Book Review: The Shaman In Stilettos
This article first appeared on Queenofretreats.com
A wellbeing retreat can be a perfect time to unleash your inner shaman, as I discovered after reading The Shaman in Stilettos (Penguin). Written by celebrity journalist Anna Hunt (formerly London’s Carrie Bradshaw), with a closet overflowing with stilettos, a fridge of Sauvignon Blanc and a handsome wealthy boyfriend. Yet she wasn’t happy. Burnt out from her crazy London lifestyle, she packed her bags for South America to find herself. There she travelled to the darkest depths of her soul - a journey recounted in this book.
Being somewhat on the alternative (whacky?) side myself, I’ve long been intrigued with Shamanism but never really got it and was always a little cautious of it – until now. The traditional Shaman (we are told), otherwise known as a medicine man or wizard, is regarded as a person of power, one who ‘journeys back and forth through territories of consciousness to retrieve insight into the true workings of energy’. Devotees believe that shamanism offers a way of reconnecting with the natural world and our place in it and in our crazy world, we need every bit of help we can get!
Anna Hunt's journey:
Hunt’s quest takes her to the wilderness of the Amazon jungle, where she works with the gentle San Pedro cactus (read the book to understand what this involves!), drinks ayahuasca (one of the most mysterious and potent hallucinogens known to man (and not for everyone so beware!), and falls into the arms of Maximo Morales, a disarmingly seductive shaman who invites her to become his apprentice. This she does and we are carried along her journey, romantically and otherwise!
As well as being an easy-to-follow story, the book is peppered with nuggets of wisdom, my favourite being: ‘When you embark on the right path, the Universe bends to support you.’ And for Anna Hunt, it certainly has. Using skills passed on to her by her teachers in the Amazon, she now brings the ancient healing arts closer to home as a modern day shaman with retreats in London and various corners of the world.
A great introduction to shamanism for the novice that left me wanting to experience Anna’s retreats for myself (watch this space).
Hunt goes a little overboard on her description of her guru, Maximo Morales. I’m sure he is a heavenly creature, but he sounded somewhat on the arrogant side to me!
From good bookshops, Amazon or www.annahunt.com