In the Shadow of the Shaman Review
So… you’re holding a copy of In the Shadow of the Shaman in your hands. How do you, as a reader, use it to help you progress on your own path? The author encourages the reader to develop a highly personalised spiritual system by adapting the parts of this book that work well for the reader into daily life. Wolfe’s primary concern is passing along the information that benefitted her and she delivers – this book is filled with helpful information for beginner and intermediate pagans.
That being said, this book requires a lot of self-work.
While the book is only a little over 350 pages long, it is packed full of rituals, meditations, instructional/reference charts, exercises for self-reflection, personal anecdotes, and spiritual guidance. Determining what works best for the reader will ultimately involve participating and engaging with the material in the book.
Here is just a small sample of what’s included:
- Learning to recognise imagery in guided meditations
- Energy clearing
- Dream walking
- Working with energies and spirits of inanimate but natural objects (stones, trees, leaves)
- Tending to plants according to the moon and sun
- Creating a sacred staff or walking stick
- Techniques for clearing your mind
- Guided meditations for every season and solstice
Readers already following a path of nature spirituality or witchcraft might find some of the material to be a refresher, but In the Shadow of the Shaman can provide an almost overwhelming number of resources for an interested and disciplined beginner.
In the Shadow of the Shaman is a little bit deceptive in that the term shaman is used rather loosely to draw the focus to a single practioner working a form of nature spirituality or witchcraft; Wolfe does not attempt to recreate any forms of traditional shamanism. The book blends together New Age traditions like chakra work and power animal totems with Celtic, Wiccan and Seneca Nation influences. At times, this blend of influences can be chaotic and frustrating – especially for readers who may not feel a connection to this particular blend of traditions.
While Wolfe has a nurturing and kind way of presenting information to the reader, the first-person accounts of her experiences can come across as melodramatic and flashy. The reader might find it challenging to suspend disbelief following some of these segments, but the ultimate value of the remaining material makes it worth it to keep moving forward.
In the Shadow of the Shaman works best when completed cover-to-cover, but Wolfe presents the information in such a compact and tidy way that the reader can set the book to one side and come back to it as needed. Each section builds upon the work of the previous chapter so, while it is possible to read ahead, it is more beneficial to complete each task in order. The reader who keeps a journal or a book of shadows will benefit considerably more from this book. In the Shadow of the Shaman complements other books blending Nature Spirituality and witchcraft like Ted Andrew’s Animal Wise, Lupa Greenwolf’s DIY Totemism, and Mike William’s Follow the Shaman’s Call.
In the Shadow of the Shaman is written by Amber Wolfe and published by Llewellyn Worldwide. Visit your local library, support your favorite bookstore, or find a copy on Amazon.