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Seven Arrows [Paperback]

Hyemeyohsts Storm
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

26 July 1988
A heartbreaking story of victory, defeat, and of a spiritual search in a profane world, this is the story of Night Bear and his people. It is the tale of the land they cherish and the lives they hold sacred, lived until the enemy can no longer be stopped, and the dead have few left to weep for them.


Product details

  • Paperback: 95 pages
  • Publisher: Random House USA Inc; Reissue edition (26 July 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345329015
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345329011
  • Product Dimensions: 23.1 x 20.5 x 2.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 157,349 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic work that healed an entire generation 31 Oct 1998
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Seven Arrows, the first book published in modern times about the Medicine Wheels, is now the classic volume on the topic. Written while ceremony was still illegal in the USA and the young generation was heartbroken, this courageous work by Storm brought him into the center of the whirlwind of controversary regarding the practice of Native American Spirituality. Seven Arrows is ground-breaking in many ways. It is a prime example of the oral tradition transformed into narrative prose and it is an entirely new novel form. It is classic Native American literature at its very best and is a must read for students of writing, literature, Native American Studies, and the Earth science and spiritual philosophy of the Medicine Wheels. This book has brought Hyemeyohsts Storm into the circle of truly great 20th century American writers. It has also given renewed hope to hundreds of thousands of people around the world.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Seven Arrows is a story made for telling. I've heard Storm in person, and you know his stories are aimed at the next generation. This is probably the "Grimms Tales" of Native Americana, in a book. The imagery is specialised to show a tribal world view, just as if it were German or French; gets us the same results, and is as valid as Mother Goose or any-other curriculum for schools. Nothing else is required. The message is getting PEACE. This is done by all people in the same way, but they use differing techniques. That principle must be taught within our schools now so that the future population sees their own vision-quest as a means for life together peaceably with their fellowman. Seven Arrows has many features that could be used to advantage by teachers right here and now.
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1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Shallow waters 28 Jun 2011
Format:Paperback
Praise and blame for this book is at times extreme, so here my bit.

It is obvious that the book is entirely fictitious, and not at all an authentic account of the religion of the Plains Indians. Rather, it very freely reinterpretes concepts like the sun dance and the medicine wheel from a point of view that could be labelled as hippyish mysticism. The plot of the book is set in the life of the plains indians, and serves as a pretext to tell fable-like stories. It is an easy read, and while not without charme, too lightweight for my taste. The construction of dialogues etc lacks sophistication and the book often reads like a book for kids or teenagers.

The book is richly illustrated. Many of the photographs of Native Americans shown were taken around the turn of the century, and are posed scenes depicting Indians as noble savages. There are further color reproductions of cheesy mandala-like paintings of "medicine shields". Finally there are many photographs of animals and nature. I mention the illustrations as they say something about the text: If the author had confidence in his skills as a writer, he would not need illustrations.

There is some point to the critism that the author - despite his Native American ancestry - repeats eurocentric projections. In any case, the book certainly served as a template for New-Age misrepresentation and appropriation of Native American religions, with ideas of the book having been recycled by legions of "plastic shamans". From that point of view I can understand some of the harsh criticism by Native American activists.

