Book Review: The Shaman Within

Spirituality & Health Magazine
reviewed by Damon Orion

The Shaman Within
A Physicist’s Guide to the Deeper Dimensions of Your Life, the Universe, and Everything
By Claude Poncelet
Sounds True

Shamans are said to be masters of two worlds, living simultaneously in ordinary reality and in the spirit realms. In The Shaman Within, Claude Poncelet places this archetype in a present-day context, outlining the characteristics of an individual who walks the mystic path while embracing modern technology, maintaining scientific skepticism, and engaging with mainstream society.

Along with providing an overview of traditional shamanic practices and precepts, The Shaman Within presents a variety of techniques for incorporating the shamanic state of consciousness into one’s everyday work environment, family life, and relationship to technology. “Cities, buildings, cars, computers, and cell phones are all made of earth stuff,” writes Poncelet, a veteran shamanic teacher who also served as chief staff liaison on President Clinton’s Council on Sustainable Development. “If we see the sacred in these things, our use of them and our lives with and among them take on a completely different character.”

As a physicist who has taught at the university level, Poncelet incorporates his knowledge of cosmology, nuclear physics, and astrophysics into his explanations of shamanic principles. Among other things, he ties Einstein’s theories of relativity to ancient spiritual beliefs about the malleability of time, Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle to the traditional mystical concept of the Void, and the discoveries of quantum physics to the principles of nonduality and interconnectedness. He offers, “Perhaps the merging of the wondrous capacity of modern science with the wisdom of the shamanic perspective will teach the human species to use its amazing toolmaking ability for the purpose of creating greater harmony and well-being for all beings on Earth.”

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