Read Of Water and the Spirit: Ritual, Magic, and Initiation in the Life of an African Shaman by Malidoma Patrice Somé Online


Među Dagarima iz Burkine Faso nema razlikovanja između prirodnog i natprirodnog: živi komuniciraju s duhovima predaka, a oni koji imaju prikladno znanje lako putuju u druge svjetove. Malidoma Patrice Some rođen je u dagarskom selu, da bi ga kao malenoga dječaka oteli i odveli u isusovačku misionarsku školu gdje je petnaest godina bio grubo poučavan europskom načinu razmišlMeđu Dagarima iz Burkine Faso nema razlikovanja između prirodnog i natprirodnog: živi komuniciraju s duhovima predaka, a oni koji imaju prikladno znanje lako putuju u druge svjetove. Malidoma Patrice Some rođen je u dagarskom selu, da bi ga kao malenoga dječaka oteli i odveli u isusovačku misionarsku školu gdje je petnaest godina bio grubo poučavan europskom načinu razmišljanja i štovanja. Kad se vratio svome narodu morao se podvrgnuti inicijaciji toliko nemilosrdnoj da ga je mogla stajati života. Umjesto toga, Malidomin uspjeh u prelasku između dva svijeta doveo ga je do zadaće prenošenja znanja svoga naroda na Zapad, te do ove knjige o nepoznatom iscjeljivanju i mudrosti.Afrička inicijacija izvrsna je priča o živoj afričkoj tradiciji ispričana sa suosjećanjem prema svima koje zahvaća suvremena kriza duha....

Title : Of Water and the Spirit: Ritual, Magic, and Initiation in the Life of an African Shaman
Author :
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ISBN : 9780140194968
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 320 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Of Water and the Spirit: Ritual, Magic, and Initiation in the Life of an African Shaman Reviews

  • ndelamiko lord
    2018-10-29 05:15

    One of the most intriguing, heart-wrenching, compelling narratives... steeped in mysticism and walking the line between the corporeal and spiritual realms. MUST READ.

  • Purnacandra Sivarupa
    2018-10-24 01:20

    The Sanskrit phrase Purva Paksha, to turn the gaze around, has been applied in a modern context by the essayist and philosopher Rajiv Malhotra in the sense of reverse anthropology: colonized cultures naturalistically studying the cultures of their colonizers. This is usually done to the end of demonstrating the types of knowledge and the ways of knowing native to the colonized civilization to both the colonizers and to the most thoroughly colonized among their own number. Malidoma Patrice Somé performs this task admirably, but does so from a position of the starkest necessity.Kidnapped by a French Catholic missionary at around the age of five, Malidoma—his first name dictates much of his life's narrative, and so feels more appropriate than using his sirname—was forced into a French colonial school and, eventually, seminary. The entire educational system imposed by Catholics upon so many native children in the region of Burkina Faso and Ghana was intended to make of the Africans the most effective missionaries by which to undermine their own traditional ways of life. It was, in short, brainwashing of an intensive and parasitic sort. Yet, after escaping back to his own Dagara people at the age of 20 (his best guess), Malidoma found himself given the inverse mission by his elders: to bring Dagara ways of knowing to the white world that, just maybe, whites could learn to appreciate what they had brought to the brink of destruction and, more importantly, the nature of the very real spiritual disease which makes Europeans behave as colonizers.How successful any one man can be in such a massive task is hard to say, but there is something to be said for the effort. There are enough thinkers and practitioners from a variety of colonized societies attempting to do just that, and we should all take their missions to heart and pray that others do so, too. Malidoma Patrice Somé's Of Water and the Spirit is an excellent place to start: a deeply personal narrative which reveals as much of the Dagara way of knowing as is possible to put into text, while also sharing the depths of despair to which a person may be driven when he is not a native to modernity yet is forced to inhabit its stifling borders.Some may read this book and scoff at the "fantastical" elements: teleportation, communication with spirits, physical journeys to a very real Underworld, none of these are events which most readers are inclined to accept as anything more than metaphors, if not outright fabrications. Perhaps I am sticking my neck too far out, but the world has proven herself far too interesting for me to dismiss these experiences out of hand. I have seen enough, known enough, and met enough, by now, to say at least this: I am no longer so quick to interpret away stories I hear or read about bodily abductions into the world of spirits "under the Earth" or Tantric rituals which animate bodies thoroughly dead through the agency of elemental spirits, the walking corpses of Africa and south Asia, or the deadly shapeshifters of the American Southwest. Life is infinitely interesting.

