book review: of water and the spirit: ritual, magic, and initiation in the life of an african shaman

this book doesn’t really boil down to main ideas to me, but if i had to try to go there, i’d say the book is about the author’s journey away from back to his faith of origin. and by journey from i mean kidnapping. in the end, malidoma gets initiated into his village’s spiritual tradition and learns to see that even though it is difficult or impossible to understand from the outside, it’s still real and important.

two ideas i’d implement immediately from this book are (a) to recognize that my spiritual tradition of origin may not be the tradition i should continue in. and (b) that other forms of spirituality can be totally whole and complete, even if i don’t or can’t ever understand them.

if i had to describe this book to a friend i’d say: this book is about a little boy who gets kidnapped by jesuit missionaries (who are trying to “save” him from his “savage” fate). he breaks free and runs away, walking miles back to his home village where he tries to rejoin village life. unfortunately (or fortunately), he and everyone else notice that something is not right. in order to fit in, he needs to go through initiation in his community’s tradition. as he does so, he returns to his proper purpose and role in the community and in the world: to be a bridge between the western world and his people.

reminder: book review structure

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