Book & Oracle Card Box Review
The Shaman Box
Tools for Healing Protection and Good
Fortune with Animal Oracle Cards
by Nicholas Breeze Wood (author)
& Sarah Bartlett (oracle cards)
Publisher: Hampton Roads Publishing
96 Pages, 36 Card Deck
Publication Date: 9/01/2020
Opening The Shaman Box is like opening a medicine package. It presents as a hardback book, but then you open the cover. The paperback book, written by Nicholas Breeze Wood, is tucked into a sleeve on the right hand side of the cover and the oracle deck, with illustrations and key words by Sarah Bartlett, is in a soft box placed into an opening on the left hand side of the cover. Wood provides a brief but thorough overview of The World of the Shaman, The Tools of the Shaman, and walking a shamanic path. The Animal Oracle Cards are presented as a tool for walking that path, to help the reader listen to the Spirits.
Wood draws on his deep experience with shamanism to emphasize a key point about the nature of the path: the spirits are at the center of this work. While he briefly introduces tools and techniques that are found in shamanic practice in many cultures, he is quick to point out that their purpose is to communicate with spirits and allies. They do not represent the work of shamanism itself. I found this theme, running throughout the text, to be a signal of the author’s authenticity and experience. While he mentions practices found in certain shamanic cultures, he does not appropriate them or describe them as his own. As he says, the practices of these cultures can teach you, however, “[y]ou cannot be a Tibetan, a Siberian or a Lakota; you can only be a person who is learning to be a true human being. As you grow in these ways, the spirits talk to you, and what you do becomes not imitation, but an expression of your deep personal relationship with the sacred.” This is the heart of sacred practice. I love this book as an introduction to shamanism precisely for Wood’s well-articulated focus on coming back to the Spirits, over and over. That connection is present in everything Wood describes, from the making of a drum or rattle to the creation of magical tools and medicine bundles. The book is not a “how to” for shamanism. It is an overview of different cultural approaches. It is also a guideline for how to walk a sacred path, viewed through the lens of core shamanism, beautifully written and illustrated.
Many of the illustrations in the book are from the included Animal Oracle Deck. For those interested in exploring how to communicate with the Spirits, this tool is included for practice. Bartlett’s gorgeous illustrations are black and white. The line drawings capture the energies of the creatures portrayed. The animals included are from all over the world. Bartlett has provided keywords associated with totems’ energies on the cards; there is no explanatory guidebook or little white book. The idea is for the Spirits to provide the information needed! There are suggestions for working with the cards at the back of Wood’s book. I like the 2-1/2 x 3-1/2 inch cards, but find them and their box to be flimsy.
Because of the beautifully written overview of shamanism, grounded in communication with Spirit and the cards included as a tool, this would make a great gift for someone interested in learning more about shamanism and experiencing how to make a connection with spirits. The presentation is lovely, like a gift box of soul medicine!
Nicholas Breeze Wood is the editor of Sacred Hoop Magazine – a leading international magazine about shamanism, which has been published since 1993. He is also a musician, experienced craftworker, and artist. He has been a shamanic practitioner for over 30 years, combining it with the more shamanic end of Tibetan Buddhism and ‘medicine’ teachings from Native North American peoples. He has worked with many gifted medicine people and shamans over the years, but is now deeply apprenticed to his own spirit helpers, whose teachings never fail to awe and surprise him. His website is http://nicholasbreezewood.me/
Sarah Bartlett studied with the Faculty of Astrological Studies for three years in London. She was a Consultant Astrologer throughout seventies/eighties to media and celebrity clients, and acquired the prestigious Diploma in Psychological Astrology – an in-depth 3-year professional training program which cross-fertilizes the fields of astrology and depth, humanistic and transpersonal psychology, run by Liz Greene. She is the Astrologer for Cosmopolitan Magazine (UK), Prima Magazine, SHE magazine and Spirit & Destiny Magazine, and the London Evening Standard. She has appeared on many UK radio shows and day-time TV programs, including regular contributor to Steve Wright’s Afternoon Show on BBC Radio 2. She is a sun-sign Gemini, love animals, nature and her children. She has written several books including The Little Book of Practical Magic and The Tarot Bible. Her Amazon author page is Here.
About the Author:
Susan Rossi is a Practitioner and Teacher of Shamanic Arts. 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. Art, 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.
Open Channel Astrology www.openchannelastrology.com
Flying to the Heart www.flyingtotheheart.com