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FSS E-Newsletter

VOLUME 6, ISSUE 4       

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

My Windhorse by Joy Markgraf

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"The first principle: spirits are real. This first principle is the basis for all the other nine. It simply notes the reality
of spirits, something that serious practitioners
of shamanism already know from their direct experiences. This is knowledge fundamental to success in shamanic

Michael Harner


The first principle of ten in Michael Harner's A Core Shamanic Theory of Dreams, introduced at the Shamanic Dreamwork workshop August 14, 2010.

Michael Harner



We wish you joy and abundance in this season of light and throughout the New Year. Please CLICK TO VIEW our holiday and New Year wishes for you.

Mountains in Clouds

Our heartfelt thanks for your participation in the Foundation's work,

Michael Harner, Sandra Harner, Susan Mokelke, and Noelle Burch
and the Board of Trustees of the Foundation for Shamanic Studies 

Susan Mokelke



Note: Our office will be closed for the holiday break until January 2, 2013.


FSS News



♦ The West Coast Two Week Shamanic Healing Intensive, taught by Alicia L. Gates, will be held May 26-June 6, 2013 in the San Francisco Bay area, California. 

Harner Shamanic Counseling Training with April Tuck, CSC, will be held July 15 - 19, 2013 in the San Francisco Bay Area, California.

♦ The new 2nd Pacific Northwest Summertime Three-Year Program in Advanced Initiations in Shamanism and Shamanic Healing with Susan Mokelke will begin August 4 - 15, 2013 in the Seattle area, Washington.

♦ The East Coast Two Week Shamanic Healing Intensive, taught by David Corbin and Nan Moss, will be held October 20 - 31, 2013 in Madison, Virginia.    


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 year began with the 15th Annual Gathering of the Council membership. Special guest Brother David Steindl-Rast and Michael Harner dialogued Brother David Steindl-Rast & Michael Harner about Christianity and shamanism and Brother David shared about his inspiring work with gratitude. The 2013 Gathering of the Council will be held January 25 - 26, 2013 in Mill Valley, California. It is not too late to become a Council member if you wish to attend the upcoming gathering (the deadline has been extended until January 3, 2013). Michael Harner will preview his forthcoming book Cave and Cosmos: Shamanic Encounters with Spirits and Heavens. There will also be special presentations on shamanism in Mongolia and Tuva, as well as shamanic experiences. More information about membership in the Circle of the Foundation, including Council membership.
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 ethical, legal and other pragmatic considerations. The next offering of this workshop is January 12 - 13, 2013 in the San Francisco Bay area. Check the website for dates and locations for this workshop from the FSS faculty.
Kevin Turner, FSS faculty for Asia, offered Foundation workshops for the first time in Thailand and Bali, as well as continuing advanced weekends in Taiwan and Japan. For more information, visit FSS in Asia.
Sadly, FSS Living Treasure Tibetan shaman Pau Pasang Rhichoe passed on in March, 2012. He was a gentle soul and his wisdom and healing skill is greatly missed.
Foundation membership and friends responded generously to the request for aid for FSS Living Treasure Mandu da Silva,Snuff-Jaguar shaman of the Baniwa people of Northwest Amazonia, who had lost his government stipend and wished to continue his work recording his knowledge. In the coming year, with the help of FSS Field Associate Dr. Robin Wright, the Foundation plans to see what next steps might be taken to continue the Baniwa shamanic revitalization.
The December issue of the Shamanism Annual has just been released. It contains articles on a Buryat tree-climbing shamanic initiation by Kevin Turner (who will make a presentation about it at the Friday evening session of the upcoming Council meeting); Living Treasure Pau Nyima Dhondup's practice of soul healing, by Larry Peters; articles on reviving Celtic indigenous traditions, creativity, and power animal retrieval, as well as a classic 1910 article on "Shamans of the East Greenland Eskimo" by William Thalbitzer. (The journal is a benefit of FSS membership.)           


In a startling and hopeful turn of events, Michael's work was acknowledged in the recent Anthropology of Consciousness journal (Vol. 23, Issue 2; part of the American Anthropological Association) by an essay in his honor by Bonnie Glass-Coffin and Kiiskeentum, who challenge their colleagues to move beyond what he has called "cognicentrism." The authors state:


"If, as a discipline, anthropology wants to have continued relevance in the world, it is our assertion that we must begin sharing what we have learned from indigenous wisdom keepers with our reading audiences in ways that move those who read our works to compassionate action in the world. This is what Michael Harner has been able to do, with his book The Way of the Shaman and with the curricula of the workshops offered by the Foundation [FSS] that invite people to experience for themselves the life worlds that are just beyond the veil of 'ordinary' consciousness.


... For, even as most academics continue to explain away assertions that positive relations between humans and all other beings restore individuals, their communities, the natural world, and the cosmos to harmony, Harner's legacy has created the necessary space to bear first-person witness to the reality of unseen worlds."

