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The Way of the Shaman

4.04  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,484 Ratings  ·  78 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
Heidi Wiechert
The Way of the Shaman teaches readers that the practice of shamanism isn't a cultural thing, it's a "human" thing. Harner gives a brief biography of his own beginning experiences, then a very short history of shamanism, what it is, and how the experiences during the shaman vision walks compare to ordinary reality. Then, he goes on to give a few practices for beginners to experience those states of consciousness for themselves. He gives methods for contacting your "power animal" and some basic he ...more
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.
Jan 06, 2013 Erika rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Steve Woods
Jan 02, 2015 Steve Woods rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
During my lifetime in some wide ranging travels through 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
Aug 27, 2010 Sara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 10, 2012 Norma rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jan 15, 2013 Bethany rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Feb 13, 2012 Emma-Jayne Saanen rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 20, 2010 Aeron rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Andrea Marley
Apr 20, 2014 Andrea Marley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 05, 2014 Cara Pencak rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Köksal Kök
Şamanın Yolu
The Way of the Shaman: A Guide to Power and Healing

Michael Harner, 1980.

Mia (Owo) Basım Yayın
Çeviren : Meral Bolak
İSBN: 9789750096273
İstanbul, 2006.
240 s.


-bölüm 1, yolu keşfetmek,
-bölüm 2, şamanik yolculuk, giriş,
-bölüm 3, şamanizm ve bilinç konumları,
-bölüm 4, güç hayvanları,
-bölüm 5, güce yeniden ulaşmanın yolculuğu,
-bölüm 6, güç alıştırması,
-bölüm 7, bedene giren zararlı varlıkları çıkarmak,
-ek a, davullar, perküsyon kasetleri ve eğitim
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.
Nolan Flavin
Somebody might as well rename The Way of the Shaman by Michael Harner to "How to Be A Shaman: For Dummies."

For a book so talked up in the shamanistic community, I expected something insightful. I can best compare this book to Lewis's Mere Christianity, a book by someone trying his best to explain and lay out his confusing religion so that it's easily understood for all those with questions. I did not like Mere Christianity, and that's another story for another day, but it at least gave the reade
Feb 10, 2011 Ryan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Brother Nero
I'm fairly new to the subject of shamanism, so I can't speak to the quality of this book in comparison to other books on the subject, but I did find this book to be extremely interesting as well as entertaining. The author gives excellent examples of how Shamanism is practiced in various cultures. He does a pretty good job of noting the variations and similarities. He also provides the reader with several introductory techniques so that you can start your own journey down the path, if you're so ...more
Can't help it...I love reading this stuff.
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Jan 16, 2012 Lisa (Harmonybites) rated it did not like it  ·  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
Mar 21, 2016 Aaron Meyer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: occult
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
Sep 11, 2013 Sharonk rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 05, 2009 Justin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 11, 2015 Entheogenetic rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I find it bizarre how an author can write a book on a subject and entirely miss the point! He openly admits that he discovered his "path" thanks to an entheogenic experience and then turns his back on this fact in favour of his workshops and cds on drumming which any idiot with a empty tin can could replicate with little practice. He is well documented at being a sell out and his genuine beliefs on the spirit world are worth looking into for anyone considering buying this book.
Hidden Projection
A very nice introduction to Shamanism, written in a simple to digest manor that wasn't too overly new agey and still held a great amount of sincerity. I enjoy studying on the topic and vicariously following entheological currents and pathways through the teaching a recollection of a select group of individuals. Harner speaks often on the uses of entheogens, but insists that they are mere tools but not necessarily essential in their existence within the rep of a shaman. The practices are easy to ...more
Aug 11, 2013 Nate rated it really liked it  ·  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
Misha Hoo
Sep 07, 2012 Misha Hoo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
S. Harrell
Dec 01, 2010 S. Harrell rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: shamanism
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
Any Zebula
Jul 19, 2015 Any Zebula rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: jesse
Had a very interesting story in the first few chapters and the rest of the book contained wisdom I don't even understand yet but might some day. Seems like a good introduction to Shamanism. I appreciate all the anthropological work that went into studying the similarities between Shamanic cultures.
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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.
More about Michael Harner...

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“Keep in mind that no matter how successful you were in dancing your animal, that in itself is not proof that you still have its power. You may only be dancing a memory. A successful experience does suggest, however, that you may have at least had such a guardian spirit in the past, if not now. The dancing itself, however, is no proof in itself, one way or another.” 1 likes
“Incidentally, no matter how fierce a guardian animal spirit may seem, its possessor is in no danger because the power animal is absolutely harmless. It is only a source of power; it has no aggressive intentions. It only comes to you because you need help.” 1 likes
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