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Author Topic: Any good books on medicine wheel and Native American shamanism out there?  (Read 14123 times)
Waldfrau
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« Topic Start: November 14, 2007, 02:09:09 pm »

I'm a beginner in this subject, have only read a few books which were generally on shamanism, but would like to have something about Native Americans that doesn't toss different tribes together as if it was just one 'Native American religion'. Overview books appreciated though.
I'd like how-to-do-it books as well as anthropological ones. Even neopaganic ones, but please nothing where you can't tell what the author invented and what he/she took from various tradition. (Nothing against eccleticism, I just want everything labelled.)

As I'm now shocked about my long wish list myself, let me say that I appreciate every suggestion, even if the book isn't perfect in any way. Just give me a warning so I know what I'm getting. Smiley
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« Reply #1: November 14, 2007, 02:47:26 pm »

I'm a beginner in this subject, have only read a few books which were generally on shamanism, but would like to have something about Native Americans that doesn't toss different tribes together as if it was just one 'Native American religion'. Overview books appreciated though.
I'd like how-to-do-it books as well as anthropological ones. Even neopaganic ones, but please nothing where you can't tell what the author invented and what he/she took from various tradition. (Nothing against eccleticism, I just want everything labelled.)

As I'm now shocked about my long wish list myself, let me say that I appreciate every suggestion, even if the book isn't perfect in any way. Just give me a warning so I know what I'm getting. Smiley

In all honesty, most books that present 'mystical' viewpoints on the medicine wheel and "shamanism" aren't very good.

I've found most of my best info in historical and paleontology material, supplemented by the myths and stories of a given unit.

My top ten; well, less, but still.

Women Who Run With the Wolves; by Clarissa Pinkola Estes PHD 

Her commentary is excellent and comes from the hips of a woman who has done the traveling through places that I'll for the most part never get to go, and holds a lot of cultural gems that you wouldn't otherwise come across in such a usable form.  You wont find much on the medicine wheel here.

La Llorona, and Coyote Dick are a couple of my favorites.

The Ways of My Grandmothers; by Beverly Hungry Wolf

Awesome.  Just absoloutely awesome.  Has instructions for butchering your own meat, recipes for corn soup - right down to the chemical changes that happen in it when you throw ash in, and why that handfull of ash is so important.  Atolito in Spanish.   

Buffalo Woman Comes Singing; by Brooke Medicine Eagle

Talks about the Medicine Wheel from a Crow (tribe) perspective.  A slower read because it is a series of exercises.  While it has some good stories, there are some 'crystally' things in there that have to be taken with a grain of salt.  Her knowledge of stories and concepts is good, but she kind of wanders off every now and again.

Playing Indian; by Philip J Deloria

This one talks about how our perceptions of Native American culture defines modern American culture.  That there are many reasons that people explore Indigenous cultures, and what that says about the seeker. 

Then of course theres the "classics," like Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee.  lol another slow read, but worth it.

I would start off by asking yourself what tribes you are looking to research, and then approaching their spiritualities from the direction of culture.  What the sensibilities of the people who believe a certain way are, and then by integrating those units into your own daily life and ideals, understanding what foods were significant and why, understanding how a family unit operated and things like that, so that way when you do start to encounter the more spiritual aspects then you can analyze them with eyes that see the significance in what would otherwise seem insignificant.

There are a few others that I've read while sitting on the floor of a used book store, but unfortunately at that point I'm so furiously reading that I barely remember what I've read.

I'm curious about this one (Dancing the wheel of psychological types)

But haven't read it yet, so couldn't tell you if it's good.  I think it's going on my wish list.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2007, 06:22:07 pm by RandallS, Reason: Switched long amazon urls to amazon bbcode » Logged

I'm gonna tell my son to join a circus so that death is cheap
And games are just another way of life
And I'm gonna tell my son to be a prophet of mistakes
Because for every truth there are half a million lies
And I'm gonna lock my son up in a tower
Till he learns to let his hair down far enough to climb outside.
-LIz Pahir
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« Reply #2: November 14, 2007, 04:34:27 pm »

My top ten; well, less, but still.
Wow, thanks for the quick and elaborated answer! Not decided yet which to take first, maybe 'Women Who Run With the Wolves'.  Smiley
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« Reply #3: November 14, 2007, 07:26:49 pm »

I'm a beginner in this subject, have only read a few books which were generally on shamanism, but would like to have something about Native Americans that doesn't toss different tribes together as if it was just one 'Native American religion'. Overview books appreciated though.
I'd like how-to-do-it books as well as anthropological ones. Even neopaganic ones, but please nothing where you can't tell what the author invented and what he/she took from various tradition. (Nothing against eccleticism, I just want everything labelled.)

