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152 of 157 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Native American ways of living have much to teach us
After reading "Black Elk Speaks" I picked up this book because I believe that Native American ways of living have much to offer us. We neglect their wisdom at our peril. It is a great privilege that we have access to their knowledge on how we can live in harmony with Mother Earth. The author starts with the question why he should teach non-Indians about Native...
Published on February 28, 2004 by DAVID-LEONARD WILLIS

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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not for the serious student of Native culture
I'm not much for New Age philosophy so I found Mr. McGaa's style to be distracting at best and even a little irritating. I initially found some of the information to be interesting (after sorting through a bunch of New-Agey stuff to get to it) but in the end I questioned its validity.

In this book, McGaa claims that sacred ceremonies like the sweat lodge,...
Published 14 months ago by Lenka


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152 of 157 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Native American ways of living have much to teach us, February 28, 2004
By 
This review is from: Mother Earth Spirituality: Native American Paths to Healing Ourselves and Our World (Religion and Spirituality) (Paperback)
After reading "Black Elk Speaks" I picked up this book because I believe that Native American ways of living have much to offer us. We neglect their wisdom at our peril. It is a great privilege that we have access to their knowledge on how we can live in harmony with Mother Earth. The author starts with the question why he should teach non-Indians about Native American spirituality and answers that it is time to share that spirituality because it does not belong to the Indians alone but to others with the right attitude; we all live in one world. If kept within the Indian community their old wisdom will not be allowed to work its environmental medicine on the world where it is desperately needed. A spiritual fire that promotes a communal commitment to a worldwide environmental undertaking is needed. Native or primal ways will fuel that fire and give it great power. Mother Earth can be revered, respected and protected.
He then quotes the letter from Chief Seathl (Seattle) to the President of the United States of America in 1854 - one of the most unusual and eloquent letters that a President can have received. "How can we buy or sell the sky, the warmth of the land? The idea is strange to us. If we do not own the freshness of the air and the sparkle of the water, how can you buy them?" The truth is that we could really stop here, go into a quiet room and reflect on those three sentences and we will surely discover the root cause of many of our ills. We put a price on everything the Indians think has no value and we place no value on everything the Indians think is valuable. Sparkling water in a stream flowing through a wood has no value to us but it is the essence of life to the Indian. Having polluted our rivers and killed the fish we are at long last starting to ask ourselves those very questions that Chief Seattle asked of the President 150 years ago.
Another point made by Chief Seattle haunts me. "...to harm the earth is to heap contempt on the Creator. The Whites too shall pass; perhaps sooner than all other tribes. Continue to contaminate your bed, and you will one night suffocate in your own waste." How many of us today are saying somewhat similar things to our deaf leaders? But the heart and soul of the Indian way of life lies at the end of Seattle's letter, "So, if we sell our land, love it as we've loved it. Care for it as we've cared for it. Hold in your mind the memory of the land as it is when you take it. And with all your strength, with all your mind, with all your heart, preserve it for your children, and love it ... as God loves us all. One thing w know. Our God is the same God. This earth is precious to Him. Even the white man cannot be exempt from the common destiny. We may be brothers after all. We shall see....." How many of us would claim that we have loved the land as the Indians loved the land, or cared for the land as the Indians cared for the land? If we answer 'no', then surely that means that we have something to learn from the Native Indians. I am sure that if Chief Seattle were here today he would cry to see what we have done to those lands the Indians held sacred. He would cry for the pain inflicted on the earth. He would cry for us who in our greed and selfishness have wrought such damage on ourselves and our children.
I agree with and applaud Ed McGaa. A spiritual fire that promotes a communal commitment to a worldwide environmental undertaking is needed. Native or primal ways will fuel that fire and give it great power. We should all learn something from this book. But not just read and think and speak. But act. This book is nothing if we do not act on it. This is what Stephen Covey was telling us in "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change" that first we have to change ourselves, and only then we can change others and the world.
Einstein told us that we need a higher level of thinking to get ourselves out of the mess than the thinking that got us into the mess. Stephen Covey tells us that in such situations as we are in today we need a quantum change that can only be brought about by a completely new paradigm. Our current way of living is the paradigm that got us into the mess. The Indian approach is probably the paradigm that will get us out of the mess. If we read this book with an open mind and without prejudice, I believe that the Native American paradigm should be at the top of the shortlist of new paradigms from which we should make our selection for building the world we want for our children.
