This book, written by well known religious scholar I.P. Couliano, provides a wonderful background to the shamanic journey and how it can be found within all societies. He does a very nice cross cultural survey of Shamanism (and relatd concepts) in the early part of the book, showing the similarities of belief in the Americas, Siberia, Melanesia and elsewhere, as well as in Africa and Australia. From there he goes on to show the otherworldly journeys of the Mesopotamians, Egyptians, Chinese Taoists, Buddhists, Iranian mystics, Greek Medicine Men and Hebrew Qabbalists. Remarkable intellectuals and visionaries fill out the last couple chapters, including Neo-Platonic philosopher Plotonius, the Prophet Mohammad and Dante Alighieri, author of the Divine Comedy. Over all, this is perhaps the greatest non-culture specific survey of the Shamanic journey available. I strongly recommend that anyone interested in Shamanism, religious experiences and mysticism in general check out this book. Considering how widely varied Shamanism is (incorporating everything from Siberian and Polynesian religions to the ecstasies of Voudon and Santeria to Sufi mysticism and beyond), it might be a good beginning book.