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
Andrews, Lynn. Dark Sisters A Sorcerers Love Story. New York
Harper Perennial Library, 1999.
———. Flight of the Seventh Moon. New York Harper & Row,
———. 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,

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