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FSS E-Newsletter

VOLUME 6, ISSUE 2     

JULY 2012
FSS News
Articles and Information
Healing Words
My Windhorse by Joy Markgraf

My Windhorse by Joy Markgraf

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I think that compassionate, healing spirits have a mission to try to communicate their existence to us so that they can get on with their work of trying to reduce suffering and pain in our reality. But they are not all-powerful. They can't do it without the help of intermediaries, and shamans are especially strong intermediaries. 

- Michael Harner


From "My Path in Shamanism," published in Higher Wisdom by Roger Walsh and Charles S. Grob.

Michael Harner




HealingAs of this writing, wildfires have devastated many states and continue to burn over large areas of the western United States. Many individuals, drum circles, FSS Three Year program graduate groups, and other shamanic gatherings have been doing spiritual work to alleviate pain and suffering for the people, animals, plants, and the land. In the case of major disasters, whether natural or human-caused, questions arise about issues of permission for shamanic work and how to best help so that what is done is healing. We thought that it might be helpful to offer some wisdom and hope gleaned from the 2000 fire season, another horrific year for fires in the West, where humans reached out to the spirits for aid: " Fire Season 2000 -- Spiritual Help for the Burning West: Calling to the Helping Spirits and the Spirits of Weather." From the FSS journal Shamanism, Spring/Summer 2001, Vol. 14, No. 1.


Susan Mokelke



FSS News



♦ New Weekend Workshop - Shamanism Practicum: Guidelines for a Healthy Shamanic Practice with Susan Mokelke. First public offering in the San Francisco Bay Area, July 28 - 29, 2012. More below.    

♦ The East Coast Two Week Shamanic Healing Intensive, taught by David Corbin and Nan Moss, assisted by Elaine Egidio, will be held October 21 - November 1, 2012, 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 5th North American Three-Year Program in Advanced Initiations in Shamanism and Shamanic Healing with Alicia L. Gates, assisted by Amanda Foulger, will begin October 28 - November 2, 2012 in the San Francisco Bay Area, California.

♦ In 2013: Harner Shamanic Counseling with April Tuck, July 14 - 19, 2013 in the San Francisco Bay Area, California. Residential.


Please check the website for PREREQUISITES for these training programs and for information about the 2013 West Coast Shamanic Healing Intensive (May 26 - June 6, 2013) and a new summertime 2nd Pacific Northwest Three Year program starting August 4 - 15, 2013 in the Seattle, Washington area.


For details and to REGISTER for the above programs, contact registrar Michael Flanagin: flanagin4@msn.com, (503) 282-6315.


Susan MokelkeWe are pleased to announce the first public offering of a new advanced weekend workshop Shamanism Practicum: Guidelines for a Healthy Shamanic Practice. This two-day workshop developed by Susan Mokelke provides participants with guidelines for the development of a healthy shamanic practice. Subjects to be covered include the ethical practice of shamanic healing and divination; legal considerations; what to say to potential clients; the screening process; payment issues; useful forms to have; organization of your practice; and other pragmatic matters related to practicing shamanism in an ethical, professional, and effective way. The workshop will be a combination of lecture, discussion, and interactive-experiential exercises, including journeying. Prerequisite: Basic Workshop: The Way of the Shaman®. More information and online registration...


Living Treasure Mandu da Silva, snuff-jaguar shaman of the Baniwa people of Northwest Amazonia, has requested assistance from the Foundation in

Mandu and apprentices
Mandu and apprentices in front of the shaman's school. Photo: 2010 Euzivaldo Queiroz.

order to complete recordings of his knowledge, so that it may be available for future generations of Baniwa shamans. Mandu has been at the heart of the Baniwa Shamanic Revitalization project sponsored by the Foundation. Thanks to the generosity of FSS members and donors, great progress has been made, including the building of the Shaman's House of Knowledge. Through Dr. Robin Wright, FSS Field Associate and coordinator of the project, Mandu recently reported that the stipend he received from the Brazilian government, for work he did some time ago to maintain an airstrip, was abruptly discontinued. Without the stipend, his living situation has become very difficult, making it hard to continue his work with the ongoing revitalization efforts. He is in his eighties and has been recording, with the aid of his daughter Ercilia, his specialized knowledge as the only remaining snuff-jaguar shaman -- in order to preserve it for his apprentices and future Baniwa shamans. Dr. Wright has been translating his recordings to be preserved, too, in the Foundation's Shamanic Knowledge Conservatory.


Please consider making a donation to support Mandu in his efforts and keep the Baniwa revitalization alive. You may make a one-time donation or a monthly ongoing donation to help Mandu. Any assistance is welcome and will make so much difference to Mandu and his people. Thank you. 


FSS Faculty Member Kevin Turner will be offering three workshops in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia September 16 - 21, 2012 (in English). The six days of workshops, beginning with the prerequisite Basic Workshop: The Way of the Shaman, will include Shamanic Extraction Healing Training and Shamanism, Dying, and Beyond. Click for registration information

Kevin Turner Osaka Fair
Kevin Turner at Alternative Healing Fair March 2012, Osaka, Japan. The poster top-left is the cover of The Way of the Shaman in Japanese.
Kevin Turner, who is FSS Faculty Member for Japan and Asia, has been appointed as the Foundation's Director for Asia in recognition for his fine work teaching FSS workshops in the region. Congratulations and thanks to Kevin for his teaching and for his field research in Mongolia on behalf of the Foundation.  

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.

