he shaman has become a potent symbol of our mystic participation with Earth's spirit. But can shamanism help us regain this primal awareness? The Way Beyond The Shaman answers this question by taking the reader on an epic journey back to the origins of shamanism deep within the last ice age. After penetrating to the very roots of shamanism, the book offers a powerful vision of human consciousness evolving into the future, transformed by life-giving spirit of shamanism.
A profound transformation of human consciousness is seen to be taking place today, a realignment of mind and body, so that Earth's spirit may once again be perceived and directly, not only by seers and shamans, but by all. The elegant simplicity of the book's radical central thesis is that you don't have to conduct elaborate rituals or engage in strenuous inner journeys to contact or perceive Earth's spirit. It is right there, in the deep celebratory awareness of the dignity and power of our own physical bodies as aspects and expressions of Earth.
Awakening to the spirit of shamanism is an experience accessible to anyone willing to allow the transformative power and elemental physicality of Earth's spirit into their lives.
Barry Cottrell studied psychology and philosophy at Oxford University . An international artist and experienced shamanic channel, The Way Beyond The Shaman is his first book.
This is a superb work, an inspired vision by a master artist and wordsmith. Larry Dossey, MD, Author of The Extraordinary Healing Power Of Ordinary Things
Having read and quoted from The Way beyond the Shaman, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation producer Richard Handler writes in an article about Obama the modern-day shaman promises spiritual transformation....but being a shaman can be both a good and a bad thing for a contemporary politician.
REVIEWS & ENDORSEMENTS
Book review by Katie Elliott
As I was sitting down to write this review, I came across a rather apropos quote from one of the great Shamans, none other than Jesus himself: All natures, all formed things, all creatures, exist with and in one another, and will again be resolved with their own roots, because the nature of matter is dissolved into the roots of its nature alone." To me, Jesus was trying to tell us that all of us are connected, that we are all one.
Shaman: One who seeks in the dark, One who knows, Master of Spirit." In the past, it has been the role of one individual to keep this connection alive in a community or tribe, but as we evolve and the role of the Shaman evolves, there is the capability for all of us to play the role that connects our spirit with the spirit of the Earth and nature, and through that connection, heal ourselves and our planet.
There has always been something magical to me in the beat of a ceremonial drum and the idea of honoring our spiritsâ€™ deeply rooted connection to the Earth. Barry Cottrellâ€™s book, The Way Beyond the Shaman, is a fascinating guide through the history of Shamanism, a detailed account of the role the Shaman plays throughout our planetâ€™s cultures, and a call to humanity to remember and reawaken the spiritâ€™s connection to the cycles and rhythms of our planet â€“ our home.
The essence of the earth runs deeply in us as humans, providing our spirits with roots to the earth that never disappear, no matter how much we forget or distance ourselves from them. In many cultures all over the world, Shamanism plays the role of helping to keep us in contact with this source of life.
Cottrell begins our journey of the Shaman in a unique way. He begins by taking a look at the evolution of our consciousness and the development of our psychospiritual aspects. One of the fascinating subjects he touches on here is our increasingly limited access to the alter major chakra which strengthens our contact with plants, trees, animals, rocks, elements, seasons, growth cycles and the substance of earth itself" which would give us a greater instinctual awareness along with the visceral sense of belonging to the natural world.
With heightened awareness of global warming, with our urgent need for alternative forms of fuel and energy, and the increasing rates of materialism and depression that go hand in hand, itâ€™s hard not to feel that humanity is slowly drifting farther and farther away from our connection to the earth, to our very great detriment. Too many of us have come to view the Earth as merely a collection of resources to be exploited.
We as humans have reached a stage in our modern world in which, for many of us, our intellect has heavily overshadowed our instinct and intuition. The role of the Shaman is dedicated to heal and bind the tribe â€“ in a greater sense humanity â€“ as a spiritually integrated whole.
"An essential part of becoming a shaman is the genuinely religious quest to heal that split, both with â€˜the beast withoutâ€™ and â€˜the beast withinâ€™."
I took away so many grand ideas from this book, but let me close with some of Barry Cottrell's own words.
Today the Western mind as a whole has been separated from â€˜the tribe,â€™ in the sense that it has been set apart and alienated from itself. As the spirit of shamanism resurfaces within the collective psyche, it brings back a sense of the communal hearth around which every member of the human tribe sits, and is warmed. This sense of the hearth allows the experience of all people, and all forms of life, to be seen and understood as equally valid as each other. There is an acceptance that each personâ€™s path through life is unique yet at the same time a completely, totally valid aspect of our whole, global culture." ~ Katie Elliott: Editor of The Bleeping Herald online magazine, Reviewed in September 2008 edition
Book review by June-Elleni Laine
Scientific and Intuitive, 9 Dec 2008
Excerpt from a full review in Light magazine - Barry Cottrell is an international artist and experienced shamanic channel, who studied Psychology and Philosophy at Oxford University. He has explored dream states and made extensive use of the shamanic journey for guidance and as a research tool.
