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FSS E-Newsletter

VOLUME 6, ISSUE 3      

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

My Windhorse by Joy Markgraf

The Foundation for Shamanic Studies is dedicated to the preservation, study, and teaching of shamanic knowledge for the benefit of the Planet and its inhabitants.




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Shamanic healing is not a panacea for the world's ills, but it provides a way of spiritually helping others that was almost eradicated in much of the world. The classic shamanic way is to accept one's own responsibility and potentiality to achieve first-hand knowledge by personally entering the spiritual realms. Helping persons acquire their own spiritual empowerment through shamanic training continues to be a major focus of the Foundation's work worldwide. 

Michael Harner


Excerpts from "The Need for a Spirituality Focused on Healing-- Free of Politics" (2002).

Michael Harner



Scrub Jay
Alexandra MacKinzie (mizmak) used under Flickr Creative Commons License

I subscribe to a daily science news feed. It is always interesting to me to read about studies of the natural world from the scientist's perspective, particularly those studies which attempt to understand the inner lives of animals. A recent study looked at the behavior of Western scrub jays, who apparently summon other jays to screech over their dead, holding these noisy "funerals" for up to 30 minutes. There have been many reports of other animals, including elephants, chimpanzees, and crows responding to the dead of their species, but few experimental studies. UC Davis graduate student Teresa Iglesias, who undertook the study, said: "While reactions of animals to their dead are sometimes called 'funerals,' that does not imply that there is an emotional or ritual element to the behavior. We simply don't know enough about the emotional life of animals to understand that." But, she continues: "I think there's a huge possibility that there is much more to learn about the social and emotional lives of birds." 


The shaman would not be surprised to learn that animals mourn their dead or have emotional lives. When faced with a puzzling animal behavior, the shaman could undertake his or her own experiment by journeying to the animal's spirit to ask; or the shaman could merge with the animal, become one with it and know it by experiencing it. The true scientist and the shaman are not so different. But the shaman's way of knowing would be discounted by many in Western culture. So, I appreciate open-minded studies undertaken by researchers such as Iglesias -- because they are "scientific" they are not so easily discarded. The scientist can work toward the truth from one perspective and the shaman from another -- until such time as we awaken to our fundamental unity and honor and celebrate all beings. Then, when the jays mourn their dead, we will mourn with them. (Scrub Jays React to Their Dead)  


Susan Mokelke



FSS News



♦ 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 (see below) 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.

♦ The West Coast Two Week Shamanic Healing Intensive, taught by Alicia L. Gates will be held May 26-Jun 06, 2013 in the San Francisco Bay area, California. 

Harner Shamanic Counseling with April Tuck, CSC, will be held July 14 - 19, 2013 in the San Francisco Bay Area, California. Residential.


Please check the website for PREREQUISITES for these advanced shamanic training programs as some have changed 


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


The first public offering of the new advanced weekend workshop Shamanism Practicum: Guidelines for a Healthy Shamanic Practice developed by Susan Mokelke was held in July. Through journeys, sharing, and interactive experiences, an enthusiastic group of both experienced and beginning shamanic practitioners explored 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. Participants reflected:
"Excellent and extremely useful workshop in exactly the right time for me!  A lot of information with good pacing of journeys and activities.  I like the role-playing in particular."

"Thank you for offering this aspect of shamanic healing as a practicum through the Foundation. I learned a lot and felt it was useful and informative. It is an area of the training of shamanic practitioners--at least for those who are navigating through the modern (Western) world--that has been inadequately addressed until now. As shamanism becomes more integrated into mainstream awareness and complementary healing options, these considerations become more vital." 
A second workshop is planned for the San Francisco Bay area January 12 - 13, 2013. Check the website for dates and locations for this workshop from the FSS faculty. Prerequisite: Basic Workshop: The Way of the Shaman®.


Inside the Shamans' School
Mandu (center) and Robin Wright (left) 
at the inauguration of the Shamans House 2009.

In our last issue, at his request, the Foundation asked for assistance for FSS Living Treasure Mandu da Silva, snuff-jaguar shaman of the Baniwa people of Northwest Amazonia in order to complete recordings of his knowledge, so that it may be available for future generations of Baniwa shamans. Through Dr. Robin Wright, FSS Field Associate and coordinator of the project, Mandu 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. Thank you to all of you who donated to help Mandu. Through your generosity, the FSS was able to establish a special fund to assist him and the Baniwa Shamanic Revitalization over the short term with monthly supplemental payments, as long as the funding lasts.    

You may make a one-time donation or a monthly ongoing donation to help Mandu and continue the Baniwa revitalization. Any assistance is welcome and will make so much difference to Mandu and his people. Thank you. 


Tsaatan Shaman
Tsaatan Shaman. ©2011 John Lawrence.

