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Walkers Between the Worlds: The Western Mysteries from Shaman to Magus Paperback – 14 Jan 2004

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Product details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Inner Traditions; 2 edition (14 Jan. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0892810912
  • ISBN-13: 978-0892810918
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 3 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 214,212 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description


"This book is a wonderful resource for deepening one's understanding of the personal path being followed. . . . an excellent resource as well as a personal workbook." (Rev. Dr. S. D'Montford, New Dawn, Mar-Apr 2006)

From the Back Cover

HERMETIC STUDIES / CELTIC Beneath the orthodox religions of the West runs a current that has preserved both the native lore of our ancestors and the magical knowledge of the Hermetic tradition. The Western esoteric tradition has preserved our vital connection with the Otherworld, keeping alive the ancient earth wisdom of the shamans as well as the gnosis of the classical Mysteries that informed ancient civilizations; this legacy of perennial wisdom enabled the flowering of high magic in the Middle Ages and Renaissance and its lively influence is still part of the West's spiritual inheritance. In Walkers Between the Worlds, Caitlin and John Matthews reveal the development of these complementary traditions in Western culture. As the orthodox structures of the West appear increasingly hollow and irrelevant, the way of the shaman and the magus remains vital, offering many practical methods for reawakening awareness and reconnecting with the sacred continuum of the universe. In addition to its rich appraisal of the Western esoteric tradition and its guidance to both new and continuing practitioners of the native and Hermetic traditions, Walkers Between the Worlds contains twenty-one practical exercises drawn from the teaching methods of both traditions to help the reader explore these Mysteries. CAITLIN and JOHN MATTHEWS have worked within the Western Esoteric Tradition for over twenty-five years, exploring in their many books--including Taliesin: The Last Celtic Shaman, The Encyclopaedia of Celtic Wisdom, and King Arthur and the Goddess of the Land--its shamanic roots, the spiritual lore of the Celts, the myths of the Arthurian legend, and the many practical approaches of contemporary spirituality. They are cofounders of the Foundation for Inspirational and Oracular Studies, established to encourage oral wisdom and the sacred arts, and teach and lecture around the world. They live in Oxford, England.

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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I loved this book! Having read the original 1980s edition, I was thrilled to read this major revision. Caitlin Matthews writes so beautifully... straight from the heart as well as offering a dazzling scholarship which feeds the mind and brings clarity to some very complex issues. A big 'thank you' for this Master Work, which is sure to inspire and encourage readers, whatever their level of experience of the Western Mysteries.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x8ea35534) out of 5 stars 11 reviews
114 of 116 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8ee46f78) out of 5 stars Revised,updated, rewritten "The Western Way",omnibus edition 20 Jun. 2005
By Eilid Sidhe - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
For those who have been searching for years for a copy of Caitlin and John Matthews' "The Western Way", omnibus edition, which was the compilation of the two prior western tradition magical works "The Native Tradition" and "The Hermetic Tradition", here is their definitive work revised, rewritten, and updated. The Matthews stand as two of the premier writers and practitioners of Western Tradition magic and native "shamanic" modalities, within a Celtic framework. Along with serious Western Tradition practitioners and writers such as Gareth Knight, who wrote the forward for their original works, and R. J. Stewart, who collaborated with John Matthews on quite a number of books, the Matthews have written an intriguing manual for practitioners, leading you on a journey to the Otherworlds, and leading you back safely.

As a shamanic practitioner trained in the Harner method, as well as a Druid with the Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids, I can assure you that the practical principles Caitlin and John Matthews instruct in this tome are well worth the time, energy, and effort of those serious about magical and shamanic work. "A rose of the West should not seek to bloom like a lotus of the East", as the pioneers of formalizing Western Tradition have said, referring of course to Dion Fortune, Christine Hartley, William Gray, Gareth Knight, Israel Regardie, and others. This is not to disparage Eastern mysticism at all, only indicates that Eastern mysticism and practice is geared for the Eastern mind. Many people of Western cultures study Eastern practices, unaware that within their own Western cultural heritage there exists a lineage of spiritual and mystical traditions that are every bit as effective and enduring as the Eastern traditions.

Drawing from the myths, stories, poetry, ancient writings, and resources, the Matthews provide ample background to substantiate a legacy of Western magical and native traditions left to us by the giants who have gone before us. The Eastern mind and psyche is more attuned to the stillness, the still center, and simply being, while the Western mind and psyche is better engaged in activities and interactions with beings who habitate the many Otherworlds, as well as with our own Higher Self, and with our guardians and guides. These interactions can range from various divination methods, intuition, automatic writing communications, augury, scrying, inspiration, or actual verbal, aural, or thought-exchange interactions with beings. One can access otherworlds and walk therein, at will, with one foot in each world, hence the title of the book.

