There are many books you need to read. And there are many books you don't need to read.
Cheeky of me, I know, but I recommend students to not read Animal Speak OR work with Medicine cards while they are in training.
Why? Because these guides are Mr. Andrews and Ms. Sams understandings of what a Power Animal (or any animal) can gift you.
The reasons why Bear or Rabbit or Raven come to you are individual to you. If you read my article on Power Animal Retrieval, you can explore the MANY ways and reasons why an animal spirit has allied with you through journeying. There is NO substitute for doing the work that helps build your relationship with your helping spirit.
Having said that, both are wonderful writers with some great books to explore.
This list is created for the person who is looking to begin his shamanic explorations or the more advanced students who wish to know more. All are nonfiction, and all are invaluable.
Nothing can or should replace the experiential, but these treasures will help you understand your own personal process.
I only list books here that I have used time and time again. Reread for pleasure, to further my understandings or to grow in my practice. Obviously, it's not an exhaustive list -- just those treasures you might want to add to your library.
Explore. Enjoy. Read and muse.
And here's a little, personal review about why I find these book invaluable.
Way of the Shaman by Dr. Michael Harner -- This is the man who originated core shamanism and gave it to the world. This book does NOT cover everything in the class, but covers some of it. It can't replace the class, but as a tool to use and remind you, it's an invaluable read AFTER the class.
Cave and the Cosmos by Dr. Michael Harner -- Those of us who know and love Michael, waited for ten years for this book. And it was worth it. A fascinating exploration into the Upperworld realms. Also, it includes mention of some things that have never been discussed in print or outside of the FSS Three-Year Training.
Secrets of the Talking Jaguar AND Of Water and the Spirit -- Martin Prechtel and Malidoma Some write in wildly different styles, but each write about his journey to shamanism. Both are fascinating autobiographies with the power to move and astonish you.
Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy by Mircea Eliade -- This is an extraordinary book -- or tome. It is weighty, academic and invaluable. It is deep exploration at many different peoples practicing shamanism as well as particular rituals, tools, etc. When I am researching something. this is my first stop.
Shamansim as a Spiritual Practice for Daily Life by Tom Cowan -- Tom Cowan is the guy you want to study with after you've worked with the FSS if you have a curiosity about Celtic Shamanism. But in this marvelous book, he explores daily journeys. All kinds of them. In one way, this book is SO valuable because it can help you to think about the many, many questions you might bring to your helping spirits. Love this book for recent grads of Way of the Shaman.
My highest recommendation for 2014 is Ema's Odyssey by Sandra Harner. Click below to order from Amazon after that date or go to your local bookstore to order. I believe this will be one of the most important books on shamanism ever written.