Honey in the River

Honey in the River

Shadow, Sex and West African Spirituality

Single White Female falls in love with a polygamous West African shaman and explores his indigenous spirituality.


Marsha Scarbrough’s quest for spiritual wisdom led her to study West African shamanism with a Nigerian ceremonial leader and master drummer. The quest transformed into romance, then betrayal, and ultimately, tragedy.
Honey in the River, her memoir of the sexy, stormy, spiritual romance with that polygamous shaman, explores the contemporary relevance of ancient African wisdom teachings. Scarbrough weaves the mythology and metaphysics of Ifa, the indigenous religion of the Yoruba people of West Africa, throughout her fast-paced tale which combines spiritual text with descriptions of her experiences in rhythm, dance and deep trance. As she blends archetypal drama and epic soap opera, Scarbrough reveals and befriends her personal shadow.


Marsha Scarbrough fell in love with a polygamous West African shaman and tells the tale in her smart, sexy memoir 'Honey in the River'. Explicit, funny and above all erotic, Scarbrough questions monogamy, experiments with polygamy and embraces a little-known indigenous religion. In so doing she plunges the reader into a world of trance, rhythm and ancient African mythology. A remarkable tour de force of sexual and emotional healing. ~ Margaret Leslie Davis, Author of Dark Side of Fortune, Mona Lisa in Camelot

‘Honey in the River’ is a fascinating book that tells the true story of a decade-long love affair between a white American woman and a charismatic black shaman from Nigeria. Set to a backdrop of powerful rituals, dance, African drumming, mythological archetypes and sacrifice, the author takes us through a breath-taking journey of love, passion, sex, betrayal and ultimately, healing. For me, reading the book was a little bit like watching a car crash in slow motion: compelling, but painful. The author’s raw honesty in sharing her addiction to a passionate but ultimately toxic sexual liaison really resonated with me. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the alluring shaman who seems to have everything going for him – talent, charisma, success - turns out to be a married serial adulterer addicted to marijuana who has unprotected sex with droves of women and leaves children behind everywhere he goes. Every woman is told that she is the ‘special one’ and the ‘only one’, which makes for a rude awakening when all the women in his harem finally find out about each other. Yet, despite all the harrowing accounts of jealousy, lies and betrayal, we are shown moments of real sweetness, authenticity and spirituality, too, which makes the book an emotional rollercoaster. Spiritual leaders who abuse their powers for sexual and material gain is an all too common subject and I deeply respect author Marsha Scarbrough for honestly sharing her story and for forcing the shaman to take a look at his shadow side. Though she often loses her resolve around him and has a lot of shadow of her own to resolve, she nonetheless remains truthful throughout and tries to heal the situation in the best way she can. It is her who walks out gracefully with her head held high at the end of the story, despite the many battle scars she suffered in the course of the affair. Apart from being a riveting read, ‘Honey in the River’ is a worthy investigation into polygamy, spirituality, cultural differences and co-dependent relationships. I enjoyed the wonderfully portrayed characters and profound reflections of the author which will no doubt help many women in a similar situation to heal and see past the glamour that so often surrounds spiritual leaders. ~ Tiziana Stupia, Author of Meeting Shiva

Marsha Scarbrough’s painfully honest writing at once reveals stark truths and privation and revels in glorious erotic excess as she relives the blazing arc of her relationship across race, cultural norms and conventions. This true story merges reality with myth, the body with the soul, and the sexual with the spiritual to powerful effect. ~ Neil Besner, Author, Literary Critic, Editor

When a woman tells the truth about her life, the veils between the worlds open so that true love can be revealed. Marsha Scarbrough kept my heart open to receive her story, page after page. This book is about the gift of self love. ~ Joanna Harcourt-Smith, Author of Tripping the Bardo with Timothy Leary

Scarbrough shows us her scars. She bravely unwraps herself, offering us her history and her soul. We see the author for what she truly is: a beautiful human being, making light, seeking healing. Honey in the River helps us understand the complexities of social conditioning, and what can happen when we allow ourselves to experience and embrace both the human drama and universal mystery. Questions ensue. ~ Dr. Anya , Reiki Master, Relationship Coach, Author of Opening Love

Marsha’s book is a deeply heartfelt journey into love, shamanism and human mysteries. She warmly takes us as her passengers, to spiritual and moral destinations that we could not experience without her courage to explore and share. ~ Pen Densham, Writer/Producer/Director, The Twilight Zone TV series, Outer Limits TV series, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves

Marsha Scarbrough
Marsha Scarbrough While studying journalism at the University of Southern California, Marsha Scarbrough was named Guest Feature Editor of Mademoiselle Magazin...
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