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Reviewed by The Editors on Dec. 1, 2007
This remarkable two-volume compilation of descriptions, definitions, and symbolism includes more than 750 cross-referenced entries on the practices and beliefs of shamanism, along with a handful of historical and cultural essays on shamans and their world. Pratt, director of the Last Mask Center for Shamanic Healing in Portland, Oregon, is a shamanic practitioner who is also on the faculty at the Omega Institute, the Rowe Center, and the Center for Spirituality and Healing at the University of Minnesota. As she notes in her introduction, this is not your typical compendium of facts and field research but a reflection of her deep belief that shamanism is “a valid healing modality that is effectively practiced throughout the world.” The set isn’t cheap—the hardcover version is $325, while the paperback is $150—but there is nothing else like it. It’s worth the investment for those with an abiding interest. Also available is The World of Shamanism: New Views of an Ancient Tradition (Llewellyn, 2007) by psychiatrist Roger Walsh, a scholarly and thoughtful intersection of shamanic traditions, modern psychology, and metaphysics.