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on June 20, 2005
For those who have been searching for years for a copy of Caitlin and John Matthews' "The Western Way", omnibus edition, which was the compilation of the two prior western tradition magical works "The Native Tradition" and "The Hermetic Tradition", here is their definitive work revised, rewritten, and updated. The Matthews stand as two of the premier writers and practitioners of Western Tradition magic and native "shamanic" modalities, within a Celtic framework. Along with serious Western Tradition practitioners and writers such as Gareth Knight, who wrote the forward for their original works, and R. J. Stewart, who collaborated with John Matthews on quite a number of books, the Matthews have written an intriguing manual for practitioners, leading you on a journey to the Otherworlds, and leading you back safely.

As a shamanic practitioner trained in the Harner method, as well as a Druid with the Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids, I can assure you that the practical principles Caitlin and John Matthews instruct in this tome are well worth the time, energy, and effort of those serious about magical and shamanic work. "A rose of the West should not seek to bloom like a lotus of the East", as the pioneers of formalizing Western Tradition have said, referring of course to Dion Fortune, Christine Hartley, William Gray, Gareth Knight, Israel Regardie, and others. This is not to disparage Eastern mysticism at all, only indicates that Eastern mysticism and practice is geared for the Eastern mind. Many people of Western cultures study Eastern practices, unaware that within their own Western cultural heritage there exists a lineage of spiritual and mystical traditions that are every bit as effective and enduring as the Eastern traditions.

Drawing from the myths, stories, poetry, ancient writings, and resources, the Matthews provide ample background to substantiate a legacy of Western magical and native traditions left to us by the giants who have gone before us. The Eastern mind and psyche is more attuned to the stillness, the still center, and simply being, while the Western mind and psyche is better engaged in activities and interactions with beings who habitate the many Otherworlds, as well as with our own Higher Self, and with our guardians and guides. These interactions can range from various divination methods, intuition, automatic writing communications, augury, scrying, inspiration, or actual verbal, aural, or thought-exchange interactions with beings. One can access otherworlds and walk therein, at will, with one foot in each world, hence the title of the book.

Considering there are organizations of medical doctors and other health care professionals who are now actively studying and practicing shamanism and shamanic techniques, in the USA and elsewhere, what was once a small and eclectic group of indigenous practitioners around the world has blossomed into thousands of people from all walks of life, called to this type of work and exploration, for whatever reasons. This book by the Matthews, whether one is drawn to Celtic shamanism, traditions, or magic, or not, can only help to enrich one's understanding and experience of shamanism and magic.

The practical exercises that were the hallmark of the earlier books remain, with enriching and updating as needed, but the structure of the prior works remains intact. I kept my omnibus edition of "The Western Way" even though most of it is incorporated within "Walkers Between the Worlds", for sentimental reasons, because it was the first book I ever read that was such a "synchonious" experience for me, one of the "Ah-ha" moments of my life, that I cannot let it go. It served me well when I was called to assist my late mother in crossing over to the Summerlands, and I took her on a journey to the Underworld so that she wouldn't be afraid of passing over, and she found it beautiful. That was prior to the "Walkers Between The Worlds" edition. All the important material and exercises from "The Western Way" were kept in the Walkers Between The Worlds" book.

Gregg Braden, author and speaker, has said that Mayan and other indigenous teachings refer to this time in the world as the time of the "Walkers Between the Worlds", and this has some significance to the year 2012, perhaps as a time of increasing and accelerating Earth vibrations.
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VINE VOICEon September 14, 2004
This is one of the most valuable spiritual books that I have read in some time. The authors connect two of my primary topics of deep life interest- shamanism and the path of the magus in the Hermetic tradition. I mean, I've always sensed the connection, but I've encountered others that just didn't seem to get it. The authors make this connection- primarily through the classical mystery tradition of the western world. It is identified that the Hermetic tradition cannot exist without the foundation of the native shamanic tradition, while the shamanic tradition cannot progress without the projection of the Hermetic. One represents the roots, and the other the branches, of the Great Tree.

It was truly remarkable how page after page tied together my own interests, studies, and intuitions- it was almost like one long experience of high-level synchronicity. Of course, the forward and high praise by Gareth Knight should be enough to convince most knowledgeable readers that this book is the real thing.

You could do far worse than to make this book both your introduction, as well as, your primary text for the study of deep, intuitive, Gnostic, spirituality. I know that this book will be going into my permanent reference collection. I don't know how I missed the earlier edition.
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on April 29, 2005
I first read this many years ago under its previous title THE WESTERN WAY. This wonderful book, written by two who have travelled the path deeply, gave voice and clarity to my own vague spiritual yearning, and helped me begin a rich and rewarding journey of my own. I, and many in the West, have looked eastward to find a spirituality perceived lacking in the West. Yet, a beautiful, rich and coherent spirituality does indeed exist in Western culture. This book brought me home again, and stirred the analeptic memory of my soul.

Poetic, scholarly and practical, this book offers many rich and engaging practica for exploration, none of which are terribly difficult. However, approach them with respect; do not underestimate the power of these exercises to open the inner mind and heart.
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on July 17, 2007
This is one of the most comprehensive & thorough books I've ever read in the realm of alternative spirituality. It gives an excellent overview of all the main topics in both native/Pagan/earth-centered practice and alchemical/Hermetic/celestial practice. However, it took me almost 2 years to get through the whole book, as it is written very intelligently and requires much reflection to truly digest. Definitely not a Llewellyn-fluff book (although those have their place)! You will need to invest serious thought and time to fully understand & incorporate this book's concepts into your life. For this reason I wouldn't recommend it as one of your first alternative spirituality books; come back to it when you have studied awhile first. It will help answer your questions & fill in the gaps of earlier teachings. My favorite part are the Practices, which are like guided meditations that help bring the sometimes dry text to vibrant life.
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on September 1, 2006
I really enjoyed this book and agree with many of the other reviews- it was a well-written look into the Western Mysteries, and divides its time equally between the shaman path and the magus. What I really liked was that the author's emphasized that shamanistic traditions are not inferior to the "high magic" branches of western tradition: this distinction is key in actually fully understanding the traditions. Overall and in-depth and enjoyable read with some useful exercises as well!
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on January 27, 2009
I bought this book because of the effort towards synthesis the authors have made. I am looking for something in the vein of "The Occult" by Colin Wilson, but written from "the inside".

The authors have obviously read a lot and the bibliography at the end of the book is interesting. The style is fluid and gentle. I would like to point out that several times I was annoyed by spelling mistakes, specially in the names of people, like "Cordevero" for "Cordovero". Please correct this in following editions.

Regarding the contents, I would say that they are "mostly harmless", in the sense that nothing special is revealed and no new insights are discovered. I would say that the authors offend no-one with this book, which is difficult given the wide and ambitious goal they have chosen.

Some topics are weaker than others, but in general I would say that this book is a good choice for a general reader willing to understand what the modern revival of occultism is about and what kind of ideas are present in these groups.

However, it was not what I was looking for.

A warning: all the exercises in the book are of the "guided meditation" type.
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on March 20, 2013
A practical guide to Shamanism and the western Mystery Traditions. Gives a very good overview of the evolution from Clan Shaman to Magus and comes with lots of practical exercises. Written by experts in the field.
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on December 5, 2012
written well, informative, a very popular book among Wiccans. It also has good activities and meditations.
I understood traditions and rituals with more depth and reason. Well worth it.
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on June 19, 2013
I bought this book twice by mistake, but that's ok...it's still very informative and i used in my spiritual studies.
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on August 2, 2014
Great Deal even 'Greaterest' Book
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