As I'm now shocked about my long wish list myself, let me say that I appreciate every suggestion, even if the book isn't perfect in any way. Just give me a warning so I know what I'm getting. Smiley

the seven arrows

http://www.amazon.com/Seven-Arrows-Hyemeyohsts-Storm/dp/0345329015/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1195086273&sr=1-1
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« Reply #4: November 14, 2007, 07:47:02 pm »


Seven Arrows is wonderful, and makes an excellent read-aloud too, for older children as well, btw.
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« Reply #5: November 14, 2007, 07:54:33 pm »

Wow, thanks for the quick and elaborated answer! Not decided yet which to take first, maybe 'Women Who Run With the Wolves'.  Smiley

Every time I mention it to someone I end up rereading it and finding something new.  There is a story called "Butterfly Woman" that I love.  It talks about a Dance called the 'Butterfly Maiden Dance'  The Butterfly maiden is in her late fifties, venus like in proportion, and is merited as holding the world on one thigh and all the babies to ever be born on the other.   

The descriptions of the people waiting were so funny and true, I remember at Casa De Fruita a couple hours south of San Jose in Ca. going to a powwow and parking on a tall dusty hill in the middle of nowhere, walking forever, wishing you had a chair, pitying the people carrying chairs because they looked miserable- it was just hilarious.

Then the descriptions of Butterfly woman entering are just priceless.  It is something that truly helps someone who struggles with weight or aging issues.  I wont ruin it for you any farther. 

BTW thanks for the edit/links fix.  It looks so much cooler the way you did it.  BB code and I are not friends yet.
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I'm gonna tell my son to join a circus so that death is cheap
And games are just another way of life
And I'm gonna tell my son to be a prophet of mistakes
Because for every truth there are half a million lies
And I'm gonna lock my son up in a tower
Till he learns to let his hair down far enough to climb outside.
-LIz Pahir
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« Reply #6: November 14, 2007, 08:04:36 pm »


Women Who Run With the Wolves; by Clarissa Pinkola Estes PHD 


Totally unrelated, but she also blogs over at one of my daily political blog read The Moderate Voice. I had no idea she was an author; just knew I enjoyed reading her stuff.
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« Reply #7: November 14, 2007, 08:15:31 pm »

Totally unrelated, but she also blogs over at one of my daily political blog read The Moderate Voice. I had no idea she was an author; just knew I enjoyed reading her stuff.

Whereas I didn't know that but thanks for the tip, Lyric Smiley
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« Reply #8: November 14, 2007, 08:20:43 pm »

Every time I mention it to someone I end up rereading it and finding something new.  There is a story called "Butterfly Woman" that I love.  <snippage>

I had to take my copy off the shelf and re-read that one after seeing this post, Mandi. I've been having age/body issues of late (turning 50 in two months, gaining weight I swore I'd lost for good... the usual, y'know) and I *needed* to read this again.

THANK YOU for the reminder.
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« Reply #9: November 14, 2007, 08:28:15 pm »

Buffalo Woman Comes Singing; by Brooke Medicine Eagle[/b]

Talks about the Medicine Wheel from a Crow (tribe) perspective.  A slower read because it is a series of exercises.  While it has some good stories, there are some 'crystally' things in there that have to be taken with a grain of salt.  Her knowledge of stories and concepts is good, but she kind of wanders off every now and again.

Just as a note - This woman's system may be good and workable all on it's own, but she is generally considered a plastic shaman and embarassment to the Crow nation.  That is an almost-direct quote from bravenet's shame page.

Apparently her medicine shield system is not derived from any Crow tradition but wholely made up and sold by her.  Her real name is Brooke Edwards and there is an awful lot of negative press about her on bravenet.  Most of what comes up on Google if you use Edwards instead of Medicine Eagle is negative as well.

I don't have any direct experience of her.  I think shields are a southern thing, like totem poles are northern.  I haven't gotten a good impression from the times she has come up on the native message boards, though.

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« Reply #10: November 14, 2007, 09:53:43 pm »

I'm a beginner in this subject, have only read a few books which were generally on shamanism, but would like to have something about Native Americans that doesn't toss different tribes together as if it was just one 'Native American religion'. Overview books appreciated though.
I'd like how-to-do-it books as well as anthropological ones. Even neopaganic ones, but please nothing where you can't tell what the author invented and what he/she took from various tradition. (Nothing against eccleticism, I just want everything labelled.)

As I'm now shocked about my long wish list myself, let me say that I appreciate every suggestion, even if the book isn't perfect in any way. Just give me a warning so I know what I'm getting. Smiley

Two books for classes I've had are:

Lame Deer, Seeker of Visions by John (Fire) Lame Deer
Native American Religions by Sam Gill
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« Reply #11: November 15, 2007, 08:08:11 am »

Just as a note - This woman's system may be good and workable all on it's own, but she is generally considered a plastic shaman and embarassment to the Crow nation.  That is an almost-direct quote from bravenet's shame page.

Apparently her medicine shield system is not derived from any Crow tradition but wholely made up and sold by her.  Her real name is Brooke Edwards and there is an awful lot of negative press about her on bravenet.  Most of what comes up on Google if you use Edwards instead of Medicine Eagle is negative as well.

