by Norman W Wilson, PhD
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RTW: What got you interested in shamanism? Give us a short bio, please.
NWW: Have you ever met a shaman? I have. I was seven years old, and it triggered a lifelong curiosity for other worlds and cultures. Eventually, I wrote a series of essays on shamanism, which are now available as Shamanism: What It's All About.
My doctorate in the humanities allowed me to study other systems, particularly the myths of the Ancient Greeks, and to examine in depth the Romantic poets, novelists, painters, and musicians. Like those Romanticists, I too, have a deep abiding fascination with the world of mythology. That interest has wound its way into my novel The Shaman's Quest and the remaining five in my series, Shamanic Mysteries.
I live in the Puget Sound area of Washington State with my talented wife, photographer Suzanne V. Wilson, and we are ruled by three cats, who graciously allow us to reside in their abode.
Contest! Details Below.
RTW: Tell us about The Shaman's Quest.
NWW: Adam's deep and abiding ache for knowledge sends him on a quest for truth, but no one seems to have the answers, nor do they understand what he seeks. His journey to find answers and the peace they'll bring him is even more puzzling than the initial curiousity, sending him on a quest to seek and learn from a powerful shaman.
But the shaman is at first elusive, then speaks in riddles. Worst of all, the shaman insists Adam embark upon a Vision Quest that few survive.
RTW: What aspect of shamanism intrigues you the most? How did you work that into your book?
|Norman W Wilson, PhD|
NWW:The degree to which a shaman can alter his/her state of consciousness and the techniques used to achieve that have long been of interest to me. The main character undergoes his vision quest in an altered state of consciousness, he visits the world of the spirits, and travels in another dimension.
RTW: Your main character, Adam, is a bit lost at first, and a mentor plays a major role in this book. Talk about the lost art of mentoring, and why it’s so important.
NWW:This is fodder for a book unto itself. America has become such a "Me" country it has lost sight of the need to help others, that is, mentor them. As far as I am concerned, mentoring is just another aspect of 'paying it forward'. . . a philosophy in which I wholeheartedly believe. The young (and sometimes us older folks) needs someone to take them under their wing and show them the way.
RTW: Are there any common misconceptions about shamanism that bug you?
NWW:Yes, there are some misconceptions about shamanism that bug me. First, is the popular notion that one has to get juiced up on hallucinogenic drugs to be a shaman. Second, shaman are not bad guys; they are healers.
RTW: Why is Adam at such loose ends? Tell us a little of his backstory.
NWW: You are referring to the main character in my novel, The Shaman's Quest. Even as a young child, Adam had questions that never seemed to get answered. For example, when he is seven or eight years old, he is confronted by an old Indian woman who 'jabbers' at him. He witnessed his father give her a fresh caught fish which she immediately began to eat, raw, guts and all. When Adam asks what was going on, he is told she was left to die. " Why?" Adam asks. He was not given an answer. It is only when he meets up with the mystical shaman, Esaugetuh, does Adam begin to get his questions answered.
RTW: Please lead us into your excerpt.
The excerpt is from the first chapter, although not the very beginning. Adam makes a decision to pursue the mysteries of life, because his curiousity has now become all-consuming.
EXCERPT: The Shaman's Quest
by Norman W Wilson, PhD
Copyright © 2011 Norman W Wilson, PhD
Oh sure, as a kid I always had to know, like all kids do. Unfortunately, that need to know carried over into my adult life. I remember my father used to say, "That boy needs to know the ass-hole of everything." Not until my teens did I realize the full intent of his comment. Dogs sniff one another's butts. Had he been near me when I realized that, I’m sure I would have punched him out.
Some of the indications from the Mik'Maq reinforced my nagging suspicion that the mysterious medicine man is something more. Perhaps he is the God, Glooscap in human form. Man, that sure would shake up the world.
Whoever or whatever he is, leads about him disappeared. Any discussion of a Mik’Maq shaman just dried up. Sure wasn’t much different than when I was a kid, and like then, I am not sure why people won't talk to me about him. By now he had become my shaman and it is very personal.
A rare few of the Mik’Maq developed certain innate abilities that allowed them to surpass all others in their perceptions, skills, and talents. I suspect such people had fine tuned their ability to tie into the nonlocal mind. Such persons, as do people do today, paid a high price for being different. Separated from the rest of the village, these power-given lived in deep forested areas, isolated and often feared. They came back into the village to seek a mate or for sacred rituals they were expected to perform, or to provide some of their ‘magic’ to heal a sick person. The medicine man, renamed by others as shaman, despite being shunned and forced to live outside of the village’s daily social activities, remained a very important person to the tribe.
The one I look for is said to be the last of the most powerful of the shaman— one who knows all things, capable of making miracles—the seventh of the seventh of the seventh. Rumor has it that he can come and go at will; that he travels in a different dimension in non-normal time. If these rumors are true, perhaps he really is Glooscap. Christians don’t have a lock on the idea of a divinity coming to Earth in human form.
I had gone to northeastern Canada in search of this last shaman hoping against hope to be able to spend time with him, to see if he could answer my questions. Of course, it all depended if he would let me. I had heard talk that he was antisocial and had a deep distrust of whites. My information, scarce as it is, was that he had gone to Florida to meet with some of the Creeks. No one seemed to know why. They just indicated that I should go south. And here I am sitting cramped-up in a rental car during a downpour.
RTW: Thanks for the excerpt, Norman. This is the first book in The Shamanic Mysteries. What’s the title of the second book and when will it be out?
NWW: The second book is The Shaman's Transformation. It's out in Kindle now and will be in print soon.
RTW: Anything else you’d like to add?
NWW: You have a wonderful blog here with some fascinating authors and contributors. You are to be congratulated.
Norman is giving away a free copy of The Shaman's Quest. All you have to do to qualify for the drawing is leave a comment one one of this week's posts. Don't forget to leave your email address! Winner will be drawn September 3rd at 10pm Pacific Time.