It's extremely rare to witness a true initiatory rite of passage, but this book is a sustained account of just that, and in an area that has never been revealed to those outside the tradition. The erudition and anthropology supporting the account is solid, but it's more than that. It's a personal account of the author's experiences as a boy and a young man, who endures the surprises and awe of true initiation. This makes it a personable read. Simon Buxton is not only an elder of the shamanic bee cultus; he's a born storyteller with the ear of a poet. Once he grounds you in the material events of ordinary reality, he begins the cross-over through the veil into extra-ordinary events. It's important that his poetic skill is strong because those events need a strong metaphoric tongue to tell them. Indeed, the reader needs a developed sense of metaphor to perceive the truths at the heart of these mysteries. Yes, it's as much a challenge for the reader as it must have been a test of the writer to bring them out. A first reading grasps the narrative. A second reading perceives the myth. A third reading gets to the spirit. Such depth in a book, I've not seen in a long time. If you can hold all three levels in one reading, bravo!