General > Frauds

Michael Harner and The Way of the Shaman

<< < (2/8) > >>

Jallan:
What I intend to do with this book is take only what is useful. What I mean by practical information is information that is practically applicable and useful. After all, if it is just his journeying methods that work well for me, it immediately becomes something of value does it not?

Apart from that I study the ways of my ancestors, but comparatively little is known about these ways (celtic and germanic) that isn't new-age flowerpower bullshit. I am currently reading Eliade's book on shamanism (he is supposed to have had "fascist" ties but I see no evidence of this yet, it seems to me simply an academic work and he appears respectful towards the things he describes) and believe in the idea of a collective consciousness. There are many phenomena that appear universal among religions and traditions, but of course they can not all be thrown on the same pile, and must certainly not be exploited and marketed. I had expected Harner's book to be an analysis of this collective consciousness in shamanistic practices and that it would provide some practical techniques, from which I can build on myself. I'm sure there will be useless material in there, but I will take what is useful, and I have people close to me who can help me. I expect no book will be able to match practical experience here, and of course studying with an indigenous shaman, for which I will be spending some time in the mountains of Nepal this coming summer.

I was just wondering if any of you had read the book and could tell me if there was anything worthwhile in there (especially for someone who is new to this). I suppose the best thing to do is to simply read the book and make my own judgment.

Laurel:

--- Quote from: Jallan on January 05, 2011, 08:30:42 pm ---What I intend to do with this book is take only what is useful. What I mean by practical information is information that is practically applicable and useful. After all, if it is just his journeying methods that work well for me, it immediately becomes something of value does it not?

--- End quote ---

No, Jallan, it does not. If I stole money from you and bought something very helpful to me with that money, it wouldn't be OK because it helped me, would it?


--- Quote from: Jallan on January 05, 2011, 08:30:42 pm ---Apart from that I study the ways of my ancestors, but comparatively little is known about these ways (celtic and germanic) that isn't new-age flowerpower bullshit. I am currently reading Eliade's book on shamanism (he is supposed to have had "fascist" ties but I see no evidence of this yet, it seems to me simply an academic work and he appears respectful towards the things he describes) and believe in the idea of a collective consciousness. There are many phenomena that appear universal among religions and traditions, but of course they can not all be thrown on the same pile, and must certainly not be exploited and marketed. I had expected Harner's book to be an analysis of this collective consciousness in shamanistic practices and that it would provide some practical techniques, from which I can build on myself. I'm sure there will be useless material in there, but I will take what is useful,
--- End quote ---

When we "take" from those who never gave to us, we're stealing. Period. If there are phenomena that are the same across all religions, then we should learn/experience these phenomena from a religion that wishes to share them with us, not one that wishes to keep its ways for its people.


--- Quote from: Jallan on January 05, 2011, 08:30:42 pm ---and I have people close to me who can help me. I expect no book will be able to match practical experience here, and of course studying with an indigenous shaman, for which I will be spending some time in the mountains of Nepal this coming summer.
--- End quote ---

Wow.


--- Quote from: Jallan on January 05, 2011, 08:30:42 pm ---I was just wondering if any of you had read the book and could tell me if there was anything worthwhile in there (especially for someone who is new to this). I suppose the best thing to do is to simply read the book and make my own judgment.

--- End quote ---

Or you could open your mind and listen to people who know more about this than Harner does, or than you do. It's a simple matter of respect. These ways were not given to you or to me or to Harner to "take what we can use" as we will. That's...um...kind of the point of this message board.

Defend the Sacred:
Jallan, if you're trying to connect with the ways of the Celtic and Germanic ancestors, you won't find your way there via Harner's fantasies about Native Americans. You also won't find your ancestors on a mountain in Nepal. Look to the living cultures - the folk practices, songs, prayers, poems and beliefs that still live in the languages of the individual Celtic or Germanic cultures. (Note the plural there. Multiple cultures under each of those liguistic/cultural umbrellas.) If it's not enough for you that some of these earth-honoring, polytheistic, ancestor-revering ways survived alongside Christianity, and you need to be certain something is pre-Christian and written down (because, well, anyone who was alive before Christianity isn't here now, and if you are distrustful of the conservative oral tradition you're going to be relying on vellum manuscripts) look to the materials that were written down in the native languages, in the time period in question, when writing first came to those lands. You will have to learn the older dialects and written forms of the languages, if you don't know them already. I am going to take a leap here and assume you don't know the languages, otherwise I don't think you'd be asking this question. If you like, I can refer you to some good language-study programs.  It's more work than imitating Harner et al's outsider fantasies of NDNs, or dabbling in other newage workshop experiences, but I think you'll find it more rewarding.  :)

As for traveling to lands where your ancestors are not from and doing pay-to-pray with "shamans". You might want to search from the main page on "spiritual tourism". The spiritual traditions and lifeways are particular to specific lands, specific cultures, specific spirits. Harner's mistake was to think these things can be wrenched out of cultural context, outside of a traditional system of training and the necessary checks and balances needed to keep people sane. Without that context it usually veers quickly into fantasy and illusion.  

Many of us here have read Harner and Eliade. I read "Way of the Shaman" when it first came out, and Eliade's work around the same time. Still have the books around here somewhere (probably in a box in the basement). My conclusions about him are based on reading his work, and seeing what their work has spawned in the decades since they first published.

critter - a white non-ndn person:
You can't just pick and choose what is useful. There's no such thing as that.  If you're choosing a particular religion/belief to follow then you have to learn from within that, and it's not about what "you" think/feel/believe is useful or not. I mean, how on Earth could you possibly know what is "useful"?

Jallan:

--- Quote from: critter on January 06, 2011, 12:25:06 am ---You can't just pick and choose what is useful. There's no such thing as that.  If you're choosing a particular religion/belief to follow then you have to learn from within that, and it's not about what "you" think/feel/believe is useful or not. I mean, how on Earth could you possibly know what is "useful"?

--- End quote ---

Yes, I know what you mean, but what I mean is that the small bit of truth I can find in the book could still be useful, if I can cut through the bullshit. (In reality Im probably just trying to convince myself I haven't wasted money here lol)

Anyway, thanks for all the comments, they're very helpful.

Navigation

[0] Message Index

[#] Next page

[*] Previous page

Go to full version