Friday, February 11, 2011

The Reluctant Shaman by Kay Cordell Whitaker

I just finished reading The Reluctant Shaman by Kay Cordell Whitaker and I absolutely loved it. While it is technically an autobiography it reads like a novel and is very inspiring. This book is a great read for anyone who is interested in Shamanism.

One of the most interesting things about her foray into the world of Shamanism is that she didn't go looking for it, it came looking for her. She was approached in the 70s by a Shaman named Domano Hetaka who told her he had been looking for her and had much to teach her. It seems like a much more romantic way to be drawn into this magical world than signing up for a class at a book store like I did. (Although, I'm very glad I did.)

The other really interesting aspect of her journey is that she is taught the Katasee Tradition which is a little different than the tradition I have been studying. This quote from the book (and Kay's website) is a nice description of the Katasee teachings:
"The learning of the ways of Balance. This is said to be the dance of the stars. To learn how to not be carried off with the psychic winds. To keep balance. To dance. To give movement of your choosing."

This is another nice quote which I think describes the Katasee philosophy well too.
"As the little spider live, so she works, she builds, even as she walks. So as we live we build our worlds. We can walk our world, or knot our world. Or think it. Some are makers from their heart. Or some birthers. Some build like the wind. I will teach you all these things. I will tell you how my teachers taught me to pull on the web."

Although the most important part of this type of study is the experience of really doing it, the really great thing about this book is that because she is describing her studies in great detail you can follow a long a bit especially when she is describing her leaf-on-water meditation. Katasee places great emphasis on bringing balance to the mind through awareness. 

There is also a great emphasis on singing and dancing which I absolutely love.

Kay speaks of learning to "sing the fibers," which is to create energetic threads from your chakras and to send them out into the world through song. There are many dances: the Dance of the Earth Fire Serpent, the Dancing of the Masks, and the Spiral Dance. She also learns to connect with the elemental Spirits of the world and she goes on Spirit Journeys with her teachers. She also learns the art of mindful dreaming which is the most intriguing to me.

I am completely inspired by the tradition of Katasee and hope someday that I will be able to study it.

You can learn more about Kay on her website

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