(published February 28, 2014)
ABOUT THE BOOK
2015 Paris Book Festival: Honorable Mention (Spiritual Category)
The roots of Western shamanism are said to lie in the practices of the “wise women,” the priestesses of early Anglo-Saxon times. As spiritual leaders, they helped their people to understand, and to live within, the framework of a worldview that was called “wyrd,” and which suggested that: all things and all events are intimately interconnected on all levels of reality; objects perceptible to human senses are nothing more than local manifestations of larger energy patterns; that which is imperceptible to human senses is as important as this which is perceptible; any event, anywhere, affects everything else, everywhere; everything, everywhere, is alive — that is, consciousness is all-pervasive; body, mind, and spirit are all one; and the entire universe is sacred and has purpose and meaning.
Given the current state of the world, the survival of humanity may well depend on our adopting the shamanic worldview of wyrd. The modern worldview — based on anthropocentrism, humanism, rationalism, mechanism, and materialism — authorizes and even encourages, aggression, exploitation, and destruction. This has led to a situation in which the state of the world reflects the state of our minds, in which the conflict without, mirrors the conflict within, in which the external chaos echoes the internal chaos.
While few are born with the sensitivities necessary to be true shamans, many more might be willing to adopt the shamanic worldview of wyrd if they are shown the way. Today’s neo-shamans can be their guides. Instead of separation, conflict, alienation, and chaos, the human experience could be one of unity, harmony, cooperation, order, meaning, purpose, and value.
This book is a great introduction to Shamanism. It is not about “witches” as we have been conditioned to believe, but is rather about spiritual leaders. Mr. Ritchey brings the world of the “Wyrd” down to earth with intelligent support from mainstream medical thinking to quantum physics. It is an eye opener to what mainstream considers either a phenomenon or a neurologically compromised condition which Mr. Ritchey proves otherwise.
I would greatly suggest reading Mr.Ritchey’s “Descended from the Gods” first, as it will enhance the understanding of the Wyrd. And if you are really inspired, read “Understanding the Anomalously Sensitive Person (ASP),” a layman’s clinical text supporting the ASP, a subject Mr. Ritchey is a pioneer in. In fact today, exploration of “sensitive people” is popping up in all sorts of seminars and classes.
Given that, Mr. Ritchey presents the shaman as offering guidance to a conflicted world helping the rest of us to embrace a new perspective of our human experience. With so much conditioning unconsciously since childhood, think how different our lives would be if “thinking outside the box” had been allowed.
The book [is] a delightful journey through an often complicated subject. Be ready to learn, painlessly, a lot more about the brain than you thought you’d ever need to know.
An anonymous pull-quote on p. 21 gives away the delicious sense of irony with which the author often addresses the mainstream, reductionist, brickish scientific enterprise: “Reality is a fiction invented by those who feel insecure without a solid ground to stand on.” This book is all about those of us humans for whom the solid ground, fiction or not, was either never there or has gone crunchy or mushy due to various kinds of personal seismic events, including pre-natal ones.
These folks are badly undervalued in our culture. Ritchey’s book shows us, often in very concrete ways, how important the wyrd is in human life.
BUY THE BOOK: Headline Books