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Record Type: Review   ID: 228

Starwalking: Shamanic Practices for Traveling Into the Night Sky

Bryant, Page

 I probably would never have given this book any consideration whatsoever if I had not become interested in the exceptional outer space experience, which is reported not only by astronauts but is sometimes a major component of dreams, OBEs, NDEs, and other types of exceptional experience. I am taking note of it now, and expect I may have use for it in the future. It is really a kind of anthropological astronomy. Bryant, who is a psychic, objects to what I will call the insult to our full human nature that the hegemony of physical science, which has all but eradicated metaphysics, which is based on intuition and religion, and it has squeezed out paganism, which taught that everything is sacred, including ourselves, all life, and the stars. This book is the fruit of a Project of Transcendence in which Bryant has been engaged as she studied the stars in every way she could from a formal astronomy class to working with an astronomer to realizing the premodern lore about the stars. She advocates coupling "a scientific knowledge of the cosmos...with a cosmology that has its roots in the distant past, and that bestows the gift of life and power to all that exists" (pp. xviii-xix). In this book she presents all the premodern approaches to the stars from tribal cultures to "Earth-based and star-based religions and star-based societies, both ancient and modern" (p. xix). She draws on Native American and Celtic lore and wisdom, archeological art and sites, mythology, astrology, kaballah, wicca, and other nature-based religions, and the occult traditions of esoteric schools such as the Rosicrucians and the Orb of the Golden Dawn. She draws the following highly important generalizations from this vast array of premodern sources: "Their knowledge did more than explain the workings of the universe to their personal satisfaction. It also gave them a code of ethics by which to live and by which they could ‘enter’ the universe" (p. xx). These peoples were/are not as split as we moderns are, and they were able to induce what must have been the ultimate outer space experience, but today there seems to be an increase of those who are experiencing it spontaneously—drawing us down, in, out, up and thus beyond our exclusive identification with our skin-encapsulated egos. Bryant offers the following summary of the meaning of all she has learned after 28 years of personal study that started with "an urgent passionate need" she felt in the autumn of 1977 to study the stars: "We are star born. We are responding to an innate human desire to find out where we came from, and then to go home. Through reason and intuition, meditation, ceremony, visualization, creative imagery, and imagination, we can remember our origin....Those memories will call us home" (pp. xxii-xxiii).
Publisher Information:Sante Fe, NM: Bear, 1997. xxvi + 319p. Bibl: 309-313; Chapnotes: 315-319; 2 figs; 18 illus; 1 photo
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