Jaguar Shaman Ross LewAllen
Jaguar Shaman by Ross LewAllen

Members of the Circle, we invite you to share your work with us by submitting 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. (Submissions must follow the guidelines below.) View the slide show Artwork of the Membership.
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 the title of the work, with a few words description. Send the photo as an email attachment to the Editor, Susan Mokelke.

Articles and Information


Aerial surveys of a remote area of rainforest along the Colombia-Brazil border show evidence of uncontacted tribes, according to the Amazon Conservation Team that works to safeguard indigenous territories and culture. This is important because under a legal decree signed in December 2011

Aerial view of hut
Photo by Cristóbal von Rothkirch, courtesy of Colombian National Parks Unit and Amazon Conservation Team.

isolated and uncontacted indigenous people in the Colombian Amazon have the right to isolation, the right to their traditional territories, and reparations in case of violence. Read the article and view photos from MongaBay.com.  


The Partners in Healing program at Mercy Medical Center in Merced, California, is an innovative program helping doctors and Hmong shamans to work together to treat their Hmong patients. The program has trained more than 100 shamans throughout California and the Central Valley about medical matters and helped physicians to work with the shamans for the patient's benefit. Now physicians in countries with growing Hmong populations, like Australia and Germany, look to Merced as a model. Read the article from PRI - Public Radio International online. Submitted by FSS faculty member Tim Flynn, Monterey County, California.   


The use of animals as sentinels for human health threats, or of humans as sentinels for animal disease risk, dates back at least to the era when coal miners brought caged canaries into mines to provide early warning of toxic gases. Health researchers are now looking into shared animal-human health threats in order to detect and reduce environmental health threats shared between species. Michael Oddo, who submitted the article, says: "I immediately thought of power animals."  Read the article from PMC (PubMed Central), the US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health. Submitted by Michael Oddo, FSS 1st Pacific Northwest Three Year Program student. Columbus, Ohio.

In "The Evolution of Human Artistic Creativity," an article from the Journal of Anatomy, author Gillian M Morriss-Kay provides a fascinating look at shamanic elements of ancient cave paintings in a section of
Daur shaman Siqingua
Daur shaman Siqingua, an FSS Living Treasure, performing a divination. Photo by Kun Shi.
the article. Read the article online (scroll down to the "Shamanism and parietal art" section) or download the pdf (see pp. 11-14 of the pdf; pp. 168 - 171 of the article itself). From PMC (PubMed Central), the US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health. Submitted by FSS faculty member Beth Beurkens, Ashland, Oregon.  



By Kun Shi

In this article, which appeared in SangSaeng magazine, FSS Field Associate Kun Shi discusses the significance of shamanic culture in China and its recent revival among many ethnic groups. In SangSaeng, No. 33, Spring 2012. Click on the link at the bottom of the page to download the pdf (scroll to p. 24 of the pdf; page 47 of the magazine).   


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.


Healing Words

by Timothy Flynn

I've been thinking about how my shamanic practice has changed, now that I'm invested in a place, working it with my hands. The spirits feel different, my choices are new. I feel an allegiance to creatures I've never really paid that much attention to. I include the spirit of the land in my prayers and journeys without even thinking about it. When shamanism helps you grow food, it is more immediate, more savory. I want to sink into the soul of this place.

Our culture specializes in portable spirituality that can be exported anywhere in the world. How would history be different if Christianity only worked where it first sprang up? Would we ever have wandered if our ability to connect with God depended upon our relationship to a certain stream or mountain? The idea that religion works the same wherever you practice it is so ubiquitous we don't even stop to think about it.

Shouldn't our spirituality help us become more rooted to a place? I think many of us struggle with that. We are modern, mobile, and yet we want to drink from the same stream indigenous people do. So many peoples are lost without their land. My Irish ancestors seem to have suffered a wound to the soul when they lost land to the British invaders. I'm descended from those who could leave and still survive, made to be modern. Today our homes are investments, not places to be buried beside. We have to be circumspect about home ownership or else risk having our hearts broken. I know so many who have lost their homes. A dear friend whose spirit was deeply rooted in a place had to walk away from it; it has taken many years for her not to cry at the simple mention of the loss.
Chicken coop on wheels
Even the chicken coop has wheels.

So much psychopomp work is about negotiating a spirit's place in the universe. We don't think of people and places as being part of a greater whole. The spirits of the dead haunt places they've become a part of. When a new owner arrives, we assume the old one better move on. Sometimes I feel like I'm being called in to evict a squatter, rather than answer the needs of a suffering being, when I'm asked to help with a haunting.

With each shovel of dirt I become more a part of here. Should I risk the suffering and loss that will come if we have to chase a carrot down the road to a new job, a new town, a new place to grow food? I can't stop planting, I can't stop stitching myself deeper into here. Will I haunt these lands many years from now?

I like to think my ancestors would advise me to set seed to soil wherever I live. They'd have me reach out to the spirits of a place, make my peace with them, see what good works we could grow together. They wouldn't be able to understand a spirituality that had nothing to with a place. They would think it had no point to it at all.

The sparkling droplets of rain that knit sunlit jewels across the wire mesh on the raised garden beds I have built may really be secret code, a Braille of sorts, set down by the nocturnal creatures that rule the night. I want to learn to read their signs, the secret language of this place. If my spirit decides to spend time here after I die, I'll want to make some friends ahead of time. Here's wishing you peace and a sense of belonging during this time of great change.

Timothy Flynn is a shamanic practitioner and an FSS faculty member in Monterey County, California. He can be reached at Alchemist's Journal.


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. 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.


FSS E-Newsletter



Susan Mokelke, Editor

Timothy Flynn, Contributing Editor 



The Foundation for Shamanic Studies E-Newsletter is issued several times a year 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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