Shamans of the World:
Extraordinary First-Person Accounts of Healings, Mysteries, and Miracles
by Nancy Connor, editor, with Bradford Keeney, Ph.D.
In Shamans of the World: Extraordinary First-Person Accounts of Healings, Mysteries, and Miracles, Nancy
Connor and Bradford Keeney, Ph.D. have gleaned selections from Keeney's Profiles of Healing series. A dozen books
form that series, and each is the distillation of Keeney's encounters with healers from all over the world. Keeney
spent seven years in the field, living with healers and gaining their trust. Sometimes, he had to endure rigorous
testing before these indigenous healers would share their knowledge. When they did, that information was recorded
and then carefully transcribed and edited to form each of these books.
For Shamans of the World, Keeney and Conner carefully chose excerpts from those books to introduce the
healing practices and cultures in which those practices were nurtured. The editors arranged the reader's acquaintance
with each healer in a specific order. The first one, Walking Thunder, a Dine medicine woman from New Mexico, uses
traditional herbal medicines and sandpaintings to help her patients. Then, the reader comes to know two Brazilian
healers who combine Christianity, prayer, touch, and herbal remedies. As other healers are introduced, the reader
learns about altered states of consciousness, shamanic trance states, and trance dancing. This choice is deliberate
because it takes the reader from concrete, observable energies to states of non-ordinary reality that some readers
might find hard to accept without an understanding of the more ordinary healing realities.
I found Shamans of the World to be a good introduction to indigenous healing practices from around the
world. Reading what each healer said about his or her life was eye-opening. More so was the amount of information
these healers shared with an outsider. Though not all of their culture's spiritual secrets were revealed, enough
was given so those who had an understanding of healing energies and non-ordinary reality could grasp the extent of
the wisdom being imparted. These revelations showed the wide diversity of healing practices that human beings have
developed through the centuries. They further reveal that spirituality and healing is infinitely bound by culture,
and sometimes by environment.
Shamans of the World is an excellent text for students of indigenous healing, as well as a great beginning
place for others seeking greater knowledge of spirituality from diverse perspectives. Highly recommended.
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NOTE: Reviewer Janie
Franz is the author of Freelance Writing: Itís a Business, Stupid!and co-author of
The Ultimate Wedding Reception Book and The Ultimate Wedding Ceremony Book.