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Comment: The item shows wear from consistent use, but it remains in good condition and works perfectly. All pages and cover are intact (including the dust cover, if applicable). Spine may show signs of wear. Pages may include limited notes and highlighting. May include "From the library of" labels.
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The Straight Path of the Spirit: Ancestral Wisdom and Healing Traditions in Fiji Paperback – April 1, 1999

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"His presentation is in the academic style of the psychologist and anthroplogist that he is, yet he makes the book readable and engaging." (American Herb Association, Vol 16:4)

This is no New-Age vapor, but a sensitive, penetrating insight into a deeply mysterious aspect of humanity that has no parallel in Western culture. Katz was blessed by the Fijians, and imparts his blessing to us." (Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, author of The Harmless People and Reindeer Moon)

From the Back Cover

INDIGENOUS CULTURES / SPIRITUALITY

“An intimate, fascinating, and inspiring account of an ancient way of healing.”
--Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence

“This is no New-Age vapor, but a sensitive, penetrating insight into a deeply mysterious aspect of humanity that has no parallel in Western culture. Katz was blessed by the Fijians, and imparts his blessing to us.”
--Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, author of The Hidden Life of Dogs

“An adventure in spiritual exploration. . . . deserves to become a reprinted classic for anthropology courses.”
--American Anthropologist

For two years Richard Katz, a Harvard-trained clinical psychologist and anthropologist, lived in a remote island community in Fiji, working with spiritual healers. At the foundation of their healing, he discovered, was the concept of the straight path, a journey through life whose truth is revealed only to the extent that it is searched for with honesty and faith. The straight path emphasizes the spiritual dimension of health and the ceremonial use of kava, known to the Fijians as yaqona. But while apprenticing himself to healers, Katz was drawn into an increasingly suspenseful drama. Unexplained deaths, rumors and suspicions, and the intrusion of a zealous evangelist rocked the village and revealed the dangerous alternative to the straight path: the misuse of power that some call witchcraft.

As well as being the only in-depth study of the healing and spiritual aspects of kava in its original cultural context, The Straight Path of the Spirit is an engrossing story of indigenous healers and a dramatic account of cultures in collision. Through the story of his own self-transformation, Katz reveals not only those aspects of life essential for the Fijians as they struggle to maintain their identity, but also what is of importance to all of us who seek to retain our humanity.

RICHARD KATZ, Ph.D., has worked with traditional healing systems throughout the world. After teaching at Harvard for nearly twenty years, Katz is now a professor at the Saskatchewan Indian Federated College in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. He is the coauthor of Healing Makes Our Hearts Happy and the author of Boiling Energy.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Park Street Press; Original ed. edition (March 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0892817674
  • ISBN-13: 978-0892817672
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,339,213 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By John Anderson on April 1, 2006
Format: Paperback
Through the process of reading The Straight Path, one cannot help but notice the degree to which Katz becomes increasingly assimilated into Fijian culture. Obviously, such full immersion as that represented by this book is beneficial if one is to ever "truly" understand another culture, especially in terms of dialogical hermeneutics. In fact Katz's experience, in many ways, reflects the ultimate embodiment of dialogical hermeneutics, a type of "research" where the ethnographer attempts to understand another culture from that other culture's perspective, utilizing a methodology based on discourse. Of course, the ideal way to achieve this understanding is to actually "experience" that culture, seeing it through unfiltered eyes. The problem is that one cannot ever completely succeed in this objective because one cannot ever fully separate his or her cultural views from his or her cultural background. In short, one's ideas will always be shaped according to one's own experiences. However, Katz comes close -- very close.
Accordingly, reading The Straight Path almost ineluctably leads the readers to one central question: How much can a foreigner actually "become" another culture? Unfortunately, an empirical answer to this question is more or less impossible to produce, but we can, with certainty, assert that immersion can lead to profound and enduring personal recodings of thoughts and culture. In other words, a person absolutely can, as Katz demonstrates, incorporate certain essences of a foreign culture into his or her horizon of understanding.
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By A Customer on November 29, 2002
Format: Paperback
Katz offers much compassion and insight into both the Fijian healing arts as well as the Fijian soul. Great reading for anyone interested in learning more about Fiji. The connection between the land and the culture is especially valuable, since it shows the need for tribal land ownership and sustainability. This very concept is vital for the survival of the Fijians.
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