To be truthful, this book needs to be read through more than once - it needs to be lived with, and at least a few of the exercises and ceremonies or variants of them must be worked through by the reader.
Malidoma's two earlier books, both obvious 5-star efforts, were more at expository essay and autobiography respectively. Both were jammed full of insights and plentiful quotable passages. And both were sumptuous with detail and inspiration.
Part One of this new volume is not an exception to this - though maybe a little drier in overall tone - still, I found myself leaving little quotes from it on my friend Cynthia's answering machine, for which she later thanked me profusely.
But the purpose of Part Two is to illustrate these illuminations/insights by things to actually do in order to begin feeling your connection with nature and the other elements of the Dagara cosmos. And throughout, Malidoma continues his critique of Western cultural and religious milieu in contradistinction to African ways and means.
There have been other terrific hands-on tutelages allowing a Euro-American to shed parts of his/her dualistic/rationalistic skin in exchange for an animistic one (Starhawk's 'The Spiral Dance', Harner's 'Way of the Shaman', Teich's 'Jambalaya', Ingerman's 'Soul Retrieval', Villoldo's 'Shaman Healer Sage', and Malidoma's wife Sobonfu Some's books). This is the latest "next best thing", and it's really a good one.
One thing about Malidona is that he warns the neophyte to at times exercise some degree of caution - diving headfirst into a new cultural scenario is not always the wisest or safest path. One's ability to tread lightly can bring dividends and rewards.
I am also reminded of some advise from another Dagara whom I know, who says that not all of Malidoma's writings are agreed upon by Dagara people in general - which makes me think that Malidoma's admitted adaptations are sometimes less than authentic, and more at distillations meant for those somewhat plagued by their Western minds. This may end up being a blessing in disguise - I don't know for sure.
I do know that the Malidomas have been on the workshop circuit in the U.S. and elsewhere for well over 10 years, and that there is a lot of cross-fertilization occurring amongst workshop presenters of far-flung cultural modalities. It's quite difficult to distinguish the chicken from the egg, and even sometimes the egg white from its yolk. There are many 'resonances' I have noticed between Alberto Villoldo's teaching (both oral and written) and Malidoma's. But if this is an effect of the collective unconscious, and/or of universal consciousness, or it's at least partly conscious borrowing, I have no easy way of knowing or finding out. Sometimes if it works, you just practice it, and/or if it feels right, you just do it.