  • Mariusz
    2018-11-13 07:10

    One of the most important books I have ever read.It is about people who have not forgotten what really matters, what is life and... Here in Europe we have lost it centuries ago and now we are trying to make other loose it, too. And we are quite successful in that, unfortunately.Is there a way back? Malidoma says there is. Thank you, Malidoma.

  • Dylan Grant
    2018-11-11 04:08

    This book is a real treasure. Malidoma is an indigenous medicine man of the Dagara tribe in Africa, who was kidnapped at a young age by the Jesuits and forced to learn to speak and write in Frech. After escaping from the Seminary he was being held captive and "De-Africanized" in, he returned to his tribe and learned his ancestral ways. Then he journeys back into the world of the white man in order to act as a voice for indigenous peoples. This is the first book of its kind that I've read. I have read plenty of books ABOUT indigenous peoples written by westerners, but never a book written BY an indigenous person. So it is a really great opportunity. Reading this book really expanded my consciousness in a powerful way. To quote Malidoma, "My horizon of reality had been expanded". I feel more open now to the possibilities that can arise as we live in this magical world. Even the most open-minded person will be challenged by reading about Malidoma's profound experiences. The best part about this book is all of the occult and mystical content. The details of Malidoma's initiation, his dreams, the rituals he has to undergo, are all really powerful and reading them is sure to move the soul of any spiritual aspirant and increase their faith. This book has convinced more than ever that we 21st-century humans are living in what the Hindus call the Kali Yuga (Age of Darkness). The happiness and joy that is experienced by the Dagara tribe - the closeness to Nature and the spirit-world, the loving community, the opportunity for every person to fully realize their individual selves - is the birthright of every single living human being. But we are cut off from that birthright because we deluded by the idea of technological progress. Instead of the natural society experienced by the hunting-and-gathering Dagara tribe, we experience the meaninglessness, isolation and stunted growth that comes from being a human in a technological society. This delusion of technological progress has not only made us blind to the magic of nature by dulling our perception but it has also made the spirit-world angry with us, such that it won't even want to communicate with us even if we tried. Moreover, the things that so many westerners dream about (like flight to other worlds, or encountering strange but fascinating sentient beings) are easily achievable through the mystical visionary states of indigenous shamans. I really have no doubt that there was a time when we Western Europeans lived and experienced the world just like the Dagara tribe did. Our pagan heritage speaks to that. One only needs to read a book of european mythology to be convinced of that fact. And after countless cycles of civilizations rising and falling, perhaps we shall return to this way of life. Highly recommended to any truth-seeker.

  • Erin
    2018-11-05 06:04

    I read this book in my first African studies class. It is a great example of the affect of Western values and colonialism on the traditional society and the roles within that society. It also talks about the individual development of man, the relationship between generations, and the respect of other cultures. It's a great read, especially because it comes from something other than a Western point of view.

  • Irene
    2018-11-05 09:03

    A most captivating, mysterious, and absorbing true story! I don't want it to end.The only bad thing about this book was that it had to end.

  • Patrice
    2018-11-19 06:18

    this book inspired me greatly and is probably in my top five favorite books of all time...i've read it a few times and will read it again a few more times i'm sure...

  • Justin
    2018-11-22 05:06

    To much story and not enough teaching

  • Alcina
    2018-11-09 05:15

    The book is an exquisite document of the initation rites of one tribe in West Africa. However, it was really about change and compromise and how the West/Euro culture could learn from indigenous people if only we would listen. I felt the need to be initiated as I read the book, though I kept wondering about the females and what their initiation looked like. I'm going to have to buy this book so I can have it on hand for beautiful thoughts on death, growing up, ways to see the earth and magic.

  • Sibylle
    2018-10-29 05:21

    This book was amazing. I read this book long ago and cannot find another copy for my current library. Wonderful, wonderful account of an African boy's journey from an extended childhood to manhood. Wonderful book!

  • Laura
    2018-10-23 07:53

    Eye-opening, awesome personal story. Might make you think twice about what the world is and can be.

