Boys Are Born, Men Are Trained: My Journey with an Apache Medicine Man

Jeffrey Prather

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ISBN: 978-1-57733-254-1, 266 pp., 5.5 x 8.5, paperback, $17.95

Follow Jeff Prather’s personal odyssey to spiritual manhood under a legendary Apache singer in the mountains and deserts of Arizona. Prather is tempered physically and astounded spiritually, experiencing a hidden world of incandescent power.

To the outside white world the Apache were the tigers of the Southwest. Yet Prather learns that paradoxically the most sacred ceremony of these stoic warriors is the coming of age of each little girl. The ferocious physical prowess of these ultimate warriors emerges from their innate spirituality—and sense of humor.

Training with the descendants of Cochise and Geronimo, Prather discovers that, though boys and girls are born, men and women must be trained in the rigors of adulthood. He learns that we are defined by our duties to others. Further, we are all connected by an invisible realm of luminous energy, and if we access these etheric meridians, we can direct divine power through us to protect, heal and connect to all our relations—to literally change our lives and save the world, one life at a time.

Author’s Credentials

This is not the story of a white medicine man. The Apache are an eminently practical people and a nation of survivors. They have native medicine men enough. Phillip gave Jeff Prather a much more profound gift. He taught him the rite of passage to manhood. He intimated that Jeff would someday utilize this precious gift to help our society in crisis. And not without great personal cost and sacrifice. But that is what this book is about. Nobody said it would be easy.

Why is Jeff Prather the one to write this book? "Because I owe it. In the Apache culture there is a concept known as shit’ake’e. It means duty or obligation. Because of Philip’s training, I am indebted to pass it on and I have a duty to do so. I wrote the book to honor Philip’s transcendent teachings and to answer our society’s crisis. I lived the answer. I still do. And in the pages of Initiation, I share the answers."

Phillip was the greatest modern Diyin, "empowered one" in Apache, who single-handedly reinvigorated the traditional Apache ceremonies which had been banned by federal law until the mid-sixties. Phillip was the son and grandson of chiefs and the ultimate source of knowledge on Apache ceremony. His stature was that of a modern-day Cochise. He had a radio show in the Apache language. He encouraged its use and renewed the old songs. He was visited by rock stars and presidents. He taught, trained and mentored a generation of young Apache ceremonial singers and dancers. And he trained Jeff Prather.


"This book is a great read! It is entertaining and full of ancient teachings that offer practical life advice for today. For more than 18 years I have experienced personally, and witnessed in others, the changes in life that result when people practice the techniques described in this book." Darin Ashley, Major, USMC (Ret)

"This book and its teaching have helped me to answer the eternal questions of 'why am I here, what is my purpose?' An invaluable skill considering we are living in a time when children are killing themselves because they have no definable reason to live." Christa Ashley

"As essential as water - a handbook for the human race." Joseph K. Eleid

'With compelling clarity and courage, Jeffrey Prather offers a hopeful prescription for those poised in the search for purpose and truth. Initiation has seamlessly brought together that rare combination of entertainment and enlightenment in a memoir that seems destined to take its place alongside best-selling authors like Dan Millman. This is a piercing book that may change the lives of those who endeavor to read it.' Louis Breton, Founder, ARC Technologies

"Initiation is a story of learning - not so much through someone else's particular way, but simply by coming to realize how things may really work; by coming to accept who we really are. And once understanding occurs - the choices and the decisions that lay before each of us are revealed. To believe or disbelieve, to act or not to act, are all choices that each of us make. Even the very act of asking the important questions - who am I? where did I come from? and why am I here? - are all choices. If you choose to ask the questions and to seek the answers, you will eventually arrive at the most relevant question, "what am I going to do now?" For some who may ask that question, Initiation may be both a life story and an instruction manual. However you arrive at your understanding, the rest is up to you and you alone. Remember, you may be called to account for your decision. You, the reader, are privileged to have a book such as Initiation to refer to, especially if it is just the beginning of your quest." Charles Rutta

"I read this book with great curiosity and interest because my husband is a Navajo spiritual teacher. The Navajo are close cousins to the Apache and our son-in-law is an Apache. Evocative of the Carlos Castaneda books, I found this book to be simple, sincere and full of wonderful teachings." Teddi Tsosie, Spirit Visions: The Old Ones Speak


Once in a while a book comes across my desk that plants knowledge deep inside, a sense that what is written between the covers is not just right and true but also an essential key to life and I better listen up and understand. It is my pleasure to share with you a few of my thoughts after reading and then re-reading Initiation by Jeffrey Prather.

