SUMMARY OF DR. MICHAEL HARNER'S
SHAMANIC BASIC WORKSHOP
The word "shaman" (technically shaw-mawn' but shaw'-mun is generally used; never shay'-mun) comes from the Tulus tribe in Siberia.
A shaman is distinguished from a priest by certain practices:
1. Changes consciousness to do work in "non-ordinary reality," and does it with discipline, doesn't just let his mind wander off any time of the day (he's a part-timer).
2. Change of consciousness is achieved with a monotonous percussive sound--usually drums--and sometimes with drugs, although drums can take you anywhere drugs can.
3. Takes journeys of the spirit, moving outside of time, something called "mythic reality" or "dreamtime," and he maps these areas he explores.
4. He acts as a conductor of souls, working hand in hand with the powers of the universe (unlike a priest, does not offer sacrifices or do elaborate mysterious rituals--shamanism is NOT priestcraft).
5. Primarily interested in serving others, and is not seeking "enlightenment" as a religious or spiritual goal the way Buddhists and Hindus do, as his focus is on serving others (knows if he focuses on himself he will lose his power, which he needs to help others).
6. "Core shamanism" is the synthesis of various shamanic techniques gathered from various shamans all over the world. It is interesting to note that shamans from assorted parts of the globe came up with similar or even identical techniques and beliefs, independent of each other.
7. Shamanism is at the root of such diverse practices as witchcraft, voodoo, Tibetan Buddhism and others, but pure shamanism is NOT a priestcraft as are some of the practices originally derived from shamanism.
8. It is currently fashionable to call oneself a shaman, so many calling themselves that are in fact not shamans.
SHAMANIC TECHNIQUES TAUGHT:
1. Go looking for a rock to sort of present itself to you.
2. The rock will have to be returned to where you got it, with thanks to the rock.
3. Ask one question, preferably not a yes/no question, but not a double question either.
4. Leave the question behind.
5. Look at the surface of the rock for four (4) images, not clairvoyant-type images, but just things that certain features of the rock suggest to you, the way you might see a face in the clouds. This is not crystal gazing--it is more like a Rorschach ("what do you see in the dots?") test. Point them out to your partner (if you're doing this with someone) or note them down so you can remember them. Could be a face, a tree, a cave, a mountain, a bird, anything.
6. Repeat question. Take the first image and figure out how it might be part of an answer to the question. It will usually be a metaphorical type of answer. E.g., a hawk may represent soaring free or yearning for freedom or fierceness or whatever.
7. Make that answer into a further answer to the question.
8. Repeat procedure for each image.
9. Turn rock over, repeat question, leave it behind, and then do steps 5 - 8 on that side.
10. Turn rock back over on side 1 and point to each image and briefly summarize how it is an answer to the question.
11. Do the same on side 2.
12. Turn back to side 1, ask question, and then synthesize or summarize what the answer to the question would be.
13. Put rock back where you found it and thank it. Only one rock per question.
Mission: Exploration only.
1. Lie on your back, cover your eyes with a scarf or handkerchief and have a monotonous drum tape or live drummer standing by.
2. Pick an opening going into the ground that you remember from sometime in your life. Must be an ordinary-reality place from your life, not a dream place. Could be a cave, a pool of water, a whirlpool, anything.
3. Drumming starts.
4. Visualize yourself at the opening, then going down into it.
5. Look for a tunnel or tube going downwards.
6. Continue through tube until you come out into the lighted Lowerworld (you should be able to see after awhile a light at the end of the tunnel).
7. Explore as long as you like and then retrace your steps the way you came so as to insure that you come back in present time (eventually you will drift back anyway, but it's better if you come back this way).
Lowerworld Journey To Find Power Animal and Answer to Question
1. Have in mind a question you want to ask of your personal "power animal" (an animal that likes you and helps you--will usually be a wild animal, mythical animal, or something that does not exist in myth or ordinary reality). Repeat question three (3) times before starting journey.
2. Start the drumming and as you go down the tunnel (if you found one that works for you, no need to change entrances) have in mind that you will meet your power animal.
3. It may be waiting for you as you get out of the tunnel, if not, go looking for it. Call it if you want. If you find it, telepathically ask it your question.
4. It may say a word, but they usually prefer to make a motion and perhaps take you an a journey. If it takes you somewhere, consider all the landscape and everything you see from the moment you asked the question to be part of your answer.
5. Return the same way you came, retracing your steps, and then open your eyes.
6. Now that you have found your power animal, you can call on it for help at any time. If you don't find your power animal you eventually will if you keep trying (even if you don't have one, one will probably take pity on you and become your power animal). Keep in touch with your power animal and any others you might find and they will stay around longer. They tend to go in and out of your life, but keeping in touch and honoring them will cause them to stay. A good way to honor them is to dance around in a circular motion around the room, imitating the way the animal would move, to the drum beat.
1. Using the same techniques as Lowerworld journey, except you will use something from your memory that goes up, e.g., a tree, a tornado, a chimney, smoke, balloon, whatever.
