Book Review – Primal Awareness: Reconnecting with the Spirits of Nature By Rob Wildwood

June 1st, 2019

Book Review
Primal Awareness
Reconnecting with the Spirits of Nature
By Rob Wildwood

Rob Wildwood gives us a perspective on the evolution of First World cultures in this thought-provoking book. The “primal awareness” of the title is humankind’s awareness of the immanence of spirit, consciousness and generative life force alive in every aspect of creation on Earth. Wildwood gives us an overview of how humanity in First World cultures has lost its sense of connection to the natural world and as a result, is now destroying it. The book takes us through the impact of cultural development from the evolution of language into cultural belief and identity, then maturation of religious structures which separate individuals from their own connection to divinity. Wildwood delineates shifts in civilizations as people moved into permanent settlements and homes, began to value possessions over social connection and started wars over territories and resources with colonization of all that was “primitive” as the end result. He describes the effects of mechanistic thinking – only humans have souls – with the rest of the universe broken into component parts for analysis, categorization and ultimately, domination for economic profit. Each incremental step took humans farther away from an understanding that they are part of the natural world. Now we think of “Nature” as something we go somewhere to “be in;” it is something separate from who we are. Wildwood would like us to understand how this happened and help us find our way to a different perception of humanity’s role on Earth.

I found the Wildwood’s selection of the milestones of cultural evolution interesting and thoughtful. Each milestone is a chapter heading; the ensuing discussions are brief but enlightening and certainly timely. The very recent Global Assessment from The Intergovernmental Panel on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, prepared by scientists from 130 countries, confirmed Wildwood’s assertions that humankind’s activities, especially large scale “industrial” farming and fishing will result in the extinction of over one million plant and animal species unless radical changes in humanity’s approach to use of natural resources are made now.

The thread of redemption that runs through the book is the narrative voice of the “shaman.” Wildwood asks the shaman to provide a remedy to help reverse the loss of connection to the natural world that individuals experience as a result of each of the culture changes described. The practices provided are simple and effective; they can be used anywhere to return us to mindful awareness that we are a part of the web of life.

I agree with Wildwood that we humans have to find a post-growth economics that is loyal to life instead of to profits. However, I take issue with his premise that all cultural development is necessarily problematic. Primal Awareness idealizes humanity in its “natural” state, and tends to demonize all social institutions and development. Certainly, we must find a way to stop being the human “cancer” on the natural world that Wildwood describes, and we must do it by finding our place in the order of the cosmos, rather than dominating it at the expense of all other life forms. But humanity has a genius and beauty of its own and a part in that cosmic order that Wildwood does not acknowledge.

I recommended Primal Awareness: Reconnecting with the Spirits of Nature for the overview of the steps of First World cultural evolution; although quite general, it is, again, a thought-provoking analysis. And the shaman’s remedies are excellent prescriptions for returning us to awareness and appreciation of the beauty and life force in all of the beings with whom we share Earth.

Primal Awareness: Reconnecting With The Spirits Of Nature on Amazon


About the Author:

Susan Rossi is a Practitioner and Teacher of Shamanism. She is a long-time explorer of The Mysteries – the connections between mind, body, spirit and how to live in right relationship to all of the energies streaming through the cosmos. She works with clients as an astrologer, coach, ceremonialist and guide to the wisdom that each of us has the capacity to access. Her focus is on guiding clients to unblock and rediscover their inner wisdom. , exploration of the birth chart, ceremony, legacy writing, hypnotherapy, energetic healing practice and creation of sacred tools are integral pieces of her practice.

Susan trained in Soul Level Astrology with master astrologer Mark Borax. She delights in exploring with individuals the planetary pattern under which their soul choose to incarnate.

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