The Reluctant Pilgrim: A Skeptic's Journey into Native Mysteries

The Reluctant Pilgrim: A Skeptic's Journey into Native Mysteries

The Reluctant Pilgrim: A Skeptic's Journey into Native Mysteries

The Reluctant Pilgrim: A Skeptic's Journey into Native Mysteries

Synopsis

Forty years ago, while paging through a book sent as an unexpected gift from a friend, Roger Welsch came across a curious reference to stones that were round, "like the sun and moon." According to Tatonka-ohitka, Brave Buffalo (Sioux), these stones were sacred. "I make my request of the stones and they are my intercessors," Brave Buffalo explained. Moments later, another friend appeared at Welsch's door bearing yet another unusual gift: a perfectly round white stone found on top of a mesa in Colorado. So began Welsch's lesson from stones, gifts that always presented themselves unexpectedly: during a walk, set aside in an antique store, and in the mail from complete strangers.

The Reluctant Pilgrim shares a skeptic's spiritual journey from his Lutheran upbringing to the Native sensibilities of his adoptive families in both the Omaha and Pawnee tribes. Beginning with those round stones, increasing encounters during his life prompted Welsch to confront a new way of learning and teaching as he was drawn inexorably into another world. Confronting mainstream contemporary culture's tendency to dismiss the magical, mystical, and unexplained, Welsch shares his personal experiences and celebrates the fact that even in our scientific world, "Something Is Going On," just beyond our ken.

Excerpt

This book hasn’t been easy to write. I figured if it ever found its way into publication, however, it would be my forty-some-odd book, so simply the usual problems of writing and publishing a book haven’t troubled me. Instead, yes, I am about to reveal personal stories that I am a bit uncomfortable about making public; yet these events have had such a profound effect on me that I am eager to tell others about them even though they may seem preposterous to anyone who has not experienced them with me or who has not even experienced anything like them. I suppose there is something in this matter about wanting to save the world by shouting out the truth, but more than that, I would like to have other people, especially sympathetic friends, know what’s going on with me—that is, simply put, Something Is Going On. I will repeat this phrase throughout the book because it is in brief what the book is about.

I’ll admit I am reluctant to face the inevitable ignominy that comes with admissions such as those I am about to make here. Okay, I’m a coward. We no longer burn or drown witches, stone wizards, or commit to asylums those who think Something Is Going On around us other than officially sanctioned supernatural experiences, but we still make it damned uncomfortable for people who talk about things magical, mystic, unexplained, spooky, or even “crazy.” and curiously, it is precisely those who insist there are supernatural experiences, the hypersanctimonious, who insist that . . .

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