2. After you've made the climb, find a tube or tunnel, or just keep going up, until you break through a layer, possibly of clouds, and come out into the Upperworld.
3. Walk around and then explore higher levels of the Upperworld, using the same method, or if a bird or animal presents itself that you can fly up to the next level on, that's fine.
4. Retrace your steps the way you came as before.
Upperworld Journey in Search of a Teacher
1. Have a question in mind which you repeat three (3) times before starting journey.
2. Start journey, but have in mind that you will meet your teacher when you get to Upperworld.
3. When you meet someone (teachers in the Upperworld are usually in human form, the Lowerworld mainly animal), could be someone historical, a relative, someone you've never seen before, ask him (or her) if he's your teacher.
4. If he says yes, ask the question. Consider everything you experience in the Upperworld after answering the question to be an answer to the question.
5. Retrace your steps the way you came.
6. You can repeat this for any questions you may have that your teacher might be able to help you with. You may have other teachers also, as you may have other power animals (the more the merrier).
7. A good part of the art of shamanism involves being able to interpret your answers you get via experience in the upper and lower worlds.
This is the same as upper and lower journeys, except you do not find a descending or ascending point in ordinary reality. The best way to practice Middleworld journeying is to go over a route that you are familiar with in ordinary reality, e.g., a walk to the bus stop or whatever.
There are two aspects to the Middleworld, the ordinary reality, which is what we know as "reality" and the non-ordinary reality. Most channeling involves middle non-ordinary, people that have recently died or do not choose to reincarnate for some reason. These people can be wise but your deeper answers will usually come from the upper or lower worlds.
Middleworld journeying is not taught in the Basic Workshop, only described as above.
Shamanic Healing (Recovering Lost Power Animals)
1. Lying down next to the client, touching full length of body, start your Lowerworld journey, asking the question "will a former power animal of this person take pity on this person and come back"?
2. Now to be sure that it is the power animal when you see it, it must present itself to you in four (4) different ways or four (4) times (you may see it from a distance, or from different angles, or four separate times on your journey).
Caution: Do not bring back any reptiles or fish that are showing their teeth, and do not bring back any bugs, insects, lobsters, crabs or bug-like things. All mammals or birds are OK even if they are showing their teeth. Snakes and fish, if they are not showing their teeth, are OK.
3. When you think you have found the power animal, ask it "are you the power animal?" If it in some way indicates that it is.
4. Clasp it to your chest (and also, using your physical body, clasp it to your chest) and return quickly the way you came back to the Middleworld and ordinary reality.
5. Holding it to your chest, cup your hands over the heart of the person and blow the animal (keep it there by visualization) into their heart. You can blow once, or more times if you want.
6. Now sit the person up and (still keeping it in your cupped hands by visualizing it) blow it into the top back of the head (known in other practices as the crown chakra).
7. Let your hand slide down to their spine between their shoulders and hold it there silently while you let the person experience whatever they will experience.
8. Tell them what the animal was and of your journey.
9. Ask them if they experienced anything when you blew the animal into them.
10. It is a good idea to have them honor the animal by them doing a dance around the room in a circle, to the drums, imitating the way the animal would move.
This healing can be used on anyone, but is especially good for someone who is sick, unlucky, or demonstrating other symptoms of lack of power.
Shamanism is not channeling. Some people are more natural channels and make direct contact with the spirit and communicate with them. That is not shamanism. Shamanism involves the journey to the world to find the spirits. If you get a direct contact, ignore it and discipline yourself to make the journey and do it that way. Some people have no ability at shamanism because they are either very material-minded or are natural channels and cannot operate any other way.
Some people perceive better than others. Some sort of "think" their way through it, some just get a vague concept of what is happening, others see and feel things more vividly. With practice perception improves.
It is very tempting to use a psychological model, deciding that this is the person's subconscious mind and that the power animals of the Lowerworld and teachers of the Upperworld are other aspects of the self. That may be true, but wait until you are quite experienced in shamanism before trying to synthesize shamanism with other systems. When it gets down to it, both viewpoints may be true, if objective reality and mind are not as separate as we like to think. In any event, shamans in widely separate parts of the world, from Lapland to South America to Australia have come up with essentially the same "world view."
A shaman should never use the forces of harmony and love, which is what shamanism deals with, to create disharmony or conflict. It will recoil on him and those tribes that wage shamanic wars on each other end up rather quickly with their shamans in terrible health or dead.
Also, the more power you achieve, the more careful you have to be with your anger. When you get angry with someone you must learn to deflect your power away from them to avoid harming them (and ultimately yourself).
Center for Human Growth
8th and Dwight Way
Christina Bertea (654-7843)
Lisa McCann (Menlo Park - phone?)
Drum circle every 3rd Sunday of month
PTS 16" Remo pre-tuned hand drum.
Drill holes around rim so you can put leather strings behind to hold.
Sonar 8 beater.
Get at any music store.
Can get leather drums at:
Pacific West Trading Co.
Taos Drum Co.
Taos, New Mexico
(see ads in Shaman's Drum magazine)
Grass Valley (a bit heavy, but well-made)