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Home > Books & Reviews > Pagan > Medicine of the Cherokee Search

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Book Review:
Medicine of the Cherokee: The Way of Right Relationship

Author: J. T. Garrett and Michael Garrett
Trade Paperback, 220 pages
Publisher: Bear & Co
Publication date: 1996
List: US$14.00, C$22.95
ISBN: 1879181371
Price & More Info: Click Here

Truth to tell, I know very little about Native American religious beliefs. That is one of the reasons I requested this book (and the next one I will be reviewing). The authors are members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee from North Carolina, and thus have the advantage of speaking from traditional teachings and knowledge, even though they have developed their own techniques for passing that knowledge along to those who do not share the same background and upbringing.

This book, which is divided into two separate parts, is very easy to read and, if you read it with an open mind, full of valuable information. Although it is not the ultimate reference on the topic, it is a good starting point, and well worth the small cost. It is important to realize that the authors use the term "medicine" to mean more than just healing. In the Native American experience "medicine" is about the individual's relationship to the world and all its inhabitants. If you want to learn about healing techniques, this book is not for you. If you wish to learn about your place in the world, open this book up and begin the learning process.

They do not share the rituals and procedures -- those are held as intensely personal and private, so if that is what you are looking for, you won't find it here. What you will find is a wealth of stories and experiences which can be related to by anyone. Native peoples around the world share a common heritage which permeates, and indeed is, the natural world we all inhabit. The words used to describe that world and our experiences in it might be different, but not the actuality of it.

The goal of the authors is to help their readers find the most harmonious way of living. One of the problems they encounter is that the techniques they describe are too easy. Many people today expect to have to "work hard" to gain any useful knowledge. They expect to be challenged and tested. Learning from stories is foreign to their experience, they want to be given facts and figures. This modern way is not the way such knowledge has traditionally been imparted in the families and villages of the past. One learned from personal experience, and from listening to those who were older and more experienced as they discussed their own growth and learning experiences.

Reviewed by Mike Gleason

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