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FSS E-Newsletter
February-March 2011 Vol. 5, Issue 1
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After having personally practiced shamanism, shamanic healing, and shamanic journeying for more than half of a century, I can say that there is nothing I have encountered in reports of the spiritual experiences of saints, prophets, psychedelic drug experimenters, near death survivors, avatars and other mystics that is not commonly experienced when following classic shamanic journey methods using the drum.
—Michael Harner

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

Spider web

Shamanism seems to be taking deeper root these days in our culture. During this year's Superbowl two commercials on Fox made shamanic references: "hippie drumming circles" and "spirit animals," respectively. While they may not have intended a positive cast to these terms, it is in sharp contrast to the situation in the sixties and seventies when Michael Harner began his pioneering work and shamanism, particularly experiential shamanism, was virtually unknown. It appears that the concepts, if not the full understanding, of the shaman and the spiritedness of nature have made their way into popular culture—which seems a very hopeful development to me. Check the news section below for a film series on "Shamans and Shamanic Experience in Film," which will take place in Berkeley, California, starting this Friday, March 11.

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 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 East Coast Two Week Shamanic Healing Intensive, taught by David Corbin and Nan Moss, assisted by Elaine Egidio, will be held November 6 - 17, 2011, in Madison, Virginia. 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 in the San Francisco Bay Area (with an introduction by Michael Harner).

  • Please check the website FOR PREREQUISITES
    for these training programs, as some have changed.

    For details and to REGISTER for any of these programs, contact Michael Flanagin:
    flanagin4@msn.com, (503) 282-6315.

    The annual Gathering of the Council in January in Mill Valley was a great success.
    Kun Shi
    Kun Shi
    It opened on Friday night for all Members of the Circle of the Foundation with a presentation by Dr. Larry Peters on the "Cosmology of Tibetan Shamanism" and his work with the FSS Living Treasures in exile in Nepal. Then on Saturday Council members were treated to: a presentation by FSS Field Associate Kun Shi on "The Revival of Shamanism in China;" Paul Uccusic, Director of FSS Europa talked about the progress the
    Kun Shi
    Paul Uccusic
    International Faculty was making in Europe and gave an update on Living Treasure Doctor Professor Kenin-Lopsan; FSS faculty member Alicia Luengas Gates shared about her teaching activities in Spain, including the first Three Year program, which began in December; and Kevin Turner, FSS Faculty for Japan, gave an interesting talk on his first year teaching weekend workshops in Japan, including touching upon the effects of culture and the positive response of the Japanese to the training.
    Larry Peters and Michael Harner
    Larry Peters and Michael Harner
    After a delicious luncheon, Michael Harner and Larry Peters dialogued about "Tibetan Shamanism and Buddhism." The meeting ended in the evening with an inspiring shamanic poetry reading by Amanda Foulger and Beth Beurkens, a moving performance of singing and drumming by Gabe Harris and his group, and exuberant dancing by the participants.

    At the recent Council gathering, FSS Field Associate Kun Shi talked about how things were changing in China in regards to shamanism. We received first hand confirmation of this good news with a recent invitation to Michael to submit a paper on shamanism and shamanic healing at the Inaugural Meeting of the World Federation of Chinese Medicine Societies - Specialty Committee of Natural Therapy (WFCMS - SCNT) and the 1st International Academic Conference on Complementary and Alternative Medicine, to be held in China in May. While it is not possible to send a personal representative at this time due to timing and limited resources, Michael has submitted a paper on shamanic healing methods to the conference, to inform attendees about the contemporary practice of shamanic healing as a complementary treatment for illness.

    Visit Japan during Golden Week and study core
    ShintoShinto Shrine
    shamanism with authorized FSS faculty Kevin Turner. April 30 - May 5, Tokyo, Japan. This series will be offered in English only and includes the prerequisite workshop The Way of the Shaman® and two of the two-day advanced workshops—Shamanic Extraction Healing Training and Shamanism, Dying, and Beyond. Workshops may be taken separately; additional discount if you have taken the Basic Workshop already. The training will be held in a Shinto shrine. Click for more information and to register.

    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.

    A donation was made to the Foundation for Shamanic Studies by Alicia Luengas Gates on the occasion of the first anniversary of the transition of her beloved husband Gary G. Gates, February 21, 2010, to honor his life and the shamanic work of the Foundation, from which they both learned a new way of living.


    Red-eyed frog

    The Foundation is holding its first fundraising luncheon on Sunday, March 27, in the San Francisco Bay area. Michael and Sandra Harner welcome you to join with Angeles Arrien and other special guests. Luncheon will be served and there will be a silent auction. If you would like to attend, and through your philanthropic gift, be part of our worldwide effort to reawaken the practice of shamanism, as well as build into the future, please contact cfee@shamanism.org.

    Now you can donate a gift of stock or make a charitable IRA rollover gift—and receive a tax deduction. Visit our donations page. Thank you!

    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 - ©iStockphoto.com/Jeremy Edwards
    An inspiring account of a veteran neurosurgeon dealing in a spiritual way with compassion for the family of a comatose stroke victim—which the author, Peter de Schweinitz, MD, MSPH, likens to the ancient role of the shaman. He asks: "How do we proceed, then, not only in cases of dying, but at the varied intersections of meaning and health? Must we rely solely on the rational concepts of modern bioethics or is there a primordial language of the soul-a shamanistic inheritance common to human beings-that has survived the diverse evolutions of culture and religion?" Read the full article "Is there a Shaman in the House?" by visiting Medscape.com. Scroll down the page to the article, click on it, and create a free login account to Medscape.com. Posted: 01/09/2011; J Am Board Fam Med. 2010;23(6):794-796. © 2010 American Board of Family Medicine. Submitted by Timothy Flynn, FSS Three Year Program graduate, Monterey Bay area, California.

