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WHEN SPIRITS VISIT: A Collection of Stories by Indigenous Authors
Compiled and Edited by Marijo Moore. Asheville,NC: Renegade Planets Publishing,2016,133 pages. ISBN# 9781523299713
~ Dr. Dawn Karima
Paranormal phenomena appears in popular mainstream
culture, Recent publication WHEN SPIRITS VISIT offers a
uniquely Indigenous perspective on psychic happenings.
Editor Marijo Moore has compiled variegated tribal voices,
diverse writing genres and an assortment of experiences
into a cohesive, curated book. Creative non-fiction, poetry,
prose, personal experience and fiction each contribute
depth and feeling to this collection.
"WHEN SPIRITS VISIT contains writings involving spiritual ancestors, guides, messengers, irritants and dream gifters," Marijo Moore explains, as she shares her purpose for editing this recent anthology. Gifted writers fill the pages of this paperback volume, sharing their spiritual insights and experiences. Indigenous heritage permeates this publication and penetrates its pages.
Addressing a topic that may evoke skepticism in many potential readers requires a thorough and conscientious approach. Moore has assembled a stunning array of talent in this text. Denise Low, the Second Kansas Poet Laureate, is Lenape/Munsee. "Jackalope Starts a Memoir" demonstrates the intersection between family stories and familiar spirits in Low's short piece. Koyukon Athabascan author Phyllis Fast draws on her life as she moved from Alaska to Whibdy Island, Washington. As she struggled to adjust to "yet another place to live," Fast met a spirit that stirred her to start to paint and to show those paintings as part of her new home. "Nabiita, A House Spirit," chronicles her journey of self-expression, spurred on by a spirit.
Assiniboine/Nakoda playwright William S. Yellow Robe, Jr. is the author of "Spirits R Us." The Fort Peck Reservation Native blends humor into his account of spirit animals and shamanism in the New Age. A delightful, provocative piece results from his insightful ability. Similarly, shamanism centers the story by Evan Pritchard, "Blessings from a Bird" presents the Mi'kmaq/Celtic author's interpretation of transition, loss and animal guides.
Dakota/Lakota Culturalist Lois Red Elk weaves words and traditions into "House of Portals." The standout story in this collection pivots on the pairing of eagle and hawk, as well as the lives of the Elders and Ancestors. Jim Stevens is a Seneca/German writer who delivers a powerful piece named, "Ten Days in June." "Coosewoon's Blue Vision" is Clifford Trafzer's contribution to the collection, a dynamic discussion of the healing medicine of the sweat lodge in the process of recovery and sobriety.
Other noteworthy writers fill these pages with evocative imagery, including this review's author. Spanning tribal affiliations, historical periods, time and season, literary style and spiritual beliefs, WHEN SPIRITS VISIT impacts the canon of Native Literature by treating spiritual encounters with respect and by suspending disbelief. For those that adhere to interacting with spirits as part of their reality, this book provides a community of believers. For those who doubt the presence of spirits in earthly life, this book still proffers engaging prose and lively reading. WHEN SPIRITS VISIT represents a useful addition to libraries, spiritual exploration groups, book clubs, academic reading lists, curriculum and personal reading.