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FSS E-Newsletter
August - September 2010 Vol. 4, Issue 4
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One of the great surprises that shamanism affords is the joy of the unknown and that the unknown is joyous. There is a sense of wholeness that proceeds from the creativity that is inherent in the shamanic journey. Although shamanism and creativity are not commonly thought of together, a relatively superficial survey of studies of creativity reveals that the shamanic journey speaks to two of the most unknown, mysterious, and abstract elements of the creative process, as frequently defined … the incubation by way of the changed state of consciousness and the inspiration by way of the content of the experience.
– Sandra Harner in
Shamanism and Creativity, ©Shamanism, Fall/Winter 1999, Vol. 12, No. 2

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.

Susan Mokelke

Contributing Editor:
Timothy Flynn

Nature Seasons

Fall is coming again, one of my favorite times of the year. I welcome the cooler days, the changing hues of the California hills, and the way the clouds take the shapes of magical beasts in the sky over San Francisco Bay. Nature seems to pause for a moment and take a breath, before moving into the deeper stillness of the winter months.

We at the Foundation have prepared a host of workshop offerings for you in the coming months, including a new weekend in Shamanic Dreamwork and a five-day residential training in Shamanic Depossession. In addition to Three-Year programs on the West and East Coasts, we are also introducing a 2011 summertime Three-Year program in the Pacific Northwest. We look forward to sitting in circle with you soon and together partaking of the wisdom of the helping spirits!

Susan Mokelke
Executive Director

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

My Windhorse <br>by Joy
Markgraf My Windhorse
by Joy Markgraf
  • The new 4th North American Three-Year Program in Advanced Initiations in Shamanism and Shamanic Healing* will start October 17 - 22, 2010 in northern Marin, San Francisco Bay Area. It will be taught by Alicia L. Gates, assisted by Amanda Foulger.

  • The East Coast Two Week Shamanic Healing Intensive*, with David Corbin & Nan Moss, assisted by Elaine Egidio, will be held October 24 - November 4, 2010 in Madison, Virginia.

  • *SPECIAL BENEFIT - Free one year Council Membership ($500 value) to those who complete the East Coast Two Week Intensive or begin the 4th North American Three-Year training in 2010.

  • The 2011 West Coast Two Week Shamanic Healing Intensive, with Alicia L. Gates, will be held March 27 - April 7, 2011 in the San Francisco Bay Area. Check the website for additional info, available soon.

    The Two Week Intensive, offered on the West or East Coast, is the best preparation for the FSS Three Year program.

  • The new 8th East Coast Three-Year Program in Advanced Initiations in Shamanism and Shamanic Healing, with David Corbin & Nan Moss, assisted by Elaine Egidio, will be begin May 22 - 27, 2011 in Madison, Virginia.

  • Note: The Basic Workshop, which is a prerequisite for all advanced FSS workshops, will be held in various locations throughout the year.

    Susan Mokelke, J.D.
    By popular request, we are pleased to announce that beginning in 2011 there will be a Three-Year Program in Advanced Initiations in Shamanism and Shamanic Healing offered in the Pacific Northwest, USA. It will be taught by Susan Mokelke. There will be three sessions of 11 nights each, one session each summer in 2011, 2012, and 2013. As in the current Three-Year programs, the same profound initiatory and advanced shamanic practices, as originated, researched, and developed by Michael Harner, will be covered. Please check the website for dates and details -- available soon.

    Drum Circle
    As a member of the Circle of the Foundation, you have access to the FSS Forum, where you can share your shamanic experiences, questions, and interests with other members around the globe. (Click here for benefits.) With each E-Newsletter, we will offer an issue for your consideration. To participate, login to the FSS Forum and join in the discussion. To login, you will need your Forum user name and password; if you have forgotten it, click on the "I forgot my password link". If you have never registered for the Forum, follow the "Register Now" link. Contact us at info@shamanism.org if you need assistance.

    Current topic: Has the practice of shamanism changed your perception about what it means to heal? LOGIN to participate; then scroll down to the Shamanism section and click on the Membertalk topic.

