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The Sin Eater's Last Confession: Lost Traditions of Celtic Shamanism [Paperback]

Ross Heaven
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
Price: £11.91 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

1 Aug 2008
Considered a madman in his English village, Adam Dilwyn Vaughan-a sin eater-was shunned by the same community who flocked to him for healing. This true tale records Ross Heaven's fascinating journey as the sin eater's apprentice, who is introduced to the lost art of sin eating and other Celtic shamanic traditions. This spiritual memoir records the author's wondrous and moving experiences with the powerful energies of the natural world. He witnesses Adam removing negative energies from a patient, meets fairy folk, reads omens in nature, discovers his soul purpose through dreaming, goes on a vision quest in a sacred cave, and participates in a sin eating ritual. Interlacing these remarkable events are Welsh legends and enlightening discussions that shed light on these mysterious practices and invite you to see the world through the eyes of a shaman. Also included is a sin eater's workbook of the same shamanic exercises and techniques practiced by Adam.

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The Sin Eater's Last Confession: Lost Traditions of Celtic Shamanism + Walking with the Sin Eater: A Celtic Pilgrimage on the Dragon Path + Medicine for the Soul: The Complete Book of Shamanic Healing
Price For All Three: £37.98

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Llewellyn Publications,U.S. (1 Aug 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0738713562
  • ISBN-13: 978-0738713564
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 1.8 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 423,966 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

www.thefourgates.org

Ross Heaven's interest in plants, healing and spirituality started early in life when his family moved from the city where he was born to a strange and timeless village on the borders of Wales. There he met and was informally apprenticed to a sin eater - a spiritual herbalist and "devourer of human sin" whose job was to restore balance to the soul. Ross spent 10 years with this healer learning the folklore and wisdom of the plants and immersing himself in the spiritual practices of an almost extinct tradition of Celtic shamanism, a story told in his book The Sin Eater's Last Confessions.

His interest piqued, Ross took his degree at a university now recognised as a World Centre for Excellence in transpersonal psychology. His decision to study there was based on a whim, a synchronicity, but it turned out to be one of the best decisions of his life, enabling him to combine psychology, anthropology, philosophy and religious studies to create what he has come to regard as a "DIY course in shamanism".

He threw himself more deeply into the study of spirituality and the healing traditions, training in imagework, herbalism, massage, yoga, tai chi, the Eastern philosophies and becoming a senior in five martial arts before heading for the jungles of Peru in search of new answers and new direction.

Drinking ayahuasca and San Pedro there helped him "find himself" and in fact the direction was simple: to return to the plants and become a healer. He has now helped hundreds of people to heal and trained hundreds of others in traditional soul-healing methods through his workshops and books such as Plant Spirit Shamanism: Traditional Techniques for Healing the Soul, Plant Spirit Wisdom and The Hummingbird's Journey to God, the first to be written about healing with San Pedro, the "cactus of vision".

Ross conducts ceremonies throughout Europe and facilitates group journeys to the Amazon and Andes for people who wish to experience ayahuasca and San Pedro themselves on his Magical Earth and Cactus of Vision programmes. Increasingly, he is fascinated by the healing potential of San Pedro and has witnessed many "miracles" in those who have drunk it, including recoveries from trauma, abuse, addiction and conditions such as diabetes, paralysis and cancer. Some of these healings are recorded in his book and in articles and interviews such as this: http://www.realitysandwich.com/flight_hummingbird.

Ross divides his time between Europe and Peru where his retreat Centres offer healing and training to others: The Hummingbird in Spain (http://www.thehummingbird.org/) and El Colibri, a beautiful new medicine Centre close to Iquitos, Peru (www.ayahuascaretreats.org).

His website is www.thefourgates.org or you can email him for more information on courses, trips and events at ross@thefourgates.org.

FREE ARTICLES
* 'Heaven and the Hummingbird': An interview with Ross about the healing power of San Pedro. http://www.realitysandwich.com/flight_hummingbird.
* 'San Pedro the Miracle Healer': An interview by Ross with an Andean San Pedro healer. http://www.erowid.org/cgi-bin/search/htsearch.php?method=and&restrict=&format=long&config=htdig&exclude=&words=ross+heaven
* 'Plant Medicines and Shamanic Healing': An article on the healing rituals of ayahuasca. http://www.erowid.org/cgi-bin/search/htsearch.php?method=and&restrict=&format=long&config=htdig&exclude=&words=ross+heaven


Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
This book has to be one of the most depressing things I've read in a long time because it is little more than the physical manifestation of a personal vendetta.

In the "Afterword" of this book (published 2008), Ross Heaven explicitly refers to his bitter and widely-publicised rift from his former collaborator Simon Buxton, author of The Shamanic Way of the Bee (published 2004). Heaven here and elsewhere claims to have co-authored if not ghost-written Buxton's book. In fact, in publishing this shamelessly derivative work, Heaven gives the lie to his claim as he demonstrates here that as a writer he is nowhere near in the same league, a fact that will become immediately apparent to anyone who compares the two books.

In the unlikely event that Heaven's supposed mentor Adam Dilwyn Vaughan did really exist, Heaven has done his memory absolutely no favours with an amateurish, one-dimensional and wholly unconvincing characterisation that makes Adam sound suspiciously like a half-baked and hurried fictional creation of a man writing with the primary objective of discrediting a rival rather than truthfully telling a memoir of a much loved and genuine spiritual teacher.

