Bushman Shaman: Awakening the Spirit through Ecstatic Dance
The author’s journey to becoming a Bushman shaman and healer and how this tradition relates to shamanic practices around the world
• Explores the Bushmen’s ecstatic shaking and dancing practices
• Written by the first non-Bushman to become fully initiated into their healing and spiritual ways
In Bushman Shaman, Bradford Keeney details his initiation into the shamanic tradition of the Kalahari Bushmen, regarded by some scholars as the oldest living culture on earth. Keeney sought out the Bushmen while in South Africa as a visiting professor of psychotherapy. He had known of the Kalahari “trance dance,” wherein the dancers’ bodies shake uncontrollably as part of the healing ceremony. Keeney was drawn to this tradition in the hope that it might explain and provide a forum for his own ecstatic “shaking,” which he had first experienced at the age of 19 and had tried to suppress and hide throughout his adult life.
For more than a dozen years Keeney danced with Bushmen shamans in communities throughout Botswana and Namibia, until finally becoming fully initiated into their doctoring and spiritual ways. Through his rediscovery of the “rope to God” in a Bushman shaman dream, he offers readers accounts of his shamanic world travels and the secrets of the soul he learned along the way. In Bushman Shaman Keeney also reveals his work with shamans from Japan, Tibet, Bali, Thailand, Australia, and North and South America, providing new understandings of other forms of shamanic spiritual expression and integrating the practices of all these traditions into a sacred circle of one truth.
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