    The first public offering of the new advanced weekend workshop Shamanic Dreamwork, was held in August in San Francisco. Michael Harner presented his recently formulated "A Core Shamanic Theory of Dreams." A second San Francisco workshop has been added, September 25 - 26, 2010, with Michael Harner and Susan Mokelke. REGISTER ONLINE. For more FSS Faculty offerings of this workshop, visit the website for additional dates, locations, and contact information. In this unique experiential workshop you will have the opportunity to explore the nature, meaning, and use of dreams among shamanic peoples, with dreamwork practices from a range of cultures. Researched and developed by Michael Harner, subjects to be covered include shamanic dream theory and big dreams, as well as dreams and the soul, spirits, shamanic journeys, the Dreamtime, and the vision quest. You will have the opportunity to apply the knowledge to contemporary life, including the use of dreams in divination, health, and healing.

    Alicia Luengas Gates
    The FSS Three-Year Program in Advanced Initiations in Shamanism and Shamanic Healing will be offered for the first time in Barcelona, Spain, starting December 10 – 15, 2010. It is the 6th time the program has been offered in Europe. The program will be taught in Spanish by Alicia Luengas Gates. For information, contact Maria Luisa: (66) 619 639 127 or (66) 93 3466951; mluisa@estudioschamanicos.com; www.estudioschamanicos.com

    The Foundation is pleased to announce a new five-day residential training in core Shamanic Depossession, originated, researched, and developed by Michael Harner and taught by Alicia Gates, assisted by Amanda Foulger. In this workshop, participants will have the opportunity to learn the fundamental features of this important healing work, including how to recognize the symptoms of illness-causing possession or near-possession in their clients. They will be taught how to release such attachments and influences safely and compassionately, offering healing to both clients and any interfering beings. In addition to core shamanic methods of depossession and psychopomp work, the training also uses a classic holistic approach, encompassing essential supporting practices to restore and maintain the client's power, including soul retrieval and power helper restoration to prevent future vulnerability. This five-day residential training will be offered in 2011 on both the West and East Coasts of the US.

    Shamans, Monks and Reality
    A Dialogue between Br. David Steindl-Rast and Michael Harner
    In this rare recording Brother David Steindl-Rast and Michael Harner discuss the similarities and differences between shamans and monks and their perspectives on reality. Recorded at the Esalen Institute, Big Sur, California on January 28, 1993 (58 minutes). Available online.

  • Texas faculty member Charley "Wild Horse" Conatser was recently interviewed on Soul Talk Radio, out of Austin, Texas. Listen to his perspective on the practice of contemporary shamanism.
  • Kevin Turner, FSS faculty in Japan, gave a 2-hour Live Internet Television talk on core shamanism to an estimated cyber-audience of 1000 persons in July through a Japanese Internet TV service that offers spiritually-oriented talks weekly. Reviews were very positive and attendance at the next Basic Workshop: The Way of the Shaman in Kyoto increased several fold, with more inquiring about future courses. Kevin repeated the two-hour introductions in Kyoto and Osaka in person to live audiences, and has scheduled another for Tokyo at the end of October. The Foundation's work is steadily becoming better known in Japan!
  • Alicia Luengas Gates recently returned from Spain, where she presented to 120 people in an introductory conference, had a radio interview, and taught FSS workshops to 110 participants. She returns to Spain in December to teach a Three-Year program. Currently, she is in Argentina, where she is teaching Harner Shamanic Counseling and Soul Retrieval.

    Sun Rays

    For several decades, the FSS has been teaching core shamanism in the US, Canada, Europe, and places in Latin America. This year, we were able to establish an FSS teaching presence in Japan, with workshops held in Tokyo and Kyoto. This is part of our World Education Project: "To return the power and effectiveness of shamanic practices and knowledge to contemporary society for individual, community, and global healing and problem solving; and to maintain and transmit the highest quality of authentic and fundamental shamanic training, derived from careful cross-cultural research and experimentation, the gold standard upon which people everywhere can rely."