Beyond The Shaman is written in three parts and shines a light on Shamanism of the past, the present and also the future.
The first part of the book describes the origins of Shamanism during the last ice age; I personally found his perspective on the Neanderthal quite fascinating. The second elaborates on what a Shaman is and what he actually does. These first two parts of the book are intellectually researched and seem to be largely based on scientific evidence. Part Three however is obviously more intuitive. It offers a vision of both human consciousness and Shamanism undergoing a profound transformation as they evolve into the future. While its focus is on Shamanism, it does not advocate returning to the traditional way of the Shaman; rather, it is about embracing the spirit of Shamanism, in order to succeed in the modern world; certainly food for thought.
If you want to hear the author talk about his book you can listen to my interview with him on Feed Your Mind Change Your Life on my spirit radio dot com - June-Elleni Laine ~ June-Elleni Laine: host of \"My Spirit Radio\", Excerpt of full review to appear in Light magazine in Spring 2009
The Way Beyond the Shaman is written in three parts and shines a light on shamanism of the past, the present and the future.
The book successfully guides the reader from the intellect into a more expanded, intuitive and predictive level of communication.
Its overview is essentially about humanity becoming more 'Earth aware' so that we, as human beings, can experience ourselves as part of the natural world, not separate from it. ....... It is certainly food for thought. ~ June-Elleni Laine, Light
A main thrust of GreenSpirit is the 're-membering' of ourselves in Nature, the awakening of our sense of belonging to Earth and the deep connection with the more-than-human world that our ancestors probably had and which we, in our fool's paradise of modern, consumer society, have largely lost.
We can learn much from looking and noting what has slipped away from us, as GreenSpirit member Barry Cottrell does in the first part of this book. Paradoxically, however, the way to reverse the alienation process is to move forward - forward through our scientific discoveries, our sharpened intellect and our deepened understanding of the Universe. This comes through strongly in Cottrell's unusual and stimulating discussion of shamanism, past, present and future. As he points out:
"A ritual, and the level of consciousness which it expresses, is very much married to a time and a place, and to the needs of the people in that culture. But life and consciousness are always evolving." (p.89)
In other words, study the past, learn from it, and then by deconstructing it, use its raw materials to create a new future. Which is what he does here, with shamanism.
The book is in three parts. First, Cottrell takes a new look at pre-history, presenting some interesting ideas about the nature of early humans and their modes of awareness.
It bothers me whenever, in his enthusiastic depiction of the Neanderthal people as differing in consciousness from homo sapiens, he strays dangerously close to presenting speculation as fact - a hazard which anyone seeking credibility for non-mainstream theories needs scrupulously to avoid.
But I find his Part Two excellent. First describing the role and training of the traditional tribal shaman, he goes on to examine the surge of interest in shamanism recently apparent in our own culture. Myself a once-avid reader of Castaneda (1970s) and graduate of Harner's shamanic training (1980s) I particularly appreciated his clear, thoughtful differentiation of these two approaches and their applicability - or otherwise - to current ecological dilemmas.
Cottrell then shows is, in Part Three, how shamanism's deconstructed elements can be re-shaped into tools for assisting the birth of that new consciousness that we know is essential if we are to avert global ecological catastrophe.
The 'way beyond the shaman' is found not by attempting to graft on to our culture the totems and rituals of other peoples and other times. Not by seeking power, either, or by feeding romantic mysticism to our greedy egos. But by turning towards our own pain, our own vulnerability, our own dark, inner chaos and, in true shamanic fashion, finding the path there. And above all by immersing ourselves, as shamans have ever done, in relationship with the Earth. For as Cottrell so eloquently says:
"When you truly regain your sense of belonging to Earth, this elemental awareness automatically brings with it a gentleness and humility towards all other expressions of life. When this sense of belonging is fully experienced, there can be none of the arrogance that characterizes the Western mind still today, the arrogance of the superiority of intellect. And while this may be a book about shamanism, it simply cannot teach more than a minute fraction of what can be experienced, learned, and understood through that greater openness towards the messages in the sky, in the clouds, in the whispering of the winds, in every utterance coming from each manifestation of life around you. When you allow your eyes to see and your ears to hear, you will wonder how you could have relied so much and for so lond on the words written in books....." (p.107) ~ Marian Van Eyk McCain: co-editor GreenSpirit journal, Review appeared in Vol 10.3 Winter 2008 issue
....He does write a considered and sensible assessment of the validity of the shaman in the modern Western world, without traditional earth-based practices and the support of a tribal system that acknowledges the role of the shaman. He also writes well on the dangers inherent in following inner journeying as a path to power and the problems of differentiating found wisdom from falsity.
