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Honoring the Medicine The Essential Guide to Native American Healing

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"Native American healing is America's original holistic medicine," writes Kenneth Cohen. He explains at the outset that he is not Native American by birth nor does he officially represent any nation or clan; he is presenting his personal views of Native American spirituality developed during his 30 years of immersion in this tradition, learning from elders and medicine people of many nations as well as from his own visions, dreams, and prayers. From 1976 to 1981, he was an apprentice to the Cherokee elder Keetoowah who gave him his Indian name, "Bear Hawk," and trained him in various healing methods. The result of this long-term study is a richly informative volume emphasizing an integral approach that blends philosophy, science, principles, and practice. Cohen is interested in the connection between people, nature, and spirit. That is why he begins with a chart of the Native American Philosophy of Life which reveals their views on the Great Spirit, nature, energy, Spirits, prayer, purpose, elders, the future generations, and human knowledge.

"Silence is the universal language. It is a common human experience that the deepest communication occurs when nothing needs to be said: in silence, one hears the language of lovers or close friends and senses the understanding that flows between people and their pets or between parent and child. According to Native American teachings, we can have this quality of silent communication with anyone, with any place, and with any aspect of nature." All healers use this spiritual practice in their work, and it is seen as an essential ingredient in the pursuit of wisdom as well.

Cohen discusses other elements of Native American healing including the power of the Four Winds; the Vision Quest; massage techniques; the importance of herbs; the practices of smudging, fasting, and chanting; and the Paleolithic posture. In his consideration of the twelve-pointed medicine wheel, Cohen elucidates the importance of learning, honoring, acceptance, seeing, hearing, speaking, loving, service, living, working, walking, and gratitude.

Honoring the Medicine demonstrates that this system of healing is as varied and abundant as acupuncture, homeopathy, and ayurveda. Cohen includes a chart with a helpful comparison of Western and Native American Medicine. The author more than adequately fulfills his mission of honoring the gifts he has received from traditional Native American elders. This is the best overview of America's original holistic medicine available!


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