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Shiva: The Wild God of Power and Ecstasy Paperback – September 14, 2004


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Inner Traditions; First Edition edition (September 14, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159477014X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594770142
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,039,436 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“An encyclopedic and highly inspiring account of Shiva.” (Franz-Theo Gottwald, Ph.D., philosopher and Indologist)

"This thorough, academic book will interest students of comparative religions, Eastern philosophies." (Kathy Heckler, New Age Retailer, Trends 2005 Vol. 19, No. 3)

“Wolf-Dieter Storl expertly traces the history of the lore of Shiva through the influences of invading cultures and religions, and relates a wide variety of seemingly diverse influences to Shiva’s story such as the Celtic Christian legend of the Holy Grail. As engaging and entertaining as he is informational, Storl opens the reader’s eyes to Hindu culture and religion as though one is a tourist traveling the land for the first time.” (Spirit of Change, July/August 2005)

“In Shiva, Storl creates a vibrant and comprehensive portrait of this omnipresent wild god.” (Spirit of Change, July/August 2005)

“An intimate portrait of Shiva, that most complex of Hindu Gods. Reading this book is like finding an oasis in the desert of monotheism.” (Claudia Mueller-Ebeling, Ph.D., and Christian Rätsch, Ph.D., coauthors of Shamanism and Tantra)

“Discusses the roots and the manifestations of Shiva, the original mystic, and his relevance to modern life in both the East and the West. This book will amuse, shock, and, most important, provoke readers to think about their own cherished conceptions of the world.” (John R. Baker, professor of anthropology and translator of The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Plants,)

From the Back Cover

EASTERN PHILOSOPHY / HINDUISM

“An intimate portrait of Shiva, that most complex of Hindu Gods. Reading this book is like finding an oasis in the desert of monotheism.”
--Claudia Mueller-Ebeling, Ph.D., and Christian Rätsch, Ph.D., coauthors of Shamanism and Tantra in the Himalayas and Witchcraft Medicine

“Discusses the roots and the manifestations of Shiva, the original mystic, and his relevance to modern life in both the East and the West. This book will amuse, shock, and, most important, provoke readers to think about their own cherished conceptions of the world.”
--John R. Baker, professor of anthropology and translator of The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Plants, Marijuana Medicine, and Plants of Love

“An encyclopedic and highly inspiring account of Shiva.”
--Franz-Theo Gottwald, Ph.D., philosopher and Indologist

To his devotees Shiva is the entire universe and the core of all beings. Hindu myth shows him appearing at the beginning of creation as a giant pillar of fire from which this world sprang forth. Yet he is also the most approachable of gods, for he is the lover of lovers and the devotee of his devotees.

Ethnologist Wolf-Dieter Storl was first captivated by Shiva when he was in India as a visiting scholar at Benares Hindu University. In Shiva: The Wild God of Power and Ecstasy he reveals the mythical world of Shiva as a study in contrasts: As the lord of dance Shiva looses himself in ecstatic abandon; with his consort Parvati he can make love for 10,000 years. Both men and women worship him for his ability to unite and balance masculine and feminine energies. But as the ascetic Shankar he sits in deep meditation, shunning women, and none dare disturb him lest he open his third eye and immolate the entire universe. Lord of intoxicants and poisons, Shiva is the keeper of secret occult knowledge and powers, for which he is worshipped by yogis and demons alike. Shiva dances both the joy of being and the dance of doom--but in every aspect he breaks through the false ego to reveal the true self lying within. This, Storl demonstrates through numerous stories and myths, is Shiva’s true power. In addition, Storl explores the relationship of this multidimensional god to contemporary culture, Tantra, and the dualistic religions of the West.

WOLF-DIETER STORL, Ph.D., is a cultural anthropologist and ethnobotanist who has taught at Kent State University as well as in Vienna, Berne, and Benares. He is coauthor of Witchcraft Medicine and has written a number of books on indigenous culture and ethnobotany. He lives in Allgäu, Germany.

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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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Very easy to read, great info on words and history.
P. Morton
You wont see a Indian write a books on Jewish or Christian beliefs which basically should convey how this should book be viewed.
Shivramiah Vijay
I don't want to have to evaluate every little thing I'm reading.
Della

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By L. Berger on October 10, 2004
Format: Paperback
This book brings to life many of the stories of the Hindu god Shiva in an easy-to-read (no dry academia here) yet highly informative romp from the creation of mankind to the intoxicating bliss of life on Mt Kailash. It also eloquently relates many themes to European mythology and shamanism. This makes this book an excellent read for those already familiar with Shiva as well as a great introduction for those who are not. I highly recommend it!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Della on April 11, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've read three-quarters of this book and am not sure it's worth reading the rest.

First of all, let me say that it's obvious that Storl is very fond of his subject. His passion for the topic shines through in his writing. The book is filled with really great black-and-white ink drawings to break up the text, and the book also includes some glossy, full-color photos.

But I was expecting a work of scholarship--after all, Storl holds a PHD and cites a good amount of sources--and have found myself doubting the text.

As this is a book of comparative mythology, I wasn't expecting a ground-breaking, mind-bending work. Comparative mythology has a whole slew of problems that can trip up even the most sagacious. And that's one of the biggest problems with Shiva: The Wild God of Power and Ecstasy. The comparsions get out of control. Early in the book, Storl falls into the "Everything is a Phallus" Syndrome, which is all-too common in comparative mythology (he moves past this, thankfully). I question his labeling of Shiva as a "shaman". Taken in the context of his culture, I'm not seeing much of a shaman. From an outsider's perspective, possibly.

It would have been nice if Storl had cited his sources when he claimed that Eostre has a chariot pulled by rabbits. There were several places where I wish he'd cited.

At one point, Storl passed off a story as traditionally Indian that I'm pretty sure is actually European in origin.

Storl has a habit of referring to Neolithic cults, especially those of the "Earth Mother". The scholarship around these cults is doubtful, and I'm not comfortable with how certain Storl sounded when writing about them.

Storl called the yoga danda a magic staff. The yoga danda is not a magic staff.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By P. Morton on October 1, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Very easy to read, great info on words and history. Fun drawings and stories.
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By Damien Francois on March 15, 2014
Format: Paperback
I've read the book (Germqn original) and think it is great. I'm myself writing on Shiva and have found Storl's book an immense source of knowledge. Religion, philosophy, myth, all these things need to be investigated by writers with a personality- not by science...
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By P&KForever on August 28, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Enjoyed parts of it, but other parts were autobiographical. Not sourced well enough for me. The lower the cost, the more of a pick up it would be, but not top rate material for either pleasure or scholarship.
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By Alan Hughes on May 18, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It does talk some about Shiva, which I half way believe are actual Hindu beliefs, but most of the book is just strange ramblings of this guy's personal beliefs on basically the evolution of religion or what he thinks early man must have been thinking when he first discovered fire. He talks more about non-Hindu beliefs than he actually does about Shiva or Hinduism in general.
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