How do people around the world address the complexities of being human?


To what degree do we differ and in what ways are we the same in our existential concerns and how we seek to relieve them?


What experiences—and the belief systems that arise out of them—help us make meaning of our lives and feel less alone in the universe?


These are some of the questions motivating my life and work. The following four books recount some of what I discovered when I went looking for answers.

The Friendliest Place in the Universe BO

The Friendliest Place in the Universe: Love, Laughter, and Stand-Up Comedy in Berlin


Author: Hillary S. Webb


University Professors Press, 2022 (upcoming)

Like many in the fall of 2017—a year into the Trump/Brexit era—I found myself becoming increasingly dismayed by the world’s turn toward what appeared to be a kind of hyper-xenophobia. On a whim, I traveled to Berlin, Germany, for a week’s vacation. There, I found renewed hope and personal healing in an unexpected place: Cosmic Comedy, an international stand-up venue described as “The Friendliest Comedy Club in Europe.”



Yanantin and Masintin in the Andean World: Complementary Dualism in Modern Peru

Author: Hillary S. Webb

University of New Mexico Press, 2012

One of the most well-known and defining features of the Peruvian Andean worldview is yanantin, the belief that the polarities of existence (male/female, dark/light, inner/outer, etc.) are interdependent parts of a harmonious whole. This model of engagement is in stark contrast to the underlying Western philosophical viewpoint that the opposites exist in an eternal war for dominance.

Between 2007-2009, as part of my PhD research, I traveled to central Peru to explore the degree to which one’s relationship with the world differs depending on whether one views existence as a “battle” or a “dance.”



Traveling Between the Worlds: Conversations with Contemporary Shamans

Author: Hillary S. Webb

Hampton Roads, 2004

Back in 2000, at the very beginning of my studies of the shamanic worldview, I experienced some serious burnout and doubt regarding its relevance. I found myself wondering: “What do all these teachings add up to, anyway? What does shamanism have to offer those of us living in the ‘modern’ world?”

These questions and others led to what would become a three-year research project in which I interviewed twenty-four writers and teachers of shamanism. As I met and spoke with these stewards of shamanic traditions around the world, their words revitalized my enthusiasm for the subject.

Two decades later, I’m still digesting many of the ideas that came out of these conversations.



Exploring Shamanism: Using Ancient Rites to Discover the Unlimited Healing Powers of Cosmos and Consciousness

Author: Hillary S. Webb

Career Press/New Page Books, 2003

The shaman is an individual who can enter altered states of consciousness at will. By making contact with unseen realms, he/she/they is able to receive knowledge and non-ordinary power to bring his/her/their community into a state of greater balance and health.


Exploring Shamanism introduces readers to the shaman’s role as healer, priest, and visionary. Each chapter includes exercises intended to help the reader dive into their own spiritual exploration.


From the Press

“This is one of the best books on shamanism I've ever read, and it is sure to influence future books on the subject.”