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Reveals the striking parallels between indigenous cultures of the Americas and the ancient Homeric world as well as Tolkien?s Middle Earth
? Explores the shamanic use of healing songs, psychoactive plants, and vision quests at the heart of the Odyssey and the fantasy works of J. R. R. Tolkien
? Examines Odysseus?s encounters with plant divinities, altered consciousness, animal shapeshifting, and sacred topography?all concepts vital to shamanism...
Reveals the striking parallels between indigenous cultures of the Americas and the ancient Homeric world as well as Tolkien’s Middle Earth
• Explores the shamanic use of healing songs, psychoactive plants, and vision quests at the heart of the Odyssey and the fantasy works of J. R. R. Tolkien
• Examines Odysseus’s encounters with plant divinities, altered consciousness, animal shapeshifting, and sacred topography—all concepts vital to shamanism
• Reveals how the Odyssey emerged precisely at the rupture between modern and primal consciousness
Indigenous, shamanic ways of healing and prophecy are not foreign to the West. The native way of viewing the world—that is, understanding our cosmos as living, sentient, and interconnected—can be found hidden throughout Western literature, beginning with the very origin of the European literary tradition: Homer’s Odyssey.
Weaving together the narrative traditions of the ancient Greeks and Celts, the mythopoetic work of J. R. R. Tolkien, and the voices of plant medicine healers in North and South America, the authors explore the use of healing songs, psychoactive plants, and vision quests at the heart of the Odyssey, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and Tolkien’s final novella, Smith of Wootton Major. The authors examine Odysseus’s encounters with plant divinities, altered consciousness, animal shapeshifting, and sacred topography—all concepts vital to shamanism. They show the deep affinities between the healing powers of ancient bardic song and the icaros of the shamans of the Amazon rain forest, how Odysseus’s battle with Circe—wielder of narcotic plants and Mistress of Animals—follows the traditional method of negotiating with a plant ally, and how Odysseus’s journey to the land of the dead signifies the universal practice of the vision quest, a key part of shamanic initiation.
Emerging precisely at the rupture between modern and primal consciousness, Homer’s work represents a window into the lost native mind of the Western world. In this way, the Odyssey as well as Tolkien’s work can be seen as an awakening and healing song to return us to our native minds and bring our disconnected souls back into harmony with the living cosmos.
“The authors weave a fascinating tale connecting South American shamanic practices of magic plants and wondrous spirit beings to one of the West’s oldest mythic tales of exploration—Homer’s Odyssey. Such tales provide nourishment and medicine for the soul’s growth.”
“The authors’ exploration of the shamanic, indigenous characteristics of Odysseus’ journey through the ancient otherworld of divine powers is a noteworthy new contribution to the field of Classics. In particular, his reading of the Odysseus and the Cyclops episode in light of the encounter between the indigenous peoples of the Americas and the ‘civilized’ European conquistadores opens marvelous new possibilities for understanding the mind of Homeric man.”
Excerpted from The Shamanic Odyssey by Robert Tindall Copyright © 2012 by Robert Tindall. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Foreword by John Perkins
One The Flight of the Eagle and Condor
Two Snake Medicine
Three Poseidon’s Curse: The Rupture with the Indigenous Mind
Four Rapturous Song
Five The Plant Goddess Circe
Six Animal Becoming
Seven J. R. R. Tolkien and the Intensified Trajectory of Consciousness
Eight Descent to Hades
Nine Bound to the Mast: Initiation versus Addiction
Ten Healing the Eye of the Cyclops
Appendix A A Brief Orientation to Homer and the Odyssey
Appendix B The Prophecy of the Eagle and Condor