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FSS E-Newsletter
December 2010 Vol. 4, Issue 5
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Metaphors encountered in a shamanic journey, for example, are perfectly tailored for the specific journeyer to interpret. They should not be assumed to be relevant to other persons, including clients, for they are multilayered and emotional communications based on the spirits' intimate knowledge of the journeyer and would not have exactly the same meaning to others.
—Michael Harner, "A Core Shamanic Theory of Dreams," Shamanism Annual, December 2010, Issue 23

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

Snow covered branches

It has been a good year here at the Foundation. Read about some of the things you have helped us accomplish, including: new workshops such as Shamanic Dreamwork, progress in the preservation of shamanic wisdom in the Shamanic Knowledge Conservatory, and help for exceptional indigenous shamans through the Living Treasures and other programs. We are looking forward to an even better 2011.

On behalf of all of us here at the Foundation, we thank you for your support and encouragement—and for your contributions not only to our work, but to healing our world.

Peace and joy to you, now and throughout the coming year. (A holiday greeting for you.)

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 2011 West Coast Two Week Shamanic Healing Intensive* with Alicia L. Gates, assisted by Amanda Foulger, will be held March 27 - April 7, 2011 in the San Francisco Bay Area. Includes a session with guest Michael Harner. The Two Week Intensive, offered on the West or East Coast, is the best preparation for the FSS Three Year program.
  • The 8th East Coast Three-Year Program in Advanced Initiations in Shamanism and Shamanic Healing* with David Corbin & Nan Moss, assisted by Elaine Egidio, will begin May 22 - 27, 2011 in Madison, Virginia.
  • The 1st Pacific Northwest Summertime Three-Year Program in Advanced Initiations in Shamanism and Shamanic Healing* with Susan Mokelke, begins July 31 - August 11, 2011 in the Portland area, Oregon.
  • Harner Shamanic Counseling Training with April Tuck, CSC, will be held August 15 - 19, 2011 in the Boston area, Massachusetts.
  • The new five-day Shamanic Depossession training, with Alicia Gates, assisted by Amanda Foulger, will be held June 17 - 22, 2011 on the West Coast (with an introduction by Michael Harner) and September 18 - 23, 2011 on the East Coast. 10% tuition discount for early registration.

  • *SPECIAL BENEFIT FOR EARLY REGISTRATION: Most five day and longer training programs offer a one-year complimentary FSS Council membership (a $500 value) for early registration. If already a Council member, the membership will be applied to the following year. Please click on the workshop links above for details for each workshop.

    We are saddened to report that Tuvan shaman, Ai-Churek, well known to the Foundation from her visit to California in 1998 and as a compatriot of FSS Living Treasure, Prof. Mongush Kenin-Lopsan of Tuva, died November 20, 2010 of a heart attack. Born in 1963, she is survived by her son, 22, who is studying history at a college in Kyzyl. A ceremony was held in Moscow, where Ai-Churek's friends met for a funeral party with songs and activities in her honor. Viera, a successor of shaman Khuurak Kyrgys now living in Moscow; Sainkho Namtchylak, a famous singer living in Vienna; Aynisia, a shamaness from Tuva, and others made the arrangements and took part. Paul Uccusic, Director of FSS Europa and Field Associate for Tuva, reports that it was a very fine and touching ceremony. Ai-Churek was regarded as a very strong shaman with exceptional power. Ai-Churek's unique work can be seen on the DVD, Healing Rituals of the Tuvan Shamans, filmed during her 1998 visit to the Foundation. Her powerful throat singing and drumming is also preserved on the CD Tuvan Shamanic Healing.

    Alicia L. Gates plans to offer weekend workshops near San Diego in Spanish, beginning with The Way of the Shaman®: Shamanic Journeying, Power, and Healing, April 16-17, 2011. For more information, please contact Alicia Gates at aliciagates@msn.com or J.C. Safa at jcsafa@cox.net. Check the website for the complete schedule of workshops.

    Responsible, ethical, and inspired shamanic wisdom for daily life.
    Polestar Logo
    We are excited to introduce you to FSS POLESTAR, our new interactive e-post. Members of the Circle of the Foundation will receive this periodically via email. POLESTAR offers a shamanic approach to the issues that influence us daily. We hope that it will support you as you integrate shamanism into your life and enable you to share your questions, concerns, and insights with a thriving network of people. Log on to the FSS Forum to connect with Circle members, and select the POLESTAR topic. Our last e-post discussed providing shamanic help in environmental disasters. View the e-post. Not a member? JOIN THE CIRCLE.

    The first Three-Year program was begun in Barcelona, Spain, December 10 - 15. Alicia Luengas Gates taught the program, assisted by Gerardo Roemer, FSS faculty in Argentina. Alicia was interviewed about shamanism by Barcelona television. Watch the two part interview (in Spanish) on YouTube: Part One (9:16 minutes); Part Two (12 minutes).


    Sun Rays

    It's not too late to take part in the January 28-29, 2011 Gathering of the Council. This year's gathering in Mill Valley, California, will start on Friday evening. Michael Harner will introduce Larry Peters, FSS Field Associate, who will discuss Tibetan shamanism and his work with the exiled Tibetan FSS Living Treasures in Nepal. The all-day Saturday meeting will be open to Council members only. There will be a full day of presentations by special guests, including FSS Europa Director Paul Uccusic speaking about Tuva and Living Treasure Prof. Kenin-Lopsan; and Field Associate Kun Shi on the "Revival of Shamanism in China." In addition, there will be a question and answer session with Michael Harner, as well as a dialog with Larry Peters on "Tibetan Shamanism and Buddhism." On Saturday evening, we are delighted to host Gabe Harris for participatory drumming and dancing. Become a Council member by December 31, 2010 and share in the fun!

