Saturday, 26 January 2019

Tibetan Shamanism

Circle Network book review: Tibetan Shamanism - Ecstasy and Healing by Larry Peters PhD published by North Atlantic Books. Paperback 208 pages £15.24 Kindle £11.39 Author website:

I recommend this as reading for anyone who has a serious interest in shamanism in general whether they be a beginner or not.
Larry Peters has been awarded many academic accolades for his work with indigenous peoples and is the world authority on the Tamang Nepal tradition with twenty years of dedicated study and research, in addition to being an initiated practitioner. He has worked with indigenous Shamans in Nepal, Mongolia, Siberia and China and in this book he presents new and interesting perspectives on the last four indigenous Tibetan Shamans who lived in exile in Nepal. They are no longer alive so the information gathered by Dr Peters is beyond price to posterity. The indigenous Shamans from Tibet were cruelly victimised even unto death by oppressive Buddhist regimes of the past but survived as a respected tradition in outlying areas. As Buddhism has been the religion of the area for over a thouand years, shamanism has incorporated many aspects of the dominant culture.

The training in healing methods that are recorded in this book are described not as soul loss but as deterioration and damage. It suggests a frightening experience can result in an inability to focus, a discomfort, distress and loss of clear thinking, but the soul is not lost and nothing is brought back from the journey but rather grown through the power and experience of the ancient ritual. The use of mantra, drum, offerings and ritual are used in the recovery process. Readers get to know the characters of the shamans and learn of their extraordinary lives through photos (black and white and colour) and personal reports which are written in a dedicated and deeply honouring manner. There is also a chapter on 'the Yeti' which has been an enigma for westerners and there is information about the afterlife and the nature of ghosts. Some conversations are included with direct translations. Myths and stories are an important aspect of the work of the shaman, and the Yeti is included in many tales of heroism.

By the same author:
Trance, Initiation and Psychotherapy in Nepalese Shamanism
The Yeti: Spirit of Himalayan Forest Shamans
Ecstasy and Healing in Nepal an Ethnopsychiayric Study of Tamang Shamanism
Tamangs Shamans An Ethnopsychiatric Study

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