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The Wind Is My Mother: The Life and Teachings of a Native American Shaman Paperback – February 1, 1998
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From Publishers Weekly
Bear Heart, a full-blooded Muskogee Creek Indian and one of the last "trained" Medicine Men, shares this knowledge, combining it with his more formal, graduate degree in psychology to build a bridge between Native American and modern spirituality. Categorized as an autobiography, the book is nevertheless constructed episodically rather than chronologically, resulting in a lack of fluidity that may distract some readers. The first section describes Bear Heart's family, their beliefs and the calling and training he received to be a medicine man. In the second section, great truths of Native American beliefs and Christianity find parallels. Section three further describes the relationship of human beings to each other, to nature and to the Great Being; the importance of the Sacred Pipe; and the purposes of vision quests. It concludes with this question: "The word 'memorial' does not indicate that someone has died. It symbolizes that someone has lived. What is going to be the living memorial that you're going to leave behind?"
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Kirkus Reviews
The life and healing practices of a Muskogee Creek medicine man who seems never to have met a disease he couldn't cure. A general reader must suspend disbelief and patiently endure grandfatherly lectures throughout this book, coauthored by Larkin, a white woman who experienced a spiritual rebirth under Bear Heart's tutelage. As a young disciple, Bear Heart underwent training rituals that included trooping through a nest of rattlesnakes and lying on an anthill. He also became adept in using traditional healing tools, including a wide repertoire of chants, an eagle feather upon which he blows when ministering to sick patients, the Sacred Pipe, and peyote, which only recently was legally permitted for use by practitioners of the Native American Church. In his long tenure as medicine man, Bear Heart claims to have cured earaches, tubercular-like illnesses, poisonings, and paralysis, often after Western medicine had failed. In addition, he was able to produce snow for a Colorado ski resort and cause choking fits from a distance in those with evil intentions. In the main, however, one can read this as a homily-filled discourse on leading a healthy and happy existence. Among his admonitions are to remain humble, have respect for elders, laugh frequently, be respectful of the natural environment, avoid blaming others for one's situation, and other tried-and-true strategies. The book is forever in danger of meandering into areas best left untouched, such as bear psychology (``Mostly they use telepathy to communicate'') and anthropology (``It's possible that the Hebrews were here in North America first and then traveled to Israel''), but the writers maintain such a consistently sincere tone that the uncritical reader readily forgives Bear Heart's leaps into the unknown. In sum, one can read this in lieu of spending an evening with a well-meaning but long-winded relative or use it, sparingly, as a resouce for insight into traditional Native American practices. -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
Bear Heart's retelling of Native American history, traditions, and beliefs left me wishing everyone would read this and take it to heart. The respect that was given to old ones and young ones, nature, animals and plants, is something we all would be wise to follow. And the lessons and experiences he shared were remarkable.
I thank Bear Heart in spirit for sharing these great teachings. Clearly he was a gifted man and story teller. And I thank Molly Larkin for compiling these memories into a warm, compelling story of a great being. The lessons filled every page, leaving me with gratitude and hope.
Many lessons of life are conveyed in these writings that would be great tools for rearing children.
The book has a slightly slow beginning, but continue reading. I read a little in between a busy schedule, looking
forward to a moment of calm, of reflection, and insight.
then i read the wind is my mother, by bear heart. to say that the book changed my life would be an overstatement, but it was so kind in its message. he was an extremely disciplined individual and what was so cool about it was that he didn't psychoanalyze a bunch of reasons why he did what he did. it's almost as simple as the tao of pooh. it definitely helped me to remove my emotions from every single decision i made, helped me to be kinder to myself in regards to my self-discipline, and most of all, helped me to forgive myself for the way i had been living, because to forgive means to move on, and i was ready to move on, but for some reason, i was always feeling guilty about one thing or another, thus preventing me from moving on.
when i began reading this book, i hadn't dreamed in months, or rather, hadn't remembered my dreams. then after i read on the first night, i dreamed i was running around the UNC track, which is blue in real life, and i was running and the track turned into a big ocean and there were live shrimp in there with me and we were all just swimming around. to say that it is cool to me that i remember a dream from 13 years ago is pretty bada$$. :)
the message of this book is kindness. maybe i should say messages. kindness, honesty, and compassion. and in my opinion, if i am able to create these messages from within, towards myself, i'll be a lot easier on those around me. it's sort of a circle. a friend once told me, "you gotta give to get." and i really think that is true, but i learned through this book, that i need to start with myself. i need to give myself the compassion and honesty and then i can be true to life around me.
also, from a non-self help standpoint, i loved the stories of bear heart's youth, and his stories of learning to be a medicine man. his manner of storytelling via text is very similar to a speech, and there are lots of playful, non-formal moments in the book that i cherish. i hope you'll consider reading this. i re-purchased it again just recently for my iPad and even though i remembered almost all of it, it was a joy to read over and over again. <3
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