    Healing the Earth
    Recently we have been contacted by people in Dubai, southern and western Africa, Turkey, Russia, China and other places in the Near and Far East, inviting us to come to train people in the methods of core shamanism. Though there is a tremendous awakening of interest in contemporary shamanism worldwide, limited funds have prevented us from accepting these invitations for assistance and education. In order to respond with respect and sensitivity for the people and their culture, much preparatory work must be done, including: considering the local needs and the appropriateness of accepting the invitation at this time; research to find and involve local sponsors; experienced FSS faculty would initially have to travel to offer workshops to those who are interested; residents would have to be trained to teach core shamanic methods, and so forth – all with the ultimate goal of turning it over to the local citizens.

    To accomplish this, we urgently need your sponsorship. Please support the Foundation's World Education Project by donating to the Fund to Teach Shamanic Knowledge.

    Certificates of Completion are available to graduates of many of the FSS advanced residential training programs in shamanism and shamanic healing, including Harner Shamanic Counseling. Certificates of Completion acknowledge the considerable time and effort involved in the completion of FSS advanced trainings in core shamanism, such as the Two-Week Intensive and the Three-Year program. (Please note that these do not certify a person as a shaman.) Find out more and request your HSC, White, Bronze, Silver, and Gold certificates online.
    Newpaper Rock, Utah - ŠiStockphoto.com/Jeremy Edwards
    The 12,000 year-old remains of a feast and a female shaman's burial were found recently in Israel. The apparent reason for the feast, the earliest known compelling evidence for such, was the shaman's burial. Read the article from Discovery News online. Submitted by Timothy Flynn, FSS Three Year Program graduate, Monterey Bay area, California.

    Back to beginning...
    Dignity Cover

    Dignity is a collection of photographs by Dana Gluckstein, which honors indigenous peoples worldwide. It is in celebration of the 50th Anniversary in 2011 of Amnesty International, the Nobel Peace Prize-winning human rights organization. It contains over ninety black-and-white portraits spanning three decades. For more information, visit the publisher PowerHouse Books. The book is available in November 2010 from bookstores and online. Submitted by Timothy Flynn, FSS Three Year Program graduate, Monterey Bay area, California.

    This article looks at the belief in the hereditary transmission of shaman's gift, which is common to Siberian shamanism. While the author's explanation of the "shaman's sickness" is psychologically oriented (quoting from authors from the fifties and sixties) – and does not seem to recognize the reality of spirits – the article contains interesting quotes from shaman candidates and poignant photos from 1977 of disappearing shamanism under former Soviet law. Read the article, "Hereditary Transmission in Siberian Shamanism and the Concept of the Reality of Legends;" by Aado Lintrop – folklorist, filmmaker and poet – who works in Tartu at the Estonian Folklore Archives of the Estonian Literature Museum. More articles can be found online in the Electronic Journal of Folklore (Estonian Folklore Institute).

    NOTE: Each issue we plan to post on the website or provide a link to an article or other media with useful information about shamanism or shamanic healing. Check the Articles section for several varied perspectives on shamanism and shamanic healing, many from past issues of Shamanism and the Shamanism Annual, the Foundation's scholarly journal - one of the exclusive benefits of the Circle of the Foundation.
    The practice of shamanism has changed my perception of what it means to heal, both from the standpoint of a healer and as a recipient of healing. By definition, Ordinary Reality is a dimension that includes pain and suffering. Even if we never experience ill health, at the very least our bodies' age, with the decline and suffering that goes along with growing old. Michael Harner often says that at some point all healers fail because everyone dies – at least our earthly bodies pass away. What, then, does healing mean?

    A beautiful black and white bird hit my window the other day and lay twitching and stunned on my deck. I later learned that it was a kingfisher, but at the time I simply observed how strong and handsome a bird it was and how much I hoped it would not die. It was in the sun and I worried about the heat and wondered how I might help it, but dared not go outside for fear it would try to fly and fall off our high deck, or in its distress further injure itself. I called in my helping spirits to see what might be done for the bird and then found myself wondering how exactly I should ask the spirits to help. It suddenly came to me that what I was most concerned about was really not that the bird would die, but that it was suffering – and images of other people and animals I had experienced when they were ill or emotionally distressed flashed through my head.