    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 Art Institute of Chicago announced a major long-term loan of a copper statue called Striding Horned Figure believed to have been made 5,000 years ago, at the dawn of the third millennium B.C. in the area of modern southwest Iran. (See the figure at the right: Unknown/Proto-Elamite. Striding Horned Figure, 3000-2800 B.C. Copper. Height: 175 cm [6 7/8 in]; Width: 5.4 cm [2 1/8 in]. The Art Institute of Chicago. Anonymous loan.) Read the article from the artdaily.org. Submitted by Timothy Flynn, FSS Three Year Program graduate, Monterey Bay area, California.
    Striding Horned Figure

    Hmong shamans are gaining wider acceptance in Merced, California, as education increases trust between them and physicians. Read the article from the Bakersfield Express online. Submitted by Timothy Flynn, FSS Three Year Program graduate, Monterey Bay area, California.

    Note: At the January 2010 FSS Council Gathering, the Foundation sponsored a conversation with Michael Harner and two Hmong shamans associated with Merced's non-profit Healthy House (DVD of the conversation available as a gift to Council members).

    Faced with severe societal ills and a younger generation leaving for the cities, shamans in the semi-autonomous Russian Republic of Tuva in Central Asia are taking a more visible role to help. Watch the video report by Nick Lazaredes, from SBS Dateline, Australia.

    This video features a ceremony by FSS Living Treasure, Sichingua, a Daur shaman from Inner Mongolia, China. It was produced by a Chinese television station (ifeng.com), with the assistance of the Morin Dawa Museum of Shamanic Culture. Though not in English, it is very interesting to watch. The production is formatted in 11 short segments (accessible by clicking on the photos below the video screen). Watch the video. Submitted by Kun Shi, FSS Field Associate for China, and Susan Grimaldi, FSS Audio-Visual Field Documentation.

    Note on translation: You can enter the video website page link into the Google translate tools web page and get a general idea of what is happening. Paste the web link below into the "translate a web page" box and select Chinese in the left hand box and your language in the right hand box. Click TRANSLATE. Here is the video web page link: http://v.ifeng.com/culture/201009/abfcfd3f-8684-4456-a167-78a63d3868a5.shtml

    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.
    Perhaps you've had this disagreement with your spouse: "I don't want to lie to our child. I'm not going to tell him there's a Santa Claus when he's asks me, because I know there isn't one!" I knew it wasn't worth arguing with her, the colossal presence of Santa in our culture makes it impossible to deny HIS presence. Our son will turn three a few days after Christmas, with little help from me he now swoons at the thought of Santa. My wife has surrendered to the inevitable. This is not the end of the discussion in our household, in fact our journey with Santa is just starting to pick up steam.

    Of course Santa is real, he is a compassionate helping spirit. He lives in the Upper World, in a place very similar to the North Pole. He's a very special spirit; once a year he can walk the Earth. Shamanism teaches us that any being in our awareness can appear to us as a helping spirit when we journey to the Upper or Lower Worlds of nonordinary reality (NOR).

    I've found that figures like Santa are especially helpful to journey to. They are stolid elders of the spirit world, reminders of our shared shamanic past. They are also especially potent allies in our exploration of NOR because they are both intimately familiar and powerfully otherworldly. They help those of us not raised with shamanism tread familiar ground into a magical new world.

    My wife smiled with approval when I made the connection between Santa and shamanism. It is a way to make the mythical tangible and the tangible spiritual. "Poppa will journey to Santa soon and ask him what special gifts he wants to give us," I explained to my son when he asked about Santa. "Because Santa lives in the spirit world I will journey to him to visit before Christmas as part of our preparation for this wonderful holiday."

    Blue Lighted Tree Eric Knight Holbrook. Used under non-commercial Creative Commons License.
    I took the first journey to Santa today while he napped, traveling up our Christmas tree into the upper world. Santa was of course as jolly as ever and delighted to see me. "What can I do for you my boy," he asked after showing me around the place.

    "I've come to ask you for advice on what gifts I should give my son and wife, and for any other wisdom you can give me at this time of year."

    He guided me to a workbench where he began to work at gifts for us all. "Don't forget yourself, or Bella." He fashioned some special gloves for me, and treats for our family dog. I studied his actions carefully, making sure I would remember each detail about the gifts I was to prepare in his name.

    "And there is more. I want you to dance. Start now, every day. My Reindeer will show up to help you learn how to dance correctly. You'll need some bells. When you're ready, you can share this dance with your family and you can all do it together on Christmas."

    There are so many stories in our culture that are instantly ignited with practical magic when you are initiated into the shamanic journey. Alice in Wonderland is a journey to the lower world to receive power at adolescence. A Christmas Carol is a journey of healing through the power of the helping spirits. Santa travels to the middle world through the smoke in your chimney. The Tooth Faery transforms suffering into joy.

    Instead of deciding Santa is not real, my son will learn that Santa belongs to a realm that we can all access, one that can radically impact our daily lives. Someday my son will learn to make his own journeys to Santa to ask what gifts he might help Santa bring to this world. In the meantime I will learn Santa's dance and share it with my family. That's the best gift of all!

    Tim Flynn, FSS Three-Year Program graduate, Monterey Bay area, California. Tim plans to report how it goes on Christmas Day on his blog. Check his website to see how it turns out.

    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.
    FSS Living Treasure Sichingua FSS Living Treasure, Daur shaman Sichingua. Photo by Meng Huiying.

    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.

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    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