Medicine for the Soul

Aug 25th, 2012 | By | Category: Uncategorized

Book review: Medicine for the Soul by Ross Heaven

Although it states on the cover that this is a book on Shamanic healing, you can actually come to it without any previous knowledge of Shamanism and come out at the end – if you follow its instructions and work slowly and thoroughly through its exercises – as a fully-fledged Shamanic practitioner. So it is much more than it appears, and all the better for it.   

If, like me, you find it much easier to learn if you are taken through a process step-by-step, simply and without any confusing waffle, then this is the book for you. It works essentially as a course of lessons, with practical exercises, that are explained clearly and concisely. All you really need to know in order to journey into and explore the Shamanic worlds is here, as well as the techniques needed for working with the spirits, performing spirit extraction and soul retrieval. That doesn’t mean that this cannot be enriched by further reading – of course it can – but there is enough here to get you well and truly up and running on the Shamanic path. 

It would be a mistake to think this book is only suitable for beginners. As someone familiar with Shamanic working, I found it a joy to go back to basics with someone who obviously knows what he’s talking about and has explored experientially a number of different approaches to the Shamanic tradition. I found ideas, perspectives and practices I hadn’t previously been familiar with and feel that reading this book and working with it has helped to clarify and progress my own work.  

It does have its weaknesses though. Although more of a practical book than an academic one, there is little in the way of referencing, meaning you have to take a lot on trust, but basic errors, for example in the sections on legal issues and on chakras, make it difficult to recommend as a reliable source of information. There is also an eight page justification for charging money for healing, which is protracted, very defensive and should have been severely edited. 

The strengths of this book, however, far outweigh its weaknesses, making this work an excellent starting point for anyone wishing to seriously explore the practical side of Shamanism, as well as a valuable addition to any Shamanic library. 

Shaun Johnson

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