The, ahem, parallels with Buxton's earlier and far superior work are too numerous to mention; it is strongly hinted that Adam's spiritual name is 'Bridge' just as Buxton's mentor was called; honey and metheglin feature regularly in initiations as they do in Buxton's memoir, even the chapter names closely echo Buxton's work throughout, for The Gate of Transition read The Gateway to the Garden, for The Small Branch of the Great Tree read The Soul of the Great Tree, for The Path of Pollen read The Path of Purpose, for The Web of Dreams read The Web of Dreams and Lies etc etc etc.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for any healer 12 April 2011
By Alex
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Captivating, easily digested. Part fiction yet based on fact. Interesting from an historic perspective, this book is a keeper. I would recommend it to any one interested in healing or shammanism.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Basic celtic spirituality 5 Oct 2010
Format:Paperback
This is a very good book on the subject of altered states of consciousness and the spiritual path.
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4 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic inspirational and flawless... 16 May 2010
Format:Paperback
bought this book a year or so ago, and there it lingered on my bookshelf, waiting for the the day when my hands should open to the first page... i eventually (through some far beyond calling), picked up the book and started reading, and WOOOOOWWWWW, fantastic read which really opens up to the celtic traditional shamanism and ways. I find this book highly inspirational and a really captivating read and would recommend it to all and anyone, whether you are on this path or not...

Brilliant, well im off to order plant spirit shamanism now... :) x
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  8 reviews
15 of 23 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Unconvincing, poorly-written, depressingly derivative 27 April 2010
By M. Graham - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book has to be one of the most depressing things I've read in a long time because it is little more than the physical manifestation of a personal vendetta.

In the "Afterword" of this book (published 2008), Ross Heaven explicitly refers to his bitter and widely-publicised rift from his former collaborator Simon Buxton, author of The Shamanic Way of the Bee (published 2004). Heaven here and elsewhere claims to have co-authored if not ghost-written Buxton's book. In fact, in publishing this shamelessly derivative work, Heaven gives the lie to his claim as he demonstrates here that as a writer he is nowhere near in the same league, a fact that will become immediately apparent to anyone who compares the two books.

In the unlikely event that Heaven's supposed mentor Adam Dilwyn Vaughan did really exist, Heaven has done his memory absolutely no favours with an amateurish, one-dimensional and wholly unconvincing characterisation that makes Adam sound suspiciously like a half-baked and hurried fictional creation of a man writing with the primary objective of discrediting a rival rather than truthfully telling a memoir of a much loved and genuine spiritual teacher.

The, ahem, parallels with Buxton's earlier and far superior work are too numerous to mention; it is strongly hinted that Adam's spiritual name is 'Bridge' just as Buxton's mentor was called; honey and metheglin feature regularly in initiations as they do in Buxton's memoir, even the chapter names closely echo Buxton's work throughout, for The Gate of Transition read The Gateway to the Garden, for The Small Branch of the Great Tree read The Soul of the Great Tree, for The Path of Pollen read The Path of Purpose, for The Web of Dreams read The Web of Dreams and Lies etc etc etc.

Ross Heaven is a prolific writer on shamanism and undoubtedly he knows what he is talking about to a certain extent in his other works. However knowing the context (made explicit in the Afterword) in which this book is written it is unfortunately impossible to trust a single word of it.

What Heaven is attempting to do in this book is to cynically and retrospectively prefigure Buxton's work by making it seem as if the ideas in Buxton's book were his own, thus substantiating his claim to have co-authored or ghost-written The Shamanic Way of the Bee. Perhaps fortunately, because he isn't in the same league as a writer, all he has succeeded in doing is demonstrating conclusively that he didn't.

So unfortunately my conclusion is steer clear - this book could seriously damage your faith in the existence of genuine shamanic traditions in the UK, not to mention human nature.
7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Insight into the Celtic/Older Pagan Traditions 17 Oct 2009
By karen carpenter - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this book. It is a breezy read. The "sin eater" in this book is an incredibly likable character who supports the community that shuns him. I felt that a lot of what the author talks about is in fact true. I know others who have said similar things regarding sin eating and it was remarkable to me how people of different beliefs can come to similar understandings of the natural/spiritual world. I especially love all of the information on plants! I plan on seeking out nettles and st johns wort now but I am trying to heed what he mentions about the innate power of wild herbs. I should probably learn about medicinal herbs native to my area. This is a great book and I will be reading it again in the future and consulting its herbal info. I thought it was interesting that he places emphasis on the energies of the plants and says how rather than ingesting the plants you can benefit from the energies in other ways. One part about some herbs screaming when they are removed from the ground and how in the past they would be pulled from dogs tails gave me pause. Excellent read- check it out for yourself!
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great book 7 Nov 2013
By Sarah Marshall - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I thought this was a great book, it was interesting, informative and easy to read - I really enjoyed it and recommend it to anyone with an interest in Celtic shamanism
6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars invaluable information 5 July 2008
By Susan Vinson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book is a blessing for those who follow the ancient path of celtic shamanic work. It is so good to find a book that covers the western path of shamanic practice. There is an abundance of other tribal shamanic culture/tradition/practice, so this part of the tradition is sorely in need. Ross Heaven is an excellant bard and the telling of his friendship with Adam draws you in.The teachings are excellant & give alot to meditate upon. Adam may no longer be with us physically but his soul continues to sing, thank you for sharing.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read 27 Dec 2012
By Sezza - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a great story for anyone to read. This book should be on everyones book case. A must read
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