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SHAMANISM AND THE MYSTERY LINES - Ley Lines, Spirit Paths and Out-of-body Travel

By Paul Devereux, published by Quantum at £9.99. 238pp. ISBN: 0-572-02664-1

This volume is a reprint of a book originally published in 1992, but with a number of amendments and minor additions to take into account developments in the field over the past 8 years.

The original edition, written when Devereux was still the editor of the since defunct Ley Hunter and using that magazine to push his own agenda, was an excellent introduction to one of the main research areas of Earth Mysteries of the time, pulling together as it did into one coherent argument a vast amount of evidence relating to linearity studies (that's "ley lines" to the uninitiated), a growing interest in and study of shamanism, its practices, beliefs and world view, and the relatively new concept of consciousness studies, ie the study of sites in their context and their effects on the human mind and consciousness.

At the time, earth mysteries was fighting hard to establish itself as a serious discipline or field of study free from the cranks who claimed that fleeing Atlanteans built the megalithic monuments or that the earth was held in the grip of an intercosmic energy line grid which could be “dowsed” by people in anoraks at their local standing stone.

If you are still dwelling in the New Age and fringe EM "leys are dowsable lines of earth energy" fantasy this book will firmly put your feet on the ground - while in turn opening up vast new horizons in ancient landscapes and the way our ancestors interacted with them. This is not to say that it is wholly reliable - Devereux had (and still has) his own hobby horse which he has been riding for a decade or more and nothing much is going to persuade him to take other people's ideas too seriously. Nevertheless it remains a more useful introduction to sacred landscapes than any of the more fluffy and romantic pagan offerings on the subject.

Ranges through the evidence for linearity within traditional landscape features in the old and new worlds, ancient ideas on kingship, neolithic cursuses, spirit flight, shamanism, the use of trance, dance and psychoative plants and spirit lines to explain why so many ancient (and some not so ancient) sites tend to line up.