Sharon Van Raalte

Sharon Van Raalte taught the The Way of the Shaman® , Shamanic Journeying, Power, and Healing, The Basic Workshop in Core Shamanism (Weekend) that I attended in Toronto, Ontario.

Sharon was on the international teaching faculty of the Foundation for Shamanic Studies, conducting workshops in Ontario and Quebec for more than 15 years.

Sharon Van Raalte holds an M.A. in Transpersonal Psychology from the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology in Palo Alto, CA and has been a student of shamanism for many years.

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Martha Lucier

Martha Lucier is co-founder of Northern Edge Algonquin Retreat Centre along with her husband Todd Lucier.

It was a wonderful experience studying with Martha at The Northern Edge. What a beautiful place.

A practitioner of Core Shamanism based on the work of Michael Harner, founder of the Foundation for Shamanic Studies, Martha has completed the F.S.S. 3 year program as well as shamanic teacher training with Sandra Ingerman and is a board member of the Society for Shamanic Practitioners.

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BEYOND MOTIVATION
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BEYOND MOTIVATION delivers usable techniques for personal and group development that helps individuals and groups increase their productivity by recognizing that working with others is an exchange of energy.

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Shamanism & Shamanic Practice

Shamanism is a cross-cultural spiritual path that is a method rather than a religion that has been practiced in every continent of the world since the beginning of history. Shamanism coexists with established religions in many cultures.

The word “Shaman” is an ancient word from the Evenki tribe in Siberia and it means “the one who sees in the dark”, or “the one who knows”. Shamans journey between the visible world and the world of spirit for the purposes of healing and divination.

Essential Perspective Of Shamanism

The essential perspective of shamanism is:

  • Everything is alive.
  • Everything has spirit and awareness.
  • Energy and matter are the same. Everything is vibration.
  • Everything that exists is an energy system within a greater energy system.
  • Everything that exists is connected to everything else in a web of energy or life.
  • Unseen/inner/spiritual reality affects visible reality.

My Introduction to Shamanism

Although a number of Shamans conducted workshops over anumber of years during the 90s in The Reiki Store that I co-owned in Toronto, Ontario, Canada I never took their workshops.

Shamanism came onto my life after a heart attack in 2004 via Bernie Morin, a gifted Shaman and Reiki Master. Bernie then lead me to the Foundation for Shamanic Studies.

The Foundation for Shamanic Studies referred me to Jeannette McCullough who became my teacher and a dear frriend. My first work with her involved a weekend Medicine for the Earth workshop that had been developed by Sandra Ingerman.

I took the Basic Workshop in Core Shamanism The Way of the Shaman® – Shamanic Journeying, Power, and Healing offered by the Foundation for Shamanic Studies with Sharon Van Raalte. I have also received training as a Shamanic Practitioner from Shamans including Martha Lucier, Mandaza Kandemwa, and others.

Here are links to useful websites about Shamanism and Shamanic practice:

Core Shamanism

Core Shamanism is a system of shamanic beliefs and practices synthesized by Michael Harner and beautifully presented in easy to read language in his book The Way of the Shaman.

Core shamanism does not hold a fixed belief system, but instead focuses on the practice of shamanic journeying. Specific practices include the use of rapid drumming (about 220 beats per minute) to attain the Shamanic State of Consciousness. In this altered state of consciousness, much like being conscious while dreaming, the shamanic practitioner goes on a shamanic journey to one of the spirit worlds in order to encounter and interact with the spirits, and effect healing and practice divination.

The following is taken from an interview of Michael Harner by Bonnie Horrigan that is published on the Foundation for Shamanic Studies website.

The word “shaman” in the original Tungus language refers to a person who makes journeys to nonordinary reality in an altered state of consciousness. Adopting the term in the West was useful because people didn’t know what it meant. Terms like “wizard,” “witch,” “sorcerer,” and “witch doctor” have their own connotations, ambiguities, and preconceptions associated with them. Although the term is from Siberia, the practice of shamanism existed on all inhabited continents.

After years of extensive research, Mircea Eliade, in his book, Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy, concluded that:

shamanism underlays all the other spiritual traditions on the planet, and that the most distinctive feature of shamanism—but by no means the only one—was the journey to other worlds in an altered state of consciousness.

“…in our culture many consider it avant-garde if a person talks about the mind-body connection, but the fact that the brain is connected to the rest of the body is not the most exciting news. It’s been known for hundreds and thousands of years. What’s really important about shamanism, in my opinion, is that the shaman knows that we are not alone. By that I mean, when one human being compassionately works to relieve the suffering of another, the helping spirits are interested and become involved.”

Shamans are often called “see-ers” (seers), or “people who know” in their tribal languages, because they are involved in a system of knowledge based on firsthand experience. Shamanism is not a belief system. It’s based on personal experiments conducted to heal, to get information, or do other things. In fact, if shamans don’t get results, they will no longer be used by people in their tribe. People ask me, “How do you know if somebody’s a shaman?” I say, “It’s simple. Do they journey to other worlds? And do they perform miracles?”

