Foundation for Shamanic Studies E-Newsletter
March 2009

Vol. 3, Issue 1
In This Issue
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Shamanic Training
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Faculty & Staff

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Drumming Circles

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In the journey, the shaman is seeking help. There are all sorts of names for these helpers: allies, guardian spirits, spirit helpers, or teachers or power animals. Without spirit help, nobody can really be a shaman. The spirit help can be taken away from a person anytime and then they are no longer a shaman. It's not like getting a degree. The Foundation gives no degrees in shamanism because no matter how much you learn, that is not what makes you a shaman. It depends on whether you and the spirits are working together in harmony to help others; that's an integral part of shamanism – you are not working alone. You're working with partners in another reality to help alleviate suffering and pain and spiritual ignorance in this reality.
Michael Harner, talk at the Mini-Medical Conference, April 2008, San Francisco, California.

Members of the Circle of the Foundation:
Please help us by
renewing your membership promptly and online, if possible. Paper mailings are not only costly, they hurt the trees – and we would like to spare as many as we can! Thank you.
Tuvan Petroglyph

Today I saw a sunset that stopped me in my tracks. It had been a gray day of rain and shadows, with multi-layered clouds hanging over the mountains. Then, just as the sun slipped below the hills, the clouds lit from behind in shades of gold, pink, and orange. Wisps of gray, moving swiftly, overlay the slowly shifting colors, revealing the immense depths of the sky.

Beauty always gives me hope. To me, it is a glimpse, however brief, into the worlds of the helping spirits. That we can perceive beauty means that there is something in us that is kin to the compassionate spirits – something whole, harmonious, and good. We can learn to live from that part of us and that gives me hope. It is what makes miracles possible.

Susan Mokelke
Executive Director

Submit your ideas and news for the Articles and Healing Words sections to the Editor.

My Windhorse by Joy Markgraf My Windhorse by Joy Markgraf
Advanced Residential Workshops in 2009. The West Coast Two-Week Shamanic Healing Intensive will be held March 23 - April 3, 2009 in the San Francisco Bay Area, taught by Alicia L. Gates, including two discussion sessions with guest Michael Harner. It's not too late to register for this life-changing workshop. Note: Those who take this Intensive will receive special consideration when applying for the Three-Year Programs in Advanced Initiations in Shamanism and Shamanic Healing. Harner Method Shamanic Counseling Training with April Tuck, will take place August 10 - 14 in Boston, Massachusetts. The new 7th East Coast Three-Year Program in Advanced Initiations in Shamanism and Shamanic Healing will start October 11 - 16, 2009. It will be taught by Nan Moss & David Corbin. Two unique five-day residential workshops are planned for the West coast for the summer of 2009. Post-Graduate Healing Practices for FSS Three-Year Program Graduates with Alicia Gates will be held August 9 - 14, 2009. It will offer the opportunity for graduates of the Three-Year programs to experience new practices and further advance their shamanic training. The second, The Power of Rhythm: Drumming, Dancing, and Shamanic Empowerment with Gabe Harris, will be held July 10 - 15, 2009. It will include drumming and drum-making and ceremonial dance, and is for anyone who has taken the Basic Workshop, The Way of the Shaman. Five-Day Soul Retrieval Training with Sandra Ingerman will be held September 6 - 11 in Santa Fe, New Mexico. A new East Coast Two-Week Shamanic Healing Intensive will be held November 8 - 19, 2009 in Madison, Virginia, taught by David Corbin and Nan Moss. Note: The Basic Workshop, which is a prerequisite for all advanced FSS workshops, will be held in various locations throughout the year.

An Evening for the Membership. On the evening of January 30, the membership gathered for a fascinating and inspiring look at Foundation Field Associate Dr. Sarah Sifers' new documentary The Fate of the Lhapa.
Pau Wangchuk Photo by Sarah Sifers
It tells the story of three elder Tibetan shamans working in a refugee camp in Nepal. One of the shamans, Pau Karma Wangchuk, who recently passed, was an FSS Living Treasure of Shamanism. The remaining two shamans, Pau Rhichoe and Pau Dhondup, were just appointed Living Treasures with lifetime stipends to help preserve Tibetan shamanism for future generations.

