The Art of Shapeshifting by Ted Andrews

The Art of Shapeshifting
Ted Andrews
Dragonhawk Publishing, 2005
320 pages

This book hasn’t gotten as much attention as some of Andrews’ other works, such as Animal-Speak or Animal-Wise. Which is a shame, because it’s a great book on a particular niche in animal magic that all too often ends up with a cursory explanation and a few basic exercises if you’re lucky. What Andrews presents in this book is the art of shapeshifting, and he goes into more detail and depth with it than I’ve seen anywhere else in print.

The book starts the reader out with a decent amount of preparatory material. Andrews explains his theories on how and why shapeshifting dance works, such as how energy flows in this sort of work, and what the body is capable of. He then segues into basic exercises to condition and prepare both the body and spirit for shapeshifting itself; there’s a good deal of breathwork and use of particular postures which will come in quite handy later on when invoking an animal spirit or energy. He also draws on the importance of mythology, particularly archetypes, to add an extra layer to the experience of shapeshifting.

When it comes time to try shapeshifting dance, the reader should be well-prepared in anticipation of the event. Any of a number of props and other items may be utilized, and the reader who has read thoroughly should have a good understanding of what they’re for and which will be useful to hir personally. Once basic shapeshifting dance has been achieved, Andrews also includes both magic and mysticism which can incorporate shapeshifting, as a way to show that it’s not necessarily done only for its own sake. As I mentioned, this is a very thorough approach to the topic.

I think my only complaint is with the layout of the book. There are a few places where the font sizes chosen don’t seem to really mesh well together, which can be a bit distracting. However, this is a minor issue overall. I could do without some of the correspondences, too, with things such as herbs, deities, and stones. However, some people prefer more trapping and tools, and so these may be useful to other readers.

Overall, I think this book fills its niche quite nicely, and deserves more attention than it’s gotten.

Five pawprints out of five.

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3 Comments

  1. Stevie said,

    February 4, 2009 at 9:37 pm

    I’m a big fan of Andrews, and I still missed this one! It’d be a shame to pass it up, especially when we get a great teaser on the topic of shapeshifting in “AnimalSpeak”. Are there even any other shapeshifting books out there? Thank you for finding this one; I’ll be buying it via your link!

  2. lupabitch said,

    February 5, 2009 at 4:41 pm

    Stevie–The only other book I know of that specializes in shapeshifting is “The Magick of Shapeshifting” by Rosalyn Greene; I gave it a bad review here on my blog because there are numerous reasons it sucks. Many books on totemism have a section or chapter on shapeshifting, though often they’re similar to Andrews’ stuff. I tried taking shapeshifting in different directions in my own books; “Fang and Fur, Blood and Bone” has a chapter than includes some interesting psychological applications, and “DIY Totemism” has two separate chapters, each with its own angle.

    Thank you for the support 🙂

  3. NightStorm said,

    February 6, 2009 at 6:44 pm

    Now how is shape shifting viewed in this book? Is it psychological manisfistation? Or some other form of transformation? How does Ted Andrew’s approuch the topic? I’ve been rather skeptical, but nevertheless curious.


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