Mini Book Review: The Chakras in Shamanic Practice

Since I did not read this book in one fell swoop, nor did I keep a log of points I wanted to make, I will present this min book review in note form.

Title: The Chakras in Shamanic Practice: Eight Stages of Healing and Transformation.
Author: Susan J. Wright

What I thought I would get: A book about working with the energies of the chakras for specific types of trance working, or at least integrating chakras into trance work.

What I got: A book about personal healing which uses the chakras, along with some ritual work and yoga.

What I liked:
*The author presents several different exercises and meditations to help heal issues and/or trauma around the period of life she associates with each chakra. The first covers birth through age six, second is age six-twelve, etc., until reaching ages 55-70 with the crown charkas, and 70+ is covered by the aura/eighth chakra. Before any of you start in on eighth chakra, I’ll get there.
*While she presented soul retrieval in the chapter for the second chakra (way too early in my opinion) she did state loud and clear that it was most likely not a good idea to undergo on at that point in the exercises. Further, she states that the best idea is to get an experienced practitioner to perform the retrieval.
*A very good layout of what the chakras are and what areas of life they can cover.
*Wright also presents her own healing journey at different points through the book and willingly gives detail of rather traumatic events she has endured.
*Wright also does not encourage long-term navel gazing, as can happen with this kind of material.
*Everyone needs healing at some point or another. As far as texts to help accomplish such things, this has some very solid material to use.

What I didn’t like:
*The layout of the material hits a little too close to the New Age ideas around personal healing that I find grating. It’s far too easy for someone to pick up this book, think they’ve worked through the material, and declare themselves a shaman.
*There is a lot more to the chakras than what she presents here. As I stated with my hope for the book, I would have liked more of working with the chakra energy rather than a stage of my own life.
*The cultural appropriation police showed up in my head. First, Wright has trained with John Perkins, who is a hero of mine and the reason I first started to read about shamanism ten years ago. He originally trained with the Shuar of South America (and I do believe he has, given the work he did before outing himself as an economic hit man), and Wright uses some of their imagery and terminology for ritual work. She speaks of constructing mesas (shrines) and finding huacas (elemental representations) for various parts of the healing. At this point in my own work, I think I prefer authors and practitioners who use general English terms for items (unless they’re working overtly with a tradition), thanks to so many modern examples of people “borrowing” terms and having no real sense of what they’re getting into. Second, her visualization experiences included a circle of Celtic shamans. I can’t say what she has and has not experienced in trance, but no such people existed in ancient Celtic cultures. I am tired of seeing such things presented as absolute fact.
*I am still wary of her presenting both the idea and methodology of soul retrieval so early in such a book. I don’t think this is something you can read about and apply, but instead *must* be learned from someone with experience. Especially someone who will physically stand guard when you first perform such trance work. There is danger possible, and if something goes wrong you really do not want to be on your own when it occurs.

Overall:
3 out of 5 stars.
Intermediate material that is good to have around, but also keep your filters on. If you know what you’re doing, this can be a great aid to your shamanic work.

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