Maya del Mar's Daykeeper Journal: Astrology, Consciousness and Transformation
In Association with


by Maya del Mar

Ecoshamanism, Sacred Practices of Unity, Power, and Earth Healing by James Endredy. Llewellyn Worldwide, Woodbury, MN. 2005. $19.95 paper.

I knew of James Endredy because I had given a wonderful book to my three-year-old grandson, The Journey of Tunuri and the Blue Deer: A Huichol Indian Story, by James Endredy. It turns out that James Endredy has studied and taught shamanism all over the world, with a special focus on the wisdom of the Huichol Indians, who live in remote mountains along the western coast of Mexico.

This is an absolute treasure trove of a book. One can read and reread it, and use and re-use it, and there is always more depth and more richness.

Using the tools and rituals in this book will lead to a sorely-needed fundamental change in consciousness. We can become much more deeply aware of the natural world, and our place within it. James teaches us how to forge a spiritual alliance with the sentient forces that sustain our planet. With ceremonies and rituals we can transform ourselves as we save the world.

Shamanic practices involve entering an altered state of consciousness, one which disrupts the normal stream of thoughts. A simple drumbeat is very effective in inducing this state. Susan and I took a year’s class in shamanic plant medicine from Connie Grauds, and James’ approach reminds me of that class. Yes, that experiential class did profoundly alter my normal consciousness. I’ve always been closely connected with the natural world, but my connection now is deeper and more immediate—and very satisfying—if heartbreaking at times.

In this book, James helps us to make those deeper connections on our own, with step-by-step easy to use instructions. He begins with what he calls “counterpractice,” which is seeing in systems. This practice requires us to identify the connections and the systems which tie everything together. We can begin, for example, with a light switch, and we can move on to more complicated items which may require Internet research.

Another part of counterpractice is seeing the spirals of the world, which he says are in everything around us. One of the many examples is the spiraling energy of trees and plants. He shows us many more counterpractices which help us to get into the flow of nature’s energy.

One of my favorite things in this full, rich book are the rites of passage into each of the elements—water, earth, air, fire, and spirit.

He says,

“Join in the conscious-raising movements inspired by the psychic correspondence of flesh—that when we feel our flesh as the flesh as the flesh of the world, we feel the world feeling itself. When our respiration is perceived as a process of the air touching itself, or when the hydrologic cycle is felt as the ocean running through our veins, we become informed by an infinitely larger system than when we remain trapped inside the narrow limits of self-centeredness.”

James has a pledge to the spirit of the natural world to change the collective dream of industrial-consumer culture. As he says, the collective dream pits humanity against its earthly condition. “The dream of Ecoshamanism is the dream of Earth itself.”

James’ book makes me FEEL good—contented, full, well-satisfied. It’s like biting into a full-flavored juicy purple plum. It delights my soul and my senses.

I can’t recommend Ecoshamanism highly enough. I guarantee that whatever your level of connection with the natural world, even just reading it—let alone using the practices—will deeply enrich your life.