Andrews, Lynn W
Andrews, Lynn W.
New Age teacher and author Lynn W. Andrews suddenly emerged in 1981 with the publication of her first book, Medicine Woman, which told the story of her transformation from Beverly Hills socialite and Native American art collector into a New Age shaman. The process centered upon her search for a particular marriage basket. During the search she encountered two Cree Indian medicine women, Agnes Whistling Elk and Ruby Plenty Chiefs, had a variety of encounters with several spirit guides, and experienced a number of vivid dreams, all of which led to her initiation into the Sisterhood of the Shields. She described the sisterhood as an international secret society that seeks to share the ancient traditions of Native American women across national and ethnic boundaries. Andrews was admitted as the first white member, a step toward opening the sisterhood to women of all races.
American Indian scholars have criticized Andrews for presenting a somewhat fictional picture of whatever encounters with Native Americans she had and of not clearly distinguishing between elements of her teachings that came from traditional Native American sources and those that came from contemporary metaphysical writings and her own creative endeavors. Nevertheless, her writings struck a responsive chord among many women in the New Age, and her original book was followed by Flight of the Seventh Moon, which expanded her account of work with the Sisterhood of the Shields, and more than a dozen others. She also became a popular speaker and seminar leader. She now presents herself as the spokesperson of sisterhood and her workshops offer instructions and initiation in its shamanistic teachings and experiences.
A prominent element in Andrews' system is the medicine wheel, a model for organizing the spiritual life first introduced to the non-Indian and new Age community by Sun Bear, an Ojibwa Indian who became a popular teacher in New Age circles prior to his death in 1992. As presented by Sun Bear, and by Andrews who studied with him, the medicine wheel bears some resemblance to traditional Western astrology teachings. Andrews also studied the writings of Hyemeyohsts Storm, who emphasized another prominent teaching in Andrews' books, the acquisition of a personal spirit helper.
In the 1980s, Andrews began to meet with a group of her readers in an annual four-day retreat that provided a more intensive environment for study and spiritual work that than possible in occasional workshops. Building upon that retreat, in 1994, Andrews founded the Lynn Andrews Center for Sacred Arts and Training that provides a two-and a four-year curriculum for those interested in a more structured program in shamanism. Her website can be found at http://www.lynnandrews.com.
Andrews, Lynn. Dark Sisters: A Sorcerers Love Story. New York: Harper Perennial Library, 1999.
——. Flight of the Seventh Moon. New York: Harper & Row, 1984.
——. Love and Power: Awakening to Mastery. New York: Harper Perennial Library, 1998.
——. Medicine Woman. New York: Harper & Row, 1981.
——. Teachings around the Sacred Wheel. New York: Harper & Row, 1990.
Storm, Hyemeyohsts. Seven Arrows. New York: Harper & Row, 1972.
Sun Bear. The Medicine Wheel. New York: Prentice Hall, 1980.