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FSS E-Newsletter

VOLUME 7  ISSUE 2         

JULY 2013
FSS News
Articles and Information
Healing Words
My Windhorse by Joy Markgraf

My Windhorse by Joy Markgraf

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"For the shaman who is intimately interacting with helping spirits, miracles are almost routine events in healing work. In fact, spirit-produced miracles of healing are probably shamans' most celebrated feature in indigenous societies. Separate from helping shamans carry out healing activities, spirits often attempt to communicate their reality through miracles and micro-miracles."

Michael Harner

Cave and Cosmos

From Chapter 2: We Exist! The Spirits Call for Recognition  


Michael Harner


Bee and Flowers by Anne Payr
Photo by Anne Payr

Dear Friend of Shamanism,    

We hope you are having a lovely summer
and enjoying a time of "re-creation."

When thinking ahead to the Fall, if you are interested in learning shamanic healing, consider taking the FSS Two Week Shamanic Healing Intensive, offered on the East Coast of the USA October 20 - 31, 2013 and on the West Coast March 23 - April 4, 2014. This transformative program offers training in the major core shamanic healing methods, such as extraction healing, psychopomp training (helping the souls of the deceased), and core soul retrieval training. It includes work with divination and with the spirits of nature, as well as the dream dance and other initiatory practices -- all in a beautiful natural retreat setting with an extended period for immersion in the work. Participants often find lifelong friendships and colleagues in this profound program. Says one student: "The course is brilliantly designed. Each tool was taught in a step-by-step way so I gained experience and confidence to undertake the healing work. The schedule worked well and the methodology was very eloquent and elegant."

With warm summer blessings, 
Susan Mokelke



FSS News



♦ 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.    

♦ The West Coast Two Week Shamanic Healing Intensive, taught by Alicia L. Gates, will be held March 23 - April 4, 2014 in the San Francisco Bay area, California. 

♦ The 9th East Coast Three Year Program of Advanced Initiations in Shamanism and Shamanic Healing, taught by David Corbin and Nan Moss, begins April 27 - May 2, 2014 in Madison, Virginia.    

♦ 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. (Course full. New program in the San Francisco Bay area with Alicia Gates begins October 26 - 31, 2014.)   


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.



Michael Harner recently announced steps for a vibrant and successful future for the Foundation. At Michael's initiation, the FSS Board of Trustees voted unanimously to appoint Susan Mokelke as President, effective July 1, 2013. Michael continues his active participation in the Foundation's work as
Susan Mokelke
Susan Mokelke
Vice President for Development and Founder. In an open letter to supporters and friends of the Foundation and of shamanism, Michael says: "You have helped make the Foundation the premiere organization in the world for the safeguarding and teaching of shamanic knowledge. I wish to express my gratitude to you for your commitment. With your support and that of the helping spirits, our Foundation can continue to lead the way into a new era, where the wisdom and assistance of the compassionate spirits of another reality are accessible to all."

Susan Mokelke was recently interviewed on the Bob Charles Show, web radio, talking about core shamanism and the work of the Foundation. To listen to or download the interview, click here and scroll down to select "Bob Charles 7-26-13 Susan Mokelke."

Beginning in 2013, the FSS will offer a new advanced weekend workshop in Core Soul Retrieval Training developed by Michael Harner. The first public offering of this workshop will be August 24 - 25, 2013 in the San Francisco Bay Area, taught by Michael Harner, assisted by Alicia Gates. (Course Full. Visit the FSS website for additional offerings and locations.) We are the fortunate heirs of a great and venerable spiritual tradition, shamanism, many thousands of years old, with core principles and practices that are universal or common for one simple reason: they work. Among them is soul retrieval, found widely in shamanic cultures. Dr. Harner learned how to do soul retrieval in 1961 while living among the Amazonian Conibo and brought it to the West. The training in core soul retrieval to be offered by the Foundation is based on principles and methods that have been used successfully not just by the Conibo, but cross-culturally. Core soul retrieval is a shamanic healing method and does not involve the addition of Western psychological practices. For details and advanced prerequisites required, visit the FSS website.

