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FSS E-Newsletter

VOLUME 8  ISSUE 2             

JUNE 2014
FSS News
Articles and Information
Healing Words
My Windhorse by Joy Markgraf

My Windhorse by Joy Markgraf

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"For most Westerners, learning and practicing core shamanism is a far more productive approach than imitating a shaman's practices in a particular culture, for each culture has its own symbolism, mythology, and conceptual elaborations. If that is not your own culture, then those elaborations, specializations, and meanings will not be appropriate for you in the way they are appropriate for that particular indigenous people."


Michael Harner

Cave and Cosmos

Chapter 3   


Michael Harner

Sandra Harner
Shamanism for
Healing and Spiritual Knowledge

Harner Shamanic Counseling





The summer months are upon us in the Northern Hemisphere. This is a time when life seems to take on a slower pace, nature blossoms, color paints the landscape. Fledgling birds beat their wings exuberantly, bees dance from flower to flower. To celebrate the season, enjoy this breathtaking video clip of hummingbirds, bees, butterflies, bats and other pollinators. From a TED talk by Louie Schwartzberg, cinematographer, director, and producer. (Full length program Wings of Life, DisneyNature April 2013.)   

May your summer be filled with warmth, peace, and whatever "recreates" you and brings you joy.

Susan Mokelke



FSS News



For a complete listing of FSS weekend workshops and trainings in shamanic healing and divination, as well as advanced shamanic initiations in residential programs such as the Two Week Intensives and Three Year programs, visit the FSS website workshops index.


 Harner Shamanic Counseling Training with Sandra Harner, July 14 - 18, 2014, San Francisco Bay Area, Northern Marin. COURSE FULL. Complete the Workshop Interest form for information on future offerings, when available. 

♦ The East Coast Two Week Shamanic Healing Intensive, taught by Nan Moss and assisted by Elaine Egidio, will be held October 26 - November 6, 2014 in Madison, Virginia.

♦ The 14th West Coast Three-Year Program of Advanced Initiations in Shamanism and Shamanic Healing taught by Amanda Foulger and assisted by Beth Beurkens, will begin October 26 - 31, 2014 in the San Francisco Bay Area, California.


Please check the website for PREREQUISITES for these advanced shamanic training programs.  


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

Michael Harner and Susan Mokelke, accompanied by Sandra Harner, recently presented by invitation at the 13th International Bioethics Forum in Madison, Wisconsin, May 1 - 2, 2014. This year's topic was "3.8 Billion Years of Wisdom: Exploring the Genius of Nature." Michael and Susan provided an experience of the "Shamanic Journey to Acquire Knowledge" to an audience of 300 plus, with Michael introducing core shamanism and Susan providing the instructions for the shamanic drum journey. Then the audience had the opportunity to journey as Susan drummed, followed by sharing and Q & A led by Michael. The audience, made up of many scientists and those interested in spirituality and consciousness, received the experience enthusiastically. Conference photos and videos of several of the presentations are available online (the Harner-Mokelke presentation was experiential and was not videotaped). Other presenters included anthropologists Wade Davis and Jeremy Narby, and cinematographer Louie Schwartzberg.
Michael Harner Bioethics May 2014

The new media area for Members of the Circle of the Foundation is now live. The media area is designed to support your interest in shamanism and contains exclusive articles, audio and video clips, and archival photos accessible via login to the Members Circle. A few of the items included: video of a Daur shaman of Inner Mongolia, China, performing an initiation ceremony for a young man; an article by Larry Peters, "China Expedition 1995: A Personal Account" from Shamanism, Spring/Summer 1996; photo gallery of selections from the FSS archives; and several audio talks by Michael Harner, the earliest from 1986. More content will be added periodically. Members, visit the Members Circle to login. Not a member? Click to Join online.

Angeles Arrien Our dear friend Angeles Arrien passed in April 2014. For a remembrance of Angie by Michael Harner, visit the FSS news blog. Michael notes that Angie was well known "for her cross-cultural spiritual teachings and for the enthusiasm she brought to others. That enthusiasm, coupled with gentle, compassionate understanding of the human condition was one of the markers of her life. While her passing is a sad loss, it is also an opportunity to stop, remember, and appreciate her time among us and to feel our gratitude for the gentle gifts of spirit she gave our lives." In Angie's honor, we have assembled a few selected video clips from a dialogue between Angie and Michael, Echoes of Shamanism in Europe: Angeles Arrien and Michael Harner in Dialogue, recorded at the FSS Gathering of the Council in January 2008 in Mill Valley, California. View the video on the FSS YouTube channel ShamanicStudies. (This is part of a longer video of dialogue and discussion. The audio CD version is available at shamanism.org.)


