The Wind Is My Mother: The Life and Teachings of a Native American Shaman

The Wind Is My Mother: The Life and Teachings of a Native American Shaman

4.8 12
by Bear Heart

View All Available Formats & Editions

With eloquent simplicity, one of the world's last Native American Medicine Men demonstrates how traditional tribal wisdom can help us maintain spiritual and physical health in today's world.


With eloquent simplicity, one of the world's last Native American Medicine Men demonstrates how traditional tribal wisdom can help us maintain spiritual and physical health in today's world.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Bear Heart, a full-blooded Muskogee Creek Indian and one of the last "trained" Medicine Men, shares this knowledge, combining it with his more formal, graduate degree in psychology to build a bridge between Native American and modern spirituality. Categorized as an autobiography, the book is nevertheless constructed episodically rather than chronologically, resulting in a lack of fluidity that may distract some readers. The first section describes Bear Heart's family, their beliefs and the calling and training he received to be a medicine man. In the second section, great truths of Native American beliefs and Christianity find parallels. Section three further describes the relationship of human beings to each other, to nature and to the Great Being; the importance of the Sacred Pipe; and the purposes of vision quests. It concludes with this question: "The word `memorial' does not indicate that someone has died. It symbolizes that someone has lived. What is going to be the living memorial that you're going to leave behind?" (Mar.)
Kirkus Reviews
The life and healing practices of a Muskogee Creek medicine man who seems never to have met a disease he couldn't cure.

A general reader must suspend disbelief and patiently endure grandfatherly lectures throughout this book, coauthored by Larkin, a white woman who experienced a spiritual rebirth under Bear Heart's tutelage. As a young disciple, Bear Heart underwent training rituals that included trooping through a nest of rattlesnakes and lying on an anthill. He also became adept in using traditional healing tools, including a wide repertoire of chants, an eagle feather upon which he blows when ministering to sick patients, the Sacred Pipe, and peyote, which only recently was legally permitted for use by practitioners of the Native American Church. In his long tenure as medicine man, Bear Heart claims to have cured earaches, tubercular-like illnesses, poisonings, and paralysis, often after Western medicine had failed. In addition, he was able to produce snow for a Colorado ski resort and cause choking fits from a distance in those with evil intentions. In the main, however, one can read this as a homily-filled discourse on leading a healthy and happy existence. Among his admonitions are to remain humble, have respect for elders, laugh frequently, be respectful of the natural environment, avoid blaming others for one's situation, and other tried-and-true strategies. The book is forever in danger of meandering into areas best left untouched, such as bear psychology ("Mostly they use telepathy to communicate") and anthropology ("It's possible that the Hebrews were here in North America first and then traveled to Israel"), but the writers maintain such a consistently sincere tone that the uncritical reader readily forgives Bear Heart's leaps into the unknown.

In sum, one can read this in lieu of spending an evening with a well-meaning but long-winded relative or use it, sparingly, as a resouce for insight into traditional Native American practices.

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.25(w) x 8.23(h) x 0.74(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Marcellus “Bear Heart” Williams [1918-2008], born in Okemah, Oklahoma was a full-blood spiritual leader of the Muskogee-Creek Nation trained in the traditional ways of his tribe. Highly regarded as a healer and counselor, he was also a respected leader of the Native American Church, Sun Danced with both the Northern and Southern Cheyenne people, and was an ordained minister in the American Baptist Church. He was asked to be one of the spiritual counselors for the fireman and their families after the Oklahoma City tragedy and put down prayers with the Fire Department at Ground Zero in November, 2001.   Bear Heart helped thousands of people over the course of his life and his book, “The Wind Is My Mother,” continues his life work of sharing wisdom and inspiration. For more information, visit

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

The Wind Is My Mother: The Life and Teachings of a Native American Shaman 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
raynee6275 More than 1 year ago
This was, in my opinion, all of the self help books I have ever read rolled up in one--Bear Heart has the best insight into peoples' really important places!! He is the Master of all he went through and gives people a reason to look farther into themselves--he gives you the hope that there IS something there!!! He was a great man and a credit to all people. It has become one of the daily inspirational books for me--I read The Wind is My Mother and Bible verses before I even try to navigate this world. I will keep a copy with me the rest of my life--Thank You, Bear Heart.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Bear Heart speaks with words that the human heart can understand. He does not flog us with a demand that we worship in any special way, only that we accept ourselves, our world, and all of creation as living and worthwhile. I could have avoided taking all those drugs for depression if I had known how to live in harmony with my environment. This is what he teaches as he gives us the guidelines. 'The Wind is My Mother' is full of hope for all nationalities and people of all faiths. I keep this book at hand for all the times I feel empty and hopeless because I can always find something to lift me up and make my heart thankful.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have been enjoying this book immensely. The author is a Creek (Muskogee) healer and he presents his life experience, native and college education to everyday life. He presents his and his people views on many things: healing, religion, race relations, history, spirituality and more. Each chapter seems to discuss a truth that strikes home with me. I repeatedly find myself in tears of joy and/or sadness while reading this book. I hope you enjoy it as much as I am.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is great. It's like sitting at the feet of one of the elders and hearing a tale while at the same time learning some important life lessons. It's very heartfelt.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a most fascinating book. I couldn't put it down. Even when I finished it! I have read it three times and still counting. This is a 'handbook' for Life!!!
Anonymous 9 months ago
This is my favorite book of all time! I've read it at least three times over the years, and read parts of it all the time. Bear Heart is a person i would have loved to have known. It is the story of his amazing life and how he was chosen to become a shaman by 2 older shaman who he learned from over many years. He makes you want to live a better life. I've always loved the earth and all the creatures we share it with more than most of the people I had known most of my life and after reading this book, it makes me feel I was right to feel this way. Also what this book taught me is to be more patient and understanding of people, which many times i wasn't. I was brought up as a christian, but always felt simething was missing and tried many different religions and eventually just did my own thing but l always believed in a higher power. The Native American church is what i was looking for! This book helped me know that nature can be my church and that the Great Spirit is there amoung his creation. He is also in your heart and anywhere you need him! But Bear Heart's book isn't a call for conversion, he teaches how to live a good life so that when you look back on you're life you won't feel ashamed. I've recommended this book to many of my friends and they have loved it as much as I do!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great read. This book opens you to new views of life
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book and I plan to use it along with scripture for a Bible Study.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought it was interesting reading about shamanism from a Native American Shaman. Bear Heart shares a lot of wisdom and sayings of his people and of his own experiences. Some parts of the book seem to drag out, but overall it is worth a read if you are interested in Native American ways, particularly shamanism.