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The Way of the Shaman Paperback – January 1, 1990

147 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0062503732 ISBN-10: 0062503731 Edition: 10 Anv

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Editorial Reviews


Wonderful, fascinating...Harner really knows what he’s talking about.” (Carlos Castaneda)

“An intimate and practical guide to the art of shamanic healing and the technology of the sacred. Michael Harner is not just an anthropologist who has studied shamanism; he is an authentic white shaman.” (Stanislav Grof, author of The Adventure of Self-Discovery)

“Harner has impeccable credentials, both as an academic and as a practicing shaman. Without doubt (since the death of Mircea Eliade) the world’s leading authority on shamanism.” (Nevill Drury, author of The Elements of Shamanism)

What Yogananda did for Hinduism and D.T. Suzuki did for Zen, Michael harner has done for shamanism. (Roger Walsh and Charles S. Grob, authors of Higher Wisdom)

About the Author

Michael Harner, Ph.D., has taught anthropology at various institutions, including the University of California at Berkeley, Columbia University, Yale University, and the New School in New York, and has practiced shamanism and shamanic healing since 1961 when he was initiated into Upper Amazonian shamanism. He is the founder of the Foundation for Shamanic Studies in Mill Valley, California.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne; 10 Anv edition (January 1, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062503731
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062503732
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (147 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #28,074 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

72 of 73 people found the following review helpful By LC1 on September 12, 2009
Format: Paperback
The Way of the Shaman is a good introduction to the teachings of Michael Harner, and a good introduction to shamanism in general.

I'm posting a review of this book, years after he inscribed a copy of this book to me, because of some of the ridiculous, negative comments some reviewers have written. Please be aware that, "Michael Harner received his anthropology Ph.D. in 1963 from the University of California, Berkeley, and has taught at various institutions, including UC Berkeley, Columbia University, Yale University, and the Graduate Faculty of the New School in New York, where he was chair of the anthropology department. He also served as co-chair of the anthropology section of the New York Academy of Sciences." Do people who trash his work think these credentials were made up? Do those critics think Harner made up the bases of those credentials?

Michael Harner is the most unguru of gurus I've ever met. To questions of, "How do I . . . What does this mean . . . Can I . . . I am I any good at this" or anything else you might ask, his only response, every time is "Go ask your power animal!!!" If you want to lean on him, or put him on a pedestal, he's not the guy for you.

In the "Way of the Shaman" (or in one of his workshops) he tells of how he started out life as an altar boy and almost immediately became an atheist. As an anthropologist studying shamanism in the jungles of South America, he pestered the shamans so much about what journeying was like, they told him to do a journey himself. Not only did he remember the journey, unusual it itself, he told his story to the nearest Americans he could find, a pair of fundamentalist Christians, "a cut above the average" missionary.
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171 of 182 people found the following review helpful By David Aquarius on March 29, 2000
Format: Paperback
Mr. Harner has taken a misunderstood and often misinterpreted subject and has written a very good book for those who have little to no experience with cultural shamanism. He has extensive experience with native shamen and tells of his adventures in a way that allows the reader to grasp the ecstatic methods of these priests. His is not the sum of all knowledge on shamanism and it can be seen as a condensed version, but this is still a very good book to begin with. His techniques are good enough to allow one to develop a shamanic connection from within themselves and their own culture. This book is NOT a rip-off of native practices. No one culture can claim to be the first shamen, everyone's ancestors practiced it at some point. For those who wish to journey, this book will guide you to your path and from there, you can fly.
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516 of 598 people found the following review helpful By wolf woman on July 15, 2006
Format: Paperback
I have been teaching Shamanic workshops, and practicing Shamanic healing for many years ( never charging a penny for my services).

I have been enraged by Harner"s book, and his money making workshops since I 1st read his book. I am an indigeneous person to the US but that is not how or why, I became a Shaman. All cultures, from all over the planet have had Shaman, who unfortunately dissapeared

for a reason I don't know. Shamans do not need outside stimuli to journey into Spirit World. It is used as an aid to help people relax so they can achieve a trance like state and let go of their fear of the unknown. ( One does not have to be A SHAMAN journey ).

The definition of a Shaman is " One who walks between the worlds

( or realities), an experienced Shaman can do this while doing something else. Harner, in this book makes a lot of statements concerning evil you might meet on a journey, such as beware of spiders

and insects. I have journeyed many hundreds of times and have never been harmed by any being I encountered, how could I be? I am in Spirit World, Spirit is not going to harm you no matter what form you see. I have NEVER used a mind altering substance to journey, some, especially the South American Shaman do, and again not all. Not all Shaman are alike, we do different tasks

assigned to us by Spirit. I do hands on healing, others do soul retrieval and so on. I know I'm jumping around I feel like I have so much to tell you. Here are my last 3 comments: after I had read this book by Harner I asked the Shaman I had apprenticed with for 4 years about the spider and insect and fanged being warnings he gives and her reply was simply: " Who is Michael Harner to limit Spirit". # 2, Shamanism never was, and is not now a Religion. Thirdly, don't believe something because it's in a book, research it to find what is real.
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192 of 228 people found the following review helpful By Makula Aulanchis on May 29, 2003
Format: Paperback
I think Harner's error is not that much in that he takes shamanic work out of native context, but that he puts people at danger by making them believe his sanitized teflon-wrapped package. If this is all day-dreaming - then it's no big deal, why can't suburbanites spend some time reconnecting with their subconsciousness?
If, on the other hand, we take this stuff for real - if there is an energy body, if there are worlds into which the energy body travels during the "altered states of consciousness", then the Harnerian method is not only irresponsible, it is downright dangereous. It takes decades to train an indigenous shaman precisely because these passageways into the astral and beyond are so tricky, its inhabitants so unpredictable and our mind so untrained and incapable of distinguishing between what is personal and what is impersonal. Any would-be "shaman" working out of his own personal space, or "subconsciousness" is asking for trouble.
I have, as the years go by, started to look at the Harner Enterprise (which he runs together with his wife) as a tremendous money-making machine. It is all rather shameless and it is perhaps no wonder that Harner himself is not being taken seriously anymore.
If you want to be a shaman, go into nature, pray to God, talk to your allies and ask them to send across your path a true teacher who will be devoted to your progress into this amazing Mystery. God ALWAYS answers when the plea comes from a pure, humble heart. I think the Harners lost that innocence necessary for contacting the spirit world in a wholesome and beneficial manner. Moreover, they have apparently never been trained in understanding the energy body and how it works during ASCs. That's why this book is unconvincing, unreliable and potentially dangereous.
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