J. A. Kent, PhD has both practiced and taught High Magic and Wicca as well as university courses in the fields of educational and developmental psychology.
Kent is a natural psychic and has been trained in herbal medicine, homoeopathic medicine, and hypnotherapy and holds a graduate degree in counselling, psychotherapy as well as a doctorate in social ecology from the University of Western Australia.
In her book The Goddess and the Shaman she reflects upon a lifetime of her own magical experiences whilst working within the Wiccan, magical and Shamanic mystery traditions.
These include recollections of psychic experiences dating back to her earliest years from which she developed a unique and integrated approach to spirituality.
Queen of Elphame
Throughout her life and work Kent has interpret rated the world of spirit in a variety of ways. Through her deep search for both personal meaning in her life and a fascination for the hidden mysteries of the Shamanic realms the author has consistently interfaced with the primal energy of life as expressed through the archetypal pattern of the Goddess.
Kent refers to the innermost realms of consciousness in her book as the Elphame – after the Great Goddess – though the term is also in popular usage within Wiccan circles to represent the High Priestess herself.
From a contemporary perspective Kent also freely acknowledges that the Goddess principle can also be interpreted in terms of the unified field theory.
As her book title suggests a secondary archetypal energy has played through her personal and professional life experiences – namely that of the Shaman.
Kent offers her own interpretation of the term Shaman.
“The Shaman is the bridge open the link between the physical world and the subtle world because the shaman has the ability to change consciousness and to travel by many different means and routes into the subtle world in order to gain knowledge and insight at a causal level.”
In many ways the work of the therapist is also a journey of exploration into the unknown and through out The Goddess and the Shaman Kent reveals the many different healing modalities that she has employed in a variety of different settings in her life.
This has involved her personally straddling the terrain that separates mundane and inner consciousness trying to make important and relevant connections where she has felt them to be necessary.
In later chapters in her book she also features ten interviews that she has conducted with others who have an interest in a similar form of contemporary Shamanism.
Subjects covered in this section of the work includes “The Grail Family “, “The Modern Shaman”, and “Animals and the Elphame”.
In summing up her book and perspective on her work Kent reflects upon the need to consider the world of mental illness and psychosis within a Shamanic context and with it a clearer understanding of the role that the Goddess and her associated realm of the Elphame may play in diagnosis and treatment.
Our Review of ‘The Goddess and the Shaman’ by J A Kent PhD
It is refreshing to read a book with such an open style of writing by an author who has woven a uniquely fascinating path through the spiritual jungle.
It is also a delight to read a publication that offers such a large space for its author to express themselves through (it is over 330 pages in length!)
These aspects to the book are important for as Kent presents it the reader is offered a glimpse here into a wildly wonderful but beguiling spiritual landscape. This is a title that merges the worlds of the Shaman and traditional philosophies of Goddess veneration in a fascinating way and as a result is a welcome female-centric assessment of a traditionally male-dominated field.
Throughout her discourse on these twin elements of spirituality the author also weaves into her narrative personal stories and anecdotes drawn from both her own experiences and those with whom she has worked. These are interspersed with some related material from our more conservative but nevertheless supporting fields of science and psychology all of which add a real mix of related thoughts and challenging ideas.
Despite its size the time spent reading this book went by quickly and even then I would have been happy to read on. From someone who has a real interest in the subjects covered I found The Goddess and the Shaman a richly rewarding experience.