John Lawrence, FSS Staff Associate, and Susan Grimaldi, FSS Audio-Visual Field Documentation, recently returned to Northern Mongolia (2012 Explorer's Club Flag Expedition #186) "In Search of Traditional Shamans of the East and West Taigas." In their first trip in July 2011, they visited FSS Living Treasure Siqingua, a Daur shaman of Inner Mongolia, China. (See the video.) Then they traveled in search of the band of nomadic reindeer herders known as the Tsaatan of the East Taiga. They presented their experience at the 2012 Council Gathering in January and in an article in the December 2011 issue of the Shamanism Annual. This summer, John and Susan revisited the Tsaatan of the East Taiga and then proceeded to an even more remote region in Northern Mongolia known as the West Taiga. They traveled many long days on horseback crossing mountain passes at 9,000 feet. While with the Tsaatan, the travelers interviewed the shamans and filmed their ceremonies. This additional material will be incorporated into their new video documentary, with media and documentation to be archived in the Foundation's Shamanic Knowledge Conservatory 


Jeffrey David Ehrenreich
Photo courtesy of SALSA.
We are pleased to welcome Dr. Jeffrey David Ehrenreich to the FSS Board of Trustees. Dr. Ehrenreich received his B.S. in economics from the University of Bridgeport, and his M.A. and Ph.D. in cultural anthropology from

the Graduate Faculty of the New School for Social Research (now the New School University). He is an ethnographer who has lived and worked among numerous indigenous peoples, including the Awa of Ecuador, the Piaroa and Warao of Venezuela, and the Maya of Guatemala. Among his publications are a number of scholarly books and edited volumes. Between 1989 and 1994 he was the editor of The Latin American Anthropology Review (the journal of the Society for Latin American Anthropology), and between 2003 and 2007 he founded and was the editor of TIPITI (The journal of SALSA, The Society for the Anthropology of Lowland South America). Since joining the faculty of the University of New Orleans, Professor Ehrenreich has engaged in ethnographic and photographic research among the Mardi Gras Indians of New Orleans and among local Vodou practitioners, which he wrote about in the Shamanism Annual (December 2010). Bio courtesy of the University of New Orleans.


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.

Susan Rossi Painting
Sovereign Queen of Her Own Heart. ©Susan Rossi.

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

Lia Lee, subject of a book on the conflict of Western medicine and Hmong shamanic practices, died in
Lia Lee by Anne Fadiman
Lia Lee in 1988.
©Anne Fadiman.
Sacramento, California, on August 31, 2012. She was 5 years old in 1988 when author Anne Fadiman met her and ultimately wrote the book The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down (1997). It is now widely assigned reading in medical schools and in university classes in social work, anthropology, journalism and other fields. Lia and her family's experience as reflected in Ms. Fadiman's book has changed the way American medicine is practiced across cultures, including inspiring the Partners in Healing Program (from Healthy House), which provides training and promotes cooperation between doctors and Hmong shamans in Merced, California.
Read the article from the New York Times online.  



With the help of experts and online internet dictionaries, some Native Americans are striving to preserve and stabilize their languages by helping to create a pool of speakers large enough that their languages will not go away. Read the article from the New York Times online.

Bushmen painting, istockphoto.com/Jan Derksen.


Paul Uccusic, Director of FSS Europe, recently sent us a link to a fascinating article on Prehistoric Shamanism he discovered on Wikipedia. The article is in German, but one can use Google translate tools to get the gist of it in English or other languages. To translate it into your language, click on the link for the article, then copy the URL and paste it into the box on the Google translate page. Then select the "from" language (German) and the "to" language (yours) and click "translate."  



Susan Mokelke was interviewed recently about the work of the Foundation and core shamanism by Caroline Wise King (ShamansKeep.com) on LA Talk Radio. Listen to the interview (click and scroll down to Friday, September 7, 2012).   


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 Lora Jansson

I had a soul mate for many years whose name was Star Gazer. He was a tassled, grey and white bearded collie who had the joie de vivre of champagne. This breed of dog knows how to be clownish, inhabiting a place of humor and generosity. They are a messy breed, and are dramatists.

Even when he was just a puppy, he was debonair. He could go anywhere, greet the person we were visiting as some kind of gleeful and magnanimous party host. From massage therapist offices to stores to people's homes, everyone loved him. After a "beardie bounce" (a process of leaping high in the air while also pirouetting in space, which always reminded me of Baryshnikov) and enthusiastic tail wags, he would find a corner and relax. The perfect fifty-pound guest.


One thing he never did was whine or complain. So when I was getting ready to see my first shamanic client when he was only a year old, and he began scratching furiously at the door and barking at a startling, high pitch, I knew something was different. I knew he not only wanted to come into my client studio, he needed to. I opened the door, he came in and began to relax immediately. He became calmer even as I became a bit frantic because I could feel that he was positive that he should be there, but I was entirely unsure how my client would react.


He and I had journeyed before, but, of course, making the space comfortable and safe for the client was my first priority. Still, I could feel he was going to stay, intractable, which was such abhorrent behavior that I decided I would find out if the client was OK with having a dog present.


As I waited with Gazer, I felt nervous and didn't know if I could truly be of service, truly show up and do the shamanic work I would be called to do. A knock on the door, and I opened the door smiling, communicating an ease I didn't entirely feel. The woman was beaming, too, and seemed very happy. But Gazer did not do his beardie bounce and did not give her his usual over-the-top "wow, am I glad you are here" welcome. He walked gently (an odd adverb for the verb "to walk") over to her, and delicately put his head in her lap just as she sat down.


She burst into tears. Her mask was stripped away by his utter tenderness. The unexpected empathy of this glorious animal, who immediately merged with her emotional state, gave her a freedom that no amount of talk would ever allow. The appointment shifted into deep and true currents. Read more...


Lora Jansson is a shamanic practitioner and an FSS faculty member in the Bainbridge Island area, Washington. She can be reached through her blog, Lora Jansson Shamanic Services.


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 features of shamanism -- together with journeys to other worlds -- 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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