At the same time, this is literature, and bad books have a right to exist.
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1 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars finally success 16 July 2009
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I had tried to find this book for over ten years, having borrowed it
from a library but to no avail....after trying various places on the internet, finally caught up with it by pure chance on Amazon....will
continue to search Amazon for any future purchases to save time....plus
great value and prompt deliveries....Thank you Amazon
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  39 reviews
52 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic work that healed an entire generation 31 Oct 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Seven Arrows, the first book published in modern times about the Medicine Wheels, is now the classic volume on the topic. Written while ceremony was still illegal in the USA and the young generation was heartbroken, this courageous work by Storm brought him into the center of the whirlwind of controversary regarding the practice of Native American Spirituality. Seven Arrows is ground-breaking in many ways. It is a prime example of the oral tradition transformed into narrative prose and it is an entirely new novel form. It is classic Native American literature at its very best and is a must read for students of writing, literature, Native American Studies, and the Earth science and spiritual philosophy of the Medicine Wheels. This book has brought Hyemeyohsts Storm into the circle of truly great 20th century American writers. It has also given renewed hope to hundreds of thousands of people around the world.
30 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Controversy? Still a great book! 16 July 2004
By Alan Nicoll (real name) - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Al Carroll's review is not the first encounter I've had with criticism of "the white man" continuing to abuse indians, now by "stealing" their religion. I am sympathetic with this point of view, but I also think that "the white man" desperately needs all the help he can get toward becoming more respectful of other life forms and more "spiritual" in the sense of being less materialistic. Surely, the religion and spirituality can be shared by all who need it.
The beautiful artwork in Seven Arrows is criticized for "getting the colors wrong." This strikes me as a foolish criticism, as though the only valid interpretation of a traditional theme must have the traditional colors as well. This is reactionary thinking; for a tradition to be of the greatest value to the living, I think that change is sometimes necessary. If the artwork in Seven Arrows is valid as art, I think that's enough to justify its existence, regardless of its lack of "reverence to tradition." Not every crucifix needs to have a bleeding Christ on it. I don't recall what Storm says about the art in the book, but I don't think it's presented as "views of traditional Cheyenne art." It seems pretty clear that these are modern interpretations of traditional themes.
In any case, if he "got the religion wrong" and "got the artwork wrong," it's still a dazzling book and I recommend it highly. You can read the "story of Jumping Mouse" from the book on Storm's web site, [...]
The following is the review I had on my web site before reading this current controversy:
Hyemeyohsts Storm's Seven Arrows is a most unusual book, and reading it has been a profoundly interesting and moving experience for me. Seven Arrows is in the form of a novel with a lengthy nonfiction introduction and loads of artwork and photographs. However, as novels go, it simply fails to follow the convention, in two basic ways: most of the main characters are violently killed in the story, and the book contains half-a-dozen lengthy allegorical tales that dramatically slow the action.
Overall the picture presented is that of the ending of a way of life and the introduction of a new way. The narrative mostly consists of characters riding or walking from place to place, meeting other indians (I believe there are no non-indian characters), talking about the latest doings of the crazy white man, telling stories, and killing or being killed. The death of the main characters is quite disconcerting at first. The novel begins by presenting the doings of a character, who is then killed. Another character becomes central to the story, and sooner or later he also is killed. Eventually one learns not to expect the current main character to survive; this expectation leads to abandonment of the usual "naive identification" that engages the reader to most novels and to take instead a more Olympian view. One begins to think of the human characters being as symbolic and allegorical as the mice, wolves, and buffalo that are prominent in the "teaching tales."
Embedded in the narrative are about half-a-dozen lengthy allegorical tales that often seem to bear little relation to the actions of the human characters who tell the stories. In addition to these "teaching tales" themselves, interpretations of the events of the tales are presented. These interpretations, in conjunction with the introduction, lead one to think of the symbolism, "looking beneath" and reinterpreting everything that happens in the story. As is the case with any allegory worth reading, these tales and the book as a whole defy simple and unambiguous interpretation. There are multiple layers here, and each tale, and the entire book, should be thought of as flowers which can be opened a petal at a time. This approach to the tales is explicitly encouraged in the narrative.
The artwork and photographs alone are worth the price of the book. The photographs are mostly of indians and their artifacts and various native animals and birds, and almost all of them are striking or thought-provoking. There are also about a dozen exquisite color plates of indian figures and shield designs incorporating symbols that occur in the narrative. Many line drawings decorate and illustrate the text. All these elements work well with the text, though regrettably some of the photographs are marred by the two-page spread treatment they receive.
Seven Arrows presents a point of view and way of life which I found alien, yet attractive. The gentleness of these indians and their good will towards each other, the slow pace of indian life, and the symbolic and puzzling stories the characters tell each other, all contribute to the inducing of a state of peaceful contemplation and a longing for a quieter way of life. This is a book I intend to reread often. It strikes me as a very profound book, but this is the profundity of obscure poetry, of a flawed quartz crystal, or of a human eye or mind: the deeper you look, the more you will see, but the dull or hurried eye may discern little of interest. If you're looking for something different and potentially life-changing, give Seven Arrows a try.
22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Time to get this book into the schools! Our kids deserve it! 9 Dec 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Seven Arrows is a story made for telling. I've heard Storm in person, and you know his stories are aimed at the next generation. This is probably the "Grimms Tales" of Native Americana, in a book. The imagery is specialised to show a tribal world view, just as if it were German or French; gets us the same results, and is as valid as Mother Goose or any-other curriculum for schools. Nothing else is required. The message is getting PEACE. This is done by all people in the same way, but they use differing techniques. That principle must be taught within our schools now so that the future population sees their own vision-quest as a means for life together peaceably with their fellowman. Seven Arrows has many features that could be used to advantage by teachers right here and now.
18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Let me share this book with you... 23 Dec 2001
By Debra A. Dean - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I first read this book about 17 years ago. It was a powerful emotional experience. One of the stories it contains was so cathartic I found myself shaking and sobbing. No story has ever affected me that way, before or since. I knew at that moment that the way I saw the world had forever changed. [Thank you, Mr. Storm, for ending my fear of the dark and unknown.] If you have an open mind regarding spirituality and psychology, or if you simply want to read about the collision of Plains and European culture, this book is a must read.
19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, Lyrical, Poetical Song of The People & The Shield 28 April 2005
By Bugs - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This beautiful book is beyond the beyond in it's flowing rhythm of deep perception and wise assessment of a multitude of reality levels and views. We all perceive reality at what ever level or experience we have been absorbed in, the trick is to get beyond any constraints that might blind us to the bigger view that encompasses all existence. Yes, a tall order indeed, but doable as Storm demonstrates through his song of the medicine shields.

