A friend of mine passed me The Shaman in Stilettos, saying I might enjoy it as a light read. I took one look at the title and the shiny red stiletto on the cover, shuddered inwardly, thanked her and put it up on a shelf where I promptly forgot about it for a few weeks. It was only one evening when I’d finished reading a ‘serious’ book and fancied something easy that I remembered it.
The cover and title were still off putting, aimed at a more mainstream audience, but I reasoned that if I didn’t like it after a few chapters I would at least be able to tell my friend I had taken a look at it. I settled down, prepared to be unimpressed, and was quickly drawn into Anna’s story instead. Yes, she loves buying stilettos (that really is weird!), but she realises that her glitzy London life is contributing to her ill health and that she needs a break from it. From that point Fate has a hold of her and brings her to Peru and her self discovery through Shamanism.
I found myself looking forward to reading the latest instalment of Anna’s story & was quite sad when I got to the end of the book. From top notch London restaurants and designer label loving friends, to Peruvian jungle and filthy conditions complete with scorpions and tarantulas, Anna makes a huge life transition. Far from missing London life, she realises she feels more at home in Peru and on her return to the Metropolis she no longer fits in and is quickly planning a longer visit, this time as an apprentice to the charismatic Shaman she has met. It is a good reminder that any true spiritual journey will leave you changed and you may find yourself unable to maintain your old friendships, relationships and job.
Anna’s accounts of Shamanic ceremonies with the power plants Ayahuasca and San Pedro were very interesting and she clearly had some transformational experiences with these plant spirit teachers. You can’t buy these substances legally in the UK as they have been bundled in with ‘recreational drugs’ by our laws, but taken under the right circumstances and under the watchful eye of a Shaman the plants open doorways to other dimensions of perception. My feeling is to have a true experience of these plant teachers you have to go where they are prepared by an experienced Shaman and that taken out of that sacred context they could be dangerous, simply because they are so powerful.
Anna describes healing ceremonies, shape-shifting into a big cat, the snake energy of kundalini and even an encounter with a malicious Shaman (they do exist). It is a window into the world of seeing energy and the energy connections that exist between us and the rest of Creation.
I personally found the on-off romance with the Shaman a bit tiresome and less convincing than any of the other dimensional experiences she relates. I suspect this element of the story has been heavily embroidered looking at the list of shamanic teachers in the Acknowledgements. If you like a love story alongside your Shamanic adventure then suspend any disbelief and imagine that he really is the tempting Adonis she paints in the book!
I loved reading most of this book; the style is engaging throughout. It is my kind of beach read, with enough truth and depth in it to keep my attention and enough fun to keep me turning the pages.