Gathering of the Council, Saturday, January 31. Participants heard from FSS faculty member Gerardo Roemer, who related the growing number of enthusiastic participants in Foundation workshops in Argentina and Chile. Faculty member Alicia L. Gates told about her success in teaching core shamanism in Spain, which led to an invitation for her to participate in an international conference on shamanism in Barcelona in 2008.
Alicia Gates in Barcelona Alicia Gates, Barcelona
Alicia told us of the great interest among those attending in shamanic journeying and healing, especially using the drum as contrasted with medicine plants. Irene Lo and Robert Bailey showed images of their recent visit to the northern hill people of Laos, including a fascinating video of a village shaman performing a healing. Physicians Katharine Weiser and Rick McKinney, who are also students of shamanism with the Foundation, spoke about shamanism and medicine and some of their personal experiences as doctors exploring alternative healing.
Charles Tart & Michael Harner Charles Tart & Michael Harner
The discussion included thought-provoking information about the state of integrative medicine, legal considerations for physicians, and differing views among physicians about complementary healing modes. The day culminated in an interesting and often humorous dialog on "Shamanism and Parapsychology" between Charles Tart, the distinguished researcher on altered states and parapsychology, and Michael Harner.

A big thank you to the talented volunteers and staff who worked tirelessly behind the scenes to make the Council meeting a success: John Lawrence, Kent Dorsey, Bill Brunton, Alesia Kunz, and Noelle Burch.

New 2009 Membership Benefits. The new membership plan – with additional exclusive benefits – is now available on the website. Now, all members can include a photo or graphic for their Shamanic Services listing. Members, add or update your Shamanic Services listing, including a photo or graphic, and let the public know you are available for shamanic healing or divination. Becoming a member is easy – just visit the Join the Circle pages. Members receive online access to the shamanic community discussion Forum, special articles, audio talks by Michael Harner, The Shamanism Annual journal, and more.

Certificates of Completion. Certificates of Completion are now available to all graduates of FSS advanced programs in shamanism and shamanic healing. Certificates of Completion acknowledge the considerable time and effort involved in the successful completion of FSS advanced trainings. Request your White, Bronze, Silver, and Gold certificates online.

Michael Harner
Michael Harner to be honored with the "Pioneers in Integrative Medicine Award." Every year the Institute for Health & Healing honors an international expert whose work is furthering the field of integrative medicine. On Sunday, March 8, 2009, at a dinner ceremony in San Francisco, the Institute will honor Michael Harner as one of the world's foremost authorities on indigenous healing practices and their relevance in contemporary times. The Institute for Health & Healing is part of the Sutter Health community of medical centers. For more information and for ticket information, please visit the Institute's website.

Welcome, new FSS faculty member Melissa M. Dawahare, NMD. Melissa is a naturopathic medical doctor, a registered nurse, and shamanic practitioner who has over 12 years of clinical experience in mainstream and alternative healthcare. She has studied with Michael Harner, Alicia L. Gates, and Sandra Ingerman. Check the website for Melissa's Basic Workshops in Arizona.

The support of members of the FSS Circle of the Foundation
helps preserve the knowledge and practice of shamanism among indigenous peoples, and the renewal of shamanism in a contemporary context. We invite you to join the Circle by making a donation. Receive exciting benefits, including the online Shamanic Services Listings and FSS Forum, access to archival talks by Michael Harner, and gifts of DVDs, books, and CDs - and support shamanism and shamanic healing worldwide. Thank you!

Members of the Circle of the Foundation
We invite you to submit a photo of one of your creative works related to shamanism. Periodically, we will select a few of these photos to post on the FSS website. Photos of works might include paintings, sculpture, drums/rattles, weavings, and photos of shamanic places, etc. (Submissions must follow the guidelines below.) Click here to view the video of some of the submissions. Share your work with us!

Guidelines for submission of photos of shamanic artwork:
1. Must be a member of the Circle of the Foundation;
2. Must be the creator of the work submitted and hold the copyright;
3. No photos of people, please, unless you have a written, signed release to publish the photo;
4. One photo only per person.
Please include your name and a one-sentence description or title of the work. Send the photo as an email attachment to the Editor, Susan Mokelke.

Newpaper Rock, Utah
Newborns Recognize Beat
Research on newborn babies showing the ability to recognize a drum beat lends support to the theory that beat perception is inborn. This has interesting implications not only for music, but also for the use of rhythmic percussion sound in the practice of shamanism. Read the article from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Healing and Sonic Entrainment
Rhythmic patterns affect brain functioning in ways that can heal. Neurological disorders such as ADD and ADHD and Parkinson's disease have been helped using a rhythmic stimulus to cause brain wave entrainment. Read the article from Search: The magazine of science, religion, and culture online.

Altai Shaman 19th Century Altai Shaman
Linden- Museum Stuttgart
Exhibit of shamanic artifacts from Siberia will be on display now through the end of June 2009 at the Linden-Museum Stuttgart, Germany. View the online gallery. Submitted by Martina Umierski, Three-Year Program student, Mountain View, California.

