A Man Among the Helpers held my interest through every chapter. The honest recount of the author's experiences with a Lakota medicine family were fascinating, heart wrenching at times, exciting, and moving at others. It touches every emotion, including disbelief, curiosity and awe. The author's perspectives, first as a teenager being introduced to the Lakota ways and training under a medicine man, to then becoming a paramedic and practicing modern western medicine gives this information even more validity. While not discounting the wonders of modern medicine, he makes one realize that the earth offers so much healing power, and that spirituality should not be left out of the process.
~ this composition offers ties to a culture that could save our planet ~ Sorrow is a state I feel as I look out into the current of our America. Joy is the state I feel for Salvatore Gencarelle heard his call and writes to us to share in possibility ~
I read this book in 2 days - couldn't put it down! Be prepared to experience the "medicine" of this way of life through Sal's rich storytelling. It very well may change your life as it has changed mine.
I found Salvatore's story to be a sensitive, humble, as well as a starkly revealing look at Lakota spiritual living. His knowledge of Lakota ceremonies is profound, his detailed descriptions exemplary. I particularly liked his careful tone whenever describing the sacred aspects, and explaining the reasons surrounding each different one's preparation; always followed by his personal feelings and what he experienced physically and emotionally, and the lessons he learned as their powerful energies touched him.
I was impressed by the honesty of his comments throughout the story. For example how in the beginning his not understanding every particular thing did not hinder him from doing the best he could. I guessed that his conviction and pure intent would carry him along until he became more familiar with their detailed protocol. It did.
In the beginning I wondered how a non-Indian could have been chosen to learn these most powerful healing ceremonies that are usually reserved for only the most powerful Lakota Shamans. As I walked with him through his story, my heart felt his heart until I came to understand his conviction, and then I also understood his full-blood mentor's reason for choosing him; he knew that it is up to all races to heal our Earth Mother's wounds.
His story walks you boldly through the powerful spiritual side, and the very devastating human side of those who struggle to wear the ancient moccasins of Lakota "Traditional" Healers in modern-day Native America. Living within the contradictory environment of reservation life helped me see through his firsthand view how necessary it is to maintain a strong and constant connection to the Spirit Energies that walk between worlds.
His comment, that "many people leaned on their spirituality and Traditional culture like a cane, to help them walk the good path in this life," is a strong statement, one that reflects his view that "Spiritual strength" is the one dynamic that the world at large needs to embrace now more than ever. One that I agree with wholeheartedly.
Salvatore's success as "A Man Among The Helpers" was not without pain. The tragedies he experienced made my heart weak, but in the end I know that every warrior has totems that are stained with his tears, and that it is also the hardest lessons that become the strongest songs that ultimately give definition to one's Spirit Dance.
His journey is a testimony to one of the strongest Red Road principals - That part of one's life should be in service to others. I especially like that his current work in Western medicine is tempered with a holistic approach, and that his mission to teach others to be intercessors continues to follow that path through his mentoring program. A great story, told by an exceptional man. An easy five-star rating.
Mother Earth and all who live here are experiencing the "end of reality" as we know it. Beyond that lies a deeper and truer reality. It is the one that all indigenous, Earth-based traditions -- despite of many centuries of ruthless persecution -- have heroically and humbly preserved. In recent decades we have witnessed great willingness on the part of indigenous, first peoples to share and to teach the Wasichu, the white man. Now, instead of hiding these truths and tools for living in order to save them, indigenous peoples are offering them openly as a means of saving life and human existence in a collapsing world.
Do not let Sal's Italian name fool you. He is of indigenous blood and he has lived almost his entire life in training to be a medicine man, a Yuwipi man, a healer... one who lives to help all life. (The lesson being that if we help all life, all life will help us.) More, Sal's training has been with a legendary Lakota medicine family, The Godfrey Chipps Family. When Sal Gencarelle speaks, he speaks with an authority which is sweeter because of the beatific humility with which he speaks.
My name carries a little weight in the world. Through my own long journey I have been looking for answers and there are those who now call me "teacher" or "uncle". What "A Man Among the Helpers" tells me is that I have been asking the right questions.
Put this book on the shelf next to "Lame Deer: Seeker of Visions" and "Black Elk Speaks". There was great love invested in putting these lessons into words.