Sacred Hoop Issue 80 cover June 2013 Cave and Cosmos has received enthusiastic reviews from luminaries such as Stan Grof and Angeles Arrien and ForeWord independent book publishers.

Excerpts edited from Cave and Cosmos make up the lead article entitled "Michael Harner: A Lifetime Bringing Shamanism to Today's World" in the 20th anniversary issue of Sacred Hoop (issue 80, June 2013, cover right).

In a review later in the issue, editor Nicholas Breeze Wood says: "The book works on many levels. It makes a great introduction to shamanism, and yet at the same time it contains depths that made me draw in my breath with wonder. It is an exciting book, an inspiring book, and a Cave and Cosmos cover book that stands as testament to Michael's work. It is without doubt essential reading and destined to be a classic on the subject -- just as much as his ground breaking Way of the Shaman, written all those years ago."

Cave and Cosmos may now be purchased in paperback directly through the Foundation, as well as through online and local bookstores. It is also available as an ebook from online booksellers such as Random House and Amazon.com. At Michael Harner's request, all royalties from Cave and Cosmos will go to the Foundation for Shamanic Studies in support of its work.

Marcia Rich Welcome to Marcia Rich, Ph.D., new FSS faculty member for Alberta, Canada. Marcia received her doctorate at the University of Calgary and has completed research in integrating spiritual and transpersonal realms into psychotherapy. She is interested in the intersection of shamanic practice and transpersonal psychotherapy. Since beginning her training with the Foundation for Shamanic Studies, she has maintained a shamanic practice, providing individual and group sessions for healing. What is most inspiring for Marcia is supporting others in deep healing as they become increasingly independent and autonomous in their shamanic practice. This passion comes from her personal experience of intensive healing and transformation through practicing shamanism as a spiritual path.


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.

Tiger by Susan Lockhart
Tiger. Painting by Susan Lockhart.
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

Mysteries of Jaguar Shamans

Scientists have mostly focused on the benefits of meditation for the brain and the body, but a recent study by Northeastern University's David DeSteno published in Psychological Science takes a look at what impacts meditation has on interpersonal harmony and compassion. Read the article from ScienceDaily.com.  


Books have just been released by FSS Field Associates Dr. Robin M. Wright (Northwest Amazon) and Dr. William S. Lyon (Western North America). Wright's book Mysteries of the Jaguar Shamans of the Northwest Amazon relates the life and shamanic practices of FSS Living Treasure Mandu da Silva, jaguar shaman of the Baniwa people.


Spirit Talkers cover Lyon spent the last four decades doing field research with many different American Indian medicine men, with an emphasis on the Lakota culture. His book Spirit Talkers: North American Indian Medicine Powers tells of the extent and variation in the medicine powers that were used by the American Indians to achieve success in their daily activities.



A new full color book by Sacred Hoop Editor Nicholas Breeze Wood about the shamans of Mongolia and Siberia looks at original drum traditions, and gives pointers for using drums in contemporary shamanic practice. Preview and order: Sacred Drums of Siberia: The Soul of the Shaman.              



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


I have been a mostly full-time shamanic practitioner for 17 years now, and that translates into many hundred, if not a thousand, sessions with clients of all kinds. I have asked the helping spirits to do cures on people and on wild animals. On land and companion animals. Businesses that are folding due to suffering spirits who were attached to buildings, and phenomenon enacted by suffering spirits to get my attention when they needed help.
Heart Reborn by Tim Flynn
Heart Reborn ©Tim Flynn

Some years ago I was sitting on my small deck while living in a house in Seattle. My husband was at work, and my dog Star Gazer was with me. It was a bit cool and cloudy that night. As I lounged, with Gazer curled near me, his head jerked sharply and then he sat up alert and began watching something behind my back. A small grrrrrrr warned me that something was wrong.


