The Gift of Shamanism: Visionary Power, Ayahuasca Dreams, and Journeys to Other Realms, by Itzhak Beery
Destiny Books 9781620553725, 237 pp. 2015
Itzhak Beery is an internationally renowned shamanic healer and teacher. He had trained with many shaman elders throughout South and North America. Surprisingly, Beery became a shaman by “coincidence,” when he was in his late thirties and was initiated into the Circle of 24 Yachaks by a Quechua teacher in Ecuador. This book is a collection of his and his clients’ intimate experiences with the healings and initiations of shamanism.
I initially recorded them in an effort first to convince myself, and maybe others, that there are some universal phenomena whose origins we do not completely understand at this time, but nonetheless can have incredibly useful and practical value in our daily lives.1
Are his accounts convincing? Absolutely. From the outset, where he reminds us that we all carry shamanic powers within us, to the outcome where he outlines suggestions to help us develop our individual shamanic skills, Beery emphasizes that the best way to develop these dormant skills is to practice them. Indeed, each chapter of this book, beginning with his own conversion from skeptic to believer, not only outlines a specific aspect of shamanism, such as journeying or seeing, but also details poignant personal experiences with Beery’s own, or his clients’. By adding this personal touch, Beery has avoided producing just another guidebook to shamanism, and instead created a companion to the shamanic journey.
One of the most thrilling and moving accounts is Beery’s “seeing” experience with Joaquin Diaz Pineda, one of the Quechua shamans of the High Andes. During his healing ceremony, while listening to the mesmerizing chants, suddenly Beery’s arms are drawn into the air by an unknown force. He senses his arms lengthening as he grows wings and becomes an eagle. His flying journey takes him to an unknown mountain and lake. When the ceremony is over, Diaz Pineda explains that this is Mount Imbabura and Eagle Lake where he takes his pupils for their initiations and healings. From that moment on, Berry is connected Imburaba, through dreams and signs in daily life, until one day he visits the mountain. The message is clear here: the meaning and truth at the heart of shamanism is there to be found if only you look for it.
As well as his experiences of Amazonian ayahuasca rituals, Beery vividly describes his viewings of past lives, psychonavigation, and communications with power animals and spiritual entities. Each of his stories add another piece to the complex puzzle of the multidimensional realm we live in, in which we are surrounded at all times by different energy forms. The Gift of Shamanism is a superb exploration of the altered states of consciousness implicit to shamanism. Beery describes his encounters with the spirit world and its transcendental energies in beautiful and moving detail.
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