I don't have any direct experience of her.  I think shields are a southern thing, like totem poles are northern.  I haven't gotten a good impression from the times she has come up on the native message boards, though.

Absent

I think you're right on the regional thing.

In all honesty I haven't gotten through much of the book.  It struck me as repetition of the same old crap.  Starhawk revisited. 

I would imagine if I could get through it that it might be useful,

I just grabbed the book, and looking at this section on the medicine wheel and am comparing it to my little spiral notebook of wonderful things.

Her north has 'clarity' but is missing anything about Nurture, and the inversions,(False Purpose/ Control) as well as gender/polarity aspects, inversions.  Her east has nothing about Rainbow, and incorporates red as a southern color, in addition to the more widely used green.  I've worked North for the last two years almost exclusively, probably out of a personal need to, but am a bit out of balance on South and West.

It's a very SHALLOW wheel on additional thought.  It lacks depth.

I've done very little work with the west, and haven't finished my wheel (Hopi/Curandero/Seyewailo-Yaqui) but her west is very thin as well.  West seems to be the elusive fourth quarter.  It would be too easy to Wiccan-ise it and fill in the blanks with European associations, as it seems that she has done.

On my layout for west I do have "False Vision" as a downfall of people working from a westerly perspective, as well as deceit, greed and pride in the southwest.   

After I drop the kiddos at school I'll scan my notes and see if I can get them into something readable.
« Last Edit: November 15, 2007, 08:10:07 am by Mandi, Reason: edited because got very her here is not a sentance. » Logged

I'm gonna tell my son to join a circus so that death is cheap
And games are just another way of life
And I'm gonna tell my son to be a prophet of mistakes
Because for every truth there are half a million lies
And I'm gonna lock my son up in a tower
Till he learns to let his hair down far enough to climb outside.
-LIz Pahir
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« Reply #12: November 15, 2007, 09:16:34 am »

I think you're right on the regional thing.

In all honesty I haven't gotten through much of the book.  It struck me as repetition of the same old crap.  Starhawk revisited. 

I would imagine if I could get through it that it might be useful,

I just grabbed the book, and looking at this section on the medicine wheel and am comparing it to my little spiral notebook of wonderful things.

Her north has 'clarity' but is missing anything about Nurture, and the inversions,(False Purpose/ Control) as well as gender/polarity aspects, inversions.  Her east has nothing about Rainbow, and incorporates red as a southern color, in addition to the more widely used green.  I've worked North for the last two years almost exclusively, probably out of a personal need to, but am a bit out of balance on South and West.

It's a very SHALLOW wheel on additional thought.  It lacks depth.

I've done very little work with the west, and haven't finished my wheel (Hopi/Curandero/Seyewailo-Yaqui) but her west is very thin as well.  West seems to be the elusive fourth quarter.  It would be too easy to Wiccan-ise it and fill in the blanks with European associations, as it seems that she has done.

On my layout for west I do have "False Vision" as a downfall of people working from a westerly perspective, as well as deceit, greed and pride in the southwest.   

After I drop the kiddos at school I'll scan my notes and see if I can get them into something readable.

I'm just going to post links, since the scanned pages are too big to be thread friendly.  I haven't gotten very far in summaries, I've done north and that was it.  I also still have a lot of work to do on the levels in which the wheel can be used, symbolic,(divination, dream seeking) literal(Psychological, Jungian model) and physical. (the physical structure, built).

Some resources I've found have talked about there being three wheels, the 'medicine wheel' being the earth wheel, that functions over/outside of depending on your model, the underworld wheel, and beneath/inside the sky wheel.  Which still leaves me with the thought that an amalgamised ritual working with each quarter in three different aspects, essentially 'calling' 12 directions as well as above, below and within (nine more) would be pretty awesome.

http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b36/seichi_1/notebook1north.jpg
http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b36/seichi_1/notebook2East.jpg
http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b36/seichi_1/notebook3south.jpg
http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b36/seichi_1/notebook4west.jpg
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I'm gonna tell my son to join a circus so that death is cheap
And games are just another way of life
And I'm gonna tell my son to be a prophet of mistakes
Because for every truth there are half a million lies
And I'm gonna lock my son up in a tower
Till he learns to let his hair down far enough to climb outside.
-LIz Pahir
Waldfrau
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« Reply #13: November 15, 2007, 11:36:43 am »

Thanks for all the recommendations, and thanks, Mandi, for sharing your work.  Smiley
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« Reply #14: November 16, 2007, 10:46:02 am »


As I'm now shocked about my long wish list myself, let me say that I appreciate every suggestion, even if the book isn't perfect in any way. Just give me a warning so I know what I'm getting. Smiley

Gosh, don't know if these have been mentioned but thought I'd toss them out here before I Run off for work lol.

Dancing with the Wheel a Sun Bear book

Profiles in Wisdom; Native Elders Speak About the Earth by Steven McFadden are both excellent places to start with the basics of the Medicine Wheel and how Native Elders of the different Nations view the world and its needs today.

wishing you laughter

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