Rolling Thunder: A Personal Exploration Into The Secret Healing Powers Of An American Indian Medicine Man

ISBN: 0394488865
ISBN 13: 9780394488868
By: Doug Boyd

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About this book

Rolling Thunder (birth name John Pope; b. 1916, d.1997) was a Native American medicine man. He was born into the Cherokee nation and later moved to Nevada and lived with the Western Shoshone. He essentially married into the Shoshone tribe when he united with his first wife, Spotted Fawn, who preceded him in death.

Reader's Thoughts


a journey through the eyes of a skeptic into the world of shamanism


Rolling Thunder (birth name John Pope; b. 1916, d.1997) was a Native American medicine man. He was born into the Cherokee nation and later moved to Nevada and lived with the Western Shoshone. He essentially married into the Shoshone tribe when he united with his first wife, Spotted Fawn, who preceded him in death. I met Rolling Thunder at The World Symposium on Humanity in Vancouver, BC in 1976 where I attended a few talks by him as well as some smaller "workshops". He was an amazing man, soft spokena and unassuming yet amazingly present and powerful. He "knew" things and caused things to happen that had no obvious ratioanal explanation. Such as the time he casually announced that he wouldn't be able to be filmed. Although all the cameras seemed to be functioning for all the other previous speakers talks and the crews ran then throughout his entire talk, when they went to edit them later every one was blank! I found Rolling Thunger to be much more interesting in real life than in this book although the book did contain some interesting information.John Pope is the subject of Rolling Thunder (1976), a book by the American journalist and author Doug Boyd, and Rolling Thunder Speaks A Message for Turtle Island (1998), a narrative edited by his second wife, Carmen Sun Rising Pope. Rolling Thunder also figures prominently in Mad Bear (1994), Boyd's follow-up book to Rolling Thunder, which chronicles the life of Tuscarora medicine man Mad Bear Anderson, a peer and mentor to Rolling Thunder.In filmRolling Thunder is credited in the 1971 film Billy Jack, starring Tom Laughlin. In the film, Rolling Thunder leads the snake dance that serves as Billy Jack's rite of passage, via an encounter with a Western diamondback rattlesnake.[2]. He later portrayed himself in the film's sequel, The Trial of Billy Jack, and in Billy Jack Goes to Washington[3].In musicRolling Thunder appears on Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart's album Rolling Thunder, a 1972 release. In 1975/76, Bob Dylan organized and headlined the Rolling Thunder Revue, a nationwide series of concerts. Rolling Thunder himself was said to have appeared at some of the shows.Life and legacyRolling Thunder was a lifelong proponent of women's rights (although not, by current definition, a feminist), care for the environment, and Native American rights. His message, as related through the books about his life, is one of togetherness and inclusiveness. In 1975 he and his wife Spotted Fawn founded an inter-tribal, inter-racial, non-profit community on 262 acres (1.06 km2) of land in north-eastern Nevada (just east of the town of Carlin) called Meta Tantay (Chumash for "Walk in Peace"). There he served as leader and healer. Meta Tantay operated until 1985, and included both Native and non-Native members; visitors over the years included Buckminster Fuller, Mickey Hart and The Grateful Dead, and Tibetan monks. I had a friend who live at Meta Tantay for almost a year.His grandson, Sidian M.S. Jones, is a founder of the Open Source Religion[7], and lectures on Open Source Religion, Shamanism, and his grandfather Rolling Thunder often with Stanley Krippner.DeathRolling Thunder died in 1997 from complications associated with diabetes. He also suffered from emphysema in the later years of his life(Like many native Americans he considered tobacco and the smoking ceremony to be sacred. It was customary to bring him a small poucc of tobacco as a gift.)

Wickovski Steve

I think this is one book you'll find hard to get. Its a great biography of Rolling Thunder a modern day First Nation man.Well written and engaging.


Thoroughly enjoyed the book. I read it almost 20 years ago and I think of it every time I encounter mosquitoes. And I havn't been bothered by them since.

Libby Clinton

This world we live in never fails to amaze me.


When the storms on the plain bring more than rain. Inspired me.


If you like reading about Native American philosophy, this is an interesting one.


I loved this book! This is the true story of an Indian. It shows the metaphysical side of Indians. I would like to own this book.


THE DESCRIPTION GIVEN IS NOT FOR THIS BOOK. Description taken from Amazon, which also has it listed incorrectly.


More confirmation that I am descended from fucking barbarians, IF they are REALLY my ancestors. Maybe I was lost. I was stolen from indigenous people. yes, thats it.This book is about an amazing medicine man of the Western Shoshone.


Doug Boyd gives an illuminating account of the Shoshone medicine man, Rolling Thunder, known as John Pope to the rest of the world.It details only a small section of the life of Rolling Thunder, including some of his difficulties with the white man's world, as well as some of his fights against other Indians who use a sorcerer to bring him down (and almost succeed.)It is a compelling story, one that shows the persecution of the Indians even to this day. Guns and subterfuge still allow ranchers and industrialists to destroy the allotted lands of the Shoshone. The most vivid portraits, though, are of the way that Rolling Thunder rises above the distractions around him to always become fully aware of the moment, even as far as predicting the next moment (or causing it to happen, in the case of rain storms and other events.) I think that Mr. Boyd was very interested in proving to both the reader and his organization, the mysterious Menninger Foundation (maybe only mysterious to me...) that Rolling Thunder could actually perform these miracles. I was personally more interested in hearing about the history that put Rolling Thunder where he was in that period in history, as well as what could be done in the future. I feel like the book was very focused on the day to day narrative of what Rolling Thunder had done, without as much of a larger picture of where he was going. All in all, though, this book is for anyone who has any appreciation for a spiritual journey or Native Americans in general. The connections between Eastern thought and what our Native Americans have always known are many, and it may be, as Boyd suggests, that these guardians of the Earth will bring us back to our own ancestral knowing. If we can only be present enough...

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