Over the Hills and Far Away: Shamans, Mysticism, and a Family's Journey, a documentary film about a father's search for traditional healing for his autistic son, Rowan. When it was discovered that Rowan has a special bond with horses, the family traveled to Mongolia, a place combining horseback riding and shamanic healing, searching for a powerful shaman. The resulting documentary film was screened at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival. Read a review. Watch a video clip. Submitted by Timothy Flynn, Three-Year Program graduate, Royal Oaks, California.

SUBMIT NEWS: We invite you to submit news about shamanism for our readers. Please submit no more than a few brief paragraphs, including the source of the news item to the Editor.

Ethical & Legal Considerations in Shamanic Healing
With the current increase in the number of practitioners of shamanic healing and of those seeking shamanic healing, what constitutes the ethical practice of shamanism is of particular relevance. In addition, many state and local governments have legal requirements for the practice of "complementary and alternative medicine" (CAM), which may apply to shamanic practitioners. Read more on the FSS website ... Read the article "Ethical Considerations in Shamanic Healing" by Susan Mokelke, The Shamanism Annual, December 2008, Issue 21.

Note: Each issue we plan to post on the website or provide a link to an article of interest. Check the Articles section for several varied perspectives on shamanism and shamanic healing, many from past issues of Shamanism, the Foundation's scholarly journal -- one of the exclusive benefits for the Circle of the Foundation.
What Core Shamanism Has Given Me
Last night I sat down to update a very special essay. Adding to this document has become more onerous with each passing year. It is an ode to my friends who have died too young, taking their own lives intentionally or through drug and alcohol abuse. For many, midlife seems to be the tipping point, some others never made it past their twenties.

My most recent entry was an ex-girlfriend from high school and college. A mother and vital member of her community, she apparently chose to end her life after a battle with addiction. She is the sixth such death from the close circle of friends of my youth. Each person's story is of course unique, each person was struggling with their own sorrows.

Rainbow Photo by Susan Mokelke
Perhaps the high number of these kinds of deaths is due to the unique circumstances of my life. Perhaps I just gravitated toward sensitive, troubled peers. I may never know, and in the end does it really matter? Something is amiss and healing is needed. The specific cause for each person wounds may never be known, it's the healing that is important.

This morning I got up at dawn for my daily spiritual practice. It has developed from a variety sources including dance, meditation and martial arts. Its taproot is the shamanic journey as taught by The Foundation for Shamanic Studies (FSS). I may not journey every morning, or even every week, but my relationship to non-ordinary reality, as communicated by the FSS in a broad set of teachings, nourishes my practice.

In the grayness of this cloudy dawn, the spirits instructed me to remember the fullness of my relationships with those who have died, drawing on the strength of our youth and the community we made up for a time. They helped me to avoid getting mired in sorrow or self pity and gave me a respectful means to support those I love who have died in this way. Inevitably I took time to reflect on a topic that seems endemic to the human condition "why them and not me?" I don't know if it actually saved my life, but I credit core shamanism with moving me out of the trauma of my youth and into the fulfilling adult life I have today. Read more...

Submitted by Timothy Flynn, FSS Three-Year Program graduate, Royal Oaks, California.

NOTE: "Healing Words" contains helpful practices, ideas and suggestions from shamanic healers, and answers to questions of concern to those practicing shamanism. FSS presents them as a service to the shamanic community without endorsement; as always, each shamanic healer is responsible for using these ideas in a responsible and ethical manner. If you would like to SUBMIT A HELPFUL TIP, email the Editor. (No more than two succinct paragraphs, please.)

About FSS
Internationally renowned anthropologist Michael Harner pioneered the return of shamanism and the shamanic journey to contemporary life. In 1985, he founded the Foundation for Shamanic Studies to preserve, study, and transmit shamanic knowledge worldwide. Join the thousands each year who take the Foundation's rigorous training in Core Shamanism, the universal and near universal principles and practices of shamanism not bound to any specific cultural group or perspective.

About the E-Newsletter
The Foundation for Shamanic Studies E-newsletter is issued bimonthly and contains information and articles about shamanism, shamanic healing, and the Foundation's activities. It is designed to offer interesting and practical information for shamanic healers, students, and those interested in shamanism. We welcome your feedback and ideas. Please contact the Editor, Susan Mokelke.

NOTE: You are receiving this email from the Foundation for Shamanic Studies because you are a member-donor or have taken a Foundation course or otherwise indicated your interest. For environmental and economic reasons, FSS will send out less paper communications. To ensure that you continue to receive emails from us, including course schedules and information relevant to the practice of shamanism, add info@shamanism.org to your address book today. You may also update your email address by clicking on the Update Profile/Email Address link below.

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Copyright 2000-2009 Foundation for Shamanic Studies, a non-profit public charitable and educational organization.

Editor: Susan Mokelke
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