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The Straight Path of the Spirit: Ancestral Wisdom and Healing Traditions in Fiji Paperback – April 1, 1999
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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
“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.”
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.
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›