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This title in other editions

Of Water and the Spirit: Ritual, Magic and Initiation in the Life of an African Shaman

by

Of Water and the Spirit: Ritual, Magic and Initiation in the Life of an African Shaman Cover

ISBN13: 9780140194968
ISBN10: 0140194967
Condition: Standard
All Product Details

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Among the Dagara of Burkina Faso there is no distinction between the natural and the supernatural: The living converse with ancestral spirits, and those with the proper knowledge routinely travel to other worlds. Malidoma Patrice Some was born in a Dagara village, only to be abducted as a small boy and taken to a Jesuit mission school, where for fifteen years he was harshly indoctrinated in European ways of thought and worship. When he returned to his people, he had to undergo an initiation so rigorous that it might have killed him. Instead, Malidoma's passage between two worlds resulted in an assignment to convey his people's knowledge to the West, leading to this book of rare healing wisdom. Of Water and the Spirit is a remarkable sharing of living African traditions, offered in compassion for those struggling with our contemporary crisis of the spirit.

Review:

"This vivid autobiography takes readers into a world of black magic, palpable spirits, walking dead people, force fields, transdimensional journeys — a world as strange as anything in imaginative fiction." Publishers Weekly

Review:

"[I]llustrates the profound culture clashes between Western civilization and indigenous cultures." Library Journal

Review:

"What's most compelling here is the insider's account of white religious colonialism in Africa, as well as the sense of what it's like to be a man of two cultures with contradictory versions of reality." Booklist

Review:

"[A] beautifully written and personal story that grapples with questions of identity and tradition that affect us all." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"Malidoma has kept faith with the ancestors and with his own heart. His journey is a shimmering 'misiing piece' in the story of the earth." Alice Walker

Review:

"Here is a man who has experienced [ancient initiation] in our time. The spiritual depth of African culture becomes clear." Robert Bly

Synopsis:

"A vision that encompasses two worlds and weaves the lessons of both into a fine tapestry."—Clarissa Pinkola Éstes.

Synopsis:

One of the most astonishing and intimate accounts of spiritual transformation ever written, this is the true story of an African's shaman's initiation--a remarkable sharing of living African traditions, offered with compassion for those struggling with our contemporary crisis of spirit.

About the Author

Malidoma Patrice Somé, born in Upper Volta (now Burkina Faso) West Africa, is initiated in the ancestral traditions of his tribe, and is a medicine man and diviner in the Dagra culture. He holds three master's degrees and two doctorates from Sorbonne and Brandeis University, and has taught at the University of Michigan. He currently devotes himself to speaking and, with his wife, Sobonfu, conducting intensive workshops throughout the United States.

Table of Contents

Introduction

Chapter 1: Slowly Becoming

Chapter 2: A Grandfather's Farewell

Chapter 3: Grandfather's Funeral

Chapter 4: A Sudden Farewell

Chapter 5: In the White Man's World

Chapter 6: Life Begins at Nansi

Chapter 7: The Rebellion Begins

Chapter 8: New Awakenings

Chapter 9: The Long Journey Begins

Chapter 10: The Voyage Home

Chapter 11: Hard Beginnings

Chapter 12: Trying to Fit Back into Village Life

Chapter 13: The Meeting at the Earth Shrine

Chapter 14: My First Night at the Initiation Camp

Chapter 15: Trying to See

Chapter 16: The World of the Fire, the Song of the Stars

Chapter 17: In the Arms of the Green Lady

Chapter 18: Returning to the Source

Chapter 19: Opening the Portal

Chapter 20: Through the Light Hole

Chapter 21: The World at the Bottom of the Pool

Chapter 22: Burials, Lessons, and Journeys

Chapter 23: Journey into the Underworld

Chapter 24: A Mission in the Underworld

Chapter 25: Returning from the Underworld

Chapter 26: Homecoming and Celebration

Epilogue: The Fearful Return

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

enjoyables, January 1, 2010 (view all comments by enjoyables)
I loved reading this book! It delves into the life of a child straddling two civilizations, one modern, one archaic. It's the story of that child growing into a man and what he must do to reconcile the differences between these two worlds. Fantastic and eye-opening! It's a book I share with those who I love the most. I highly recommend!
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(4 of 7 readers found this comment helpful)
Shoshana, September 14, 2008 (view all comments by Shoshana)
As a child, Somé was kidnapped by Jesuits, to be trained as a priest and used as an intermediary with his people. He escaped as an adult (after assaulting a teacher, he fled the Jesuit school) and returned to his village. There, he was out of place and unable to assume an adult role. He was both lacking in local knowledge and had been taught a different way to see the world. Much of the memoir recounts Somé's grueling initiation and transition to cultural adulthood. Even after initiation, however, Somé remains a man of two worlds, charged by his elders to bridge his culture and the Western world.

Like many memoirs and narratives from non-Western cultures, magic and symbolism abound. This is not how I understand the world and its workings, so it is interesting to read Somé's descriptions. He addresses the worldview differences, but I would have wished for more commentary on the contrasts. Also like many memoirs from countries affected by colonialism and war, the questions of identity, identification, and multiple cultures are pervasive, critical, and ultimately unanswerable.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780140194968
Author:
Some', Malidoma Patrice
Publisher:
Penguin Books
Author:
Some, Patrice Malidoma
Location:
New York
Subject:
General
Subject:
Africa
Subject:
Biography
Subject:
Religion
Subject:
Shamans
Subject:
Dagaaba
Subject:
Africa - General
Subject:
Spirituality - Shamanism
Subject:
Some, Malidoma Patrice
Subject:
Dagaaba (African people) -- Biography.
Subject:
Religion Comparative-General
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Paperback / softback
Series:
Compass
Series Volume:
February 1995 no. 4
Publication Date:
19950531
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
from 12
Language:
English
Pages:
320
Dimensions:
8.42x5.49x.61 in. .55 lbs.
Age Level:
from 18

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Related Subjects

Biography » General
History and Social Science » World History » Africa
Metaphysics » African and Latino
Metaphysics » Magic Witchcraft and Paganism
Metaphysics » Shamanism
Religion » Comparative Religion » General

Of Water and the Spirit: Ritual, Magic and Initiation in the Life of an African Shaman Used Trade Paper
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$9.95 In Stock
Product details 320 pages Penguin Books - English 9780140194968 Reviews:
"Review" by , "This vivid autobiography takes readers into a world of black magic, palpable spirits, walking dead people, force fields, transdimensional journeys — a world as strange as anything in imaginative fiction."
"Review" by , "[I]llustrates the profound culture clashes between Western civilization and indigenous cultures."
"Review" by , "What's most compelling here is the insider's account of white religious colonialism in Africa, as well as the sense of what it's like to be a man of two cultures with contradictory versions of reality."
"Review" by , "[A] beautifully written and personal story that grapples with questions of identity and tradition that affect us all."
"Review" by , "Malidoma has kept faith with the ancestors and with his own heart. His journey is a shimmering 'misiing piece' in the story of the earth."
"Review" by , "Here is a man who has experienced [ancient initiation] in our time. The spiritual depth of African culture becomes clear."
"Synopsis" by ,
"A vision that encompasses two worlds and weaves the lessons of both into a fine tapestry."—Clarissa Pinkola Éstes.
"Synopsis" by , One of the most astonishing and intimate accounts of spiritual transformation ever written, this is the true story of an African's shaman's initiation--a remarkable sharing of living African traditions, offered with compassion for those struggling with our contemporary crisis of spirit.

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