A Book Review of Medicine Woman, by Lynn V. Andrews
Reviewed by Shannon Parsons
"Iíve only seen one marriage basket in my life. I happen to know that the basket is in existence. Where, I donít know."
-Hyemeyohsts Storm, from Medicine Woman
New Age. Traditional teachings. Lately, I have opted for reading only the latter. Not that there arenít any interesting New Age ideas out there, but in my opinion, the traditional indigenous teachings speak a trusted truth. They offer us a tried, tested and true spiritual guidance that is much needed for the times in which we live. And the teachings in Medicine Woman, by Lynn V. Andrews, are no exception.
Andrews takes us on a compelling real life journey, her journey, which started the day she saw a photograph of an Indian marriage basket in an art gallery exhibit. Andrews, a wealthy collector of Native Indian art was living in Los Angeles at the time. Unable to get the image of the basket out of her mind, she calls the gallery the next day to see if she can purchase a print of the photograph. Much to her surprise, she is told that no such photograph was present in the exhibit or in the gallery. Andrews is stunned. Then the real fun begins.
She soon begins to have intense dreams and visions of the basket and she knows in her heart she must locate it. What follows is a series of amazing synchronistic events that lead her to take a leap into the great unknown and travel to a Cree Reserve in northern Manitoba. This is a journey that would ultimately lead her to her teacher, Agnes Whistling Elk, a powerful medicine woman. Life on the impoverished reserve is not easy for the Los Angeles socialite, but Andrews quickly realizes that she must stay and complete her apprenticeship under Agnes because she has been chosen by "the Dreamers". This is a group of female elders who search for people in Dreamtime whom they feel are ready to receive teachings. Shocked to hear that she is a "chosen one", Andrews asks Agnes how this is possible. Agnes replies, "Because consciously or unconsciously you have made a bid for power". Andrews then reflects on all the years in her life she had spent "aimlessly studying mysticism" and
decides that this has spoken as the so-called bid for power. She concludes that one truly should be careful what they ask for!
As she proceeds to undertake a harrowing journey to learn about herself, her life purpose and the Great Mystery that surrounds her, Andrews begins to know what it means to come into her own power. Through a series of ancient teachings and rituals, her personal animal medicine is brought to the surface, which she learns is essential for her have in order to continue her quest for the marriage basket. Through it all, Agnes is an amazing teacher, imparting many traditional Native secrets and practices, but Andrews eventually discovers that Agnes can only take her so far. She must come to stand in her own power and complete her mission all on her own: a mission that involves stealing the coveted marriage basket from the hands of a dangerously powerful shaman named Red Dog, whose many talents include shape shifting, making himself invisible and casting potent spells upon others.
Medicine Woman is an amazing adventure. But more to the point, it is one that teaches us the importance of being brave enough to heed our personal callings. What have you done lately to sit in the silence and listen for the guidance that will lead you on the path of your life purpose? What dreams or visions have you had lately that have been encoded messages for you, and only you, from Spirit? Through Medicine Woman, Lynn Andrews is telling us to watch and listen for the signs and synchronicities that are all around us, all the time. When will you be ready to start paying attention to them? When will you be ready to take that leap into your great unknown?