Messengers of the Gods: Tribal Elders Reveal the Ancient Wisdom of the Earth (Bell Tower)

James G. Cowan, Author Harmony $14 (0p) ISBN 978-0-517-88078-4
Cowan, an Australia-based writer ( Letters from a Wild State ), set out to speak to ``men of knowledge''--the messengers of the title--to learn how to help preserve nature. Unfortunately, though his quest is often very personal, he offers little autobiographical background, the book contains large chunks of contrived dialogue and Cowan's spiritualist style (he claims to recognize the crocodile in the nature of a man whose totem is the crocodile) suggests that this book is aimed mainly at fellow seekers. He divides his travels into three parts. First, he visits the islands of the Torres Strait, between Australia and New Guinea, where a former pearl diver sends him on another quest--to find the people of Mer, who teach him to identify with the mythical First Man. Still seeking ``a state of personal wholeness,'' Cowan journeys to the forests of Borneo, where he learns the Iban people's law of Adat , the harmony of the universe. He winds up among the aborigines of Australia, hears their stories, known as the Dreaming, and feels a oneness with the earth. Cowan's account, however, is short on actual practical advice about how to redeem the environment. Maps not seen by PW. (July)
Reviewed on: 05/31/1993
Release date: 06/01/1993
Hardcover - 209 pages - 978-0-517-58757-7
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