The Nepalese Shamanic Path: Practices for Negotiating the Spirit World
by Evelyn Rysdyk with Bhola Nath Banstola
Published by Destiny Books
Publication date: February 19, 2019
After a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck central Nepal in April 2015, killing almost 9,000 people, injuring over 20,000 and destroying sacred sites, Bhola Nath Banstola and Evelyn Rysdyk collaborated to write The Nepalese Shamanic Path: Practices for Negotiating the Spirit World. Banstola is a 27th generation jhankri – a Nepalese shaman – and Rysdyk is trained in and has practiced core shamanism for many years. She writes and teaches, integrating practices from cultures world-wide. Their joint purpose was to preserve the teachings of Nepalese shamanism, which is primarily an oral tradition, in the face of massive loss from the earthquake.
The book has four sections. The first details Banstola’s shamanic “call” and his dedication to the spirits. Although he had already experienced a spiritual “illness” and was then trained in traditional practice by his grandfather, Banstola was also kidnapped by Banjhankri, the primordial forest shaman. This “kidnapping” to the spirit world is a traditional way in which those marked to become shamans are called. The second section describes the traditional tools of the jhankri and their uses. The third introduces the gods, goddesses and spirits who are part of the Himalayan tradition. The final section explains the Eight Fetters that keep us from balance and right relationship with Earth, the cosmos, the Spirits, ourselves and our communities and describes several ceremonies for purification, healing and restoration of harmony. There is a glossary of Nepali, Sanskrit and Tibetan terminology used throughout the book and an appendix which describes Dashain, the autumn festival for Durga, Nepal’s largest celebration.
The Nepalese Shamanic Path is a fantastic introduction to the traditions, cosmology, tools and practices of this ancient and rich tradition. It is not intended as a manual for learning shamanism; it assumes a familiarity with journeying, animism and the ability to alter states of consciousness. Rysdyk does provide an overview of journeying basics for beginners, but emphasizes the need to work with teachers for the best results. I was not sure what to expect when I picked up this book; I have done some reading of the Bon tradition in Tibet and found myself lost in the complexities of its cosmological maps. Banstola’s tradition seems equally complex, but the authors present it in a way that is basic and comprehensible. I especially enjoyed reading about Bhola’s experiences in his own voice – his call, his initiations, his nervousness at performing his first ceremony, the symbolism of his ritual attire. This interweaving of the personal and the transcendent brings the book alive. The book is hands-on and provides an opportunity to experience each aspect of the practices presented. There are journeys to meet the spirits, the essence of the tools, and step-by-step instructions for ceremonies and rituals, including a ritual for healing disharmonious planetary aspects. This astrologer loved the descriptions of each of the planets and the lunar nodes in this tradition!
Even if you never adopt any of these tools or techniques into your own practice, The Nepalese Shamanic Tradition is worth your time. Rysdyk and Banstola have married his lineage traditions with the Western teaching of shamanism to preserve this indigenous heritage and keep the traditions authentically alive.
Evelyn C. Rysdyk is shamanic healer, teacher, speaker, and author of several books, including The Norse Shaman, Shamanic Creativity and A Spirit Walker’s Guide to Shamanic Tools. She offers advanced shamanic trainings and individual sessions through her organization Spirit Passages. http://evelynrysdyk.com/ and http://spiritpassages.com/
Bhola Nath Banstola is a 27th-generation Nepalese shaman, or jhankri. With his wife, he teaches traditional Himalayan shamanic practices in Europe and North America and leads groups on shamanic tours of Nepal. He divides his time between Italy and Nepal. He was given the Society for Shamanic Practice Eagle Feather award in 2018, granted annually to an individual or group doing innovative and effective work of expanding the recognition and understanding of indigenous wisdom in the world. https://bholanepalshaman.education/
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