  • Tara
    2018-11-16 02:08

    While this book is not the most lyrical, it is real. It reminded me how boxed into a reality I can be and how deep the possibilities of our perceptions really are. The

  • Kah Fabre
    2018-11-16 05:20

    Malidoma Patrice Somé takes us to a personal journey that answers questions such as: How do you become an adult in a world where adulthood is not measured by your age, but by your knowledge? How can you become a member of your community when they did not see you grow? How do you become part of a community where imposed knowledge and culture does not fit? This well written book about a man that had written in his destiny his abduction, his return and the suffering in between those two, also let us see how religion and colonialism changed Africa, and how a small community tackled the western world imposed ideas, in order to conserve their culture. “Of water and the spirit” is a book to be red not only for getting insight into an African indigenous community (The Dagara) but also as a reminder for all of us that the western world and its predominant religion kept destroying entire cultures until recently. It is a must read.

  • Sarah Chao ❅
    2018-10-22 02:54

    A book unlike any other. Malidoma, born in a Dagara village was kidnapped when he was four years old by a Jesuit priest. Because of this, he is now a man of two worlds: the white mans culture and his own indigenous culture. This book reveals his spiritual journey from point a to point b and the return to point a-how the assimilation back to his culture was so difficult.Charged by the elders in his village, Malidoma makes it his life mission to bridge the gap between the Dagara and the western world. I learned a lot about African culture, its magic and symbolism. However reading this narrative was hard because I couldn't understand his experiences.

  • Sheik Camara
    2018-11-14 02:12

    I have yet to read a book of this as spiritually profound as this one. It really took me by surprise even though I had been warned. The author's ability to describe phenomena is remarkable, considering no words can really do justice to what he has experienced. Every african should have this book in their household.

  • Jean Matthews
    2018-10-27 07:57

    Set in Burkina Faso

  • Niklas Spitz
    2018-10-25 01:18

    Deeply engaging and rewarding story telling offering a unique perspective of the patriarchal culture I was brought up in (western white hegemony), versus the vivid, profound and numinous culture of spirit of the Dagara, described by Malidoma Patrice Somé, in his unique straddling of both worlds.

  • Harry Rutherford
    2018-10-30 06:51

    Somé was kidnapped at the age of four and taken first to a Jesuit-run boarding school and then a seminar, where he was a victim of physical and sexual abuse. At the age of 20 he fled the seminary and walked back to his home village. When he saw his family for the first time in 16 years, he could no longer speak his native Dagara and had lost touch with his native culture; so he underwent the long, harrowing ritual initiation that boys normally go through at 13.He then realised that his calling was to go out and teach the western world about traditional wisdom; the book ends with him leaving the village again. He went to university and earned a few degrees, and he now seems to work on the New Age lecture circuit and the men’s movement.I have to say, as I read the introduction which explains this stuff, my heart sank. The cocktail of academic jargon, self-help, the supernatural and purple prose could have been specifically designed to annoy me. But, to be fair, once he gets going, it is pretty interesting. He never completely shakes off the tendency to flowery prose…The sun had already risen. A few scattered clouds were speeding across the empty zenith as if running away from the threat of the burning disc.… but the academic and self-help stuff is much less intrusive. And the supernatural is after all the main subject of the book. As I was reading his descriptions of magical experiences he had before his abduction, all of which happened before he was four, I wondered whether all the impossible things he was witnessing were explicable by his extreme youth, and the embellishing powers of memory. But his experiences during the initiation as an adult are every bit as remarkable.Assuming that he’s not just a professional bullshitter who made all this stuff up because he knows it is marketable — and I’m not really suggesting that’s the case, although it did occur to me as a possibility — his visions/experiences were extraordinarily complex, specific and precise. Since I’m not a believer in the supernatural, I couldn’t help speculating about what kinds of psychological and physiological effects might have created these experiences — quite fruitless, of course, since I only have one very specific perspective on what happened and I don’t have that kind of expertise anyway.Really, that’s not the point, though; I’m not reading with the book to argue with it. What I would hope to get out of this kind of book is some kind of insight into the traditional culture of the Dagara. And there certainly is some interesting material about the rituals, about the use of divination, the decision making of the elders and so on. But the magical experiences themselves weirdly didn’t ring true to me.I know I’m the worst person in the world to judge the authenticity of shamanic experience, but when I’ve read stories from oral cultures before I’ve always been struck by the genuine weirdness of them, a lack of the kind of narrative logic I expect. I don’t get that from this book; for all the impossible things happening, they sort of read like a version of shamanic experience as imagined by a westerner. Perhaps that’s unsurprising, given the relatively small proportion of his life Somé actually spent in his home village compared to the time spent elsewhere. He is inevitably as much a product of French colonial education and western universities as he is of Dagara culture. Or perhaps he is consciously targeting it at a western readership. Or, very likely, my idea of what a shamanic experience ought to be like is completely wrong.One way or another, it’s certainly interesting. Of Water and the Spirit is my book from Burkina Faso for the Read The World challenge.

