Shamanism Volume III: Animal Medicine Powers – Dolfyn

Shamanism Volume III: Animal Medicine Powers
Earthspirit, 1992
30 pages

This little booklet of 30 pages was published way back in 1992, before the current glut of totem animal dictionaries settled itself into the market. It’s a precursor to Shamanic WIsdom II, which was a full sized book that Dolfyn wrote a couple of years later with Swimming Wolf.

The Good: The author’s interpretations of various totemic qualities are largely based on actual animal behaviors. They’re quite innovative, and it’s rare for me to say that about Yet Another Totem Animal Dictionary. There’s also a wide variety of animals, not just the Big Impressive North American Mammals and Birds. And the author is very ecologically-minded, talking about why it’s important to give back to the Nature we take from and supporting a balance.

The Bad: Lots of typos and spelling errors, which drove me nuts as I was reading. Also, it’s pretty white-light. I was reading the entry on Dolphin: “People who swim with Dolphins in the wild often report great emotional healing from Dolphin’s unconditional love” (p. 13). Funny how no one ever mentions how dolphins are also known to commit rape, both on other dolphins and, according to unsubstantiated rumors, human beings. Not that it necessarily has much bearing on totemism, but dolphins have been particularly romanticized by the New Age.

The Ugly: Very, very wannabe Native. Any animal-magic related book with “Medicine” in the title should raise warning flags. The author constantly refers to how “the tribes” or “Native American Indians” did X or believed Y. And, of course, there’s absolutely no bibliography, let alone in-text citations, showing where the author got the information.

Still, if you can overlook the bad and the ugly, the good is, well, pretty good. I’m hanging onto this to take to my totemism classes (along with a slew of other totem dictionaries) for people to use post-meditation to get some initial research on the animals they talked to.

Three and three quarters pawprints out of five.

Want to buy this book?


1 Comment

  1. Tom Ramsay said,

    December 7, 2007 at 9:13 am

    Good, concise review. I am reading Shamanic Wisdom by the same author and it too is full of typos. I would love to ask the author, “what exactly is a DARK MOON?” He explains in great detail moon phases, waxing and waning, but the term DARK MOON is not in common parlance, at least not in central US/Canada. Thanks again, Tom

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