Sandra Ingerman and Hank Wesselman are well-known shamanic practitioners and this collaborative book is a primer for anyone wanting to know more about modern shamanism and how it works. The book includes a CD with drumming and flute sequences that allow you to practice taking a shamanic journey by entraining your attention to the beat. There are a number of suggested exercises to give you the experience of travel to one of the three spirit worlds–the Lower World, the Middle World and the Upper World—in search of revelation.
Instructions guide the reader to discover a power animal, experiment with intentional and lucid dreaming and interpret dreams. There are applications of shamanic practices to affect weather and heal the environment, create ceremony and ritual, enter a visionary state of consciousness through making art, evaluate the resonance of sounds and words, work with light, color and crystals and redefine a relationship with death.
The work in this book is all about healing and understanding at a deeper level of consciousness. It isn’t at all airy and insubstantial, the exercises are practical and many of the underlying beliefs are accepted precepts of widespread spiritual practices. The text is sprinkled with the observations and anecdotes of four additional contemporary shamans—a Celtic shaman from the Hudson River valley, a Native American shaman university professor, a psychotherapist who studied shamanism with Huichol elders and Incan and Peruvian Amazon shamans, and a medical anthropologist who practices Andean shamanism and energy medicine.
Ingerman, a licensed therapist and shamanic practitioner who lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, is a respected workshop leader who has written a number of popular books about shamanism. Hank Wesselman is a paleoanthropologist and shamanic teacher with his own library shelf of books about the practice. He spent years studying the indigenous shamans in Africa and today lives and teaches in Hawaii.
I found this book fascinating—it’s written in a very down-to-earth style and addresses many key issues of our times. All of them need serious healing, from environmental degradation to medical diseases to pandemic violence to spiritual confusion and mental illnesses. The narrative of the shamanic journey is a close match to the narrative in a good story. Awakening to the Spirit World teaches the rudiments of a simple, accessible practice that doesn’t involve a lot of Hollywood theatrics and props. Rather it cuts to the heart of the human relationship to the planet and all of nature, the realization that we are first spirit and then the personas we cloak ourselves in, and the power each person has to tell their own story and shape a healed and whole life. Worth reading, contemplating and trying out—on my list to acquire for my own library and further exploration.
Awakening to the Spirit World: The Shamanic Path of Direct Revelation Sandra Ingerman & Hank Wesselman | Sounds True 2010