BTRIPP (btripp) wrote,

Another book down ...

Sometimes a book takes a very long time to read, for no particular reason. This is one of those. I was given this book by a friend for Xmas in 1990 (it's got a note in it saying "best wishes for '91") ... and so it's been "in the mix" here for fifteen years. It's amazing what a different world it is between the two dates ... in December 1990, I was a top VP at a Public Relations agency, in charge of all of our conference/event projects, pulling in a six-figure salary, single (although I was dating The Wife at that point), and reading a lot ... so this book somehow feels like an artifact of a distant age!

Frankly, Dhyani Ywahoo's Voices Of Our Ancestors: Cherokee Teachings from the Wisdom Fire is quite a good book, and it surprises me that she's not done a follow-up to it. I think that this is the first time that a "non-science" book has left so many questions hanging in the air for me (as I've noted in discussing previous books, I recently have been plowing through a backlog of things that were purchased 10-15 years ago, a gap which often dulls the "cutting edge" stuff quite a bit). In the book, Dhyani Ywahoo (who, according to this, is a full lineage-holder and trained teacher of her people's spiritual knowledge) seems to be setting up the foundation for a major out-reach of Cherokee (or Tsalagi, as she uses in the book) traditional teachings via her "SunRay Meditation Society", which is mentioned to have locations in many cities. I found the possibility of checking this out further enticing.

However, when I Googled SunRay, I was surprised to find that, while the organization still existed, it was pretty much in one location, which appears to primarily be a Tibetan Bhuddist retreat center! Obviously, at some point since 1987 when this book came out and now, Ms. Ywahoo must have had some sort of "conversion experience", and seems to only now be presenting the Tsalagi teachings in some sort of mix with Nyingma and Drikung Kagyu Tibetan materials. How odd! There don't seem to be any other books by her or about her, so this book sort of leaves one hanging with the potential of the moment, which since went in other directions.

That all being said, Voices Of Our Ancestors is a worthwhile read. I can't, now that I've finished it, quite put my finger on why it was so hard for me to get into reading this (I started the book a good half dozen times and never got past the introduction), as it's not "difficult", and not "preachy", yet I had a hard time "getting traction" with it. Go figure. The book has a nice mix of historical context, general discussion of the Tsalagi spirituality, some myth and legend, and quite a number of practical meditations and exercises. A whole system of "crystal work" is outlined, discussing the nature of various crystals, their vibrations, how they relate to bodily functions, and to cosmological forces. While the book does have a goodly amount of "chakra work" described, that's on an internal, or meditative, plane, and the author strongly warns against the 'newage" use of crystals for "chakra balancing", etc. ... actually, the various specific warnings of "what not to do", were probably the most "AHA!" points in the book for me, as she clearly outlines in several instances why (within the Tsalagi system) things become hazardous. Very useful.

Anyway, I'd certainly recommend this book as a look into a Native American spiritual path. I think that it's too bad that Dhyani Ywahoo's "SunRay" group did not evolve into a far-flung teaching network for the Tsalagi tradition, but I guess (in the absence of any follow-up), this is what she feels stands on its own to present that. And, once again, if you're looking to pick it up, Amazon has a bunch of second-hand copies for under a buck, so it's something you could check out for very little investment!

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Tags: book review
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