Meditations With Animals – Gerald Hausman

Meditations With Animals: A Native American Bestiary
Gerald Hausman
Bear & Company, 1986
144 pages

This is a unique little book; part of it is traditional Native American chants and stories from various tribes, taken from interviews for The Bureau of Ethnology Reports. However, the author also provides his own meditations on these tales. The meditations are mindful of the ecological disasters that are destroying the world, piece by piece, as well as humanity’s increasing detachment from Nature, and the importance of renewing that relationship before it’s too late.

The book is divided up by region–tribes of the plains, of the Pacific coastline, the woodlands, etc. Interspersed among the meditations and stories are piece of information about the tribes themselves. It is a sensitive conveyance of tribal lore without being New-Age-crystally (with the exception of one tiny mention of the Natchez being a possible remnant of the Atlanteans, though the mention of it is rather ambiguous, more of a “By the way” kind of thing).

This is a good book for opening up your mind a bit more to the idea of all things being interconnected, particularly in regards to other animals. While occasionally it romanticizes the lives of various tribes, it lacks the “Hey! Look! We’re really Indians!” feel of writers like Brooke Medicine Eagle. I would also recommend the idea of using some of the chants and meditations in here for personal totemic work and animal magic in general.

Four pawprints out of five.

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