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on June 30, 2015
Look through the shaman's door into her/his world...even if only from the temporary view afforded a tourist. Your tour guide will be the psychologist author-who comes with a good set of credentials. Don't worry, you won't need to leave a trail of bread crumbs to find your way back out through the door. Your psychologist/guide will see to that. Honestly though this book is an interesting insightful guide for anyone interested in an integrated synthesis of East/West/mythology/shamanism and contemporary American culture. Im glad I read it!
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on October 27, 2014
Great book! Fast shipping.
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on September 9, 2009
Rather than focusing on shamanism as such, Larsen writes about the 'doorway,' which he identifies as the mythic imagination. Much of the book will will be familiar to those who have read the likes of Joseph Campbell, M. Eliade and C. G. Jung. The part I found most helpful is on Eastern religious practices. With an Indian teacher Larsen did yoga and meditation for three and a half hours each day. He expected to have more energy, but found he had less. When he had psychic upheavals his teacher could not help him. Larsen observes that Eastern teachings usually say how hard it is to subdue the 'monkey' mind. The mind is a living entity that does not wish to be eliminated. Larsen notes that Westerners are 'eternal seekers of experience: adventurers, not renouncers.' He also questions techniques of sensory deprivation, for they can lead to anxiety, delusions and compulsive fantasies. Paths that deny the self and the world, and espouse nothingness, are life denying. Larsen is in favour of working with the psyche, not obliterating it. Westerners who have tried Eastern practices and found them wanting will gain from Larsen's ideas.
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on August 29, 2013
this is one of the most informative books I've read concerning the history of shamanism, mythology, and the dawn of orthodox religion. I recommend it to anyone interested in the subject matter.
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on June 23, 2000
Having read it some time ago, it is with extreme pleasure that I make use of this oportunity to review such a broad-spanning, extensively researched book. I recommend it to all of those which have interests in the subject of Shamanism or as an, extremely enticing and didactic, first book on the matter. I have to thank Stephen Larsen for enabling me to write that, if properly undertaken, "The Shaman's Doorway: Opening Imagination to Power and Myth" may become a traveled personal path, bringing its' reader to the gateway of a spiritual tomorrow.
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on November 29, 2006
This book is useful for creative artists- especially performers who write their own material. It gives concrete and practical information to those looking for alternative methods of sourcing material that is both personal and universal. I use it as a textbook and recommend it frequently.
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on July 1, 2001
This book, as a blend of the contemporary subdivisions of anthropology, psychology, and religion, suffers greatly from an all too common error for such trans-disciplinary writings. Simply put, the author may know his anthropology (and I'm not even sure about that, not being an anthropologist myself), but has only a rudimentary grasp of psychology and certain Eastern religions. The end result is something like what might happen if an electronics expert with only a basic knowledge of metallurgy and ship-building attempted to build a modern battleship. The ship simply won't float. His frequent use of Jungian concepts to support his thesis ignores the fact that Jungian psychology is all but dead and buried (it may make for interesting reading, but has been experimentally and pragmatically supplanted by many other, more viable, theoretical approaches in psychology). His understanding of Eastern practices like Zen Buddhism and yoga is sadly misinformed--He may have studied yoga for a few years, and dabbled in Zen, but his descriptions of the goal of these approaches, the nature of enlightenment, and their supposed dangers clearly indicate that he didn't progress much in his practice (and his equation of Zen consciousness with the rational formulations and pseudo-objective detachments of the scientist is laughable). No historical account of the shaman is presented in the book either. I was originally attracted to this book by Joseph Campbell's praise of it as an excellent introductory text for shamansism. Unfortunately, its abuses of credible psychology and the nature of Eastern religions like Zen Buddhism make it a harmful exercise in fantasy.
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