Cave and Cosmos: Shamanic Encounters with Another Reality

By Michael Harner

"Finally on an evening in 1982 I approached the entrance of the cave alone, silently calling upon the spirits to have compassion for me and to confer greater power for my work in healing others. I used a flashlight to descend to a remote recess deep inside the cavern, which took about a quarter of an hour. There I extinguished the light. The darkness was thick and silent. Next, according to what I had learned, I was supposed to sleep until the middle of the night, wake up, eat a small amount of food, and not go back to sleep until something happened."

—Michael Harner
Cave and Cosmos, From Chapter 1: Spirit Power and the Cave

In 1980, Michael Harner blazed the trail for the worldwide revival of shamanism with his seminal classic The Way of the Shaman. In this long-awaited sequel, he provides new evidence of the reality of spirits and heavens. Drawing from a lifetime of personal shamanic experiences and more than 2,500 reports of Westerners' experiences during shamanic ascension, Harner highlights the striking similarities between their discoveries and the reports by non-Western shamans in other societies, including heavenly choirs and celestial music, indicating that the heavens they've encountered do indeed exist. He also provides instructions on his innovative core-shamanism techniques, so that readers too can ascend to heavenly realms, seek spirit teachers, and return later at will for additional healing, knowledge, and to compare their own experiences to those in the book. Written by the leading authority on shamanism, Cave and Cosmos is a must-read not only for those interested in shamanism, but also for those interested in spirituality, comparative religion, near-death experiences, healing, consciousness, anthropology, and the nature of reality.

Paperback $19.95

E-Book Orders:; Random House

At Michael Harner's request, all royalties from Cave and Cosmos will go to the Foundation for Shamanic Studies in support of its work.

Members of the Circle of the Foundation receive coupon codes for a 10% discount on FSS online store items. If you're already member, login to the members area to view your code. To receive the discount, simply enter your coupon code during the checkout process. Not a member? Join the Circle.

What People Are Saying

"Cave and Cosmos is a treasure trove of information on core shamanism and is bound to become a classic in the global renaissance of shamanism that Michael Harner initiated with his earlier The Way of the Shaman."

—Stanislav Grof, MD, author of Psychology of the Future and When the Impossible Happens

"Not since Eliade's Shamanism and Harner's The Way of the Shaman has there been a more valuable contribution to the field than Cave and Cosmos. Definitely a classic for all time."

—Angeles Arrien, PhD, anthropologist and president of the Foundation for Cross-Cultural Education and Research

In February 2016, Kirkus Reviews named Michael Harner’s Cave and Cosmos, as the Nonfiction Indie Book of the Month:

"In 1980, anthropologist/shaman Harner published The Way of the Shaman, raising awareness of shamanic practice in the West. In this sequel, Harner, now in his 80s, notes that he has chosen to spend his limited time to share information that he feels is 'really important, even urgent, to pass on to a fractious and perilous world willing to quarrel interminably about spiritual matters on the basis of belief in old stories.' In demonstrating the value of shamanic journeying, Harner draws on almost 5,000 reports of such journeys by present-day Westerners (Americans, Canadians, and some Europeans) collected over the last quarter-century through a project sponsored by his Foundation for Shamanic Studies. The narratives largely focus on ascents to the Upper World, in which animal guides and mystical and/or historical spiritual teachers figure, as does a sense of ‘cosmic union,’ after which one can choose ‘to undertake the classic healing work of the shaman to help those who are suffering or in pain.’ Descriptions of descents to the Lower World are also included, with visitors reporting positive experiences of meeting guides and crossing beautiful terrains. (In shamanism cosmology, the Lower World is not a punishing hell but simply another spiritual dimension.) 'Possibly the closest thing to hell,' says Harner, 'is in our own world, the Middle World.' In the appendices, the book outlines how to navigate one's own journeys, including tapping into ascent/descent portals (including rainbows and caves, respectively) and training resources. Harner's rich compendium gives many ways to consider and explore a powerful and inspiring view of the cosmos. His recommendation to develop one's own spiritual authority rather than depend on 'the cosmological dogmas of organized religion' may resonate with readers, and the diversity of accounts allows for inclusion of traditional religious figures (St. Francis, the Virgin Mary, etc.). While the amount of detail is at times overwhelming, this work offers a welcome message of universal healing."

Kirkus Reviews

"Michael Harner, more so than Carlos Castaneda, Gordon Wasson, Terence McKenna, Alan Watts, Abbie Hoffman or Timothy Leary, has perhaps done more than any other to enlighten the west on the truly global nature of shamanism — a cultural and spiritual heritage that seems to unify every archaic and indigenous culture around the world."

—Marc Star, New Dawn magazine (July - August 2013)

"The book works on many levels. It makes a great introduction to shamanism, and yet at the same time it contains depths that made me draw in my breath with wonder. It is an exciting book, an inspiring book, and a book that stands as testament to Michael’s work. It is without doubt essential reading and destined to be a classic on the subject — just as much as his ground breaking Way of the Shaman, written all those years ago."

—Nickolas Breeze Wood, Sacred Hoop magazine

"Harner calls shamanism 'a path of independence leading toward spiritual freedom … freedom to know, not just believe.' In Cave and Cosmos, readers will find experiential stories and practices, leading from a 'belief' in spirits to be replaced by 'knowledge:' Spirits are as real as family and friends in ordinary reality."

—Bobbye Middendorf, ForeWord Reviews