After many years of extensive travel back and forth to South America and Spain to offer FSS workshops, in addition to her Three Year program, Two Week Intensive, and weekend teaching responsibilities in the USA, Alicia Luengas Gates has decided to make some changes for health and personal reasons. For the time being, she will no longer teach FSS programs in the US, but as director of FSS trainings in Latin America and Spain, she will focus her efforts on continuing to build the FSS presence in the Spanish-speaking countries. She is looking forward to spending longer periods of time working with the FSS faculty in Argentina and Spain and teaching the FSS weekend workshops, Harner Shamanic Counseling, and the Three Year programs to the many students there eager to experience FSS trainings.


Alicia will complete the current 5th North American Three Year Program she is teaching, as well as some of the weekend workshops she has scheduled in the San Diego, California area and a Spanish language Basic workshop sponsored by Tim Flynn south of San Jose, California. Please check the website workshops pages for the latest calendar of workshops.  


Long time faculty member Amanda Foulger will teach the Three Year Program starting in October 2014 on the West Coast. Amanda is one the Foundation's most experienced faculty members, long a member of the teaching staff of the Three-Year programs with both Michael Harner and Alicia Gates. She will be assisted by Beth Beurkens.

Says Michael Harner: "I am delighted to see that Alicia is going to be even more involved in developing some of the Foundation's overseas programs and equally delighted that Amanda will be bringing her outstanding teaching abilities and inspiring personality once more to the Three Year programs of the Foundation."
Cave and Cosmos by Michael Harner
The Italian, Norwegian, Slovenian, and Turkish editions of Cave and Cosmos have just been released, joining the French and German editions. A Spanish version is in the works. Cave and Cosmos is available in paperback directly through the Foundation, as well as online and in local bookstores. Ebook editions may be obtained 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.

Way of the Shaman in Chinese Announcement Kevin Turner, FSS faculty and Director for Asia, will be on hand on June 20, 2014 in Taipei, Taiwan, to talk about the FSS and core shamanism for the grand announcement of the first Chinese translation of Michael Harner's classic The Way of the Shaman. (Poster about the announcement, right.) In addition to his work in Japan, Bali, and other Asian locations, Kevin offered an advanced two-day workshop for the first time in Hong Kong, May 10-11. Power Soul Retrieval Training will be introduced in Taiwan, June 21-22 and he plans to offer seven FSS courses in Bali, Indonesia in October. Visit the FSS website for workshops scheduled in Asia. Kevin was also invited to speak at the opening of a new Shamanic Culture Park in Northern China, though it is not finalized at this time because of construction delays. We'll keep you posted.

FSS faculty member Timothy Flynn is sponsoring a Spanish language version of the Basic Workshop: The Way of the Shaman in Morgan Hill, California (south of San Jose). The workshop will be taught by Alicia Luengas Gates, August 16 - 17, 2014. Please pass on this information to your Spanish-speaking friends in the northern California area.
La Senda del Chamán
Taller Básico de la Fundación Para los Estudios Chamánicos
Viaje Chamánico, Poder Personal y Curación
En Español
16 y 17 de agosto del 2014
Morgan Hill Holiday Inn (California)
REGISTRACIÓN: tim@alchemistsjournal.com o llame al: (831) 204-8323. Matricularse en la web
Más información tocante este trabajo en español se encuentra al:

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.

Members of the Circle, we invite you to share your work with us by
Water Chi by Jill Campbell
Water Chi by Jill Campbell
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. You may submit up to three (3) photos for our consideration. 5. Please include your name and the title of the work, with a few words description. 6. Send the photo as an email attachment to the Editor, Susan Mokelke.

Articles and Information

Mother Bear Pole by Robert Davidson
Bear Mother pole stands in Davidson's home village of Massett. Photo courtesy Robert Davidson Studio.
Haida artist Robert Davidson's groundbreaking work aims to rejuvenate the once-mighty culture of the Haida people of British Columbia, Canada. For Davidson, it all began more than 40 years ago with a dream of creating a massive totem pole, which came into being when he and his brother carved the Bear Mother pole (right). On August 22, 1969, this 40-foot pole became the first one raised in his homeland in nearly a century. Davidson's art is about "nothing less than to help rebuild a culture known, before it was decimated, for being replete with art in every aspect of daily life." Not only does he sculpt totem poles and masks and create ceremonial clothing of his native heritage, but he also leads other members of his village in dancing and drumming for forgotten ceremonies, songs and dances to call in the spirits to enliven these creations, reviving the practice of "dancing art into being." Read the article, from Mother Jones, November 2013. Submitted by Maryphyllis Horn, Pittsboro, North Carolina.


FSS Living Treasure of Shamanism Buriat shaman Bo Bair Rinchinov is featured in a Russia Today television program Shamans of Siberia. He is shown interviewing patients, working with his students, and performing rituals. About 16:45 minutes into the video, Michael Harner and the Foundation for Shamanic Studies are also mentioned. View the video (Russia Today © "RT" ANO "TV-Novosti" 2011, 26.25 minutes). Submitted by Kevin Turner, FSS faculty. 



