Roger Walsh MD, Ph.D.'s The World of Shamanism

Roger Walsh MD, Ph.D.'s The World of Shamanism
by Lucifer Benway on 2007-09-22 17:36:49

This is an interesting little book and noteworthy because of a total lack of instruction on practice. I should say straightaway that if you’re looking for a book to teach you something about how to actually do Shamanism, this isn’t the book for you. However, if you’re looking for an introduction to the paradigm from the perspective of a clinical psychologist, I’d recommend this book.

Walsh takes the reader through various local flavors of shamanism- their practices, their drugs, their customs, their historical roots. While the book is short on hard data it is, to be fair, not an ethnological study but an introduction for people with the bare minimum of information on the subject. The author also takes pains to strike a balance between 1st world scientific judgmentalism and 3rd worldist “anything goes” cultural relativism.

This book was a good read and a quick read. If you’re looking to learn about the history of shamanism and some general information about its practices pick this up.

The Good: Good, accurate information that's neither overly preening or judgmental. Solid research from someone that knows what they're talking about. The Bad: A little dry. Nothing in the way of practice. The Final Word: Pick this up if you're looking for a really basic introduction to the ideas of Shamanism or you're a beginning practitioner looking for a broad overview of different traditions.

The World of Shamanism: New Views of an Ancient Tradition, Llewellyn Publications $18.95 325pp.