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Magic of the Ordinary: Recovering the Shamanic in Judaism Paperback – Unabridged, January 10, 2003
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—Andrew Weil, M.D., author of Spontaneous Healing and Eating Well for Optimum Health
"Gershon Winkler’s brilliance shines a light on the buried shamanic practices of Judaism. Magic of the Ordinary is a treasure—I loved it and was deeply inspired by it."
—Sandra Ingerman, author of Soul Retrieval and Medicine for the Earth
“His refreshing translations of Biblical passages restore an elemental force to the Hebrew. His book Magic of the Ordinary is chock-full of extraordinary material from the Talmud, the Midrash, and the Zohar.”
—London Jewish Chronicle (December 26, 2003)
“Winkler’s picture of archaic Judaism diverges sharply from the contemporary image of the ‘Judeo-Christian tradition.’…By bringing to light the long-hidden teachings of Jewish shamanism, Winkler has opened a way for Jews to look within their own spiritual heritage for the shamanic teachings that previously seemed to be available only within other traditions. …Moreover, because Magic of the Ordinary serves to redefine the contemporary picture of aboriginal Judaism, this book may appeal to a more general readership, and it should be of interest to many students of religion and cross-cultural shamanism.”
—Roberta Lous, Shaman's Drum (Number 66)
"There’s an old Native American saying: ‘If it doesn’t grow corn, what good is it?’
Gershon Winkler grows corn. He's like a laughing Buddha or a Native American coyote trickster; passionate but not serious. He is the friend of Spider, Magpie, and Lizard. He lives with storms. [Magic of the Ordinary] is truly a masterful compendium of ancient Hebraic wisdom.”
—David Carson, Choctaw Elder, author of Crossing into Medicine Country and co-author of Medicine Cards: The Discovery of Power Through the Ways of Animals and Oracle: 2013
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
I have studied Buddhism a lot, and shamanic traditions a little, and have always found these other traditions to be so much more grounded in real human experience than the Judaism I was raised with. What Rabbi Winkler does is show how Judaism, at its core and in its origin, was just as grounded as these other paths, just as open and responsive to human experience in all its manifestations. Rabbi Winkler is revitalizing Judaism. I highly suggest this book as well as any other by him.
When he is being original, he even more interesting. Frankly, his interpretation of Ohr v'Choshek (the meaning of light and darkness) in Jewish mystical sources can most charitably be described as "strong." More bluntly, he turns the traditional mystical perspectives on light and darkness, unity and diversity, being and nothingness, completely inside-out. His interpretation also undermines much of Jewish tradition, both exoteric and esoteric, on messianism. I'd be curious to hear his thoughts on that. Still, it is provocative and compelling, and is well worth reading. I'd recommend strongly, in fact.
I don't see the majority of American middle-class Jews embracing shamanistic Judiasm, but this book will be interesting to anyone looking for compelling post-modern ways of being Jewish. It will be especially interesting to those who already know the sources and are looking to have their cherished assumptions shaken up a little. Fascinating.
Judaism is one among the Shamanic religions of the world. Rabbi Winkler demonstrates that "Jewish spirituality has less to do with religion and more to do with direct, open, ecstatic free experience of wonderment through creation" and that the Judaic spirit path is about "the importance of the Divine experience through the magic of living in continual awe." He also shows that "while aboriginal [Shamanic] spirituality in general has been tucked safely underground for centuries, it is experiencing an unprecedented resurrection in our own time."
The Jewish Shamanic tradition is about experiencing the so-called ordinary, mundane material existence as the carrier of the very mystery we expend so much of our life quest seeking in other more transcendental realms. Unknown to most, the ancient Jewish tradition teaches prolifically about the Four Directions and the medicine attributes of animals, plants,and minerals. The earth is sacred and all beings, including the stars and planets, are imbued with Divine consciousness.
Do not fool yourself into thinking that he has gone ahead and done a cheap combination and made up his own Native_American form of Judaism. Everything written in this book can be supported by such traditional texts as the Talmud, Tanach, Zohar and other books. This stuff is legitimate.
Many would never think of Judaism as being a Shamanistic religion. It used to be. Shamanistic religions are connected to the land. Judaism as practiced by the ancient Israelites was connected to the seasons and land of their kingdom. Being exiled away from their land has caused the Jewish people to lose their Shamanistic connection to the land and spirituality.
To find holiness or kedusha one need not astral travel to the heavenly realms in order to experience divinity. Divinity can be found in our every day lives right here in the earthly realm. In fact it is in the earthly realm that we are meant to find find God. Of course this has been long forgotten.
During their exile in Europe the Christian leaders oppressed those who followed shamanistic path. In fact if you were not Christian you would get killed or worse. As Shaman and witches and Jews were being persecuted the Jews silently shelved their mystical practices. Yet if one scours the Kabbalistic works and the Talmud carefully enough those mystical practices can be found.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I was raised in Conservative Judisum, but am now on a Shamanic Spiritual path. My path feel right, but I was a bit conflicted. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Mike Margolies
I expected to find some half-cocked new age spin on Judaism, something in the vein of the ever popular "eclectic" hybridizations of spirituality that allow people to dabble... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
Magic of the Ordinary has some interesting points. I found Winkler's descriptions of God very interesting. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Powwowdoctor