Post-Tribal Shamanism: A New Look at the Old Ways Paperback – 31 Jan 2014
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Yvonne Ryves - In Post-Tribal Shamanism Kenn Day generously shares with us the teachings of his grandfather, and in doing so shows us a way to work shamanically within modern-day society and a Westernized culture. The techniques that Kenn shares are those that he has used both himself and with his students over the past 30 years, so are ones that have been tried and tested. He is though, very clear that these techniques do not in themselves, make you a shaman, but can provide 'life-enhancing experiences and realisation'. Set within the context of the role of a 'post-tribal shaman', which is explained here as being to be 'in service to and necessarily more focused on the process of individual transformation, integration and awakening the soul - both in themselves and their clients', there is much that will be familiar. However, there is also much, such as Kenn's method of entering a shamanic journey, that will be new. For anyone new to shamanism working through the content of the book which follows Kenn's own workshops, will provide a solid introduction. For anyone already working shamanically it will challenge and present new ideas. I found it both refreshing and thought provoking to read the teaching of someone, who like myself, has not been trained by tribal shaman and does not work with either core shamanism nor within a specific cultural context, but who has been taught by his own ancestral guide. I highly recommend Post-Tribal Shamanism to anyone walking or drawn to walk a shamanic path as well as to anyone who wants to understand how and why shamanism has a vital role to play in today's society and learn what that role might be.
About the Author
Kenn Day is a working shaman, with a full-time practice since 1989. He lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, with his beloved wife and daughter and offers workshops covering the teachings used in his practice.
Top customer reviews
That line alone got me hooked...
Explaining in depth the role and purpose of a shaman in today's modern society whilst still retaining the essence of the original shaman. More importantly, for me anyway, Kenn draws on his own experiences and practices in the art of shamanism including sharing a lot of his techniques for the reader to work with.
A fascinating and enlightening book, a definite 'must read from cover to cover in one sitting' kind of book but one that you will definitely go back to time and again.
First going into the background of shamanism and the role of a shaman the author explains that ‘It is difficult to find words to describe clearly the unseen worlds of the shaman and the work the shaman does’. However Kenn Day seems to have managed this task admirably and this book contains a vast wealth of information including a wide range of useful practical exercises. The book continues with further definitions and topics including social evolution and post-tribal ethics, also exploring the differences and similarities between the work of the traditional shaman that the author has met and his path as a contemporary post-tribal shaman.
The practical information and exercises include such essentials as: connection with our ancestors; journeying techniques; working with a wide range of spirits; soul retrieval and healing the invisible wound. However it also further includes exercises in lucid dreaming and ceremony and ritual, going right through to preparing for death. Another added value to this book is that Kenn Day uses and includes alternative methods to altering your consciousness other than the usual drumming. While drumming is an excellent method, as he states, it is written about extensively in many other places and isn’t necessarily the best choice for every person or every situation.
In Post-Tribal Shamanism: A new look at the old ways Kenn Day explains that no book or workshop can make you into a shaman but the tools of the post-tribal shaman can benefit and enrich anyone’s life. In this book he has provided a multitude of excellent tools for the reader to explore plus a wide range of information about shamanism and the work of a post-tribal practitioner. Highly recommended reading for anyone interested in shamanism.
It may also be problematic to define the length of time taken to journey since different people will find their own pace and timing depending on their Spirits, their heritage and what they are journeying for. In several cultures a shaman can journey for hours not just minutes and so again, being too specific about time may well work at first but could hamper people as their practice deepens.
Don't let my concerns put you off reading this book, it has a lot to recommend it and is clearly written from a place of personal authenticity and honesty of the author. Simply be aware that nobody can tell you 'how it is', they can only give you the tools to find out for yourself so if a tool starts to hold you back, make a new one.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Highly recommended for both the teachings themselves and as an example of what is possible when you approach shamanism as a living, relevant practice rather than as a set of ancient techniques handed down to be used unchanged and unquestioned.
An enjoyable read accessible to anyone, this book does not demand we execute our inner skeptics. Instead our autonomy and intelligence are deeply honored and engaged as co-adventurers in this realm that we are all already so familiar with on a soul level. Kenn then provides all the tools to integrate these parts of ourselves into our daily lives with immense practical value. Highly beneficial in the everyday insanity of modern life and deeply fulfilling to the often ignored aspects that are the true substance of who we are.
Other than that, I don’t feel his exercises were for me because the way he did things were something I wouldn’t do, connecting to a spirit (his spirit ally he calls Grandfather) isn’t exactly the most comfortable thing I’ve read about. He talks a lot about going to a lodge somewhere in a spiritual world which he classifies as the middle world where his spirit ally lives. Then some of the exercises talked about connecting to that spiritual place by having his spirit ally tie them to a world tree.
I feel his explanation about the spiritual worlds was very simple and more organized. Saying that deities and spirits who teach are in the higher world where other spirits like land, plant, and animal spirits are all in the middle world. The ancestors however he says are in the lower world. This just sounds more like an organization than how the reality is in other worlds. I just think it’s kind of a new age perspective and isn’t exactly the best representation of what I and others have experienced. I feel these three worlds are more of his organization of where things are.
The other things that were very unorthodox was his chapter about shadow work. It seemed more like a spirit summoning of a dark spirit from somewhere else rather than focusing on your own spirit and working with your own shadow. Which from other books I have read is what shadow working is about; working with your issues of self that you have ignored. Although he does mention this, it’s the method that he goes about doing it with that I do not agree with. Creating boundaries and calling on a spirit within a mirror and then sitting where the spirit is sitting on a chair just feels very much like a spirit summoning and welcoming that unknown spirit into yourself which I do not feel is a good idea!
However, he was very insightful about the ancestors and his perception that the reason we feel disconnected and that we do not belong is because we need a communal sense of self with our ancestors. Although I feel he talked about this to much and repeated himself on the matter more than three times. He mentioned deities but only about the fact that they existed in a higher world but never really mentions them again. He talks about the afterlife but never mentioned the afterlife’s of deities who may have a stake in what I would call “soul collection”. His view of the afterlife was very simple and less complicated than what I’ve heard before, which is a little disappointing because I feel he could of added more on many different subjects instead of repeating himself. I think he was more into the practice of ancestor worship than anything else. Which isn’t wrong, but there could of been more to write about if he hadn’t of repeated himself. He never really mentions what kind of pagan he is so the path he follows is quite unclear to me. The only thing he makes apparent is that he is a "post tribal shaman" who works with ancestors and various other things.
I would recommend this book to a beginner but for an advanced person, if you just want a different view on things then you could pick this book up. Otherwise it probably isn’t worth your time. Unless you want a different perspective on the things I mentioned. Honestly, It was a very short book. Get it if you want the different perspective but don’t if you’re looking for something with more explanation. The author seems very sincere about things in this book but, he could made more of an effort to elaborate on certain things in my opinion.
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