The Woman in the Shaman’s Body: Reclaiming the Feminine in Religion and Medicine

A distinguished anthropologist–who is also an initiated shaman–reveals the long-hidden female roots of the world’s oldest form of religion and medicine. Here is a fascinating expedition into this ancient tradition, from its prehistoric beginnings to the work of women shamans across the globe today.

Shamanism was not only humankind’s first spiritual and healing practice, it was originally the domain of women. This is the claim of Barbara Tedlock’s provocative and myth-shattering book. Reinterpreting generations of scholarship, Tedlock–herself an expert in dreamwork, divination, and healing–explains how and why the role of women in shamanism was misinterpreted and suppressed, and offers a dazzling array of evidence, from prehistoric African rock art to modern Mongolian ceremonies, for women’s shamanic powers.

Tedlock combines firsthand accounts of her own training among the Maya of Guatemala with the rich record of women warriors and hunters, spiritual guides, and prophets from many cultures and times. Probing the practices that distinguish female shamanism from the much better known male traditions, she reveals:

• The key role of body wisdom and women’s eroticism in shamanic trance and ecstasy

• The female forms of dream witnessing, vision questing, and use of hallucinogenic drugs

• Shamanic midwifery and the spiritual powers released in childbirth and monthly female cycles

• Shamanic symbolism in weaving and other feminine arts

• Gender shifting and male-female partnership in shamanic practice

Filled with illuminating stories and illustrations, The Woman in the Shaman’s Body restores women to their essential place in the history of spirituality and celebrates their continuing role in the worldwide resurgence of shamanism today.

From the Hardcover edition.

Nanci Arvizu, Writing and Reviews Editor

Write Publish Promote at Cowgirlheart Media
Write, Publish, Promote. Words I am learning to live by. Want this to be your motto too? Join me and together we'll navigate the path to publishing success.

Latest posts by Nanci Arvizu, Writing and Reviews Editor (see all)

About Nanci Arvizu, Writing and Reviews Editor 2429 Articles

Write, Publish, Promote. Words I am learning to live by. Want this to be your motto too? Join me and together we’ll navigate the path to publishing success.

3 Comments

  1. Myth-Shattering Exploration of the Female Roots of Shamanism In this book a woman anthropologist and initiated shaman challenges the historical hegemony of the masculine shamanic tradition, restores women to their essential place in the history of spirituality, and celebrates their ongoing role in the worldwide resurgence of shamanism today. She probes the practices that distinguish female shamanism from the much-better-known male traditions and reveals the key role of body wisdom and women’s eroticism in shamanic trance and ecstasy. She explores…

  2. Good but with some questionable sources The author does name names of sources for the most part. I think that her discussion of traditional shamanisms and shamanistic practices in different cultures is pretty good, and that she does a service in lifting the veil of academic male-centered assessments of shamanism in her work. She has some very good things to say, but overall, I do find her approach rather feelgood. She somewhat downplays the dangers of the shamanic path, though she points out that the death/renewal theme of shamanic…

Leave a Reply