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.

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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.

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