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The Way of the Shaman
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The Way of the Shaman

4.01 of 5 stars 4.01  ·  rating details  ·  2,641 ratings  ·  67 reviews
This classic on shamanism pioneered the modern shamanic renaissance. It is the foremost resource and reference on shamanism. Now, with a new introduction and a guide to current resources, anthropologist Michael Harner provides the definitive handbook on practical shamanism – what it is, where it came from, how you can participate.

"Wonderful, fascinating… Harner really know
ebook, 256 pages
Published July 26th 2011 by HarperOne (first published 1980)
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Harner is the creator of what is called "Core Shamanism" (the ‘shamanism’ and practices of Sandra Ingerman, and Caitlín and John Matthews also fall under the Core Shamanism umbrella). Like Daniel C. Noel and Robert J. Wallis, I believe Harner's teachings are based on cultural appropriation and Western fantasies. Harner, despite being an anthropologist, exploits and rapes the indigenous cultures he talks about in this book by tearing them apart, taking what pieces of a specific tradition will sui ...more
This was the first book on Shamanism that I have read that is not a fiction book. I really enjoyed it and it was an easy read. Harner gives background and history as well as techniques to begin your journey into becoming a shaman. He also says that everyone has the ability to become a shaman, just with varying degrees of skill and power. I recommend this to anyone who is interested in Shamanism, beginners or masters alike.
The book is both eminently practical and very thought-provoking,. The cross-cultural similarities between shamanic experiences seem to undeniably imply that these techniques of archaic ecstasy are enabling the practitioner to enter the racial subconscious mind.
When I picked this book I expected to get a bit more research on the subject, not the author's interpretation of what shamanism is to him. I didn't really buy how he kept preaching that hallucinogens weren't needed for successful shamanic practices yet he said over and over again that he does use them on himself.
I was shaking my head every time the author went and implied that shamanic procedures were better than psychoanalysis. There's a moment when he explains a kind of divination technique t
Andrea Marley
I haven't been reading lately, its really taken a disappointing hit to my 'Goodreads 2014 Book Challenge' Time to suit back up and hit those books hard!

Also, how do I review this book? Look, I have an interest in healing, and cross-cultural natural methods. This is about as natural as one gets. Yes, as stated before, I do believe in Shamans. I think more than Antonio Villado, this book give VERY SPECIFIC practices that one can try at home. Sadly, I did not, but like any good book, it opened my m
Cara Pencak
This is a great book to read if you are just diving into the concept of Shamanism. I read this book before attending an introductory Shamanism workshop and, because I read this book, I felt well-prepared for the workshop.

One reason I like the book is because Michael Harner introduces Shamanism before detailing its practices. For instance, Harner details the history of Shamanism, as well as the concept of consciousness and its different levels.

Next, Harner goes on to detail some of the more basic
I did the exercises and went to the Underworld and found out that my power animal was a seagull. Then I redid the exercises and found out that my other power animal was a toad. Clearly, Shamanism will not help improve me at all. Enjoyable book, though. Especially if you like Wade Davis and Graham Hancock.
Can't help it...I love reading this stuff.
Steve Woods
During my lifetime in some wide ranging travels trough SE Asia I have come across shaman in various cultures in Bali, Malaya, Thailand Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia. I have seen quite a bit that cannot be explained in the normal terms of the material world. I started to explore the subject when I began to experience small "flirts" at the edge of my own consciousness and a sense of a dimension other than the one I have always lived in, seemingly parallel to my usual experience of life. Sometimes it ...more
I'm reading the Third Edition of the book, so it's a bit old and outdated (1990). There's a lot of good information, but I feel that it's a better resource for an intermediate or experienced shamanic practitioner. There are a lot of cautions that newbies should not attempt some of the more advanced exercises until they master the basics. So, if I'd stopped reading where he implied I should stop, I would still be stuck exploring the tunnel to the lower world. As much fun as that sounds, I'm just ...more
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Jan 16, 2012 Lisa (Harmonybites) rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those Interested in "Magical Practice"
Recommended to Lisa (Harmonybites) by: The Idiot's Guide to the Ultimate Reading List
I read this because it was on The Ultimate Reading List for "Inspirational Non-fiction." It was one of only a few on that list I thought might be of interest to me given Harner was a anthropologist that had studied shamanism in the field as well as practicing it--I thought he might have some insightful things to say about it. I found this instead to be a rather silly book I couldn't take seriously. I probably should have known better given where the book was located in the bookstore--under "New ...more
Aaron Meyer
An interesting book which mixes experience and practice to give an excellent primer on the subject of shamanism. Although the discussions on tribal methods and how to use them yourself is fascinating in its own right, I found the beginning of the book which details his own experiences among the native shamans to be the best part of the book. Some may feel that the use of drugs to achieve altered states (which he has described using himself in his experiences) to be non useful and perhaps counter ...more
First published in 1980, this is one the "classic" books on shamanism and in retrospect I can appreciate what anthropologist Michael Harner aimed at accomplishing with this book and his work. Many take offense at his work, especially teaching workshops through his Foundation of Shamanic Studies (FSS), but my understanding is he uses the funds raised to preserve and document shamanic practices as indigenous cultures disappear and helped to introduce shamanic practices to the West. I have watched ...more
Xenophon Hendrix
I found The Way of the Shaman by Michael Harner on Amazon. I don't remember how I found it, but I do know that I didn't go looking for it in particular or the subject in general. Anyway, most of the first chapter was available as a sample. It described how the author, doing fieldwork as an anthropologist, had an intense and frightening hallucinogenic experience under the influence of ayahuasca. I thought his account was fascinating, so I bought the book.