Considering there are organizations of medical doctors and other health care professionals who are now actively studying and practicing shamanism and shamanic techniques, in the USA and elsewhere, what was once a small and eclectic group of indigenous practitioners around the world has blossomed into thousands of people from all walks of life, called to this type of work and exploration, for whatever reasons. This book by the Matthews, whether one is drawn to Celtic shamanism, traditions, or magic, or not, can only help to enrich one's understanding and experience of shamanism and magic.

The practical exercises that were the hallmark of the earlier books remain, with enriching and updating as needed, but the structure of the prior works remains intact. I kept my omnibus edition of "The Western Way" even though most of it is incorporated within "Walkers Between the Worlds", for sentimental reasons, because it was the first book I ever read that was such a "synchonious" experience for me, one of the "Ah-ha" moments of my life, that I cannot let it go. It served me well when I was called to assist my late mother in crossing over to the Summerlands, and I took her on a journey to the Underworld so that she wouldn't be afraid of passing over, and she found it beautiful. That was prior to the "Walkers Between The Worlds" edition. All the important material and exercises from "The Western Way" were kept in the Walkers Between The Worlds" book.

Gregg Braden, author and speaker, has said that Mayan and other indigenous teachings refer to this time in the world as the time of the "Walkers Between the Worlds", and this has some significance to the year 2012, perhaps as a time of increasing and accelerating Earth vibrations.
68 of 70 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8e9c91e0) out of 5 stars For all who pass between the worlds- and return. 15 Sept. 2004
By OAKSHAMAN - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is one of the most valuable spiritual books that I have read in some time. The authors connect two of my primary topics of deep life interest- shamanism and the path of the magus in the Hermetic tradition. I mean, I've always sensed the connection, but I've encountered others that just didn't seem to get it. The authors make this connection- primarily through the classical mystery tradition of the western world. It is identified that the Hermetic tradition cannot exist without the foundation of the native shamanic tradition, while the shamanic tradition cannot progress without the projection of the Hermetic. One represents the roots, and the other the branches, of the Great Tree.

It was truly remarkable how page after page tied together my own interests, studies, and intuitions- it was almost like one long experience of high-level synchronicity. Of course, the forward and high praise by Gareth Knight should be enough to convince most knowledgeable readers that this book is the real thing.

You could do far worse than to make this book both your introduction, as well as, your primary text for the study of deep, intuitive, Gnostic, spirituality. I know that this book will be going into my permanent reference collection. I don't know how I missed the earlier edition.
45 of 45 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8e9c91a4) out of 5 stars A Western path of the heart 30 April 2005
By George - Published on
Format: Paperback
I first read this many years ago under its previous title THE WESTERN WAY. This wonderful book, written by two who have travelled the path deeply, gave voice and clarity to my own vague spiritual yearning, and helped me begin a rich and rewarding journey of my own. I, and many in the West, have looked eastward to find a spirituality perceived lacking in the West. Yet, a beautiful, rich and coherent spirituality does indeed exist in Western culture. This book brought me home again, and stirred the analeptic memory of my soul.

Poetic, scholarly and practical, this book offers many rich and engaging practica for exploration, none of which are terribly difficult. However, approach them with respect; do not underestimate the power of these exercises to open the inner mind and heart.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8e9c9780) out of 5 stars Excellent, but not light reading 17 July 2007
By rockchick - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is one of the most comprehensive & thorough books I've ever read in the realm of alternative spirituality. It gives an excellent overview of all the main topics in both native/Pagan/earth-centered practice and alchemical/Hermetic/celestial practice. However, it took me almost 2 years to get through the whole book, as it is written very intelligently and requires much reflection to truly digest. Definitely not a Llewellyn-fluff book (although those have their place)! You will need to invest serious thought and time to fully understand & incorporate this book's concepts into your life. For this reason I wouldn't recommend it as one of your first alternative spirituality books; come back to it when you have studied awhile first. It will help answer your questions & fill in the gaps of earlier teachings. My favorite part are the Practices, which are like guided meditations that help bring the sometimes dry text to vibrant life.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8e9c9534) out of 5 stars Beautiful Introduction to Western Mystery Traditions. . . 1 Sept. 2006
By BibliophilePagan - Published on
Format: Paperback
I really enjoyed this book and agree with many of the other reviews- it was a well-written look into the Western Mysteries, and divides its time equally between the shaman path and the magus. What I really liked was that the author's emphasized that shamanistic traditions are not inferior to the "high magic" branches of western tradition: this distinction is key in actually fully understanding the traditions. Overall and in-depth and enjoyable read with some useful exercises as well!
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