Pagan Paths - Native & Aboriginal

Iboga: The Visionary Root of African Shamanism

The Visionary Root of African Shamanism  
by Vincent Ravalec, Mallendi, and Agnes Paicheler; Jack Cain (translator)
Inner Traditions, 2007


Iboga is a plant little-known in the U.S. outside of the modern shamanism movement and the drug culture. However, in Gabon and Cameroon, iboga is used extensively in initiatory rites to heal psychological damage and to bring the initiate into a more mature stage of life. The three authors detail what iboga is, how it is traditionally used in bwiti ceremonies, and what ramifications its use has for the pharmaceutical industry.

Read more: Iboga: The Visionary Root of African Shamanism

Wise Secrets of Aloha

Wise Secrets of Aloha  
by Harry Uhane Jim and Garnette Arledge
Weiser Books, 2007


I began reading Wise Secrets of Aloha on a very cold winter night in Colorado, where the below freezing temperatures were absolutely as far as you could get from the gentle breezes and tropical warmth that Jim and Arledge attempt to invoke. Hawaiian traditional healing, known as Lomilomi, is described as “paradoxical” and “ineffable.” There is the paradox of trying to describe a healing technique that is mostly intuitive, writing down a healing modality that has been passed down in an oral tradition. The paradoxes continue in the teachings themselves, as both clients and healers (“givers and receivers”) are instructed to “do less and feel more” and assured that the less they “do,” the greater the healing they will receive. When author Jim, native Hawaiian shaman and ritualist, tells us that givers of Lomilomi are receiving as much or more healing energy (“mana”) as the receiver, it’s hard to ignore that we’re in a radically shifted paradigm. Everyone who has participated in a Lomilomi healing session will attest: it changes you deeply; it changes you to the very core of your beliefs.

Read more: Wise Secrets of Aloha

Dreaming the Land


©2012 artwork by April Caverhill

Dreaming the Land:
Pathwork Traditions of Native Australia
by Mary Pat Mann, artwork by April Caverhill

In the Beginning — The Path of the Rainbow Serpent

As a desert sun rides high in the sky, the women fan out among the trees. Some dig for frogs in the damp sand along the riverbank. Some search through branches and twigs for witchetty grubs. Catching sight of bush plums coming ripe, one woman walks over to look more closely. As she reaches out to touch the dark fruit, she feels a fluttering kick as the child in her womb moves. She stops, intent. This is the first time she has felt her baby, the first time this new one has made himself known.

She calls to the other women who are sisters, aunts, and cousins. This is an important moment and the old ones need to be consulted. A spirit has entered her womb to touch the child, who is now joined to this place. As he grows, he will need to be taught songs and rituals that will become his special responsibility. Back at the camp, the story is heard and the old women agree: This child’s conception dreaming is Bush Plum Dreaming.

Australia has been a land apart for hundreds of thousands of years. An island continent of vast red deserts, shady eucalyptus groves, meandering rivers, high plains, coastal swamps, and turquoise oceans, her indigenous people know her very, very well. In their lore, they have always been there, traveling across sacred landscapes alive with songs and stories that tell where to hunt and camp, what to eat, where to find water, who to marry, how to care for children and family, and how to honor the Ancestors. On each step of the journey, the Ancestors of the Dreamtime guide their footsteps.1

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