Walking with Storm on this beautiful trail called "Seven Arrows", will open up grand vistas of a larger reality. All points of the reality compass are here to be seen, felt and absorbed.

Storm so eloquently shows us how quietly listening and observing reality from as many points of view and directions as possible will deliver a vast array of those tiny puzzle pieces that when combined, make up the whole picture. Freeing oneself from dogmatic, less-than-clear strictures whether they be caused by one's religious, socio-economic, political, or family upbringing, will allow a clear view even from a new, never experienced vantage point. Walk in your brother or sister's shoes for a mile before judging their reality; see the world through the wide view of the eagle- the macro; see the world from the view of a little mouse who only sees fine details- the micro world- it is all right here to see the many points of reality for a more inclusive view of the world around us.

Hyemeyohsts Storm has put together in this one beautiful book what a thousand other worldly wise people have attempted and that is a way or path to seeing, feeling and embracing other realities that are all part of the one, singular reality that demonstrates the interconnectedness of all life.

Tales of the chaos caused by the intrusion of the Euros and their land/resource grabbing ways makes for some sad commentary on culture clash, especially when one comes to see here what beautiful lifestyles The People had and their willingness to share their wisdom.

This is somewhat in contrast to the other interspersed through the book, lyrical journeys through the eyes of various animals that demonstrate the many levels of perception, but it all blends into a complete whole.

The prose of this book travel between poetic, lyrical, song-like. The descriptive line drawings and colorful medicine wheels conceived by Storm and Karen Harris and painted by her along with the many photographs of The People, animals and landscapes, make this book a treat to the senses all on their own.

I thank you Hyemeyohsts Storm, your family, and all those who helped put this beautiful book together!

More on Hyemeyohsts Storm's works can be seen at his website: hyemeyohstsstorm.com
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