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Honoring the Medicine: The Essential Guide to Native American Healing (Healing Arts) Hardcover – June 3, 2003

4.7 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Cohen wittily describes an incident in which he sang Pacific Northwest songs to a Cree medicine man--songs of Salish, Snohomish, and Suquamish peoples. "And you are--?" asked the elder. "Jewish," Cohen said, to which the medicine man replied contentedly, "Yes, our traditions are so rich." Whether the elder misunderstood or intentionally embraced the newcomer to his land, Cohen never knew. But the anecdote demonstrates Cohen's habit of drawing upon interpersonal experience as well as research to record traditional Native American healing practices as expertly as he has described, in books including the well-regarded Way of Qigong (1997), Asian traditional healing. The present thoughtful reference provides comprehensive and authoritative information on indigenous American healing traditions and addresses the important issue of how non-Indian people can respectfully learn from their historical forebears in North America. An excellent section on values and principles precedes discussion of such practices as sweat lodges, pipes, and the use of herbs, including tobacco. Extensive appendixes and resource lists supplement the wealth of information in the main text. Patricia Monaghan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved


“This landmark book is a stunning tour de force. Ken Cohen has crafted a comprehensive yet accessible compilation of the theory and practice of Native American medicine. Honoring the Medicine is the rarest of books.”
Author of God, Faith, and Health

“Ken Cohen writes from a place of beauty, truth, and integrity. He inspires us to reconnect with traditional ways for healing the earth and ourselves. [Honoring the Medicine] is a brilliant work.”
Author of Soul Retrieval

“Anyone wanting insight into the world of Native American healing will be wise to read this remarkable, penetrating work. This is a valuable addition to the canon of healing.”
Author of Healing Beyond the Body

Product Details

  • Series: Healing Arts
  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: One World/Ballantine; 1 edition (June 3, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345395301
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345395306
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.4 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #715,275 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There are some fluffy 1-2-3 recipe books out there about Native America, and worse-how to become an instant shaman manuals. This is NOT one of those. And if you entertain angry feelings that here is another non Native American ripping off someone else's culture, well, please take a slow deep breath of purifying sage, think some loving thoughts, and set aside your politics and your doubts. Kenneth Cohen has written a beautiful book, that emerges from a place of honoring Indigenous cultures and the Native Americans he has known over his lifetime of seeking, as he says- his "roots". Respect and appreciation for the interconnectedness of life and a wholistic understanding of healing and Spirit. The fact that he associated himself with wise and beloved Elders like Rolling Thunder, Grandmother Twylah Nitsch, and Grandmother Keewaydinoquay says a lot too. He writes with love and tenderness about these Elders, and others, sharing some of their wisdom and spirit. I knew one of the abovementioned Elders very well, now watching over us from the Spirit World, and coming across Mr Cohen's words and references to them, brought a smile to me- as I could tell by the tenderness and care with which he described them, that he had been a good grandson,and had listened well.

The author goes to great detail to clarify some common stereotypes of the Native world, to teach respect and consideration for Native American traditions, Peoples, and the natural world. He furthers understanding of our role as human beings, and how to live in a way that honors and respects everything around us. The tranformative power of the natural world and its relationship to healing. Harmony. Surrrounding subtle energies.
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Format: Hardcover
I have participated in many Native-American circles organized by the author in the Colorado Mountains. These were invaluable, paradigm-expanding experiences, especially for a conventionally trained scientist such as myself. However, as such a scientist, I thirsted for written resources that could supplement the extensive, but often soon forgotten, knowledge imparted by the author in his discussions and demonstrations. This book satiated this thirst.
Given the book shares the author's knowledge accrued through several decades of study and reflects the wisdom of many of the 20th Century's most prominent Elders, it is a must read for those interested in learning about the heart and soul of Native American healing. Although much informative, thought-provoking material was provided on specific healing practices, it is this big-picture, heart-and-soul context that the specifics are place within that is the book's foremost strength. True understanding of any of the specifics would be greatly limited without this overarching mind-body-spirit context. As reflective in all superior books, the whole is much greater than the sum of the parts.
Developing this big-picture context was clearly augmented by the author's extensive in-depth, scholarly knowledge of 1) many other healing traditions, including allopathic, Eastern, and assorted indigenous healing approaches, and 2) diverse spiritual perspectives and practices. Although most alternative-medicine authors have in-depth expertise on their specific subject, relatively few have Kenneth Cohen's broad, integrative perspective that not only expands our healing spectrum, but, more importantly, unifies it.
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Format: Hardcover
Once in a long time a person is privileged to read a book that contains wisdom and power on almost every page. This is such a book. The writer, who is not by birth a Native American, has not only studied but lived the philosophy and practice of Native healing. He presents the reader with a multitude of different aspects of Native healing, not least of which is the healing of the spirit and the bases for establishing a truly healthy lifestyle.
I find it presumptuous to attempt to review this book. It contains important lessons about values, spiritual qualities and our connection to the web of life and it reminds us that healing is wellness of the mind and spirit as well as of the body.
If these are important to you, you will find this book truly valuable.
Comment 36 of 36 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover
Ken Cohen brings us an outstanding overview of Native American healing. Cohen, also known as "Bear Hawk," is an adopted member of the Cree Nation, and has studied with many medicine persons over four decades. This clear and lucid summary explains the medicine traditions and approaches of many of the Native American nations.

As Cohen explains, this book will not teach you to be a healer in this tradition because Native American healing is not learned from books. What it will do is to give you a breadth and depth of appreciation of the rich folklore that has much to offer those of us who are raised in the (relatively) sterile tradition of Western medicine which addresses the disease the person has, often ignoring the person who has the disease. The point is well made by Cohen that the person who is the healer, together with the person seeking the healing, shape and individualize the medicine that is needed for that specific healing.

Cohen writes with great wisdom and sensitivity, sharing his voluminous knowledge and many years of experience in studying and practicing Native American healing. He brings a lightness to this monumental work by sharing many personal stories of his encounters with the wise elders and healers of many Nations.

This is a must read for anyone interested in shamanic traditions.
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