Archive for April, 2011

Recommended Books on Earth-Based Peoples and Animism

RECOMMENDED BOOKS ON ANIMISM

COMING HOME TO THE PLEISTOCENE. Paul Shepard.

            Do hunter-gatherers have something to tell modern culture? A brilliant analysis by the most respected scholar on the subject.

DANCING WITH THE WHEEL. The Medicine Wheel Workbook.

            Sun Bear is of Chippewa descent. He founded the Bear Tribe, which welcomes natives and non-natives, and is located near Spokane, WA. His book shows how to apply the Medicine Wheel, based on natural cycles, to your life. Includes the 4 directions.

LETTERS FROM A WILD STATE. Rediscovering Our True Relationship to Nature. James G. Cowan

            Cowen is an Australian, who has spent much time with Australian aborigines as well as with several other indigenous peoples. He brings the lyrical mind of a poet to penetrate deeply into the mythical minds of these people.

MESSENGER OF THE GODS.  Tribal Elders Reveal the Ancient Wisdom of the Earth. James G. Cowan.

            Cowen gains much wisdom and insight from his contacts with the few remaining animists living on islands between Australia and New Guinea. They tell him their personal stories, myths, and legends.

NATURE AND MADNESS. Paul Shepard.

            Shepard’s most profound work. Here he shows how the life cycle of an individual is intimately tied to natural cycles, and what happens when a culture  disconnects it.

ORIGINAL WISDOM: Stories of an Ancient Way of Knowing. Robert Wolff.

            A psychologist lives with the most remote people of Malaysia, the Sng’oi., and discovers remarkable things about these people’s abilities.

ISHMAEL. Daniel Quinn

             The transformative, award winning novel, depicting the contradictions between the animist and contemporary cultures. 

PROVIDENCE. The Story of a Fifty-Year Vision Quest. Daniel Quinn

            The autobiography of the prize winning author of Ishmael, Quinn’s dream as a seven year old and his vision in a Trappist monastery prefigure his inexorable path to his culminating work.

THE FOREST PEOPLE. A Study of the Pygmies of the Congo. Colin M. Turnbull.

            An anthropologist lives with Congo Pygmies. He admires their lifestyle and social organization, which they manage to retain despite the incursions of Bantu agriculturalists.

THE HARMLESS PEOPLE. Elizabeth Marshal Thomas.

            An anthropologist, as a teenager with her parents lived with South African Bushmen and describes a society that works – wonderfully. She returns 20 years later to see what effect our culture has had on theirs.

THE OLD WAY. Elizabeth Marshall Thomas

            The author, who lived with the Bushmen for several years, uses the perspective of her mature years to examine their  culture in depth. It is interwoven with personal experiences and insights, as well as with comparisons to our culture.

THE LOST WORLD OF THE KALAHARI. Laurens Van der Post.

            The beautiful and insightful adventure of a South African WWII hero, who upon his return, searches for & finds the last remnants of the remarkable Bushmen. They are surviving in style in an inhospitable desert.

THE HEART OF THE HUNTER. Laurens Van der Post           

            Continues the story begun in Lost World of the Kalahari. It is an elegiac evocation of both the external & internal worlds of the last of the Hunter Gatherers, written by a keen observer.

THE ISLAND WITHIN. Richard Nelson

            An anthropologist, turned subsistence hunter, goes to an island off the coast of Alaska to find deer and grizzlies. He develops an animist spirituality. This is an astonishingly beautiful book about the relation of a man to nature.

THE TRACKER. Tom Brown, Jr.

            The story of the apprenticeship of seven year old Tom Brown to an Apache scout and elder, Stalking Wolf, in which Tom learns a lot more than wilderness survival skills.

TOM BROWN’S FIELD GUIDE TO NATURE OBSERVATION AND TRACKING. Tom Brown, Jr.

            The almost legendary master of tracking and primitive wilderness survival has written a manual on how to not only survive, but to flourish in Nature’s embrace. Tune into the man, who has reconnected thousands of people to the Earth and gain a little of his ethic and wisdom as a bonus.

THANKSGIVING ADDRESS. Jake Swamp

            Swamp was the Peacemaker for the 6 Nations of the Iroquois. He was head of the Tree of Peace Society. This pamphlet, which is a classic example of Native American thanksgiving, and said on every occasion, can be obtained from John Stokes , of Thetrackingproject.org

THE LOST CIVILIZATIONS OF THE STONE AGE. Richard Rudgley.

         A scholarly analysis of the impressive technological and cultural achievements of our ancient ancestors.

OUR BABIES, OURSELVES: How Biology and Culture Shape the Way We Parent. Meredith F. Small.

         A Pediatric Anthropologist examines different cultures’ approach to parenting.

LIMITED WANTS, UNLIMITED MEANS. A Reader on Hunter-Gatherer Economics and the Environment. John Gowdy, ed.

         The interaction between Hunter-Gatherer economics and the environment. Describes a culture in harmony with the Earth.