Back Cover Copy
NATIVE AMERICAN / SHAMANISM
Shamanism is a spiritual path that emphasizes close connections with the immediate environment, whether physical, spiritual, or social. As environments change, so too must shamanism change. But how can one distinguish between healthy innovation and degenerate corruptions of tradition?
Coyote’s Council Fire focuses on these and other controversial issues that have ignited the shamanic community. The first part of the book looks at the relations between Native Americans and the non-Natives who have emulated--some would say appropriated--their spiritual ways. The second part examines attitudes toward changing gender roles, such as women’s adoption of traditionally male practices. The third part explores the shaman’s position in a society in which commerce among strangers has replaced barter among tribal members.
Drawing on her decades of involvement in the shamanic community, Loren Cruden brings calm wisdom and common sense to subjects that have generated much heat and little light. But hers is only one of several voices in the book: ten other shamans, both Native and non-Native, contribute their views in a series of discussions that counterpoint their contrasting perspectives. The words of contributors such as Brooke Medicine Eagle, Grey Wolf, Jamie Sams, and Ed “Eagle Man” McGaa reflect the diversity of opinion within the Native American community, while the contributions of Nina Wolf, Axis, and Sandra Ingerman suggest the variety of ways in which non-Natives have been drawn to shamanism and incorporated it into their lives.
Throughout the book are meditations and exercises that help the reader explore his or her own attitudes and assumptions toward matters of race, gender, and community. For anyone interested in shamanism, Native American affairs, or the role of spirituality in a changing society, Coyote’s Council Fire offers a provocative opportunity to examine one’s own beliefs and compare them with those of leading members of the shamanic community.
LOREN CRUDEN leads shamanic workshops in the Pacific Northwest. An experienced midwife and herbal healer, she has outlined the process of developing an eclectic yet truly authentic spiritual practice in The Spirit of Place: A Workbook for Sacred Alignment. She lives in Washington State.