Unfortunately, I found the rest of the boo
Emma-Jayne Saanen
I did not think this book could disappoint me, as I did not have particularly high expectations of it. But disappointing it was.

While I admire Harner's efforts to create a cross-cultural understanding of shamanic techniques, without cultural context those techniques are meaningless. As a counter-example Sarangerel's "Riding Windhorses" and "Chose by the Spirits" provide similar 101 material material but with added context. Though I will concede that providing such context may limit the material
My first true contact with shamanism and its values came through a print version of the trialogues between Terrence McKenna, Ralph Abraham and Rupert Sheldrake that I picked up four years ago (when I was 18). Fascinated by similarities between the validity of the experiences these ancient practices revealed and what I experienced while meditating prompted me to explore them further a few years later through podcasts like the Psychedelic Salon and the C-Realm. Reading Graham Hancock’s Fingerprint ...more
Aug 11, 2013 Nate rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in spirituality
Recommended to Nate by: Pyracantha Shapero
Pretty decent book on the history and practice of shamanism. Skimpy on history, but this is more of a how-to book. It is interesting to read this, as it is a very old spiritual practice that predates most modern religions. I'm curious as to whether or not the "Schools of Prophecy" mentioned in the Old Testament may have been de facto schools that used shamanistic-like procedures. Of course, it would be erroneous to assume that biblical visionary experience was merely shamanism. Biblical visions ...more
First, a little about Michael Harner. He has resurrected Shamanism with his research, writing, and workshops. He has a non-profit dedicated to protecting Shamanism in indigenous cultures, and spreading Shamanism throughout the Western world. His view is that Shamanism was a once universal practice, with different and very separate cultures discovering the same things about a great spirit world that exists beyond the material world.

Okay, so now about this particular book. This is Harner's "how t
Misha Hoo
This is a great book for anyone who wants to discover the shamanic world and is an excellent introduction to basic shamanic techniques. I read The Way of the Shaman after I had already been a Shamanic Practitioner for many years and so I found Mr Harner's experiences learning shamanism directly from indigenous people very interesting.

I particularly appreciated his explanation that anyone can become a shaman and the "proof" of this is in their demonstrated ability to perform successful shamanic
Amber Foxx
Good research but sometimes crammed into too little space without context. The direct quotations from traditional shamans are the best parts. Harner attempts to distill the essence of shamanism into a kind of how-to book for modern neo-shamanists. I will not give my opinion on that . This reading was research for a work of fiction featuring a neo-shamanist character (who is not based on Harner) not for my personal use.
S. Harrell
While I truly appreciate the information and insight Harner has brought to the west, his writing is amazingly academic and cerebral. I hesitate to recommend this book because Harner stepped on a lot of cultural toes to present something he calls "cultureless," something that's not even possible. Despite that assertion, the cosmology presented in his core shamanism is very Abrahamic and most definitely culturally influenced. For an academic understanding of shamanism, this is a good primer. To le ...more
Daniel Rekshan
Very interesting book. 1/3 anecdotes from Harner (an anthropologist who lived with indigenous shaman), 1/3 exposition of 'core shamanism', and 1/3 technical manual.

Core shamanism is like the perennial philosophy, its essence is common to all humans, with only cultural variations depending on the spacetime of its manifestation.

It was a pleasure to read because it didn't present an outsider's view and didn't judge the reality of shamanic experiences. Its really easy for our academic/scientific cul
Michael Harner can be legitimately credited with launching the Western neo-shaman movement. This book describes in great detail what it is like to undertake a shamanic journey, and what can be expected. Harner begins with his own experiences as an anthropologist, describing field work he did in the late 1950's with the Jivaro Indians of the Ecuadorian Andes. He writes of his own first journey quite movingly. He then goes on to provide a basic definition of shamanism, describe altered states of c ...more
Taylor Hansen
3.5 stars is my actual rating. I enjoyed it as an introductory to the topic of Shamanism, but felt it lacked a little "heft" in content and length. Would have liked even more information on the history and practice and less "dream testimonials". Overall very interesting and good.
The book is easy to read and even easier to understand. The many examples are/can be of much help to anyone who wishes to start practicing shamanism, although I missed more facts and historical background. I felt as if I was just plunged into the modern world of shamanism without knowing its real background. But maybe that's just me. Still, I would recommend reading a few more books on the subject (e.g. by Mircea Eliade) to supplement this work.
I really liked Harner's writing style. Just very intriguing and quite fun to read. I'm happy that I own this book.
Kaleb Beard
Decent read concerning shamanism and the author's experience. I wasn't a fan of the detailed techniques.
I was really let down by this book.
I read it in search of information on shamanism and found an erratic essay about common shaman practice revisited through a new age eye.
It made shamanism look like some fairy tale practice,far too semplified.
It didn't bring anything new to my knowledge having already read Mircea Eliade's treaty, that one yes, well and thoroughly researched and with some depth.
I had the impression that this book was written as a pamphlet of sort for FSS, in order to reach a larg
Tiffany Lyn
Amazing. Absolutely amazing. And so true.
Michael Drake
In June of 1988, I acquired and read The Way of the Shaman by Michael Harner. This informative guide to core shamanic practice set me on a new course in life. From this guide, I learned to hone my skills of shamanic journeying. For six months, I journeyed virtually every day. My trance experiences were healing and empowering. They often triggered the release of suppressed emotions, producing feelings of peace and well-being. The process restores emotional health through expression and integratio ...more
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The founder and president of the Foundation for Shamanic Studies, Dr. Michael Harner (Michael J. Harner) pioneered the introduction of shamanism and the shamanic drum journey to contemporary life and is recognized as the world leader in this movement.
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