The story that Prather shares with us is about men and women and how we evolve from children to fully functioning adults. The core idea that I got from the book is that this maturity does not just happen. We must be properly trained and the training should be provided by our elders as we grow up. That doesn’t always happen but when it does, the source of the training is often surprising. This book is Jeffrey Prather’s story of his personal journey, a story told in such a friendly conversational manner that the reader will feel like he or she is sitting by a campfire hearing their grandfather relate stories of both the past and what is yet to be. The author’s writing style is very refreshing and comfortable.

Initiation describes the Apache way of teaching and training their youths as they grow into adulthood and how Prather personally experienced his own journey with Phillip Talgo, an Apache medicine man, descendent of famous Indian chiefs, Ivy League college grad and Army veteran. A liberal dose of common sense, age-old values and priorities, almost lost traditions and a great sense of humor all blend to make this book a must read. The ideals taught and learned transcend religion, politics and worldly beliefs. As the story unfolds, the reader gets the sense that this is all universal truth and that no matter what a person’s spiritual beliefs, the lessons taught here seem to belong.

Jeffrey Prather, who lives with his family in Arizona, has continued to pass on the knowledge he learned to a worldwide audience through his seminars. More information on the author and his professional work is available at

Review by Craig Ruhl
The Christian Home Based Business Federation

Table of Contents


Showing Up
Heeding the Call
Paying the Debt
No Man Tells Another What to Do
The Body Electric
Childhood’s End
Face Dancing
Children Born of War
Novice Time
Natural Law
Pillar of Fire

About the Author


He was tall, lean and dark, and clearly a Native American full-blood. He was dressed simply in the Western fashion of the day: faded blue Levis, worn, pointed cowboy boots, oval silver buckle and white, long-sleeved snap shirt. His hair was short but still mostly black with grey streaks, even though he must have been in to his sixties. His cheekbones were high, his epicanthic eyelids hooded so that only a little of his brown eyes were visible, and his ears noticeably large. He wrapped himself in the solitude of a regal dignity, like a blanket. It was an air around him that was impossible to ignore and almost palpable to the touch.

Not knowing what else to say and feeling awkward in the silence I said, “How are you?”

I realized he was smiling slightly as he shook his head slowly from side to side. There was something about him that fixed my attention yet somehow altered it. It was as if I was on some kind of time delay and he wasn’t.

“Looking and seeing, hearing and listening—you?” His eyes were bright against the brown wrinkle of his face.

“Me what?” I said.

He just stared at me for a long moment as if waiting for me to say something else. Then he smiled and turned towards the man behind the counter. He pursed his lips and kind of pointed with a slight nod of his chin.

“When those are ready, have him drop them off to me at my place.”

“Yes, sir.” It was the man behind the counter. He too had suddenly straightened. I found it a little strange that he too had “sirred” the tall Indian. He was white and in his mid-thirties with mussed, neck length, dirty blonde hair.

I heard the door close and realized that he had done it again. He was gone and I had not even seen him move towards the door.


I turned back towards the man behind the counter.

“Well what?” Now I was totally confused.

“What are you going to do?” He was smiling now and seeming to enjoy my disorientation.


“These.” He held up the longest pair of high-top moccasins I had ever seen. They were a rich buckskin color just like the horse. The soles were hard, white rawhide, but cracked and worn through at the balls of the feet. They curled up into the distinctive toe piece that I recognized at once as Chiricauhua Apache. My heart beat just a bit faster.

“Looks like I found what I was looking for,” I said slowly.

“More like the other way around.” The guy behind the counter was actually laughing.

Blue Dolphin Publishing, 2011

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