Is shamanism a religion?

The practice of shamanism is a method, not a religion. It coexists with established religions in many cultures.

In Siberia, you’ll find shamanism coexisting with Buddhism and Lamaism, and in Japan with Buddhism. It’s true that shamans are often in animistic cultures. Animism means that people believe there are spirits. So in shamanic cultures, where shamans interact with spirits to get results such as healing, it’s no surprise that people believe there are spirits. But the shamans don’t believe in spirits. Shamans talk with them, interact with them. They no more “believe” there are spirits than they “believe” they have a house to live in or have a family. This is a very important issue because shamanism is not a system of faith.

Shamanism is also not exclusionary. They don’t say, “We have the only healing system.” In a holistic approach to healing, the shaman uses the spiritual means at his or her disposal in cooperation with people in the community who have other techniques such as plant healing, massage, and bone setting. The shaman’s purpose is to help the patient get well, not to prove that his or her system is the only one that works.

BEYOND MOTIVATION
by James T. McCay
with Richard E. Ward

BEYOND MOTIVATION delivers usable techniques for personal and group development that helps individuals and groups increase their productivity by recognizing that working with others is an exchange of energy.

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Foundation for Shamanic Studies

The Foundation for Shamanic Studies is dedicated to the preservation, study, and teaching of shamanic knowledge for the welfare of the Planet and its inhabitants. Their website contains a wealth of information including class schedules and Shamanic Practitioners worldwide.

Shamanic Training

Since 1979 the Foundation for Shamanic Studies presents the world’s foremost training programs in shamanism and shamanic healing. These training programs are based on the pioneering work of anthropologist Michael Harner, who brought shamanism to contemporary life in the West after extensive field and cross-cultural investigation, experimentation, and personal practice.

Core Shamanism

Michael Harner originated, researched, and developed core shamanism, a system designed for Westerners to apply shamanism and shamanic healing successfully to their daily lives. This system is based upon the underlying universal, near-universal, and common practices of shamanism, rather than upon culture-specific variations and elaborations.

Since the West overwhelmingly lost its shamanic knowledge centuries ago due to religious oppression, the Foundation’s programs in core shamanism are particularly intended for Westerners to reacquire access to their rightful spiritual heritage through quality workshops and training courses.

Training in core shamanism includes teaching students to alter their consciousness through classic shamanic non-drug techniques such as sonic driving, especially in the form of repetitive drumming, so that they can discover their own hidden spiritual resources, transform their lives, and learn how to help others.

Core shamanism does not focus on ceremonies, such as those of Native American medicine men and women, persons who do both shamanism and ceremonial work.

Reconnecting Indigenous People with Shamanism

When invited by indigenous peoples who have largely lost their shamanic knowledge, the Foundation may send a team to help them establish firsthand shamanic contact with their own spirits and learn from them. With this work done in short time, the team leaves. The Foundation has done this by invitation in various parts of the world, including the Arctic of Eurasia and Canada, and in central Asia.

Living Treasures of Shamanism

Where the survival of indigenous shamanism is threatened by outside forces the Foundation may designate elderly shamans as Living Treasures of Shamanism and provide lifetime stipends to help them pass their precious knowledge on to their peoples.

Shamanic Knowledge Conservatory

The Foundation also maintains a great archive, the Shamanic Knowledge Conservatory, containing irreplaceable documents, books, audio-visual media, and artifacts to preserve endangered shamanic knowledge for future generations.

Donations and Workshops

Income from donations, workshops, and other activities of the Foundation help support these and other projects of the Foundation, which is a nonprofit public charitable and educational organization.

Visit the website for the Foundation of Shamanic Studies.

Shamanic Training Organizations

Learn more about shamanism from these Shamanic organizations:

BEYOND MOTIVATION
by James T. McCay
with Richard E. Ward

BEYOND MOTIVATION delivers usable techniques for personal and group development that helps individuals and groups increase their productivity by recognizing that working with others is an exchange of energy.

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Michael Harner

Michael Harner

Dr. Michael J. Harner is the the founder and president of the Foundation for Shamanic Studies.

Michael Harner pioneered the introduction of shamanism and the shamanic drum journey to contemporary life and is recognized as the world leader in this movement.

Perhaps Dr. Harner’s greatest contribution has been his pivotal role in bridging the worlds of indigenous shamanism and the contemporary West through his fieldwork and research, experimentation, writings, and original development of the core methods of shamanism.

By introducing these methods to the West, he started the movement that is returning shamanism and shamanic healing to the spiritual life of peoples throughout the planet.

“What Yogananda did for Hinduism and D.T. Suzuki did for Zen, Michael Harner has done for shamanism, namely bring the tradition and its richness to Western awareness. Michael Harner is widely acknowledged as the world’s foremost authority on shamanism and has had an enormous influence on both the academic and lay worlds,” say Roger Walsh and Charles S. Grob, in their recent book, Higher Wisdom.