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.

Painting by Therese Bushen
Surrounded by Beauty
by Therese Bushen

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

The December 2012 issue of National Geographic features an article on Mongolian shamanism: "Masters of Ecstasy." The article talks of the revival of shamanism in Mongolia.
Read the text by Daniel
Mongolian Shaman Drum by Kevin Turner
Mongolian Shaman and Drum. Photo by Kevin Turner.
Stern and view the photo gallery by Carolyn Drake, from National Geographic magazine online. Mongolian shamanism has been the subject of two recent articles in the FSS journal, the Shamanism Annual, both by Kevin Turner, FSS faculty and Director for Asia. "A Revival of Mongolian Shamanism," Shamanism Annual, Issue 24, December 2011 and "When Shamans Climb Trees," Shamanism Annual, Issue 25, December 2012.



For the first time, Sami shamanism was officially recognized by the government as a religion in Norway. This is good news for the Sami people who underwent religious and political persecution for centuries and were long forbidden the practice of their traditional ways. Read the article from The Nordic Page. Reportedly, some Sami do not wish to have shamanism recognized as a religion and prefer it to be seen as an individual practice. Also of interest is blog commentary by Tina Fields, a college professor and self-described "student of indigenous wisdom," who writes: "After so many years, the indigenous shamanic practitioners in northern Norway, the Sami Noaidje, can come out of the closet. They can practice their traditional ways in the open, and once more enjoy proper widespread appreciation for it." Ms. Fields mentions Ailo Gaup, Sami poet, author, and shaman, and an FSS Three-Year program graduate. Read the commentary and see the photo of Ailo Gaup, from Indigenize!



The illustrations on Sami shaman (Noaidi) drums have been an important source of information about Sami culture. In this article "The History of Lapland and the Case of the Sami Noaidi Drum Figures Reversed," Francis Joy looks at the implications for researchers and for Sami history, religion, and traditions, of a number of significant errors recently identified in manuscripts dating from the 1670s. Read the article from Folklore electronic journal, 2011, Vol. 47, pages 113 - 144.  



Anthropologist Edith Turner, who wrote so persuasively in Shamanism about The Reality of Spirits, has released a new book Communitas: The Anthropology of Collective Joy. "Communitas is inspired fellowship, a group's unexpected joy in sharing common experiences, the sense felt by a group when their life together takes on full meaning. Turner shows how communitas is a driving force in history as it operates personally, in religion, in revolution, in all domains of human life."      


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

In the last issue of this e-newsletter (September 2012), the subject of animal "funerals" was mentioned and this Healing Words column told the story of a dog who participated in a shamanic practitioner's healing sessions. These stories struck a chord and some of you sent in your own animal-spirit stories. Here are a few for your enjoyment. -- the Editor


I have sold my property in Chile -- 34 acres of beautiful native woodland in the foothills of the Andes -- and have been looking for a smaller place locally. I visited with a friend who is selling her property Owl with Full Moon nearby, but with better roads, a smaller house and less land (about 8 acres). She was telling me about some groves of native trees on her land and about a dream she had of a "little person" (a spirit being) who came to her and told her not to cut these trees because "we live there." I went to the areas and definitely knew she was correct; there was an owl box nearby. Several days later, I felt the presence of a spirit owl, sitting on my left shoulder. I asked it why it was there and what it wanted and it told me that I needed to buy this property. I asked why and it said that I would protect and respect it and not cut the native trees. I haven't made a definite decision yet and the sale process is taking a long time as we are dealing with three countries (Switzerland, Thailand where buyer lives, and Chile) and four languages, so it is difficult and slow.  But I am listening to the spirit owl and talking with the owner and it may be that this will be my next home. Submitted by Shinann Earnshaw, FSS Three-Year program graduate, Chile.


Before I had studied and read and practiced shamanism, sometime in the 1990s, my husband and I were walking along the beach at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and came upon a large group of gulls standing and sitting on the sand and in the grass and brush somewhat back in distance from the water's edge. I noticed a very large dead gull close to the water but not in the water. I immediately knew it was a seagull funeral. My husband gave me one of those looks as if to say I was crazy, but then I saw he, too, had realized it was true. We walked on for a mile or so, then headed back. Upon passing the birds again we were even more sure that that was what was happening. It seemed to be a very sacred gathering and we stopped and stood with them for a few minutes and moved on. The birds never flew or moved away from us as we passed by, either coming or going back. Submitted by Linda Desper, Worthington, Ohio.



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 and common features of shamanism, including journeying to other worlds and working with compassionate spirits to increase knowledge, alleviate suffering, and heal. Originated, researched, and developed by Michael Harner, the principles of core shamanism are not bound to any specific cultural group or perspective.  The workshops and training programs have 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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