This book review first appeared in New Dawn issue 166, January-February 2018. © Brett Lothian
Shamanic Healing; Traditional Medicine for the Modern World.
By Itzhak Beery
In this outstanding new book on Shamanic Healing, the author Itzhak Beery takes us upon his fantastic and deeply personal journey into the heart of South American traditional medicine and importantly shows us how we can incorporate this into our increasingly disconnected modern world. Drawing upon his over twenty years of experience including being initiated into the Circle of Twenty Four Yachaks by his Quechua teacher in Ecuador and into the healing tradition of his Amazonian Kanamari Pajé (shaman) teacher in Brazil, the author is uniquely qualified to bring the message of traditional Shamanic Healing to the greater modern world in this truly excellent book.
In the introduction to this book the author expertly explains the urgent need for the ancient traditional healing methodologies like Shamanism to supplement and be offered in tandem with our modern western medicine, to create a truly holistic and integrated healing approach. All too often western medicine attempts to treat the symptoms of disease without getting to the root causes (which are often psychological) and that is where traditional methods like Shamanism come to the fore. By being able to diagnose the root cause and not just the disease, the traditional Shaman is needed now more than ever in our ever more stressful and insane modern way of life.
Following on from this the author takes us back to where it all began for him on the Shamanic path, right through his over twenty years of experience living and working with his teachers in both Ecuador and Brazil in what is a fascinating tale of healing and understanding. Delving into the many and varied aspects of these traditional healing methodologies, Itzhak Beery shows us from personal experience an entirely different way of seeing the world and our place in it, from a perspective that the modern world left behind long ago, much to our detriment.
Chapter 2 explains for the reader just what exactly Shamanic Healing is from the perspective of the South American knowledge and healing systems, who can become a shaman and just what it takes if you have been called upon this path. Importantly the author delves into some the darker areas of Shamanism that is often ignored by western writers such as evil spirits and possession, including personal tales of encountering the dark side of Shamanism.
Chapter 3 outlines step by step instructions on numerous healing methods, ceremonies and techniques, including diagnostic and divinatory readings, much needed protection techniques and additional healing methods to aid the modern Shaman in their work. Whilst this will never replace actually being there and learning first hand from our traditional elders, it gives the reader an understanding of the forces at work and how to safely conduct oneself in the mystical realm of the Shaman.
Finally with chapter 4 the author presents thirty true and inspiring healing stories, including heart-warming tales of people utilizing Shamanic Healing to overcome everything from panic attacks, PTSD, depression and anxiety to cancer, chronic pain and much more. Whilst the modern western medicine systems continue to ignore more traditional healing techniques such as Shamanic Healing, people from all over the world are finding the answers to their dis-ease in these traditional healing methods, because they work. They have worked for millennia and are perhaps even more important today in our profoundly sick society. If you’re interested in the Shamanic path, and or a more holistic approach to healing, Itzhak Beery’s Shamanic Healing; Traditional Medicine for the Modern World is a must read.
By Brett Lothian