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Riding Windhorses: A Journey into the Heart of Mongolian Shamanism Paperback – March 1, 2000
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"Sarangerel presents a complete guide to Siberian and Mongolian shamanism. An accessible, comprehensive, and important introduction to Mongolian and Siberian shamanic traditions." (Dennis William Hauck, New Age Retailer)
"Undoubtedly one of the best books on contemporary shamanism in print today. Anyone interested in a vivid first-person account of the renewal of an ancient native culture and its relevance to twenty-first-century people will find this book a must read." (NorthwindVisions.com)
"There is a feeling in this book of seriousness, of
experience . . ." (Widdershins, Cup of Wonder Magazine)
"Sarangerel includes many photographs and illustrations of the rituals and accoutrements used in ceremonies. There are many meditation techniques and mind training ceremonies included. I highly recommend Riding Windhorses to any student of shamanic studies and would-be shamans. There is practical information, which if followed carefully will allow you to awaken your own inner shaman." (Lesley Crossingham, New Dawn, No. 114, May-June 2009)
"It is an informed and down-to-earth introduction to the shamans' earth-centered religion." (Publishers Weekly, May 15, 2000)
"Fascinating reading. An interesting book that gives a good introduction to this fascinating and important shamanic tradition." (Sacred Hoop)
From the Back Cover
In traditional Mongolian-Buryat culture, shamans play an important role maintaining the tegsh, the “balance” of the community. They counsel a path of moderation in one’s actions and reverence for the natural world, which they view as mother to humanity. Mongolians believe that if natural resources are taken without thanking the spirits for what they have given, those resources will not be replaced. Unlike many other cultures whose shamanic traditions were undermined by modern civilization, shamans in the remote areas of southern Siberia and Mongolia are still the guardians of the environment, the community, and the natural order.
Riding Windhorses is the first book written on Mongolian and Siberian shamanism by a shaman trained in that tradition. A thorough introduction to Mongolian/Siberian shamanic beliefs and practices, it includes working knowledge of the basic rituals and various healing and divination techniques. Many of the rituals and beliefs described here have never been published and are the direct teachings of the author’s own shaman mentors.
SARANGEREL, which means Moonlight in Buryat, was trained in the traditional Mongolian and Buryat shamanic traditions by native teachers who are free to practice again following the collapse of the Soviet Union. She was the foreign outreach representative of the Golomt Center for Shamanist Studies and the Mongolian Shamans’ Association. Born in the United States after her family had been forced to flee Siberia following the Russian Revolution in 1917, she returned to her ancestral homeland in the Tunken region of southern Siberia in 1991 to rediscover the shamanic knowledge of her ancestors.
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I think it is hard for Westerners to take Shamanism seriously, and I know I mentally dismissed it out of hand, along with Carlos Castaneda back in the day, when I first set out on this search. I think it helped me tremendously to have a solid grounding in Zen practice before reading this book. I sense these forces are not to be taken lightly, nor to be played with, and especially not to be abused for selfish purposes. That was uppermost in my mind when I read Sarangerel's instructions for undertaking the journey which would enable one to enter into the world of Shamanism. "First, do no harm." I would treat this book with great respect if you do not have some sort of prior training in a spiritual discipline.
Sarangerel was clear about why she wrote this work: the Soviets had done their best to destroy Shamanism, and after the destruction they wrought, she felt it was necessary to record the teachings of her ancestors before it was lost.
After reading this, I find myself interested in searching for a competent guide for further exploration into self-development on this path.
That said, there is nothing wrong with the information in the book. It has a glossary, end notes and bibliography, and the author has some first-hand experience--which she seldom shares with the reader. The book is flat and uninspiring but useful, especially the information about the three souls that correspond with the upper, middle and lower worlds.
The rituals and ceremonies are simple and could be performed by just about anyone.
Chapter 6 deals with assorted forms of diviniation.
The book is clearly written and concise; however; the author uses terms used by the Mongolian Shamans throughout the book, and in a few places; this is tiring and tedious.
My only real complaint deals with page 91 "A more potent hallucinogen, the mukhomar mushroom has been connected with Siberian and Mongolian shamanism from ancient times." (In my opinion; hallucinogenics are NOT needed, and NOT recommended.)
Wah doh Ogedoda (We give thanks Great Spirit)
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