Shamanism is the world’s oldest spiritual path, with cultural and archaeological evidence suggesting that the practice goes back 40,000 years. Thanks to practicing shamans around the world – as well as a movement to bring shamanism to western practitioners – it’s possible to learn this ancient path. Journey to the shamanic realms, meet your power animal, commune with teachers, and expand your mind and have adventures that are far greater than you imagined possible. To get you started, I’ve put together this list of carefully curated books, courses, and other tools. Each one features a brief description of why it’s important – and you can trust that I vet every book and product that I recommend. They’re easy to read, packed with insights and practices that will help change your life, and are the perfect place to begin exploring shamanism – whether you’re a serious student or just putting a foot on the shaman’s path.
Animal Speak, by Ted Andrews: Have you ever dreamed of having a power animal that could act as your teacher, protector, confident, and greatest friend? In Animal Speak, Ted Andrews provides an insight look at the world of power animals and tutelary spirits. One of the best parts of the book is a deep dive into what each animal means, and what they can teach you as part of your journey. Whether you’ve always felt an affinity for the fierceness of tigers or the wildness of a herd of horses on the range, this book can help you understand how to work more effectively with these beings.
Awakening to the Spirit World: The Shamanic Path of Direct Revelation, by Sandra Ingerman: One of the best parts of the shamanic path is that it’s direct. Spirit acts through your teachers and power animals to give you insights, advice and experiences on how to achieve your life goals and live the best life you can. Sandra Ingerman is one of modern shamanism’s most revered teachers. In this book, she introduces you to the process of taking the shamanic journey. Journeying is easy to learn and literally acts as a key to unlock the whole world of shamanism and it’s greatest possibilities.
The Way of the Shaman: For many students of Shamanism, Michael Harner’s work – both this and the subsequent book, Cave and Cosmos: Shamanic Encounters with Other Realities – are cornerstone works. Anthropologist Michael Harner describes his experience about South American tribes, learning their ways and embarking on his own lifelong shamanic journey. Ultimately, Harner would found the Foundation for Shamanic Studies and teach generations of western shamans what they know.
A Spirit Walker’s Guide to Shamanic Tools: How to Make and Use Drums, Masks, Rattles, and Other Sacred Implements: Drums, masks, and rattles are central to shamanism. If you’re doing shamanism on a budget and can’t spend hundreds of dollars on items – or simply want to experience the power of making your own objects – there’s no better guide that Evelyn Rysdyk. She explores the history and significance of every piece, and then provides infallible instructions that can be followed by me (who was born without a crafty gene in her body). This book should be on everyone’s shelf and it will inspire you to try craft projects of your own.
Jaguar in the Body, Butterfly in the Heart: The Real-life Initiation of an Everyday Shaman: Curious about what life looks like for a real modern shaman? In this intensely personal book, one part autobiography and one part shamanic manual, the author takes a deep dive into how a lifelong shamanic practice has shaped his life and left him a better man. Delightful, deeply personal and lyrically written by turns, Jaguar in the Body, Butterfly in the Heart helps answer the question “How does a shaman live in today’s complex, busy and connected world?”
Do you have a book on shamanism you love? Let us know in the comments below and check back. This resource list is updated at least monthly with great new finds.