At the end though, I feel that his call for a way beyond shamanism towards a modern, soul-full state of being, has little fresh inspiration or depth of substance. I think that if you wholeheartedly accept and enjoy New Age philosophy, then you will enjoy this book, if only because it simply reiterates most of what you have already read. If you prefer to explore a philosophy of human spirituality with well reasoned argument, then this book is definitely not for you. Unless you enjoy yelling at books. ~ The Druid Network
The Way Beyond The Shaman is a call for sanity in a world unhinged, and a template for regaining a sacred regard for our only home. Cottrell's focus is on shamanism -- but, unlike many, he does not advocate returning to some primitive state, but transcending and evolving beyond this way of knowing, retaining its essence in a modern world. There is a compelling reason to take this brilliant synthesis seriously: Our survival may depend on it. This is a superb work, an inspired vision by a master artist and wordsmith ~ Larry Dossey, MD, Author: The Extraordinary Healing Power Of Ordinary Things and Healing Words.
This well written and fascinating book is an important one for our time. Many people are now seeking a deeper, wider, higher dimension not only to bring meaning to their personal lives but in order more fully to understand the spiritual evolution of humanity.
Barry Cottrell's research and thought is well documented. He seeks, and succeeds brilliantly, to demonstrate that humanity and especially the materially and over-scientifically orientated Western world has forgotten some important connections. This forgetting, or splitting, from the natural rhythms and a certain participation mystique is certainly to our detriment and almost certainly to our peril.
Barry Cottrell shows us that a study of Neanderthal man and of shamanism can help us to retrieve that which has been lost and enable us to use it anew in our times. We can all participate directly in bringing a new earth consciousness into being. In his final pages, Barry courageously demonstrates personal channelled wisdom.
This is an awe-inspiring book and one that I hope will be read by all who think deeply about life and the spiritual survival of our species. ~ Ruth White: Spiritual consultant, transpersonal psychotherapist, channeller, teacher, writer, Author: Working with your Chakras, Working with Guides & Angels and Working with your Soul.
We are beginning to remember who we are and to regain a sense of belonging to the Earth. In this pioneering book, Barry Cottrell guides the reader through the history of shamanism, expresses its profound relevance to our time of remembering and reawakening, pointing the way to a new sense of freedom that also aligns us to the rhythmns of the Earth. ~ David Lorimer, Programme Director of the Scientific and Medical Network, author of Radical Prince: the Practical Vision of the Prince of Wales and Science, Consciousness, & Ultimate Reality.
The pressing need of our time is for a spirituality that puts us in touch with the earth and with our physical selves, a spirituality that values and nourishes the world about us as much as it seeks a world beyond us. Barry Cottrell in this excellent book outlines a vital path for just such a spirituality, one with its roots in our deepest past but flowering in the possibilities of a radiant present. ~ David Spangler, Spiritual philosopher and teacher, author of The Call
Western culture has bestowed many benefits upon individuals, families, and cultures. But at some point, it took a wrong turn resulting in environmental degradation and existential malaise. In this remarkable book, Barry Cottrell evokes the spirit of shamanism to get civilization back on track. History does not go backwards but The Way Beyond the Shaman brilliantly illustrates how this Earth awareness can insure and improve the future of humankind. ~ Stanley Krippner, Ph.D., Professor of psychology at Saybrook Graduate School, San Francisco and Co-editor, Healing Tales: The Narrative Arts in Spiritual Traditions
Your heart will be stirred as you read â€˜The Way Beyond the Shaman. Birthing A New Earth Consciousnessâ€™ and you will want to join in and make a difference for after all there is a place for everyoneâ€™s contributions. ~ Barbara Venn-Lever, www.myspiritradio.com
While its focus is on Shamanism, The Way beyond the Shaman does not advocate returning to the traditional way of the Shaman; rather, it is about embracing the spirit of Shamanism, in order to succeed in the modern world. Here Cottrell indicates that the more sensitive humanity becomes, the easier it will be for us to use the power of our thought and intention, without the need to leave the physical body and journey into the astral realms looking for answers as traditional Shamans did; certainly food for thought. ~ June-Elleni Laine, My Spirit Radio host and author of The Art of Being Psychic ()Books 2007)