Book Reviews
Flight of the Seventh Moon: Lynn V. Andrews
16th Mar 2010Posted in: Book Reviews Comments Off on Flight of the Seventh Moon: Lynn V. Andrews
Flight of the Seventh Moon: Lynn V. Andrews

Flight of the Seventh Moon is the sequel to Medicine Woman, which was first marketed as a true story, then as a novel, although I didn’t know that when I began this, and hadn’t read it. The words on one of the prelim pages of Flight of the Seventh Moon state ‘this is a true story’, but from the first page I had my doubts, which quickly turned to incredulity then annoyance. The author, supposedly continuing her shamanic teaching with Agnes Whistling Elk, is in fear of her life from Red Dog, with whom she seems to be engaged in some sort of struggle to do with the power of the sacred feminine. The book is subtitled ‘The Teaching of the Shields’, and Agnes and Ruby, another shamanic woman, guide her through the process of creating these, alternately testing and rewarding her with a sort of ‘good cop’ ‘bad cop’ method and helping her experience extraordinary manifestations or visions that advance her path to realizing her innate power as a woman. I must say I did wonder what was in that tea they were always drinking.

As a novel of a spiritual quest it works on some level, although most of the text details the making of the shields and the experiences of the initiate, and I guess that anyone interested in the shamanic path of the North American Indian might find the rituals useful for their own quest, just supposing they felt secure in the knowledge that the information contained in the book was not merely a product of the author’s imagination. I’m afraid I couldn’t, and even as a novel it fails to be as good as it could have been due to the lack of a decent plot – Red Dog is pretty threatening at the beginning but doesn’t play a consistent part in the story, and the author’s supposed trickery of him and his dark arts at the end almost made me gag – women have been practising this for millennia without shamanic teaching, but it’s hardly empowering. As a work of non-fiction, not only did Red Dog make the whole thing unbelievable but the author herself seemed a pretty poor subject for the shamanic journey, and never knew when to shut up and listen to Agnes.

Teaching imparted through storytelling is an age-old tradition, teaching masquerading as real experience leaves one feel cheated. I was reminded of Marla Morgan’s Mutant Message Down Under, also marketed as a true story, later discredited and disowned by the Native Australian Elder the author had persuaded to endorse it, but that was more believable than this, more enjoyable too.

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