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The Gift of Life: Female Spirituality and Healing in Northern Peru (Studies in Modern German Literature) Paperback – March 1, 1998
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"Glass-Coffin's fully contextualized discussion . . . provides much illuminating material . . . [she] has contributed significantly to the discipline's ongoing conversation about our ontological and epistemological foundations."
"The Gift of Life" is a sensitive and insightful examination . . . provideÝing¨ considerable ethnographic detail on healers and healing . . .
Glass-Coffins fully contextualized discussion . . . provides much illuminating material . . . Ýshe¨ has contributed significantly to the disciplines ongoing conversation about our ontological and epistemological foundations.
a"The Gift of Life" is a sensitive and insightful examination . . . provide[ing] considerable ethnographic detail on healers and healing . . ."
aGlass-Coffin's fully contextualized discussion . . . provides much illuminating material . . . [she] has contributed significantly to the discipline's ongoing conversation about our ontological and epistemological foundations."
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This remarkable work of anthropology breaks new ground in the study of Latin American female shamanism.
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Glass-Coffin's book will provide a great deal of insight for anyone interested in healing traditions or South American history. Although Post-conquest influences have mutated the expression of native spirituality, they did not completely eradicate time honored practices.
Bonnie Glass-Coffin shares the stories from five female curanderas (shamans) she met with between April 1988 and September 1989. Her extraordinary book, THE GIFT OF LIFE, describes the daily life of these female curanderas and the story of how they became healers, and includes black and white photographs of their mesas (curing altars) and healing herbs (plants such as the San Pedro cactus). Glass-Coffin's background in anthropology and her accounts of her experiences living in Peru as she grew up give this book a unique feeling of personal relevance and social perspective.
I was impressed that THE GIFT OF LIFE does not shy away from describing the ways curanderas have used their spiritual powers on some occasions for sorcery. Glass-Coffin describes "dano" as intended harm by sorcery, and tells stories and includes pictures of how Peruvians have discovered and dealt with the harmful magic of others. She also describes some of the differences between male and female healers in Peru -- such as the way female curanderas tend to involve patients more directly in their healing. I was also impressed that Glass-Coffin described her own personal involvement being healed by curanderas, giving this book tremendous warmth. The first-hand accounts of what it feels like to suffer as the recipient of a dano help the reader better understand the way our thoughts and feelings affect one another.
I give this book my highest recommendation to anyone who is interested in ancient traditional ways of healing, wishes to know what is unique about women healers, and is intrigued by reading stories about how our thoughts and feelings affect others.