Susan Mokelke was interviewed recently in Ireland's holistic magazine Network about the Foundation's work and the potential for shamanism on a personal and global scale. Read the article (pdf format) on the FSS website or on Network Ireland (Network 88 - Jan/Feb/March 2014).


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


How often are we open to messages life gives us? In our cities, malls, suburbs, where the wildness of the world has been banished, have we also silenced the voices that might awaken our souls? Perhaps that world was too rough for us, too true in what it demanded in exchange for an experience of the sacredness of this life.

I was wide awake at the wheel when the Elk danced into my headlights. He was big, just under 300 pounds from the sheriff's report. I moved to the right to avoid, he danced to the right, I moved back, he jumped back. At 2 am that night the road was deadly black, the ice of winter still clinging to the shoulders. High Utah mountain passages like that keep winter's chill for months, even if the deserts below heat up over 100 degrees.
Fire Heart Dancing
Fire Heart Dancing by Timothy Flynn

We collided at 60 mph, his big black eye a few inches from mine as his shoulder connected with the left edge of the windshield. Had we hit head on the Honda Civic would have swept his legs, delivering his body directly to the chests of me and my passenger, probably killing us both. He might have lived, staggered away, if a semi coming the other direction had not hit him head on. I saw only a blur.

I had to see what happened to him. It was crazy I know, I was still shaking from the impact. Eighteen wheelers carrying stone and ore were coming around a tight turn and onto the icy straightaway with little time to notice something in the road smaller than another truck, much less swerve to avoid. We were all boxed in, two lanes, berms on either side. I had to be nimble or wind up on someone's grill. I pulled over, tumbled out and steadied myself on the crushed left front end of my friend's car before running across the road and heading down to where the body lay. I remember feeling like I was running on the dark side of the moon, so desolate, steps in slow motion.
He looked pristine, as if he were just lying down for a rest. Not a drop of blood on his fur as the light of passing trucks ignited the scene. Then I saw something in the road. I pulled out my camping flashlight and focused on -- his heart, lying on the blacktop only a few feet away. The impact of the truck had blown his heart clean out of his chest. It looked like a completely different being, so small and vulnerable but with a presence that changed the entire landscape.

How can this moment ever be? How can something like this happen anywhere, ever?

I was in my twenties when that happened. I was just reaching out to my fledgling spirituality, often grasping at straws, looking for answers anywhere. I had done some prayer work out in the desert that day, asking to find out what it meant to be a healer. Was this connected? Was this an omen or something else? Life seemed to be telling me something, grabbing me and shaking hard.

Over the years I've learned from experience that in interpreting omens, it's often best to focus on the communication of power, the transformative energy in the omen itself. Focusing on that has brought me to ground in some important ways.
I could not put the Elk into a tiny box. Its life was much too great. The urge was still there, to find a simple meaning just about me. That kind of thinking seems to come with our modern way of life in just about everything we do. There are times when life shakes you so hard you just stay shaken. It's supposed to be that way.

What if omens are really just moments in which we awaken to the reality that life is always talking to us? We finally join the conversation already in progress for billions of years. When we feel the power of the omen, we're feeling the overwhelming presence of the consciousness of the Earth. That presence is so awesome we can only take in a few tiny whispers, or risk becoming radicalized, spiritual outlaws in our own culture.

We risk leaving a part of ourselves behind on dark stretches of road beside great fallen beings. We risk returning there when we think about the weight of prayer.

Back when that Elk came into my life I was searching for meaning under every rock, in every bookstore, around any corner I might walk. Omens were mysterious signposts that seemed to lead somewhere and nowhere at the same time. Now the dialog has changed for me, I don't look for signs or omens any more. I have been fed enough by life that I'm more interested in accepting responsibility for my part of the conversation. I'm learning that listening and really receiving what is given, hopefully with gratitude, is most of what my work is. When I do that, I hear the conversation more clearly. I'm able to begin to learn the language, the etiquette of participation.

The grace of some things, like prayer, has come at a great price.

The crushing presence of that Elk heart is a part of me. Shocking though it was I'm glad I ran back there to at least witness what happened. I can still hear the sounds of the trucks, see the wetness of the heart in their oncoming lights. I can close my eyes and find my way back there instantly. Regardless of whether or not some cosmic force directed me to that moment, his heart has become a part of my life, my spirit, my way of being in the world.

When I visit the spirit of that Elk through journeying, his message to me is clear and joyful:
"Don't be afraid. Dance, sing. Don't let the gravity of life and its pains stop you from dancing." 


Submitted by Timothy R. Flynn, Contributing Editor, FSS faculty member, Monterey County, California. Read more from Tim on his website and blog Alchemists 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, 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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