Why did I love this book?
This is the most comprehensive book on Native American afterlife beliefs ever written.
What makes it especially interesting is that the author focuses on myths and legends of afterlife journeys – what he called “Orpheus myths.” He looks at them from many perspectives – historical and cultural – but most importantly experiential.
Writing almost 20 years before the popularization of near-death experiences in the Western world, Hultkrantz identified NDEs as a different type of experience from dreams or shamanic visions – and found that indigenous people did, too.
He also suggested that such experiences contributed to afterlife beliefs – that is, that they weren’t simply culturally created “stories” or hallucinations. Readable and entertaining as well as scholarly, it’s wonderful that this book is back in print after languishing in obscurity for decades!