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Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Rough former library book. Red remainder mark visible on spine, appears to be permanent marker. Multiple library marks and stickers. This book shows heavy, obvious shelf wear. This book shows moderate, obvious reading wear. Great to read, NOT ideal to give as a gift or to show in a collection.
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Fire in the Head: Shamanism and the Celtic Spirit Paperback – May 14, 1993

4.1 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"An engrossing, intelligent, and shamanically well-informed work that is an important gift to all those Westerners seeking a knowledge of Celtic shamanism."-- Michael Harner, Ph.D., author of "The Way of the Shaman"An important and fascinating work on Celtic shamanism. Highly recommended."-- Serge Kahili King, author of "Urban Shaman"A fascinating and entertaining study ... [illuminating] glimpses of an original Celtic shamanism that appears in British and Irish folklore and liteary remains. "Fire in the Head" also offers an account of Celtic supernaturalism in general, and unveils the mysterious background of certain folk heroes, such as Robin Hood."-- ?ke Hultkrantz, author of "Native Religions of North America"A remarkable exploration of shamanism [using] cross-cultural myths to explain the history and roots of the Celtic spirit."-- Sandra Ingerman, author of "Soul Retrieval: Mending the Fragmented Self

About the Author

Tom Cowan is the author of How to Tap Into Your Own Genius and the coauthor of Power of the Witch and Love Magic.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne; 1st edition (May 14, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062501747
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062501745
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #353,669 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
It has been nearly ten years now since Fire in the Head: Shamanism and the Celtic Spirit was released. Ten years. That is a very long time for readers to encounter a number of other books on Celtic traditions, shamanism, and Celtic spirituality in general. However, if we track back to 1993 when this book was first released we will quickly see that at that time there really had not been any sort of exhaustive study of the shamanic archetype within the Celtic traditions--which Fire in the Head: Shamanism and the Celtic Spirit clearly is.
Others who have reviewed this book and offered a less than gleaming assessment of the book are undoubtedly people who are seeking either more of a hands-on, experiential, or practical book on shamanic techniques (see Cowan's Shamanism As A Spiritual Practice for Daily Life), or something with a more classical scholarly 'feel' to it (see F. Marian McNeill's, The Silver Bough, W.Y.Evans-Wentz' The Fairy Faith in Celtic Countries, or Celtic Heritage by the Rees'). However, for an overall introduction to the numinous power and energy of the shamanic archetype within the primal Celtic traditions Fire in the Head, even after ten years, is still the best introduction. It is a wide-sweeping flight into the themes and topics, devoid of the particularities of personal cosmology one sees in so many other Celtic books. Cowan gets out of the way so that readers can have their own experience and make their own assumptions. Certainly, once a person has read this it is time to read such works as Jean Markele's The Druids, Caitlin and John Matthews' The Encyclopaedia of Celtic Wisdom, etc., but, again, for an introduction to the core elements of primal Irish, Welsh, and Scottish animisitic spirituality this is still the best.
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Format: Paperback
On my shelf of shamanist titles, this one sits prominently figured. Cowan presents the traditional fantastic experiences of the shaman in an amazingly receivable framework. His experience of archetypes in well-known myths and legends opens one to the ability to read all things symbolically, thus, as the dynamic spiritual presences that they are. To that end I regard Cowan as a shapeshifter of symbols, not an interpreter of them. His telling of olde tales connects their spirit with a modern audience.

In this book his love and connection to the Celtic path is evident, though it is not necessarily rooted in what we know of Celtic history, itself. I feel it is important to make that distinction, as Cowan is cultivating the opening of the shamanic experience of metaphor in a Celtic context. He is not a Reconstructionist, thus this work offers, rather, an experiential opportunity in a Celtic framework.
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Format: Paperback
I first became interested in shamanism after reading books by core-shamanic practioners Michael Harner and Sandra Ingerman. While these books described a way of relating to and healing with the natural world that I have always longed for, my heart yearned for a practice more connected with my long-forgotten European ancestry. Soon I found this book, which addresses the issues of recovering native European Celtic traditions. I agree that it's a wonderful introduction to Celtic mysticism and spirituality. Cowan covers a wide variety of topics to "pull" from and trigger remembrance. Regarding the witchcraft issue, black and white magic has been a part of every native tradition since the beginning of time. Certainly the inappropriate use of magic figures prominently in our collective soul wounds, and needs to be considered.
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Format: Paperback
Tom Cowan is lauded in shamanic circles for this book. It is well documented and integrates shamanism with the practices of the "old folk". He makes the old tales and techniques accessible once again. A great storyteller. Goes one step further to provide ways for modern shamanic practitioners to reconnect to their heritage. Definitely fills a place of longing for us Celtic folk in North America.
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By A Customer on August 30, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book does a very good job in outlining the Shamanic experience and where this mindset intersects (quite strongly) with Celtic ways. The parallels are brought out strongly and the progression of the book is nearly flawless. The book does an execellent job is emphasizing that the demystification we are suffering from is addressed nicely by aspects of both Shamanism and Celtic spirituality. If the book was consistent in its approach it would have deserved five stars.
The main problem I have with this book is that the author spends too much time on being an apologist (or promoter) for witchcraft and magic. (Check the authors other books and you will see why this is the case.) Certainly aspects of wicca and witchcraft in general are etched into Celtic myth and history. But the authors own biases bring this area up to a level not fitting with the subject of this book. Most of the chapter on 'The Soul of Nature' brings out details of witchcraft generally not supportive of the main thesis. More than occasional references to the tarot, magic, and other mystical/occult topics off subject leave the reader wondering why so much time is spent on things outside the universal/traditional shamanic experience.
A worthwhile and almost required reading for anyone interested in Shamanism and Celtic spirituality. The noted flaws keep the book from being an indispensable and serious academic contribution to the subject.
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