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63 of 66 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Best...., September 7, 2000
This review is from: Mother Earth Spirituality: Native American Paths to Healing Ourselves and Our World (Religion and Spirituality) (Paperback)
Ed McGaa has written one of the clearest explanations of Native American spirituality to date. This book speaks in simple terms and translates ancient customs into modern language for the average reader delving into a new cultural approach to spirit and mother earth religion and philosophy. If you are exploring Lakota religion for the first time, this is one of the best introductory books available.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mother Earth Spirituality is a great and generous gift, April 23, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Mother Earth Spirituality: Native American Paths to Healing Ourselves and Our World (Religion and Spirituality) (Paperback)
In Mother Earth Spirituality, Ed McGaa (Eagle Man) writes: "For Indians, four-legged and winged ones, stones, and trees are regarded as holy, in that they harmoniously live upon this earth, following exactly the plan of the Great Spirit." Reading this book was itself a spiritual experience, a revelation of the Great Spirit. I was informed, inspired, moved, and also brought to grief over what had been missing from my own life: the closeness to Mother Earth that the author so clearly and powerfully feels. By describing Oglala Sioux spirituality and philosophy from the inside, Ed McGaa has given us a great and generous gift. I owe him a debt of gratitude for reminding me of what I must recover. If humanity is to have a future, it will have to learn the lessons and absorb the wisdom of this important book.
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83 of 95 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good book on Oglala Sioux religion and spirituality., June 28, 2000
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This review is from: Mother Earth Spirituality: Native American Paths to Healing Ourselves and Our World (Religion and Spirituality) (Paperback)
After reading "Native Wisdom" by the same author I had to read this earlier work.
This book includes several ceremonies.
Peace Pipe Ceremony
The Sweat Lodge
Vision Quest (Crying for a vision)
Sun Dance
Yuwipi
and more.
Includes the legend of Buffalo Calf Woman and bringing the pipe to the Sioux.
Includes the vision of Nick Black Elk (a Sioux holyman).
Includes a Sioux-English dictionary (It can be difficult to find what you are looking for).
Includes a glossary of natural names.
Mr. McGaa describes the pipe as a portable altar. This is absolutely correct. The pipe bowl represents the feminine aspects of creation, and the stem represents the masculine forces of creation, and the smoke is offered to the seven sacred directions; N,E,S,W, Above, Below and Center.
Mr. McGaa also calls the Wotai (personal stone)as a portable altar. I disagree with this. It's true that you can present the personal stone to the directions. In my opinion; the personal stone doesn't come close to representing the level of sacredness as the pipe.
Questions or comments? E-Mail Me. Two Bears
Wah doh Ogedoda
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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, easy reading, and full of great information, July 12, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Mother Earth Spirituality: Native American Paths to Healing Ourselves and Our World (Religion and Spirituality) (Paperback)
I commend Eagle Man for this sensitive and indepth commentary on Native American spirituality and our responsibiity to Mother Earth. In this hustle, bustle world today, we too often lose sight of the environment that we were given. At one point, it was clean and pure and bountiful. Now, we have polluted our water, descecrated our land, and exterminated animal species. Not much of a commentary on how we take responsibility for and care of these gifts we have evolved into taking for granted. Eagle Man opens our eyes to the simple facts that his forefathers knew and that we have allowed to fall by the wayside. It is works like this that should be required reading in our schools. It is a wake up call that unless we do something to change our world, we may not leave much for our descendents. I highly recommend this book not only for its enviromental impact but also to provide knowledge of the spirituality and philosophy of the Native American people.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brave and successful work to reach mutual understanding, January 25, 2005
This review is from: Mother Earth Spirituality: Native American Paths to Healing Ourselves and Our World (Religion and Spirituality) (Paperback)
I remember first reading this book years ago in a hotel in Boston after work. It had a profound effect on me. Eagle Man has stepped forward in the spirit of White Buffalo Calf Woman to bring the teachings of the earth to all people. Many enrolled Indians are unconfortable with their cultures being shared. While we respect their culture and tradition, not being born into a certain tradition does not mean you are not meant to be affected by it in a positive way. And that is what this book does. To bring forward the beauty of the earth path as seen from the Lakota traditions.

If you are interested in Lakota spirituality (i.e. the gifts of White Buffalo Calf Woman) then be sure to also check out Black Elk Speaks and The Gift of the Sacred Pipe. Black Elk was a Lakota holy man who saw that the traditions of his people were under threat. So he communicated the information about the Lakota rituals/rites to white men he made friends with.

