirst into a new cultural scenario is not always the wisest or safest path. One's ability to tread lightly can bring dividends and rewards.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Zoeeagleeye VINE VOICE on April 18, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read this book because I'd just read his autobiographical story in "Of Water and the Spirit." I knew his outer life, now I wanted to know more of his inner life. How could I know that "The Healing Wisdom of Africa" would teach me more about MY inner life!

This man is the "real deal," when it comes to wisdom, whether it be of a spiritual, mystical, political, cultural or social kind. I wish every white person, especially in America, would read this book. Malidoma Some gets to the heart of our problems and does so without blame, with natural authority, true humility and great love: rare combinations! His words are gentle, yet unbelievably strong. His insights are brilliant and his language exquisite. He knows the value of the individual as well as the group. He respects children, how unusual! He understands how we got to the place in America of suicide being the No. 1 killer of our teens. He understands "the great White loneliness," (my words)and he knows how to connect us up again, not only to the God within, but to each other.

This book is nicely subversive, as well. Perhaps that is why it hasn't become a national best seller. We throw our Africans away, don't we? We always have. And what does a black man, of all things, have to teach us, we who are so superior in our technology and indifference? Only the way home. To ourselves, to our God, to each other.


"Matter is the skin of Spirit."

"To produce beauty consistently requires a healthy community."
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 17, 1999
Format: Hardcover
In his latest book, Malidoma Some talks about how the wisdom developed over millenia by indigenous people in Africa can be used to deal with the very real psychological and spiritual impoverishment of the West. He says that while the West has an abundance of material goods (taken in large part from the natural resources that belong to all living creatures), Africans possess the capacity of enriching their own lives by communicating through rituals on a continuous basis with what he calls the "other world", the world beyond the material senses, or what Carlos Castaneda would call the "human inventory". Some recommends getting in touch with our ancestors and keeping them in our lives by devoting shrines to them and opening a dialogue with them. This makes particular sense to someone who has lost someone close and feels a great lack between the material message that the person is dead and therefore gone, and the feeling that somehow one has not really disconnected. Some also recommends frequent grief rituals (not just when suffering a loss but all the time) to keep the spirit in tune, and purged of the daily wear and tear of living. It is a wonderful book: humane, wise, well-thought out and very well written. A real joy for someone looking for a new way of dealing with life.
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