    Shamanic themes are often incorporated into today's ethnic performances in China, according to FSS Field Associate Kun Shi. One such grand performance is called "LiJiang Impressions," directed by Zhang Yimou, on open air stage against the Jade Dargon Mountain in Lijiang, Yunnan. Watch the performance on YouTube and notice the shamanic influences. Submitted by Kun Shi, FSS Field Associate, Florida.

    FSS Living Treasure Mongush Kenin-Lopsan Prof. Kenin-Lopsan in front of his office. Photo by Anna Kjellin.

    FSS Living Treasure, Prof. Mongush Kenin-Lopsan of Tuva was in the news when the cabin he has used for years as his headquarters was transferred to his private ownership. Read the article. © 2001-2010 Tuva-Online News & Information Agency, www.tuvaonline.ru. Submitted by Leslie Conton, FSS Faculty, Washington.

    A short video clip showing a Buryat shaman in Russia, performing a ritual in at a sacred tree. See the video from the BBC Worldwide channel. Submitted by Timothy Flynn, FSS Three Year Program graduate, Monterey Bay area, California.

    On Friday, March 11, from 7:00 - 9:00 pm, there will be a special program on "Shamans and Shamanic Experience in Film," with Dr. Jurgen Kremer, sponsored by The Dream Institute of Northern California. It will examine the changing portrayal of shamans and the shamanic experience in film. It will include clips showing the amazing Pomo healer Essie Parrish, as well as excerpts from popular movies such as Avatar and others. As part of the series, more films with shamanic themes will be offered at later dates. For registration and information, contact The Dream Institute of Northern California, Berkeley: 510-845-1767; dreaminstituteca@gmail.com.

    Michael Harner's article, "A Core Shamanic Theory of Dreams," describes the ten principles of his new seminal theory. Read the article. Foundation for Shamanic Studies, Shamanism Annual, December 2010, Issue 23. Copyright © 2010.

    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.

    "How do you know it's not just your imagination?"

         It's not the first time I've heard that question from someone learning to journey in a Foundation for Shamanic Studies (FSS) workshop. This weekend I attended the FSS Basic workshop taught by Michael Harner and Susan Mokelke. I first sat in circle with Michael over fifteen years ago.
         The imagination question never came up for me in the beginning, probably because of other spontaneous experiences I'd already had that I knew were beyond my own imagination. But the meaning of imagination, what it really is, keeps changing for me.
         After journeying for a while I came to mistrust the idea of imagination. It seemed like a small bucket into which we try to cram a lot of things. Are day dreams the same as picturing something? Does creative writing use the same faculty as guided visualization? Where did the image that just popped into my head really come from? Isn't imagination just a way of implying that what you've experienced isn't that important?
    Eskimo Nebula Eskimo Nebula. Credit: NASA, Andrew Fruchter and the ERO Team [Sylvia Baggett (STScI), Richard Hook (ST-ECF), Zoltan Levay (STScI)]
         Sitting in circle last weekend I realized imagination did play a role in my journey experience, but it was more like conjuring. The spirits often speak to us in metaphor, conjuring images as a means of communication. I am a spirit as well. There are times when I have attempted to will something into being while on a journey. What I want may appear, but I know it's my own creation. It seems in the spirit world as in life, we're all capable of conjuring!
         Imagination as metaphor projection is vital to communication in the spirit world. What often can't be told can be shown. Metaphor is the language of nonordinary reality (NOR). The images I conjure in NOR are always a bit tiring and tiresome when compared with what is communicated by the helping spirits—my own images convey little other than my hopes and just get in the way of the real work. These conjured images have, however, helped me to clearly perceive what I am creating and what the spirits are creating.
         Discernment is an ongoing part of interacting with NOR. Subtler details are always presenting themselves; the spirits are always teaching through their presence. Everything has its own qualities there, everything communicates its own power.
         As I heard this participant use the word "imagination," I realized it had lost most of its meaning to me. I'm not comfortable marginalizing experiences as part of some mechanical brain function. If the universe is energetically alive, and our thoughts and perceptions have energy, don't imaginal forces have a life all their own?
         Maybe the idea of imagination is the only illusion. Perhaps the imaginal metaphors we conjure deserve a new, open-minded reception from us. Not meaningless machinations, but transmissions of consciousness that may impart sacred truths.

    Tim Flynn, FSS Three-Year Program graduate, Monterey Bay area, California. Contact him through his website.

    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 Sichingua, Daur shaman (Inner Mongolia). 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 participation in our Advisory Council to those who pledge $5000 and above annually for three years.

    Please visit the website to learn more about the many convenient ways to give, including a gift of stock or charitable IRA rollover; or, email Development Associate Carolyn Fee to discuss.

    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, near universal, and common 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 © 2000-2011 Foundation for Shamanic Studies, a non-profit public 501(c)(3) charitable and educational organization.

    Editor: Susan Mokelke
    Foundation for Shamanic Studies