Book Review:Awakening to the Spirit World: The Shamanic Path of Direct Revelation

by Sandra Ingerman & Hank Wesselman

Sounds True, ISBN 978-1-59179-750-0

Sandra Ingerman is widely acclaimed for bringing ancient cross-cultural healing methods into modern culture. She teaches workshops internationally on shamanic journeying, healing and reversing environmental pollution. Her co-author, Hank Wesselman, is a paleoanthropologist and shamanic teacher. Both have woven their teachings and insight with the contributions of other shamanic practitioners to create a very accessible and enlightening book, complete with CD. The CD of drumming, rattling and whistling invites shamanic journeying to the Lower World where you might encounter the spirits of animals; the Upper World and a dreaming of gods, goddesses and ancestors; and the Middle World, where you can encounter the “hidden folk”:  faeries and elves.

awakening-book-cover  Does that sound frightening? Think of this shamanic journeying as a form of meditation that opens you to personal growth, healing and an interconnectedness to all that is. As Ingerman describes it, shamanism is “a way of life in which we honor and respect the spirit that lives in all things. This way considers how you live to be more important than what you do.”This doesn’t mean you will become a shaman if you follow the practices described in the book. Shamanism is a calling and the term “shaman” is “a mantle bestowed upon the practitioner by his or her community and is based upon the individual’s abilities to stand and deliver the goods as a healer or as a diviner of information on behalf of others.”

  In some ways, the authors point out, “the way of the shaman is the way of the child.” As children many of us had “imaginary friends” which, as Wesselman points out, “were actually real spirits who were looking after us.” Isn’t it unfortunate that we were probably discouraged from keeping such comforting friends at around the age of eight or ten. We can connect to them again and in fact, children can be encouraged to maintain their connection to their visionary abilities by keeping the conversations going between them and their parents. 

  The book includes guidelines for creating rituals and ceremonies; reconnecting with nature by connecting with place and the ancestors of that place; working with dreams, songs and artistic vision; honoring the cycles of life and death; and building a shamanic community based on support and shared purpose. 


Mary Ann Moore is a freelance writer, poet and circle facilitator living in Nanaimo.