The latest book written by Eligio S. Gallegos, Little Ed & Golden Bear, is easy to read but poignant. The story describes the experiences of a young boy growing up and facing his worst fears under the tutelage of his chosen mentor, Golden Bear. Little Ed's growth and maturation are facilitated by guided visualization and animal imagery. The book seems particularly suited to a male readership because it is more cerebral than emotional. It deals with the protagonist's feelings and fears indirectly without making them the focus of the story.
By writing from a fictional future perspective, the author weaves criticism of many 20th century social conventions and institutions with possible alternative attitudes. Gallegos is particularly critical of the educational system stating that teachers of our time "taught only for the convenience of the teacher" and "would train a student to have limitations" (36). Similarly, he writes that children were forced to go to school and "to follow the dictates of the teacher rather than listening to and trusting their own deepest knowing" (43). Since Gallegos holds a doctorate in psychology and held a professorship for ten years, he is intimately familiar with current pedagogy and educational thought. In support of growing organically towards wholeness in contrast with our system of formal education, he asserts, "Growing cannot be demanded ... but only nurtured and supported" (118). This statement reflects his philosophy of the Personal Totem Pole Process® which Gallegos created to promote individual growth and healing in psychotherapy clients. The imagery Little Ed experiences in the book is based on the Personal Totem Pole Process®.
Rational thought also comes under the censure of Gallegos as the only way in which humans currently know and experience the world. He describes our time as the "emotional dark ages" (30) and writes, "People were deliberately trained to close the eye of feeling and not use it" (36). Gallegos suggests wholeness can only be achieved by using all the ways of knowing-thinking, feeling, sensing, and imagery-which he describes as " the four windows". Although he touches on concept of the windows of knowing in this book, it is more fully described in his book, Animals of the Four Windows: Integrating Thinking, Sensing, Feeling and Imagery. Little Ed & Golden Bear is a book well worth reading. Drawing from both time-honored Native American tribal practices and new trends in psychotherapy the author presents an interesting commentary on our current way of life as well as alternatives which merit thoughtful consideration.