Review of Shaman Pathways: Deathwalking

Review of Shaman Pathways: Deathwalking October 24, 2018

I was excited to learn about this anthology on a subject that is not discussed enough within modern witchcraft. I only recently became aware that deathwalking is not widely known as a part of witchcraft when I wrote an article about the subject as part of a series on Samhain.

Deathwalking is a shamanic term that refers to all manner of practices involving the dead and the spirit world. A particular emphasis is placed assisting spirits to the other side. Communication with the departed is also involved, as can be honoring the ancestors through ritual. Shamans, witches and other deathwalking professionals assist the dead through various techniques, including healing and helping them cross over. For those of us in the Middle World, deathwalkers can remove unwanted spirits from homes and our beings. Deathwalkers may also provide mediumship and psychopomping services, delivering messages from the dead and helping the dying experience a positive transition. Healing work is at the core of deathwalking. For those of us doing this work, we see the problems caused by the restless dead as arising from their need for healing. Healing work with the dead can be done from the individual level with one spirit right up to healing work for an entire ancestral line. We are products of our ancestors, the biological ones, those who lived in our home and property before us, the community we belong to, and those to which we are called.

This excellent anthology covers several different types of deathwalking, ranging from psychopompery to death rites in different cultures. There are chapters on Hindu death rites as well as traditional Celtic ones. Perhaps the greatest strength of the book comes from the various authors sharing their lived experience as a deathwalker, both within their intimate relationships and with strangers. The story of helping children who were the victims of bombs in Aleppo is very moving. The chapter on some children’s innate ability to connect with the “before life” provides a nice summary of the authors’ ideas of why very young children have memories from before birth.

The chapters dealing with problems of the dead in the Middle World of everyday life are most helpful. Unwanted spirits can become attached to individuals causing all manner of problems. While this is rare, as the author of this chapter points out, it is a very real phenomenon that I think all energetic healers should be aware of. I would have liked a bit more about possession, although there are a few references to this even more rare occurrence.

The authors are all highly skilled and experienced deathwalking practitioners. For anyone interested in learning about deathwalking, it is a great introduction. If you, like myself, are an experienced deathwalker, you’ll enjoy the varied perspectives. I found myself nodding in agreement several times about many of the authors experiences in deathwalking.

Shaman Pathways: Deathwalking goes beyond theoretical reviews and personal experience to include many practical tips. The final chapter on “What Not To Do” will be especially helpful for anyone new to deathwalking.

I highly recommend Shaman Pathways: Deathwalking for anyone interested in any sort of work with the dead.

About Cyndi
Cyndi Brannen is a witch and spiritual teacher, a trained energetic healer, psychic and herbalist. Merging together her training in shamanism, Tarot, past life work, meditation and psychology, she teaches and writes about better living through witchcraft. Keeping Her Keys: An Introduction to Hekate’s Modern Witchcraft explores Hekate from her ancient origins to modern understanding through magic and personal development is available now for pre-order from Moon Books. True Magic: Unleashing Your Inner Witch uses the magic of the elements and the three realms to activate your true witch powers and will be available later in 2019 from Moon as well. Connect with her on Facebook or at to learn more about her teaching and writing. Cyndi lives in rural coastal Nova Scotia with her two sons where she can often be found wandering the cliffs or wild foraging plants. She lives what she teaches: fierce love, emotional courage and true magic. You can read more about the author here.
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  • I have done this sort of work (in the dream state mostly and have served as a psychopomp). I do not need to do it as much anymore, but rather focus on working with “Death Energy” with regards to myself (transition/transformation of the body to align it with my soul).

    There was a Necromancy ebook that I had, but I cannot recall the title (I wish I could as I think it would be of interest to you). I only wish there were more books of this subject matter that dealt with the “Death Energy” as far as personal transformation.

    I bought “Healing Pluto Problems” last night, as I think using Pluto Astrology may be the only way of approaching this subject matter from a Left Hand Path (inward focused) perspective. Along with Jungian Psychology (which I work with), as many of the books on this subject matter have an “outward” focus – working with spirits/gods/goddesses instead of the inner self – if that makes sense.

  • Happened to dig through my Kindle purchases (need a new cover) and found the title:

    Memento Mori: A Necrosophic Grimoire by J. Thorp

  • Thanks so much…went and bought Pluto Problems for the Kindle. Absolutely amazing.

    November is such an inward time, if we choose to let it be. Why is it that many of us have a natural inclination to look to external forces for healing? I love that I found your recommendation after I got up at 5 am to start working on an article about soul retrieval. It’s challenging to distill such a complex process into less than 1500 words. I am at the part of figuring out how to explain that, in my technique, the retrieval takes place deep inside of us. The soul isn’t usually out on the Starry Road somewhere wandering around nor has it been stolen by an entity. All super Jungian. I’m sure you’ll see some influences in the article, and probably a bit from Healing Pluto Problems.

  • Sure. I have samples saved of a number of other Pluto Astrology books, but also one on Saturn which has its own associations with Death (as I work with a lot of that, since I am Capricorn and work with the Capricorn/Cancer axis). But also Neptune.

    About external forces: I don’t know. I didn’t start out that way myself, as my healing initially began with trying to heal the Fibromyalgia and Sciatica that I had at the time. Therefore, my whole focus was on physical healing. I started working with essences in 2003, despite being very skeptical. There is an article on Fibromyalgia by FES that I came across and decided to give it a try despite my reluctance (I was suffering too much and the rx meds did nothing or made me worse). Homeopathy I got into a year later after an online friend in the UK sent me a jar of Arnica gel (side note: I still use it and my surgeon has an Arnica protocol for my surgeries – of which I shall also apply when I get my tooth removed on the 19th).

    I stopped the anti depressants cold turkey (2004) as they did not help either (they were used to help the sleep cycle). This allowed all the mental and emotional trauma from abuse to gently be brought up for healing and release. In 2005, I managed to get off the heavier pain meds and just need an rx Ibuprofen here and there. The year after was when I got into Shadow work as I mentioned in your other post. This allowed deeper work on the mind as you know.

    I agree that the healing takes place deep within. At some point in the future, I would like to take a course in Jungian Psychology since having applied what it covers to myself and gotten results, that maybe I could at least guide others (start them off) to their own inner healing…I don’t know. They would need to be comfortable with my energy and not many seem to be. They have to be ready to “transform”.

    Since you work with Hecate/Hekate, Judy Hall’s book “Hades Moon” may also be of interest to you. I don’t know how your Moon is in your chart (if it is in aspect to Pluto, or in Scorpio, or the 8th house), but the author mentions about her in the book some.