Spider web
Dear Friend,

On this Earth Day, where we acknowledge the magnitude of the issues facing our planet, let us also take time to celebrate wonder and beauty—all that inspires and nurtures us. As shamans through the ages have known, "Everything that is, is alive." This deep knowing is critical to respecting and caring for all that exists, providing the motivation to sustain us in these dangerous and opportune times. It gives us hope, but more importantly, is a strong call to action. In abandoning ourselves to our love of Earth in all its various forms, we may find the strength and power to save our precious planet—a gift to all life and future generations.

In gratitude,
Susan Mokelke 

ONLINE WORKSHOPS. In May 2020, the FSS for the first time began offering an online shamanic divinatory series designed to bring shamanic knowledge and the power of the compassionate spirits to address personal, local, and global issues. While the urgent impetus for starting in 2020 was the pandemic, the FSS has been working toward adding an online training program for some time. Since May, FSS faculty members have been experimenting with and testing the Shamanic Knowledge and Power Series. It has become clear that high-quality online shamanic training, including fully interactive participant exercises, is a powerful and effective addition to FSS in-person programming. (See Shamanic Training in Digital Space.)
In January of this year, the FSS launched the Shamanic Healing Online Training Program. The series will include the fundamental shamanic healing methods: power animal retrieval, extraction healing, psychopomp work with the spirits of the deceased, and power soul retrieval. It will also incorporate enrichment experiences designed to provide a depth of knowledge essential to an effective shamanic healing practice. The latest workshop in the series, The Shaman As Psychopomp, was released this month. Visit the website for details about workshops and prerequisites 
Snuff-Jaguar Shaman Mandu da Silva
IN MEMORIAM: Mandu Manuel da Silva
Snuff-Jaguar Shaman
It is with sadness that we announce the passing in early January, 2021 of FSS Living Treasure of Shamanism Mandu Manuel da Silva. Almost 100 when he passed, his shamanic career spanned nearly 70 years. Known as Mandu (chief), his correct title was “snuff-jaguar” (dzato dzauika). He was known by the native peoples of the Northwest Amazon to be one of the last “true” jaguar-shamans, considered one of the most important of the several types of shamans among the Baniwa people. Read more about the Foundation’s long-time relationship with Mandu
VIDEOS ON SHAMANISM: Prague International Transpersonal Conference
In 2017, Sandra Harner, Kevin Turner, and Roland Urban were invited to give presentations at the International Transpersonal Conference in Prague. Their presentations are now available on the FSS website for free viewing.

Sandra Harner, cofounder of the FSS, offers a rich and inspiring review of transcultural shamanic experiences, with examples drawn from both indigenous and core shamanism. Her presentation is titled Transcultural Shamanic Experiences: Some Examples from Indigenous and Core Shamanism. View on the FSS website.
Kevin Turner, Director for FSS Asia, gives a fascinating talk and slide show on his research into Mongolian Shamanism in 2011-2012. Titled Mongolian Shamanism: Revival and Implications for a Worldwide Rebirth of Shamanic Practice, Kevin’s presentation can be viewed here.
Roland Urban, Director of FSS Europe, challenges the assumption that science and shamanism are diametrically opposed, and makes a case for a new perspective—that they are two sides of the same coin. View his fascinating presentation titled Shamanism and Science.
CONGRATULATIONS TO FSS ASIA DIRECTOR KEVIN TURNER, whose book Sky Shaman’s of Mongolia: Meetings with Remarkable Healers, has recently been published in Spanish. Find it on Amazon.
Kevin takes us to visit with authentic shamans in the steppes and urban centers of modern-day Mongolia. Along the way, the author, a practicing shaman himself, tells of spontaneous medical diagnoses, all-night shamanic ceremonies, and miraculous healings, all welling from a rich culture in which divination, soul-retrieval, and spirit depossession are a part of everyday life. The original English language edition can be found at the FSS store, and on Amazon. 

This sublimely beautiful documentary on the consciousness of trees and the magical wisdom of plants, was filmed in 2018 in Central America and Europe and was published in 2019. It is an inspiring affirmation of the worldview of shamans, that "everything is alive." (Documentary by Robert Franz & The Pegasus Family, directed by Oliver ‘Wyld Rose’ Kyr.) View the video. Submitted by Kevin Turner, FSS Director for Asia.

This five-minute clip is from a conversation between Bill Moyers and mythologist Joseph Campbell. Though Campbell sees shamanism through a psychological/mythological lens, the film of the trance dance itself captures one dancer’s shift into a shamanic state of consciousness, along with a translated narration of his journey. Watch the video.
Submitted by Timothy Flynn, Three Year Program graduate.

FSS POLESTAR: What is a shaman?

The re-emergence of shamanism in the West has been largely driven by the pioneering work of the late anthropologist Dr. Michael Harner, founder of the Foundation for Shamanic Studies. His lifetime of research, experimentation, and personal exploration led him to develop Core Shamanism, an authentic and powerful form of shamanic practice that is not bound to culturally-specific ceremony and ritual. Its emphasis is on universal, near universal, and common features of shamanism, making it the ideal methodology for present-day practitioners to engage in shamanism while respecting the rites and customs of native peoples. Since shamanic knowledge was overwhelmingly lost to Western society centuries ago due to religious oppression, the Foundation's programs in Core Shamanism are particularly intended to help contemporary people reacquire access to their rightful spiritual heritage through quality workshops and training courses.
What is shamanism?
As shamanism has grown in popularity, confusion about what it is, and specifically who and what a shaman is, has also grown. The term “shaman” is often loosely applied to anyone claiming an affinity for a natural lifestyle or a nature-based spirituality.
Michael Harner, after noting that “definitions are often a contentious matter,” went on to provide the following: “Shamanism is universally characterized by an intentional change in consciousness to engage in purposeful two-way interaction with spirits. Its most distinctive feature, which is not universal, is the out of body journey to other worlds.” He pointed out that not all shamans journey, or journey in the same way, but “what they do share is disciplined interaction with spirits in non-ordinary reality to help and heal others.” (Cave and Cosmos, pp. 47-48.)

Article continued on the FSS website: animism and shamanism, how one becomes a shaman, and more...

Narrye Caldwell & Robbie Staufer
FSS Faculty
Dedicated to the study, preservation, and teaching of shamanic knowledge for the welfare of the Planet and its inhabitants.
Distributed by the Foundation for Shamanic Studies
Editor: Susan Mokelke
Assistant Editor: Narrye Caldwell (News, Polestar, Shamanism Chronicles)
Editorial Assistant: Noelle Burch