  • Patrick Song
    2018-11-22 06:09

    The first 1/3rd or so, where the author is kidnapped as a boy and forced to attend a Jesuit school set up by the French, was mostly mundane, sad, and depressing, but after he returns to his village the story gets mindblowing.

  • Rebecca A.
    2018-10-29 02:52

    I'd give this book many more stars if I could. A Dagara shaman, educated in three, no, FOUR worlds, tells as much of his life story as the elders of the village and the exigencies of magic allow. " . . . we have no word for the supernatural. The closet we come to this concept is Yielbongura, "the thing that knowledge cannot eat."At four years of age, Malidoma Some was kidnapped by a French Catholic priest, and imprisoned at a school to become a Black version of his captors. When he fled, he wasn't actually sure just where his village was, but he kept going. Upon his return, eleven years had gone by. The elders were concerned that the White sickness he brought with him would infect and destroy the village. They decided to risk his life, and send him into the rigorous initiation that was for boys much younger than he was.After he managed to survive this ritual, which took the lives of four other boys that year, the elders sent him to the university, and then to the Sorbonne. After that, his job was to learn English and Western culture well enough to communicate with it, with us, in what we blithely call the First World.Maldoma's mission has been to guide Western culture to a realization of its defects, by encouraging a self-renewal of spirituality in each person he is able to connect with, so that after we heal ourselves, we may also heal our ancestors, and thus heal our future.

  • Sally
    2018-11-07 09:19

    "I still often suffered from being a man of two worlds", 9 November 2015This review is from: Of Water And Spirit (Paperback)Malidoma Some was born into a village in Burkina Faso when it was still under French rule. He describes his first four years, focussing particularly on his close relationship with his grandfather, an elder and shaman. As he recalls his grandfather's funeral - spirit voices, and the dead man walking - I thought perhaps these were the confused recollections of a small child.At four, the author was 'stolen' by the local priest, and compelled to live in a Catholic boarding school. Forced to communicate in French, he soon forgot his native tongue. And Catholic dogma replaced tribal rites. But while he was persuaded by the religion, to the extent of wanting to become a priest, he was also repelled at the sexual and physical abuse he witnessed, and at the colonial attitudes towards the African people.At twenty he ran back to his village; much of the book now tells of (parts of) the month-long initiation ceremony he underwent. And here the reader must decide for himself what to make of the author's otherworldly experiences, as he enters other dimensions, communes with spirits and much more. Was he drugged? hypnotized? Was it Satanism or is there really a way into other universes? The descriptions are very vivid and persuasive, and I never realized initiation rituals included all this.

  • Chibineko
    2018-11-05 08:19

    I had to read this for class, so be aware that this did very much influence my review.If you're like me and had to read this for a class, don't worry. This isn't as difficult as your teacher said it would be. This isn't a light and frothy jaunt through one man's self-discovery though, it's full of Malidoma's pain and confusion as he's abducted and placed in a barbaric missionary school and seminary. The good thing is that it's pretty readable and best of all, does have a happy ending. If you're someone who loves reading stuff like this regardless of whether you're a student or not, you'll enjoy this book. Malidoma tries to go into as much detail as he can about his initiation.Malidoma has a great voice here and while there are some things that I didn't understand entirely, the author is pretty open in the beginning that some things just can't be translated to another language because there's no equivalent. He still does a good job of showing what life is like in West Africa for boys and men. The only thing he omits is a deeper depiction of how women are viewed and treated in his society, but since this book is predominantly about Malidoma's struggle to return home and go through initiation, this can be forgiven.I'd really like to see a follow up book.

  • Jason
    2018-10-24 03:56

    I read this book during a college course, and had an amazing experience with it. The reason for this experience was multi-fold, but at the heart of it is an amazing book by a special author. This book is an autobiography of Malidoma Patrice Some. The author was born in Africa, stolen by Catholic missionaries and forced to go to a boarding school, only to escape and return home in his late teens. Unfortunately, his tribes’ traditions initiate boys into manhood at a much younger age than late teens, and many think that Malidoma has missed his opportunity. The second half of this book represents his journey and initiation process. On the surface, that doesn’t sound too exciting, but the author’s imagery and descriptions of this process were amazing and allowed me to be as close to this process as I’ll ever get without traveling to Africa and joining a new family. Our professor, an older African-born man (along with an amazing TA for the class) guided us through this book and gave incredible insite into the process. Overall, give this book a shot and enjoy with an open mind.

