By Diana L. Paxton, 2008, Weiser Books.
If there is still someone on your yuletide shopping list who needs – do we have a gift suggestion for you!
One of the more notable books out this year is Diana L. Paxson’s Trance-Portation: Learning to Navigate the Inner World. A thorough guide to trance and shamanic journeying, it is written specifically for those of us who have trouble “letting go” and reaching trance.
Better known for her works of fantasy, which include the well loved Westria series and the classic Avalon series (with Marion Zimmer Bradley), Paxton’s skill with words shines through in the way she can make it so fun to read what is essentially a metaphysical exercise book. Methodical exercises developed from over 20 years of teaching experience build on one another in a gradual way, and are interspersed with classroom anecdotes, practical advice and information. A lot of information. This book offers everything from breathing exercises, sensory cues and meditation practices to help develop skill in reaching the trance state. Especially helpful is a chapter on “Road Hazards,” what to do when something goes wrong, to ease uncertainty when following the instructions alone.
What really defines this book though is where Paxton takes shamanic journeying after the essentials are covered. The reader is lead through finding one’s power animal or spirit ally and exploring the internal landscape. Included are also methods to enter the spiritual realms of different cultures: the Nordic Midgard, the Celtic Faery Realm and Greek Arcadia. Most fascinating are chapters on journeying to meet divinities, and the book almost ends too soon. It is such a teaser in fact, we are left waiting for another volume on the possibilities on working with divinities and shamanic oracular practices.
In short, Paxton has done for shamanic journeying what Robert Bruce did for astral projection – redefined what we know in a concise, methodical exercise manual which not does a great job of the how but also gives a bit of food for thought on the why. Definitely a worth-while buy!