    Lighted Forest
    Though I had heard Michael Harner say that the helping spirits want to help ease pain and suffering, for the first time I clearly understood in a profound way, in the core of my being, that that desire is what motivates and sustains every healer. But wanting to help can bring about more pain and suffering to both the healer and the recipient unless we keep in mind that we are not in charge of the outcome of our healing efforts. What we think should happen, how we feel, what we hope or want, is not what is important when we are faced with someone who needs help. What is important is our training and experience, the strength of our connections with our helping spirits, and our willingness to accept in all humility that what we are dealing with are the souls of other beings – the ultimate choices are not ours or the helping spirits, but theirs. There is serenity and power in accepting the limits of what we can do and in doing that to the best of our abilities. To be a shamanic healer is to participate with the helping spirits in working to ease pain and suffering. We offer ourselves as the willing hands of the spirits; it is that simple and that profound. Sometimes that means a miraculous reversal of an illness and sometimes that means that someone dies; most often it is something in between – in any case, souls are presented with opportunities for transformation.

    After a quick journey to obtain the kingfisher's permission to work on its behalf, I asked my helping spirits to ease the bird's pain and suffering in whatever way was best for its soul – and left it to the bird, as was its right, to choose to stay here and live or to pass on. I was delighted when I returned a bit later to see that the kingfisher was nowhere to be found on my deck. I like to think he or she thrives still in the nearby woods.

    — Susan Mokelke

    Go to beginning...

    NOTE: "Healing Words" contains helpful practices, ideas and suggestions from shamanic healers, answers to questions of concern to those practicing shamanism, and inspiring stories. 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. (A few succinct paragraphs, please.)

    Tuvan Petroglyph
    For more than two decades, the Foundation for Shamanic Studies has worked to preserve, study, and teach shamanic knowledge for the welfare of the planet and its inhabitants. Michael Harner's pioneering work has led to a revival of shamanic healing in a contemporary context. In addition to its training programs, attended by thousands annually, the FSS works to preserve and revive indigenous shamanism as well researching the practical applications of shamanic healing and knowledge to present day problems.
    Inside Shamans'
House Snuff-Jaguar Shaman Manuel da Silva (center) talks of traditions at the inauguration of the Shamans' House. Robin Wright is at the left. Photo by Michel C. Wright.

    The work of the Foundation is carried out through the many projects supported by your generous contributions – including the Baniwa Shamanic Revitalization, the Living Treasures of Shamanism program, and the development of new workshops and training programs such as Shamanic Dreamwork™. Read more about the current activities of the Foundation on the Foundation's news blog.

    Your support is critical and immensely appreciated and we ask you to please consider making a tax-deductible donation today. We welcome to our Advisory Council those who invest $5000 and above annually for three years.

    Please email Development Associate Carolyn Fee if you wish to discuss the many convenient ways to give.

    Remember, too, that your membership in the Circle of the Foundation supports the work of the Foundation and gives you many benefits, such as a Shamanic Services listing where you can share your healing practice with others worldwide.
    Join the FSS Circle or renew today.

    We are very grateful for your generosity.

    Michael Harner

    Susan Mokelke
    Executive Director

    Internationally renowned anthropologist Michael Harner pioneered the return of shamanism and the shamanic journey to contemporary life. In 1979, Michael and Sandra Harner established the Center for Shamanic Studies, the precursor to the Foundation for Shamanic Studies, which took over the function of the Center in the mid-eighties. FSS is dedicated to the preservation, study, and teaching of shamanic knowledge for the benefit of the Planet and its inhabitants. www.shamanism.org

    Join the thousands of people 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. The training program has been carefully developed by Dr. Harner and thoroughly tested to provide an authentic shamanic experience and practical results.

    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.

    Thank you!

    Copyright © 2000-2010 Foundation for Shamanic Studies, a non-profit public 501(c)(3) charitable and educational organization.

    Editor: Susan Mokelke
    Foundation for Shamanic Studies

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