The Straight Path of the Spirit

Ancestral Wisdom and Healing Traditions in Fiji
By (author) Richard Katz, Ph.D.

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The Straight Path of the Spirit
Ancestral Wisdom and Healing Traditions in Fiji
By (author) Richard Katz, Ph.D.

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Pages : 432

Book Size : 6 x 9

ISBN-13 : 9780892817672

Imprint : Park Street Press

On Sale Date : April 01, 1999

Format : Paperback Book

Illustrations : Includes 8-page color insert and 33 b&w photographs

The Straight Path of the Spirit is both an engrossing story of indigenous healers and a dramatic account of cultures in collision. Through the process of his own self-transformation, Katz learned not only those aspects of life essential for the Fijians as they struggle to hold onto their identity, but also what is of importance to all of us who seek to retain our humanity.
Description

About The Straight Path of the Spirit


The inspiring story of one man's exploration of indigenous healing in a culture fighting to preserve its spiritual health.


• A firsthand account of a little-known healing tradition.


• A dramatic story of self-transformation by a well-respected Harvard-educated anthropologist.


In the late 1970s Richard Katz, a clinical psychologist trained in anthropology, spent two years living in a remote island community in Fiji, hoping to record the practices of its healers. At the foundation of their healing, he discovered, was the concept of the straight path, a journey through life whose truth is revealed only to the extent that it is searched for with honesty and faith. It is a way of healing that in its very essence is a way of living, a path that emphasizes the spiritual dimensions of health and the relevance of these to the community. But while interviewing healers at work, Katz was drawn into an increasingly suspenseful drama. Unexplained deaths, rumors and suspicions, and the intrusion of a zealous evangelist rocked the village and soon revealed to the author the dangerous alternative to the straight path: the misuse of power that some call witchcraft. 

The Straight Path of the Spirit is an engrossing story of indigenous healers and a dramatic account of cultures in collision. Through the story of his own self-transformation, Katz reveals not only those aspects of life essential for the Fijians as they struggle to hold onto their identity, but also what is of importance to all of us who seek to retain our humanity.

Table of Contents

Table of content


Acknowledgments

Coming In: Exchange and Responsibility

Part One: Healing in Fijian Culture

1. Vanua: The Land, the People, the Culture
2. Ceremonies and the Work of Healing

Part Two: The Story
3. Healing in the City
4. Conversations with Ratu Noa
5. First visit to Tovu
6. Conversations with Ratu Noa
7. Moving to the Village
8. Tevita's Healing Work
9. Converstaions with Ratu Noa
10. A Death
11. A Second Death
12. "Lots of Dreams, Lots of Problems"
13. Conversations with Ratu Noa
14. Monday Night Healing
15. Telephone to the Vu
16. Conversations with Ratu Noa
17. A Third Death
18. The Dance of the Moon
19. "Everything Is Hard to Explain
20. Conversations with Ratu Noa
21. Reverend Jemesa Comes to Tovu
22. The Weight of Suspicion
23. "There Is Sickness in the Land"
24. Joeli's Sickness
25. Conversations with Ratu Noa
26. Ratu Noa's Message to Tevita
27. Tevita Is No Longer Retired
28. Conversations with Ratu Noa
30. Return to Fuji

Part Three: The Straight Path
31. A Way of Living
32. A Transformational Approach to Healing, Development, and Social Change
Going Out: Responsibility and Exchange

Appendix A: Respect and Vulnerability in Research

Appendix B: Research Structure

Names That Make the Story

Glossary

Bibliography

Index
Author Bio
Richard Katz, Ph.D., has worked with traditional healing systems throughout the world. After teaching at Harvard for nearly twenty years, Katz is now a professor at the Saskatchewan Indian Federated College in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. He is the coauthor of Healing Makes Our Hearts Happy and the author of Boiling Energy.
Reviews

Reviews

Book Praise

Book Praise

"His presentation is in the academic style of the psychologist and anthroplogist that he is, yet he makes the book readable and engaging."

American Herb Association, Vol 16:4



This is no New-Age vapor, but a sensitive, penetrating insight into a deeply mysterious aspect of humanity that has no parallel in Western culture. Katz was blessed by the Fijians, and imparts his blessing to us."

Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, author of The Harmless People and Reindeer Moon

Back Cover

Back Cover Copy

INDIGENOUS CULTURES / SPIRITUALITY

“An intimate, fascinating, and inspiring account of an ancient way of healing.”
--Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence

“This is no New-Age vapor, but a sensitive, penetrating insight into a deeply mysterious aspect of humanity that has no parallel in Western culture. Katz was blessed by the Fijians, and imparts his blessing to us.”
--Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, author of The Hidden Life of Dogs

“An adventure in spiritual exploration. . . . deserves to become a reprinted classic for anthropology courses.”
--American Anthropologist

For two years Richard Katz, a Harvard-trained clinical psychologist and anthropologist, lived in a remote island community in Fiji, working with spiritual healers. At the foundation of their healing, he discovered, was the concept of the straight path, a journey through life whose truth is revealed only to the extent that it is searched for with honesty and faith. The straight path emphasizes the spiritual dimension of health and the ceremonial use of kava, known to the Fijians as yaqona. But while apprenticing himself to healers, Katz was drawn into an increasingly suspenseful drama. Unexplained deaths, rumors and suspicions, and the intrusion of a zealous evangelist rocked the village and revealed the dangerous alternative to the straight path: the misuse of power that some call witchcraft.

As well as being the only in-depth study of the healing and spiritual aspects of kava in its original cultural context, The Straight Path of the Spirit is an engrossing story of indigenous healers and a dramatic account of cultures in collision. Through the story of his own self-transformation, Katz reveals not only those aspects of life essential for the Fijians as they struggle to maintain their identity, but also what is of importance to all of us who seek to retain our humanity.

RICHARD KATZ, Ph.D., has worked with traditional healing systems throughout the world. After teaching at Harvard for nearly twenty years, Katz is now a professor at the Saskatchewan Indian Federated College in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. He is the coauthor of Healing Makes Our Hearts Happy and the author of Boiling Energy.

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