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Gift of the Dreamtime: Awakening to the Divinity of Trauma Paperback – July 19, 2012
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"Harrell draws you into the dreamtime as an expert novelist draws you into a great novel and shares with you her experiences and knowledge of the world beyond the veil from the time she was very young." -- Innerchange Magazine
"Her gift of sharing offers readers insight into how we can learn to understand those things that are beyond our control while gaining control of our own destiny." -- SageWoman
"How gifted any reader of this book will be to have shared in the learning experiences of others and perhaps, as I was, blessed to be placed on the path of their own healing journeys!" -- The Pagan Review
"Through engaging with the author's inner worlds and reading the guidelines for shamanic journeying that follow, readers are awakened to ancient tools for creating healing in their own lives." -- Life Challenges --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
From the Publisher
In a remarkable book that explores her own past as an incest survivor, her bouts with depression, and crippling inability to pursue her dreams, the author uses shamanic practices rooted in Native American, Celtic, and Aboriginal culture. She combines her personal journey with instructions for similar meditations to help the injured child in all of us look at the hurt, understand it in a spiritual context, and forgive both ourselves and others. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
S. Kelley Harrel is so honest, so open. She tells you all of her foibles along her path, her struggle to reach the place of wisdom her guides try to show her. She tells you everything, and brings you along her journey.
She lets you in to her most sacred of places, and without preaching, without over-embellishment, she tells you exactly how it was that she found peace, resolution. This is an excellent book, whether you're a survivor or not, whether you're pagan or shamanistically minded or not. It's an honest walk through the healing process, and I'm proud to recommend this book to you.
Dialogue with her guides reveals true expression of the victim so many of us have been and have experienced in others. "Why me?" she pushes at her guides with reference to her inner child victim as the reality of her dreamtime world shifts and turns around her with the literal blinking of an eye. One soon gets that it is not the questions but her incessant ranting of the question that is slowly unraveling. Even the pain and confused complection of victimhood is not going to stand much longer in the presence and face of Love. Without explicit warnings, one can feel the undoing of her fear and pain beginning to turn in the midst of the suspense in the relationship with the perpetrator. One can feel the author's transformation and wonder at it all. And in the middle of it, in the midst of rich graphical depictions of her dreamtime worlds, she is winking at you.
Through the journey Kelley shows and demonstrates that true healing and transformation of trauma and relationships comes through the experience that all the players in our trauma are also gifts of the Divine and that Love has always been present. It is one thing to read various spiritual teachers words of this so called "Reality". It is a far better thing to experience it. Kelley takes us there.
The story transforms traumatic childhood memories of abuse into an understanding of the healing process. Gift of the Dreamtime addresses the universal cry of "Why did this happen to me?" It read like a mystery to me, as piece by piece the spiritual truth behind a childhood trauma is retrieved. In a surprise twist, the ending awakens the main character to her purpose as a shamanic healer in this world. In showing how one person used the shamanic process to make sense of and heal trauma, this book shares one of the world's oldest healing traditions in a fun and exciting story.
Even if you're not into shamanic healing, this is a fairy tale story that keeps you reading to find out what happens next.
Harrell, a modern shamanic practitioner, offers up her story of how she used shamanic techniques to heal herself from the effects of childhood sexual abuse. She works within a first person narrative, using her words to illustrate her journeys to the Upper and Lower worlds to visit with guides and retrieve pieces of her soul. Rather than abstract descriptions of what "should" happen, she tells the story of her own experiences, both the good and the bad. A warning: while her descriptions of abuse are not incredibly graphic, they may be triggering for some people, so be prepared. There are techniques for healing in her story, but not without the price of facing the past.
I generally am not a fan of narrative shamanic texts, a common format in core shamanism/neoshamanism books. However, this one is an exception. I felt that, rather than trying to impress me with credentials and pidgin-English-speaking guides, Harrell simply wanted to offer up the solutions that helped her in the hopes of sharing healing with others. Hers is a humble story, and instead of 200 pages of ego-stroking and no meat, I got a lot of ideas for working with my own traumas; while I was never abused as a child, I've had my own traumas both as a child and an adult, and this book has planted a few seeds in my mind.
The book is not without its potential controversy. At one point Harrell writes about how one of her guides reveals that the reason she was raped was that she owed a debt from a previous life to her rapist. I know this made me look a bit askance, as I've seen New Agers take this idea to the extreme of saying that anything bad that happens to a person is caused by bad karma. However, due to the nature and quality of the book, I trust the author to be honest, and she never comes across as the least bit fanatical or off-balance.
Additionally, I would have liked to have seen more content. It seems that she mainly hit the highlights of her journey, and it's a little unclear how long it takes her to get from one section of the story to the next. Granted, she is revealing a very personal part of herself here, so it may be that she only tells what she's comfortable with. Still, I'd be curious as to some of the backstory, what happens inbetween the meetings with the various guides, and a timeline of when these journeys happened. The book as it is, though, progresses nicely, so even if she chooses to forever keep the rest under wraps, this is a worthy project.
Overall, I recommend this to those who have experienced trauma in their lives, as well as those who work with such people in a spiritual role, and want some good ideas for healing through shamanic techniques. It's not a huge how-to book, though there are some basic pieces of information at the end. Rather, it's one person's story of how she utilized these techniques to do some pretty serious healing on herself. It gives hope for those of us who sometimes feel that maybe we're not doing things right, or that perhaps there is no healing to be had.