In this book you really get a sense of the spirit of friendship and sacredness. You can realize that the gifts of spirit and earth, that are found in many traditions, are for the healing of all beings and the peaceful friendship of all peoples. This book does a great job in conveying that spirit.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not for the serious student of Native culture, September 22, 2013
By 
Lenka (Thousand Islands, NY) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Mother Earth Spirituality: Native American Paths to Healing Ourselves and Our World (Religion and Spirituality) (Paperback)
I'm not much for New Age philosophy so I found Mr. McGaa's style to be distracting at best and even a little irritating. I initially found some of the information to be interesting (after sorting through a bunch of New-Agey stuff to get to it) but in the end I questioned its validity.

In this book, McGaa claims that sacred ceremonies like the sweat lodge, spirit calling ceremony, and vision quest can be performed by any "respectful two-legged beings" and goes on to discuss how we can each become natural shamans. No traditional Lakota person would give detailed directions on how to conduct traditional Lakota ceremonies to anyone-- because in Lakota culture only medicine people, or in some cases Natives who danced in the Sun Dance, can conduct them. What Mr. McGaa is proposing in this book is sacrilegious and disrespectful and I can see why some people accuse him of cashing in on his heritage.

As non-natives, we are welcome to learn about and even adopt Native American spiritual beliefs; however, we need to understand that while doing so we are guests. As such, we should be quiet, listen, and learn- not buy a medicine bag and give ourselves a nature name (another topic covered in this silly book) and have the audacity to think that we are somehow entitled to perform another culture's sacred ceremonies. If a Native American were to join a Christian church and wanted to become a pastor, he or she would be required to attend seminary. Why do non-Indians think that they can become a medicine person just because they want to?

The bottom line for me is this: if you're interested in New Age philosophy, then I highly recommend this book for you- it's New Age with a dollop of Native American. On the other hand, if you're a student of Native American culture and looking for a more meat-and-potatoes book on Native American beliefs and spirituality, this isn't the one. Disregard anything written by this man and look into authors Joseph Epes Brown, James Walker, Severt Young Bear and Joseph M. Marshall III
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For anyone searching for answers about native philosophy., September 7, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Mother Earth Spirituality: Native American Paths to Healing Ourselves and Our World (Religion and Spirituality) (Paperback)
I have read Ed McGaa's work and given it to many friends. It has gone from my hand to theirs, and from theirs to many others, including the sunday school at the Catholic Church in Elizabeth Colorado. The children their now have a much better understanding of Native people and their culture, they even rehearse Ed's prayer "Mother Earth, I seek to protect you", in Lakota.
It's hard to say where words may go once they are out and what effect they may have. I thank Ed for his time and effort, and commitment to bringing us all together.
A review of his work...Ed bridges the gap. He explains with clarity how his people think, about customs and ceremony. About how everyone is related and can benefit from Native Wisdom. He also teaches basic language which in itself helps to understand culture. I could go on, but the basic thing is that Ed teaches is truth for those who are seeking truth. If you are looking for entertainment with little concern of acuracy, he is not the author for you.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Secrets Unearthed. . ., January 1, 2003
By 
"jknsm" (Miami, FL USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Mother Earth Spirituality: Native American Paths to Healing Ourselves and Our World (Religion and Spirituality) (Paperback)
Finally someone with the courage to share about the Native Ceremonies to all colors. I was recommended this book by a Lakota friend of mine, and was truly impressed. While McGaa's writing style is a little more matter-of-factly than I would like, it shared very valuable information. . . Everything from an explanation of the Ceremonial Pipe, to Sun Dance as well as other wonderful ceremonies. Definately a great book for anyone interested in Native ceremonies, particularly the Lakota way.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good overview and introduction to Lakota spirituality., September 16, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Mother Earth Spirituality: Native American Paths to Healing Ourselves and Our World (Religion and Spirituality) (Paperback)
Ed McGaa, Eagle Man, has done a good job of discussing Lakota rituals and the holistic worldview that underlies them. The primary purpose of the book seems to be to make these rituals accessible to non-First Nations peoples. With all of the often justifiable outcry against the "cultural strip mining" commited by some within the New Age movement (I would love to mention names here but will restrain myself), I don't doubt that from some quarters he's going to catch some flack for writing this book...and for some of his opinions. Following the tradition of Black Elk, he believes that an Earth-centered spirituality should be available to everyone...and that it just might be what it takes to reverse the destructive tendencies of the modern world. I think the message is also, "don't let this stuff stay in your head" that is - an Earth-centered spirituality is to be lived and experienced...not just read about.
In addition to the presentation of Lakota spirituality, the discussion of Native America's contribution to political discourse and praxis...is almost worth the price of the book.
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