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

Overview

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.

Bridging the worlds of the traditional Native American and modern culture, the authors offer an inspiring and moving autobiography of a native American medicine man, one of the last to be trained in the ancient ways, and one of the few to teach...

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The Wind Is My Mother

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Overview

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.

Bridging the worlds of the traditional Native American and modern culture, the authors offer an inspiring and moving autobiography of a native American medicine man, one of the last to be trained in the ancient ways, and one of the few to teach nontribal people.

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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.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780425161609
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 2/28/1998
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 168,933
  • Product dimensions: 5.33 (w) x 8.22 (h) x 0.79 (d)

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 www.TheWindIsMyMother.com

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Table of Contents

Introduction by Molly Larkin

Book I: Initiation
1. To Walk in Beauty
2. A Well-rounded Education
3. You Don't Ask to Be a Medicine Man
4. Wrapped Around a Tree

Book II: The Cure Lies Within You
5. Whose Power Is It?
6. Doctoring
7. Another Kind of Healing
8. Walking in Balance
9. Coping with Suffering

Book III: Learning How to Live
10. The Power of Love
11. Talking with the Earth
12. A Different Kind of Church
13. The Peyote Way
14. The Sacred Pipe
15. Becoming a Vessel - The Vision Quest
16. We All Have Something to Offer

Prayers

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Sort by: Showing all of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 5, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    If you want to learn about yourself, read this book--just wish I could have known him!! What a master!!

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 23, 2005

    A Better Cure Than Medicine

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2002

    Soul touching read!

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 6, 2001

    Warm and Thought Provoking

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 18, 2000

    THIS BOOK IS GREAT!!!

    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!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 19, 2012

    I enjoyed this book and I plan to use it along with scripture f

    I enjoyed this book and I plan to use it along with scripture for a Bible Study.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 9, 2000

    Interesting and Inspirational

    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.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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    Posted December 31, 2008

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    Posted October 25, 2009

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    Posted February 25, 2011

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