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Foundation For Shamanic Studies-Mill Valley, CA Please Reply
Date: May 22, 2004 12:44PM

Know Anything at all about This Group? Leader is Michael Harner (and wife,) Sandra Ingerman. There is a website to visit for reference, too.

My mother ended her 52 yr. old marriage and moved out of state about three years ago. She Cut Off Communication with All of her regular friends, (and two of her three adult children) and Legally Changed
her First and Last Name to a made-up name. She has recently moved back to NY, upstate, near one of her children but from talking with her it sounds like she's open to keep moving around.

We are in contact again since she moved back to NY, but she will NOT GIVE ME HER NEW, DIRECT PHONE NUMBER. I only have her cell # and a lot of times it's shut off. I am her youngest daughter and feel shut out.
She is a different person now..mainly thinks of "Herself," these days.
There are split seconds when she seems to be looking downwards, to the left, like she is remembering something. She basically looks the same, but she's Not The Same Person she used to be. This is very sad. It seems like her emotions were shut off and she has been very secretive and defensive since she surprised her whole family in suddenly moving away. At times she seems to flip back and forth from one personality to another and tends to contradict herself.

This whole thing is Very Confusing and Difficult for me to Understand and Accept. I find it Difficult Pretending that everything is okay when I talk with her. At least now I am able to visit her, (for the time being.)
BuT I am Having Difficulty Getting Over The Fact that She Won't Give Me
Her REGular Phone Number, Not even in a case of Evergency! She says
in a stern voice that, "Nobody has that number." I asked her again for it,
and she said, "The Answer Is 'NO."

Has Anybody found themselves in a similar situation? How did you handle it? Did your method work? I wish I could Deprogram Her! It seems as though that option will cost a LOT and is very complicated, Is It? I am the only sibling that has caught on to the truth about what has happened to her. The others are in Denial and are Handling this in Different ways. I don't have their support, That's what I'm saying.

Please write back or reference anything you find that will be helpful!
Thanks so much! I am an Adult Child, But Am Walking Around In PAIN!
I Want My Mom Back!

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Foundation For Shamanic Studies-Mill Valley, CA Please Reply
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: May 23, 2004 09:17PM

Even when people do leave families to join Buddhist or Christian monastic orders, there is often a leave taking process, you say good bye to family and friends, give an explanation, a mourning ritual for them to go through with you.

In mature spiritual practice, one works with and through existing relationships--you dont just abandon those relationships with no explanation, unless there is [i:b8ee4766f6]very [/i:b8ee4766f6]clear evidence that you're being harmed in those relationships, and other attempts using reasoning and counseling have failed.

Cutting off ties to your family is supposed to be a matter of last resort, after all other options have been tried and exhausted.

***First, you need to find out if

1) your mother cut off ties to her family and friends on her own initiative, or

2) whether it is standard policy of the Foundation to encourage students to distance themselves from family or

3) whether your mom was advised to do this by a maverick person or subgroup within the Foundation & the Foundation does [b:b8ee4766f6]not [/b:b8ee4766f6]know your mom was advised to do this-[i:b8ee4766f6]and would disapprove of such advice being given.[/i:b8ee4766f6]

*It should be noted that in many traditional cultures, shamans remain married and raise children. Family life is compatible with shamanic practice in many cultures. All too often people who demand that you dump your family are incapable of dealing with family life themselves.

So it will take time and much more additional information, from reliable sources, to figure out how your mother decided to leave home and whether she would have done so had she never become interested in shamanism.

Its painful to consider that she may have decided to leave entirely on her own initiative, but this [i:b8ee4766f6]is [/i:b8ee4766f6]a possibility that must be taken into consideration until you get all the facts.

Or she may have been influenced to do this by someone else.

To figure out whether anyone is responsible for instigating your mother to sever ties with her family and with no explanation, or she chose to dot this herself you'll need to do careful research.


The article is good background reading for anyone interested in shamanic studies and feeling the need for a teacher and practice group.


if the above link does not work, try this one


And this article ("Evaluating Spiritual and Utopian Groups') by Arthur J Deikman MD gives common-sense advice on how a seeker can assess whether a teacher and his or her social venue is likely to be supportive to one's spiritual practice.



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Foundation For Shamanic Studies-Mill Valley, CA Please Reply
Posted by: Cosmophilospher ()
Date: May 24, 2004 01:57AM

Years ago i read the book, "The Way Of The Shaman" by Harner.
I don't recall anything about the book, and i do not have it anymore, so i must have traded it in at a second hand store.

From the website:
"Shamans are a type of medicine man or woman especially distinguished by the use of journeys to hidden worlds otherwise mainly known through myth, dream, and near-death experiences."
"Now you can join more than 5,000 people each year who take our rigorous training in core shamanism, the near universal methods of shamanism without a specific cultural perspective"
"Dr. Harner has been recognized as a pioneer in the field of anthropology and shamanism since the early 60's when he chose to immerse himself in tribal spiritual traditions rather than restrict his study to more traditional academic techniques."

The weird and dangerous thing about these "Shamanism" things, are that people without a firm grip on "reality" can spin off into their own imagination, and basically go crazy.
Think about it.
If you REALLY believed that the "inner hidden world" of Dreams and NDE were the Ultimate Reality, wouldn't you turn away from mere external reality? (Family, friends, job, etc).

Also, you can see he has a book about Hallucinogens and Shamanism []
"In this unusual collection, ten original studies explore the use of hallucinogens in shamanism: the ancient and widespread practice of invoking a trance state to perceive and manipulate supernatural forces".