Core Methods of Shamanism Worldwide

In his half century of anthropological fieldwork, cross-cultural studies, experimental research, and firsthand experience, Michael Harner arrived at the core methods of shamans worldwide. The applicability of this core shamanism to contemporary Westerners has been substantiated by the experiences of his thousands of students. The experiential methods are simple, safe, and have been used successfully by them with positive life-changing results.

Honoring the oral tradition of indigenous shamans, for the last quarter of a century Dr. Harner has conveyed his shamanic knowledge first-hand through teaching and experiential work rather than through writing. Today he and his staff annually teach thousands of students internationally who, in turn, introduce thousands more to shamanism.

Authentic White Shaman

Michael Harner is not just an anthropologist who has studied shamanism; he is an authentic white shaman, observes the distinguished transpersonal psychologist Stanislav Grof.

Michael Harner began learning about shamanism in 1956-57 while studying with the Shuar (Jívaro) tribe of the Ecuadorian Amazon, and started practicing shamanism during his 1960-61 stay with the Conibo people of the Peruvian Amazon. He subsequently returned to the Shuar for additional practical training in shamanism.

Widely Recognized as a Shaman

He became recognized as a shaman by the indigenous shamans with whom he worked, including ones belonging to the following peoples: the Conibo and Shuar (formerly Jívaro) in South America; the Coast Salish, Pomo, and Northern Paiute in western North America; the Inland Inuit and the Sami (formerly Lapps) in the Arctic; and the Tuvans of central Asia.

In Russia, assembled Siberian shamans of the Buriat people publicly declared Michael Harner a great shaman upon witnessing his shamanic healings in 1998 (the word, shaman, comes from Siberia). They also said he proved that one could do both science and shamanism.

Education

Michael Harner received his anthropology Ph.D. in 1963 from the University of California, Berkeley, and has taught at various institutions, including UC Berkeley, Columbia University, Yale University, and the Graduate Faculty of the New School in New York, where he was chair of the anthropology department. He also served as co-chair of the anthropology section of the New York Academy of Sciences.

Honours

He left academia in 1987 in order to devote himself fulltime to shamanism. In 2003 he received an honorary doctorate in recognition of his achievements in shamanic studies.

In 2009, he was honored by California Pacific Medical Center’s Institute for Health & Healing with the “Pioneers in Integrative Medicine Award.”

He also received special academic recognition through the presentation of sessions dedicated to him at the 2009 annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association in Philadelphia. Three organizations of the AAA joined together to recognize him for his “pioneering work” in shamanism “as an academic and advocate” and for his role during the last forty years in the “exponential growth in anthropological studies of the importance and significance” of shamanism.

Publications

His books include The Way of the Shaman (Harper & Row), Hallucinogens and Shamanism (Oxford University Press), The Jívaro (University of California Press), and a novel, Cannibal, which he co-authored.

He developed the FSS shamanic training workshops and courses now taught worldwide.

The Way of the Shaman

The Way of the Shaman by Michael Harner is the classic book on shamanism that has helped to pioneered the modern day shamanic renaissance.

The Way of the Shaman by Michael Harner

“Wonderful, fascinating…Harner really knows what he’s talking about.”
Carlos Castaneda

Shamanic Resource and Reference

The Way of the Shaman is the foremost resource and reference on understanding shamanism.

The Way of the Shaman is the definitive handbook on practical shamanism. It offers in easy to understand language a guide to current resources and shows you: what it is, where it comes from and how you can participate in shamanism.

“An intimate and practical guide to the art of shamanic healing and the technology of the sacred. Michael Harner is not just an anthropologist who has studied shamanism: he is an authentic white shaman.”
Stanislav Grof, author of The Adventure of Self-Discovery

Contents of The Way of the Shaman:

  • Chapter 1: Discovering the Way
     
  • Chapter 2: The Shamanic Journey: Introduction
     
  • Chapter 3: Shamanism and States of Consciousness
     
  • Chapter 4: Power Animals
     
  • Chapter 5: The Journey to Restore Power
     
  • Chapter 6: Power Practice
     
  • Chapter 7: Extracting Harmful Intrusions
     
  • Appendix A: Drums, Drumming Cassettes, and Training Workshops
     
  • Appendix B: The Hand Game of the Flathead Indians
     

“Harner has impeccable credentials, both as an academic and as a practicing shaman. Without doubt (since the recent death of Mircea Eliade) the world’s leading authority on shamanism.”
Nevill Drury, author of The Elements of Shamanism

Related Pages:

Shamans & Shamanic Practitioners:


BEYOND MOTIVATION
by James T. McCay
with Richard E. Ward

BEYOND MOTIVATION delivers usable techniques for personal and group development that helps individuals and groups increase their productivity by recognizing that working with others is an exchange of energy.

Beyond Motivation by James T. McCay with Richard E. Ward Learn more about BEYOND MOTIVATION...