He was watching a conch shell sitting on the deck behind my lounge chair. My parents visited the Caribbean many decades before, and had brought me the shell as a present. The pink had long since faded, and the outside of shell was polished by weather.The conch shell was moving. Not fast, but it was coming toward us. I immediately thought a mouse or something had climbed in and couldn't get out. I got up, watched for a moment, and then I lifted the shell. I was cautious. I couldn't imagine what might be trapped in there.


I got a stick from the yard and probed the curved interior as best I could. There was nothing trapped in there. It was empty. I put the shell down and it started to move again. Gazer was now sitting, watching with his head cocked, and then looked at me as if to say, "Well, what are you going to do about this?"


It had been a long day. I had seen two clients, and had done a lot of intense work. I had already been outside of my body for more than three hours that day, and was tired. So as I watched the moving shell, I thought, "OK, I'll journey if I must, but maybe whatever is there can wait for a night."


I said aloud, "I understand you need something from me, and I will serve you, but I will come to you tomorrow. Please stop moving if you understand me."


The shell stopped moving. I went to bed and woke up fresh the next morning. I immediately journeyed to the helping spirits, and asked them what the spirit in the shell wanted from me.


It was the spirit of a small child who had drowned in the ocean. She was wandering looking for her mother, and was, of course, suffering. She did not know she was dead. So in the journey, the helping spirits and I performed a psychopomp. I had learned about this work from the spirits themselves and the FSS Shamanism, Dying, and Beyond workshop, as well as in the FSS Three Year program.


"Psychopomp" is a Greek word, which means "conductor of souls." Shamans have been serving the dead as well as the living through time immemorial. I dearly love this work--the spirits taught me how to do it very early on in my shamanic training. I never had a name for it until I took the FSS training, and was amazed to discover it was an ancient practice with a distinguished lineage.


When you have worked with many, many clients, you begin to get accustomed to phenomena. I wasn't, and am still not, especially fond of the drama inherent in phenomenological events, but have lost any fear of them. I see them as a red flag, an urgent communication that something needs to be done.


Over the years, I have learned a lot about shamanic work, but, as I tell clients and students when they ask about phenomena, all shamanic work happens in the heart of mystery.


I have long since proven to myself, through empirical evidence, that the helping spirits I work with are omniscient. Sometimes I think I am a slow shamanic study; I err on needing a lot of proof before I will accept an event as being a spiritual entanglement or message. Through the helping spirits tutelage and my FSS training, I have learned to completely trust the helping spirits to tell me if they know that shamanic work is necessary.


Which brings us to back to mystery. I work in mystery always. My shamanic helping spirits always know what to do and when. All of this has taught me something fundamental about our spirits and our souls, as well as the spirits and soul of all the animate and inanimate beings in the world. And that is this: Mystery is safe.


This must be one of the most seminal lessons in shamanism. And in a world of uncertainty, in a world where so many are suffering, it is a corridor to a kind of safety, a kind of fairness. A sense of rightness even when the imbalance of events make you feel like you are falling down.


I believe it is a core tenet, and from it springs many remarkable gifts in part because it isn't simplistic. Mystery is safe, but it is not necessarily easy. Many complex lessons, too many to share here, grow from this knowledge. But one is especially important. In so many of my client sessions - in fact, the vast majority - my helping spirits tell me to repeat this to clients: You are always being held and cherished.


These healing words almost always evoke tears. How many times have we all felt alone when battling illness and difficult life circumstances? How many times do people feel their backs bend from the responsibilities they must carry?


Knowing we cannot always see our footing AND knowing that we are partnered and can trust our feet and the mist, matters tremendously, and may be one of the most universal of all shamanic gifts.


Submitted by Lora Jansson, FSS Three Year Program graduate and faculty member, Bainbridge Island, Washington. Read more on Lora's blog.


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, which consists of the universal, near-universal, and common features of shamanism, together with journeys to other worlds, a distinguishing feature of shamanism. 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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