An in-depth look at the role of plant spirits in shamanic rituals from around the world
• Shows how shamans heal using their knowledge of plant spirits as well as the plant’s “medical properties”
• Explores the core methods of plant shamanism--soul retrieval, spirit extraction, and sin eating--and includes techniques for connecting with plant spirits
• Includes extensive field interviews with master shamans of all traditions
In Plant Spirit Shamanism, Ross Heaven and Howard G. Charing explore the use of one of the major allies of shamans for healing, seeing, dreaming, and empowerment--plant spirits. After observing great similarities in the use of plants among shamans throughout the world, they discovered the reason behind these similarities: Rather than dealing with the “medical properties” of the plants or specific healing techniques, shamans commune with the spirits of the plants themselves.
From their years of in-depth shamanic work in the Amazon, Haiti, and Europe, including extensive field interviews with master shamans, Heaven and Charing present the core methods of plant shamanism used in healing rituals the world over: soul retrieval, spirit extraction, sin eating, and the Amazonian tradition of pusanga (love medicine). They explain the techniques shamans use to establish connections to plant spirits and provide practical exercises as well as a directory of traditional Amazonian and Caribbean healing plants and their common North American equivalents so readers can ex-plore the world of plant spirits and make allies of their own.
About the Author
Ross Heaven (1960-2018) was a psychologist and healer with extensive training in the shamanic, transpersonal, and psychospiritual traditions. The author of more than 10 books, including Plant Spirit Shamanism, Vodou Shaman, and Darkness Visible, he taught workshops on plant medicines and coordinated trips to Peru to work with indigenous shamans.
Howard G. Charing is a director of the Eagle Wing’s Centre for Contemporary Shamanism and has taught at Dr. Michael Harner’s Foundation for Shamanic Studies. He holds workshops internationally and in addition runs Plant Medicine Retreats in the Peruvian Amazon. He lives in England and Peru.
Pablo Amaringo (1938-2009) trained as a curandero in the Amazon, healing himself and others from the age of ten, but retired in 1977 to become a full-time painter and art teacher at his Usko-Ayar school in Pucullpa, Peru. The author of Ayahuasca Visions: The Religious Iconography of a Peruvian Shaman, his art has been displayed throughout the world.
"Plant Spirit Shamanism takes readers into realms that defy rational logic and scientific theory, showing graphically that we humans are not the only intelligent life on this planet. From their extensive travels to indigenous cultures that understand life very differently from those in the ‘developed’ world, the authors reveal a wealth of plant knowledge that has been lost to Western civilization.This book is both a fascinating read and a considerable challenge to the orthodox mind.”
— Leo Rutherford, author of The Way of Shamanism and Your Shamanic Path
"This is an incredible book, a book with depth that speaks to the soul. . . . The knowledge in this book could very easily be put to good use in everyday life, which makes it a 'keeper; for any healer's library."
— Bonnie Cehovet, Angelfire, Sept 2006
“Plant Spirit Shamanism explores not the usual medicinal qualities of plants, but shamanic communications with the spirits of the plants themselves. . . . Healers will find this essential to understanding plant processes.”
— Diane C. Donovon, California Bookwatch, Nov 2006
"A practical and useful guide for healing on a deeper level, using Mother Nature's power."
— Vicky Thompson, New Connexion, Nov-Dec 2006
"Healers will find this essential to understanding plant processes."
— California Bookwatch, Nov 2006
"The book is not simply a dry academic discussion of these topics, although that alone would be intrinsically interesting. Instead, it provides cross-cultural perspectives on all aspects of plant-spirit based healing. . . . Whether you want to learn to practice plant-spirit medicine--or simply want to gain a better understanding of it--this book will be a useful addition to your botanical library."
— Dennis J. McKenna, Ph.D., HerbalGram, Journal of American Botanical Council, No. 78, May/July 2008
"Ross Heaven and Howard Charing create a cross-cultural distillation of plant shamanism to reveal the essential core of the techniques and the basis of the healing process."
— Alec Franklor, Edge Life, No. 187
“[Ross Heaven and Howard Charing] explain the methods shamans use to establish connections to plant spirits and provide practical exercises as well as a directory of traditional Amazonian and Caribbean healing plants and their common North American equivalents, so readers can explore the world of plant spirits and make them allies of their own, through various dieting techniques. Books like these are pretty difficult to come across. This one outlines the practical instructions one can apply in a ritual context to that which you seek to attract into or repel from your life.”
— Odyssey Magazine, October 2013