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June 28 , 2008

The Secrets of the Amazon Shamans: Healing Traditions from South America


This book brings a timely breath of fresh air into the labyrinth of material now available on shamanism involving the Amazon River Basin. The Second Edition of Amazon Shamans: Healing traditions from South America (first published in 2003), catches a moment in time when the ancient knowledge of the Amazon shamans was already changing rapidly. Through Michael Peter Langevin's journey together with his family, we get to take part of this fascinating region, and it's inherent ancient mysteries and miracles.
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Michael Peter Langevin has been on the shamanic path since 1973, and traveled extensively in Latin America. Over the years he has met and studied with many shamans in the Amazon River Basin and the Andean Mountain region. In this down-to-earth book he intersperses his own and his family’s journeys through the many countries surrounding the Amazon River Basin, inviting the reader to feel part of adventurous meetings with shamans, whose knowledge and wisdom stretches the mind to what is possible. Meetings that are often humorously conveyed, but there are also serious encounters when the peaceful life of remote villages clashes with modern life. Michael tells what it is like to see life from the eyes of someone else in a healing ceremony; about a Calling the Dead Ritual where he could actually see their spirits with his physical eyes; what it is like to experience the intensity of Ayahuasca ritual, and having your life revisited; but also about the strain of traveling with your children being far away from so-called civilization when they fall ill. The story of this book moves between Michael's shamanic initiations, and his joys and challenges oftraveling as a family, coming together in the fearful situation of his sick children, which turns into a miraculous healing. This book is an exiting inroad to the mysteries of the Amazon shaman way, based on real life meetings and experiences.

The Amazon shamans and healers hold libraries of knowledge that has been built through thousands of years of experimentation. Michael has an uncanny ability to translate the mysterious knowledge of Amazon shamanism into magical everyday practice, that is understandable and approachable. Throughout the book we are presented with basic Amazon shaman principles, procedures and rituals, adapted to work in any setting. These principles, procedures and rituals can be used to enhance the richness of life, to heal and even to question basic assumptions on how the world is connected and what is possible. In the words of Michael, “An invisible web of life connects everything in existence. Westerners often loose sight of this, but in the Amazon it's easy to remember, because it's presence is so visceral. Amazon shamans know that while reason is a useful tool, intuition and magic surpass it in most every way.”

The journal-like, warm, free-flowing writing style adds to the intimacy and charm of this book. Michael is a convincing proponent of the Amazon way of spirituality and mysticism. He conveys a sense of urgency to change our direction in life and become more connected to nature, and to each other. In the concluding chapter of The Amazon Shamans: Healing traditions from South America he writes, “You must begin to speak with the plants, the wind and the stars. Only in these ways will you fully understand and appreciate your own inherent healing abilities as a natural part of the world.” As a handbook for Amazon shamanic healing and rituals, this volume is packed with powerful knowledge and practical techniques.
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