This is dangerous stuff for vulnerable people.
I could easily imagine a person totally cutting themselves off from the world, ingesting hallucinogens repeatedly, going delusional, going extremely paranoid, and getting caught up in a vicious cycle of self-delusion.


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Foundation For Shamanic Studies-Mill Valley, CA Please Reply
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: May 24, 2004 04:29AM

There are academic anthropologists (Phil C Weigand and Jay Courtney Fikes) who would argue that it is highly questionable whether one can separate shamanism from specific culture. He writes:

'Americans lack the group learning process, or shared function (Fikes, 1978) of the Yaqui and Huichol..

'New Age seminars occur within a stratified social system resembling those of India and Europe much more than those in most of aboriginal America.'

page 112 Jay Courteny Fikes, [i:caf712ddf0]Carlos Castaneda, Academic Opportunism, and the Psychedelic Sixties[/i:caf712ddf0].'

Dr Fikes continues:

'For some, emotional needs for self-transcendance (some will say escapism) and larger than life personalities may overpower the capacity for critical thinking. They may well be involved in constructing a quasi-religion, one originally inspired by the charismatic Castaneda. (Beals 1978:361)

'The cultural crisis of the 1960s, which precipitated the demand for gurus and shamans, and the complex relationship between contemporary New Age celebrities and consumers of their seminars on shamanism, are part of a social movement worthy of further investigation.'

Jay Courtney Fikes, [i:caf712ddf0]Carlos Castaneda, Academic Opportunism, and the Psychedelic Sixties [/i:caf712ddf0]pp 143-144.

[b:caf712ddf0]'Carlos Castaneda, Academic Opportunism and the Psychedelic Sixties'[/b:caf712ddf0]

Fikes, Jay Courtney (1993)
Victoria, BC: Millenia Press.

ISBN: 0-9696960-0-0 paperback

Description: Paperback, xxviii + 285 pages


Another book one might look for is 'The Soul of a Shaman' recommended by an acquaintance.

'There is one book that tries to put neo-shamanism into perspective:

The Soul of Shamanism by Daniel C. Noel. He sees neo-shamanism as a projection on the part of European-Americans, rather like Rosseau's "nobel saveage". Interestingly, Noel blames Castaneda for giving impetus to the movement.'

From the various reviews on, it appears Noel's book was written for an academic audience. Noel's contention is that its better for Westerns to use indigenous Western myths, instead of appropriating material from non-Western tribal peoples who have not given full consent to the appropriation process.

Copies can be obtained via


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Foundation For Shamanic Studies-Mill Valley, CA Please Reply
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: May 26, 2004 10:48PM

Some resource sites for Native American Spirituality, written by Native Americans


The moderators make it clear that the content is their opinion. But researchers may find helpful information here. Compare with other sources.

On another website in an article entitled 'Plastic Medicine Men'(you will have to scroll down to find it there are additional articles.)


Finally, an excellent link entitled 'Do Not Pay to Pray'


Finally, here is what a number of concerned Native Americans have to say about Native American spirituality and rituals being taught and practiced outside the traditional social contexts.

The URL for this article is


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Foundation For Shamanic Studies-Mill Valley, CA Please Reply
Posted by: supermonkey ()
Date: June 18, 2004 03:37AM

We need science not backward NATIVE AMERICAN or SHAMANIC techniques that are based on false superstitions and nonsense. Harner is just doing this to make money off of people who want to believe in something more than the reality of their pain. Cults and phony make believe healing arts buy into this.

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Foundation For Shamanic Studies-Mill Valley, CA Please Reply
Date: June 19, 2004 05:33AM

Can anyone recommend a book that opposes Shamanistic views which also attacks Michael Harner that would be appropriate for a current member of a cult to read--which might just get them thinking for themselves.
I would hope this reading material can point out that Michael Harner and The Founation for Shamanistic Studies are frauds! This member is still being controlled emotionally, and cuttently practicing rituals of burying a drumb if there is a hole in it, among other things.
They have no idea that they are being controlled from afar. What about the book in the previous post, although it is states that it is not easy reading.

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Foundation For Shamanic Studies-Mill Valley, CA Please Reply
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: September 05, 2004 11:00PM

(Quote) "[i:b32b017264]One of the most damning things in the entire book (The Sorcerer's Apprentice: My Life With Carlos Castaneda' by Amy Wallace) Carol said to me (Amy Wallace) after Carlos Castaneda was gone.

She said, "You know, you're very dangerous to us." And I said, "How could I be?" And she said, "Because you know too much. You're a time bomb." And I thought, it's a corrupt spiritual organization when you can know too much. It should have been open, truthful, honest, loving--these are my beliefs. I don't think there should be baroque secrets that make somebody a time bomb. So, by writing the book I let off the bomb[/i:b32b017264]."

[b:b32b017264]Castaneda Casualties: An Interview with Amy Wallace[/b:b32b017264]

by Michael Peter Langevin


(Long and fascinating, well worth reading)

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Re: Foundation For Shamanic Studies-Mill Valley, CA Please Reply
Posted by: keeroc ()
Date: December 04, 2010 01:48AM

Just wondering if there is any recent info on this group ? a friend of mine has signed up for the introductory workshop this weekend.


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Re: Foundation For Shamanic Studies-Mill Valley, CA Please Reply
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: December 04, 2010 10:54PM

The URL for Castaneda Casualties: An Inteview With Amy Wallace, cited above, now appears to have become inactive.

However, text from that interview can be read here.


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