Star Warrior: The Story of Swiftdeer
Wahlberg, a psychotherapist, tells the story of Harley "SwiftDeer" Reagan, a guru of the New Age who claims to be Native American and operates the Deer Tribe in Scottsdale, Ariz. Although the book bears Wahlberg's name alone, it is told mainly in the first person from Reagan's perspective. It details the ceremonies surrounding his beliefs about "spiritual sexuality" and "genital sense of self," supposedly garnered from Cherokee traditions. Wahlberg's narrative style is straightforward. There are joyful memories, like Reagan's teachings from his grandmother Spotted Fawn and his mentor Two Bears, a Navajo elder. There is also much pain as Reagan relates his tours of duty in Vietnam, a bout with leukemia and being raped during a stint in jail (for assault with a deadly weapon, among other charges). Reagan discusses his conflicts with Native traditionalists, who have denounced him as a poseur. Doubtless, many spiritual seekers have been touched by Reagan's work, but given his blatant blending of different traditions, his claims to legitimacy as a Native medicine man stretch credulity. In his foreword, anthropologist Huxley, asks the most pertinent question: Why doesn't Reagan announce his teachings as his own rather than making "difficult claims?"