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The Way of the Shaman [Paperback]

Michael Harner
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (157 customer reviews)

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Book Description

January 1, 1990 0062503731 978-0062503732 10 Anv

This classic on shamanism pioneered the modern shamanic renaissance. It is the foremost resource and reference on shamanism. Now, with a new introduction and a guide to current resources, anthropologist Michael Harner provides the definitive handbook on practical shamanism – what it is, where it came from, how you can participate.

"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."
STANILAV GROF, author of 'The Adventure Of Self Discovery'

"Harner has impeccable credentials, both as an academic and as a practising shaman. Without doubt (since the recent death of Mircea Eliade) the world's leading authority on shamanism."
NEVILL DRURY, author of 'The Elements of Shamanism'

Michael Harner, Ph.D., has practised shamanism and shamanic healing for more than a quarter of a century. He is the founder and director of the Foundation for Shamanic Studies in Norwalk, Connecticut.


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Editorial Reviews

Review

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.


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 (157 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #18,136 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews
84 of 85 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Michael Harner, the most un-guru of gurus I've ever met. September 12, 2009
By LC1
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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176 of 187 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Shamanism defined in an understandable way 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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534 of 622 people found the following review helpful
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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35 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Introduction August 3, 2006
By Ed
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book, recommended by a friend, was my initiation into the world of shamanism. I think Harner gives a great overall description of what shamanism is and where it comes from. There's no mystical, magical ramblings. It's very straighforward and based upon the research Michael Harner did personally as an anthropologist. He's taken the mystery out of shamanism, and presents it more as a science, or methodology.

I think it's sad that almost all the negative reviews of this book seem to be coming from angry or resentful "native" people who seem to have more of a personal issue with Harner than an objective opinion of this specific book. The claim that Harner is trying to create everyday shamans is a crock. He clearly does not present anything to lead the reader to this conclusion. From my understanding, he presents a method for the modern-day person to explore shamanism, incorporating traditions from many different parts of the world. Shamanism is not exclusive to, nor are the rights owned by, Native Americans. The core of this approach seems to be derived in large part from Siberian tradition. Either way, it's interesting to me that two negative reviewers both used the term "suburbanites" as a derogatory term aimed at those who study shamanism without being the blood descendant of a sacred medicine man or something. I don't know where this bitterness comes from, but it is in no way a fair assessment of the book we're supposed to be reviewing.

It seems to me that every single one of us is "indigenous". Unless some of you are from another planet...(which wouldn't surprise me in the least.) We should try to remember that spirituality belongs to no one.

p.s. This is a great book!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A must have for serious Shamanistic studies
If you are going to study Shamanism, then you need this book. No serious study is complete without it.
Published 2 days ago by G. Youngdeer
2.0 out of 5 stars Did provide a good insight into the ancestral practice of Shamanism
Not what I expected. Did provide a good insight into the ancestral practice of Shamanism. A bit too wordy.
Published 25 days ago by Connie Love
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Informative.
Great reference book for a class on Shaminism.
Published 29 days ago by Mary Hall Patrone
5.0 out of 5 stars Informative
Interesting subject, well written.
Published 1 month ago by gbloom19
5.0 out of 5 stars Quick service. Item exactly as described.
Quick service. Item exactly as described.
Published 2 months ago by Margaret E Wyche
5.0 out of 5 stars ... my course learning to be a Shaman and very happy with
I had to get this book as part of my course learning to be a Shaman and very happy with it
Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Good
Published 3 months ago by Quentin
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good read, a lot of wonderful information
A classic. Very good read, a lot of wonderful information.
Published 4 months ago by jennifer crawford
5.0 out of 5 stars Hailey Thompsom
Amazing book! I have read a lot books on Shahmanism and this was the best! Micheal Harner is an amazing author and could not have portrayed his expirences in a more vivid manor. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Hailey
4.0 out of 5 stars Well written, a new discovery.
Well written,a new discovery.
Published 5 months ago by Ronald Wahab
Search Customer Reviews

More About the Author

"What Yogananda did for Hinduism and D.T. Suzuki did for Zen, Michael Harner has done for shamanism, namely bring the tradition and its richness to Western awareness. Michael Harner is widely acknowledged as the world's foremost authority on shamanism and has had an enormous influence on both the academic and lay worlds," say Roger Walsh and Charles S. Grob, in their book "Higher Wisdom."

See complete bio on shamanism.org

The founder of the Foundation for Shamanic Studies, Dr. Michael Harner (Michael J. Harner) pioneered the introduction of shamanism and the shamanic drum journey to contemporary life and is recognized as the world leader in this movement. In 1980 the publication of his classic book "The Way of the Shaman" launched the worldwide shamanic renaissance.

The internationally eminent Swedish anthropologist Åke Hultkrantz wrote that Mircea Eliade and Michael Harner were the two great authors on shamanism. Eliade himself wrote that Michael Harner's works were stimulating and original.

In his half century of anthropological fieldwork, cross-cultural studies, experimental research, and firsthand experience, Michael Harner arrived at the core methods of shamans worldwide. The applicability of this core shamanism to contemporary Westerners has been substantiated by the experiences of his thousands of students. The experiential methods are simple, safe, and have been used successfully by them with positive life-changing results.

Honoring the oral tradition of indigenous shamans, for the last quarter of a century Dr. Harner has conveyed his shamanic knowledge first-hand through teaching and experiential work rather than through writing. Today he and his staff annually teach thousands of students internationally who, in turn, introduce thousands more to shamanism.

Michael Harner is not just an anthropologist who has studied shamanism; he is an authentic white shaman, observes the distinguished transpersonal psychologist Stanislav Grof. Dr. Harner began learning about shamanism in 1956-57 while studying with the Shuar (Jívaro) tribe of the Ecuadorian Amazon, and started practicing shamanism during his 1960-61 stay with the Conibo people of the Peruvian Amazon. He subsequently returned to the Shuar for additional practical training in shamanism. He became recognized as a shaman by the indigenous shamans with whom he worked, including ones belonging to the following peoples: the Conibo and Shuar (formerly Jívaro) in South America; the Coast Salish, Pomo, and Northern Paiute in western North America; the Inland Inuit and the Sami (formerly Lapps) in the Arctic; and the Tuvans of central Asia.

In Russia, assembled Siberian shamans of the Buriat people publicly declared Michael Harner a great shaman upon witnessing his shamanic healings in 1998 (the word, shaman, comes from Siberia). They also said he proved that one could do both science and shamanism.

Perhaps Dr. Harner's greatest contribution has been his pivotal role in bridging the worlds of indigenous shamanism and the contemporary West through his fieldwork and research, experimentation, writings, and original development of the core methods of shamanism. By introducing these methods to the West, he started the movement that is returning shamanism and shamanic healing to the spiritual life of peoples throughout the planet.

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. He left academia in 1987 in order to devote himself fulltime to shamanism. In 2003 he received an honorary doctorate in recognition of his achievements in shamanic studies. In 2009, he was honored by California Pacific Medical Center's Institute for Health & Healing with the "Pioneers in Integrative Medicine Award." He also received special academic recognition through the presentation of sessions dedicated to him at the 2009 annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association in Philadelphia. Three organizations of the AAA joined together to recognize him for his "pioneering work" in shamanism "as an academic and advocate" and for his role during the last forty years in the "exponential growth in anthropological studies of the importance and significance" of shamanism.

Complete bio for Michael Harner, plus links to articles and videos, can be found at shamanism.org, the website of the Foundation for Shamanic Studies.

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