The Hollow Bone; A Field Guide to Shamanism by Colleen Deatsman is a book that opened my eyes.  Never has a non-fiction book kept my attention like this one has in years. 

The information provided in this book had a unique effect of both proving that I knew a lot about shamanism while at the same time showing me I knew absolutely nothing about it.  The book is divided into five parts, the first talking about the history of shamanism, the second about what kinds of people are shamans, the third their practices, the fourth using shamanism for healing and the fifth and last part talks about being called to shamanism and healing yourself with it.

Deatsman indeed writes the book very well, talking about complex and varying concepts while ensuring that any reader would still understand what she's talking about.  The great thing about this is that along with historic photos, she cites anthropological information which gives credence to what she says.  Deatsman also allows for individual preferences in one's shamanic path. 

Throughout her books he describes different ways in which a person can be called to the path of a shaman, one being a serious illness and/or health crisis.  She also describes different types of shamans, such as ones who serve a community at large or one who is merely interested in knowledge.  A third thing she describes are different ways a shaman practices his or her path such as religious ceremonies, trances and performing healing arts.  The one thing this book does not give however, are step by step exact run-downs of shamanic practices.  Deatsman speaks much of ways one can get training in the shamanic arts, such as from a traditional shaman or a neo-shaman and thus refers the reader to seek someone to receive on-on-one training.

In the end I highly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in shamanism.  It is well-written, has sources and is a good, interesting read.

~Reviewed By Jessica Elizabeth

Author: Colleen Deatsman
Weiser Books, 2011
pp: 188, $16.95

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