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Coyote Medicine: Lessons from Native American Healing Paperback – August 26, 1998

4.7 out of 5 stars 43 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

With all the recent books on Native American healing and numerous accounts of how physicians are combining both alternative and traditional medicine, librarians might think there is no room for another. But they would be wrong if they did not add this title to their collection. Mehl-Madonna, a "half-breed Cherokees Injun," was only 21 when he graduated from Stanford University's medical school in the mid 1970s. Originally planning to go into family practice and psychiatry, where he could use his knowledge of Native American healing gleaned from his grandparents, he was either thrown out of or resigned from three different residency programs because he could not hold his tongue about what he often thought of as modern medicine. He considered giving up orthodox medicine but finally completed his residency. All readers, from those with a casual interest in Native American healing to health providers who want to learn more about alternative medicine, will enjoy and learn from this book. Recommended for most collections.?Natalie Kupferberg, Ferris State Univ. Lib., Big Rapids, Mich.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

In Native American traditions, coyotes are survivors. Half Cherokee, Mehl-Madrona is certainly a survivor, too. Here he describes his twin journeys through the worlds of medicine and of the spirit. His medical education gave him the background he needed to practice regular medicine, but he failed to complete several residencies in internal medicine and psychiatry, for his fascination with Native American healing, which, often in long metaphorical stories, emphasizes the spiritual aspects of life, made it difficult for him to knuckle under to the bureaucratic, overly mechanical responses of modern medicine. Some of the most moving and illuminating parts of his story are those in which he describes, in detail, the sweat lodge and other Native American healing ceremonies. Several shamans, whom he depicts as personalities as well as carriers of tradition, helped teach him aspects of Native American medicine, and he finally completed his residency and wound up in Hawaii, a practitioner and teacher of both types of medicine. William Beatty --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone; 1 edition (August 26, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684839970
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684839974
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #166,830 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This book blew me away. I have reread much of it so many times and bought multiple copies for friends. I have filled the margins of my copy with notes and filled notebooks with essays and thoughts inspired by Dr. Mehl-Madrona's book. It is nothing short of miraculous itself, in addition to describing medical miracles and how they are brought about by spiritual intervention and Native American healing.
A child prodigy, Lewis Mehl-Madrona hitchhiked to a local college while still in high school, read philosophy science voraciously and was the youngest peacetime graduate of Stanford Medical School. The more impressive since his childhood was at times difficult.
At medical school, Dr. Mehl-Madrona became interested in shamanic traditions and attended some sweat lodge and tipi ceremonies. Here he encountered otherwordly phenomena such as blue light, sparks, sensorial stimulation and miracle cures in cases that were deemed too far gone by western doctors. Most importantly, Dr. Mehl-Madrona learned how shamans talked to patients, asked questions about their families and lives and spent long periods of time with them. The author learned that shamans tap into the inner healer of the patient, and consider themselves only partially responsible for any cure.
At the same time, Dr. Mehl-Madrona was encountering negligent and dehumanizing healing practices in his western medical pursuits. A few spine-chilling tales display the callousness and arrogance that exists in some hospitals and clinics. One example: two obstetricians made a bet concerning the fastest C-Section birth and the winner, very triumphant at seventeen minutes, accidentally tied something shut in the woman's internal organs. It was fixed and the woman even wrote a letter of thanks to the hospital!
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Format: Paperback
Coyote has always been a special animal to me, so the title jumped out at me. The two feathers and physician's symbol on the cover present a beautiful balance. The physician's symbol has the twin serpents and the two wings of the one. In the background is the four, the Mystery.
Lewis' experiences are related in an interwoven manner. He rushes through life in the quest for medical expertise and validation. In doing so, he trips himself into bouts with infinity as his beautiful plans fall through, day-by-day, year-by-year. However, his rapidly depleted physical/mental being is slowly but surely filling from the inside out. The book is a wonderful, candid sharing of one human's journey to clarify his purpose, his vocation, and to realize such.
He seems like a powerless pawn at times. Have you felt that way? I have. It takes courage to choose the walk toward balance with a fellow being. Lewis had to learn the way of the warrior to survive his path as a healer.
The sweat lodge accounts are beautifully done. I felt it better than any other accounts I have read. Although I have not participated in a lodge, I have experienced years of "spirit stuff". He is talking from experience. Lewis tells us without violating the trust of his friends, manifested or otherwise.
The visions he describes are direct accounts, rather than attempts to relay deep knowings into a form the reader may understand. Visions come in dreams, in rituals, in waking, everyday consciousness, you name it. If we need it and are open to input, we will receive guidance. A vision is experiential, so there is no way to relay the richness and life of such an experience.
Ya gotta walk the walk--it's the only way.
I laughed pretty good at his experience learning to talk with the desert.
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Format: Paperback
This book is a well written merging of two subjects. The first is a personal sharing of Lewis Mehl-Madrona's upbringing and life experience as a half N.A. Native, his pursuit of a medical degree and specialty and his increasing disillusionment with the "science" of medicine as it is now widely practiced. The second is about Lewis' discovery of N.A. Native spirituality and shamani sm. He leads us on a winding path of discovery that introduces us to the intriguing characters who use shamanism to heal others, often while their own lives are in disarray, to those who sought healing and perhaps most importantly, to the spirits who assisted in the ceremonies. While pursuing this path of curing the individual, rather than the symptom, it seems that Lewis will lose site of his original goal to obtain his medical speciality. But, as so often occurs, as he helps others to heal, the path circles around to encompass his own needs and he completes his original path, a more well-rounded and enlightened human. More capable of understanding. More capable of giving what is really required. I found the writing to be powerful, the personal drama riveting and the glimpse into the ceremonies, symbolism and spiritualism of the N.A. shaman both moving and educational. After all these years of hearing the stories shared by N.A. natives, but not really understanding, I finally "got it". This book slaked a thirst I didn't know I had. Lewis not only shared his story but acted as a teacher and I know that I've grown as a result. I highly recommend it and hope that we'll hear more from this writer.
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