Stephen M. Sachs*

Will Taegel, Walking with Bears: On Bridges to Earth's New Era (Wimberley, TX: 2nd Tier Publishing, 2017) is a discussion of psychologist Taegel's development of consciousness, especially through his interaction with Muscogee elder, Bear Heart: Marcellus Williams. The book is part of Taegel's encouragement to people to return to the original Indigenous consciousness, which includes rediscovering one's intuition, and the ability to exchange information with everything in the environment, as traditional Indigenous holy people have done. This is something that the author, who is of Shawnee heritage, previously pointed out is natural according to cutting edge biology.1

Walking with Bears arose from Bear Heart's notes for his second book. Having published The Wind Is My Mother: The Life and Teachings of a Native American Shaman with Molly Larkin, in 1996,2 Bear Heart was developing a set of Notes for The Bear Is My Father when he walked on. Going over the notes, Bear Heart's wife, Reginah WaterSpirit, found that they contained the same depth of wisdom that he had expressed in The Wind Is My Mother, but they were not sufficiently developed that they could easily be edited into a book.3  WaterSpirit discussed  the  matter  with  Bear  Heart's  long-time  friend  and  student,  Will  Taegel.  They agreed that, in consultation with her, he would imbed the teaching's in Bear Heart's notes into a volume discussing his own development in interaction with Bear Heart as part of the broader project of encouraging people to expand their consciousness approriately for crossing the bridge into a new era of living harmoniously with the Earth. This requires continual learning for developing inner harmony, a basis for necessary respectful relations with all beings.

Walking with Bears contains a good deal of Bear Heart's history, and a great deal of the wisdom he was planning to present in the Bear is My Father, building upon his discussion in The Wind Is My Mother. To this reviewer it is a very fine volume in several dimensions. First, it unfolds a story of personal development, which is relevant to many of us in furthering our own learnings in a major transitional period. Second, it further unfolds Bear Heart's wisdom, based upon his Muscogee tradition and his life experience. Third, it outlines some important advances in moving toward a more holistic human psychology. Fourth, Walking with Bears provides a considerable number of practical insights for developing an appropriate consciousness for living in balance with oneself, each other, and our environment.


1. Will Taegel, The Mother Tongue: Intimacy with the Eco-Field (Wimberley, TX: 2nd Tier Publishing, 2012), particularly in Chapter 7, where Taegel quotes Almo Farina, "The Eco-Field: A New Paradighn for Landscape Ecology," Ecological Research, Vol. 19, 2004. pp. 107-110; Almo Farina, Principles of Landscape Ecology: Toward a Science of Landscape (Dordrecht, the Netherlands: Springer, 2007); and Almo Farina, Ecology, Cognition and Landscape: Linking Natural and Social Systems (Berlin: Springer-Verlag, 2010).

2. Bear Heart, with Molly Larkin, The Wind Is My Mother: The Life and Teachings of a Native American Shaman (New York: Berkeley Books, 1996). As Taegel notes in Walking with Bears, the subtitle, using the term "shaman", was the publisher's choice, and not Bear Heart's.

3. The history of the developing of Bear Heart's notes into a book is given by Taegel in the Prologue of

Walking with Bears, and also was told by WaterSpirit to Stephen Sachs.

*Stephen M. Sachs is Professor Emeritus of Political Science, IUPUI; Senior Editor and Coordinator of the Editorial Board of Indigenous Policy; and Coordinating Editor of Nonviolenht Change. He may be reached at:


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