  • Adam Shand
    2018-11-13 09:08

    This is a wonderful book. The parts which described life in his home village were wonderful and I especially loved the parts of the book which had cultural assumptions completely foreign to me. It was an important part of the story, and powerful in it's own right, but I could have down without the ugly story of us indoctrination and abuse at the hands of the Jesuits. I haven't finished his later book Ritual: Power, Healing and Community but I suspect it will make more of a lasting impression. "Ritual" is wonderfully alien and I love the way it challenges my assumptions. I also think some of his observations of Western and African culture are profound, especially if you are interested in what makes community work. If you can, read this book before Ritual as it sets the stage for the story.

  • Kay
    2018-11-20 06:18

    I am so happy for the gift of the elders and ancestors. Because of them we have this jewel of a book by Malidoma Some. How one can continue to be enraptured by the chains and limits of religion after reading a book like this is beyond me. This is where it's at!!!Our people (all Africans are one people I do not care what tribe you are from. That's my story and I'm sticking to it) have more spiritual knowledge than I ever dreamed!!!I don't like reviewing books because I don't see how you can truly review the book without giving some sort of spoiler but I will say this. If you are curious about African spirituality and magic and want to get to know about another region besides EGYPT,you need to read this book. It takes you on a TRULY magical journey and will have you questioning the way that you SEE things.

  • Val
    2018-11-07 07:58

    The book concerns the story of a young man who is taken from his village, educated in a Jesuit school and then returns to his village and undergoes an initiation. There is a conflict between the two ways of life, but more so between two ways of thinking.He is chosen by his elders to teach Westerners how to think like Africans and act as a kind of ambassador for his culture. The problem for him is that it is not his culture any more, as he spent his childhood away from it and is already 'Westernised'. It seems as if he is trying to convince himself of the meaning of his African heritage, it is not something he is steeped in.The problem for many Westerners is that they have difficulty getting into this alternative way of thinking. It is a good attempt to bridge the gap, but does entirely succeed.

  • Andrew Gentile
    2018-11-20 01:16

    Malidoma provides the reader with an account of his childhood in tribal West Africa. While the story reads like the stuff of magical realism, this autobiography is non-fiction. It's incredibly rare to get such insight into the boundless realities that humans likely lived with prior to patriarchy, materialism, rationalism and reductionism. The book highlights how much of our humanity we have cut off from ourselves, and shows us the incredible possibilities for recreating the story of what it means to be conscious beings on this planet. Malidoma shows us how modern civilization has fallen out of homeostasis with the natural and spiritual worlds and provides some hope in showing the reader that there are other realities waiting for us to re-engage for our collective healing and restoration of peace.

  • Duia Lafia Kwame
    2018-10-27 05:02

    I'm just finishing rereading this book, it's my second or third time, i'm not sure. It is interesting because it tells the story of a young man that was abducted from his village in rural Burkina Faso by Jesuit priests; it turns out this is not an uncommon occurrence.One of the things I liked reading the book for this time around was to look for the parts of the culture that were kept intact. For instance, the entire ancient world used to use a calendar that consisted of 10 days per week, but when the Greeks came and attempted to take over the Khemetic society, they changed the week to 5 days, and then the Romans changed it to 7 days. . .Well, the Dagara people that the author belongs to use a 5 day week. These kinds of things were interesting to me.

  • Robin Hansen
    2018-10-30 03:51

    This is an amazing account of a spiritual initiation. The magic that the author experiences during his initiation is extremely powerful, but what makes his account relatable is that he was initiated after returning to his village after many years in the big city, where he was given a Western education after having been kidnapped by Jesuits. This means that when he did go through the traditional initiation of his village, he was able to see and communicate what he experienced as someone who partially saw it from the outside. Having written an account of spiritual initiation myself, I was blown away by Malidoma's experience, and I immediately purchased copies of the book for friends of mine.

  • Robin
    2018-10-26 01:18

    The traditional go to book about shamanism may be, The Way of the Shaman. It is quite often a must read for workshops and spiritual classes. I challenge you to open yourself to this jewel. This is my go to. It lead me on a journey that was new, a bit frightening, yet familiar. I learned I never knew the necessity of community, the importance to mature development that comes through rites of passage, or the power of healing that was inside of me. I sure got busy creating, cherishing, and teaching the joy of belonging. This book was read in time to usher my children through a rite of passage and I never stop seeking ways to heal myself, my community, and my world.