Author Topic: To be or not to be ... a shaman  (Read 13692 times)

Offline debbieredbear

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To be or not to be ... a shaman
« on: March 15, 2005, 04:50:08 am »

DIGOWELI

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Re: To be or not to be ... a shaman
« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2005, 11:33:44 pm »
Good books to read:

SHAMANIC VOICES: A Survey of Visionary Narratives (Arkana S.) (Paperback)
Joan Halifax

NOTEBOOK OF A CHEROKEE SHAMAN, by Jack Frederick Kilpatrick and Anna Gritts Kilpatrick,  
Smithsonian Contributions to Anthropology Vol 2, no. 6

Also by Gritts and Kilpatrick

FRIENDS OF THUNDER,
WALK IN YOUR SOUL,  SMU press,   A good description of real Cherokee Shamanism by people who were a part of the Sequoia,  Traveller Bird Family

If you want to stir yourself up a bit, read the alternate history of Sequoia called
TELL THEM THEY LIE,  by Travellor Bird.   I've actually found copies on the internet.  

THE SACRED, WAYS OF KNOWLEDGE SOURCES OF LIVE,  By Peggy Beck and Anna Walters   Navajo Community College Press

TRIBES THAT SLUMBER, INDIANS OF THE TENNESSEE REGION,  
Lewis and Kneberg   Univ. of Tenn Press

Start with those to clean your mind a bit and get you off of the negative.

Ray Evans Harrell




Offline JosephSWM

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Re: To be or not to be ... a shaman
« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2005, 11:38:59 pm »
Ray,

If I am not mistaken, in Notebook of a Cherokee Shaman, the gentleman they were interviewing, etc. said that it was not so much the words but the intent. I think he even said that he could use the same "formula" for everything, just the intent would be different.

While you are mentioning the Kilpatricks their son Alan wrote one entitled "The Night Has a Naked Soul".

Joseph

DIGOWELI

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Re: To be or not to be ... a shaman
« Reply #3 on: April 22, 2005, 11:56:21 pm »
and if you want to know how to interpret those I would suggest the exceptional book on interpretatioln by John N. Warfield, a man that many groups including Indian Nations use for conflict resolution.   The name of that book is:

Understanding Complexity:  Thought and Behaviour pub.  AJAR press

You can get that information on his website.  Just look him up in Google.   He is considered by many to be the father of Systems Science.  

Ray Evans Harrell

Offline educatedindian

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Re: To be or not to be ... a shaman
« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2005, 09:32:30 pm »
Some of those titles are old news to most people here, as you found out Ray. For Walters I think Ghost Singer is a better work of hers.

But some of your other suggestions...Halifax? Halifax the bald white woman who claims to be a "Buddhist shaman"? The one who trained notorious exploiter Leo Rutherford? The one whose works are used as Bibles of sorts for one member of the pseudo-shamanism movement after another? She's not as bad as Harner, but not by much.

For an alleged traditionalist you should not  rely too much on works by an awful pseudo shaman like her. Clean your mind of types like that. The pseudo-shamanism movement is a very negative influence.  Basically it's Nuage with a different marketing angle.

DIGOWELI

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Re: To be or not to be ... a shaman
« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2005, 11:54:13 pm »
I knew Joan Halifax years ago when she was an anthropologist and protege of both Joseph Campbell and Don Jose Matsua the most respected 106 year old Huichol Shaman of his day.   She lived with and studied with him for several years.   She also studied in India with a major teacher as well.  (I don't remember his name)  I attended a deer dance all night ceremonial that Matsua sang in the 1970s.  Amazing.   He had lost almost all of his fingers due to age but he could still sijng all night long and bring the spirits.    She was also one of the most scholarly writers on hallucinogenic drugs at the time.   She wrote with her husband Stanislav Graf.   That she became a Buddhist is her path.   But the narratives in shamanic voices are the shamans themselves and from many different places.    I think you shouldn't stereotype people.   Everyone has students that have failed and brought back bad Karma on themselves.   If you afre not able to stand that then you can't teach.

As for the Kilpatricks, I have all of their books and one book by the son, I don't remember it's name but I would like to know what happened to Kilpatrick's music.   He was a major composer in his day and the head of the SMU Music School.   Kilpatrick was the one who pointed out the parallel between Shamanic formulas and the Roman Catholic Mass.   That is something that I believe the RC church absorbed from the cultures they took in.   Like the Cardinal's Hat that came from the Mithrian religion.  

Are you familiar with the Francis Jennings volumes?   I'm not familiar with the Walters volume you said, I will look it up.   Wado

REH

Offline educatedindian

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Re: To be or not to be ... a shaman
« Reply #6 on: April 24, 2005, 03:15:22 pm »
Like a lot of people in the pseudo-shamanism movement, she sees what she wants to see. Halifax is not much of an anthropologist. The book of hers you love so much has a lot of "shamans" who were clearly not, one a notorious and very obvious fraud, Brooke Edwards AKA "Medicine Eagle."
http://users.pandora.be/gohiyuhi/articles/art00060.htm
http://users.pandora.be/gohiyuhi/frauds/frd0010.htm
http://www.geocities.com/redroadcollective/NewsletterS93.html
http://shameons.bravepages.com/

What's kinda funny is that "Med Eagle" was claiming to be "Nez Perce and Sioux" at the time of the book when now she claims to be Crow, even has a phony enrollment card and certificate posted online.

"Prem Das", a white guy who poses as a Huichol shaman, is another exploiter.
http://www.csp.org/chrestomathy/carlos_castaneda.html
"Chapter Three, The Marketing of Huichol Shamans
American youth, suffering from a crisis of meaning which became especially acute as the credibility of the "establishment" diminished in the mid-1960s, abandoned tangible political objectives to pursue "tales of power," of a "supernatural" sort, disseminated by a disorganized group of collaborators interested in profiting from meeting the unmet demand for gurus and mysticism. The Delgado-Furst-Myerhoff version of Huichol culture was inherited, and is being passed on with little if any modification, by Prem Das, Brant Secunda, and others. Their version of Huichol culture and "shamanism" is the version known to today's New Age consumers.
Like Gordon Wasson, I am outraged by marketers who bastardize ancient rituals and cheapen the tremendous personal sacrifices, unbending dedication, and humility required of bona fide Huichol and Native American healers and ritual specialists (those defined as "shamans"). My admiration for authentic aboriginal American ritual practitioners is what animates my criticism of those who prostitute and trivialize their teachings."

Halifax also claims Nicholas Black Elk was a shaman. Nope, he was Catholic and had been for over 30 years at the time the book was written. The famous book on him is pretty much Neihardt's words far more than Black Elk's.

Matsuwa was misrepresented and his name was misused by another exploiter named Brandt Secunda, so I have to wonder if she did the same.

Her being a Buddhist has nothing to do with why she's an exploiter. Claiming to be a "Buddhist shaman" does. Buddhism is more of a philosophy.

Ghost Singer is a fiction work of Walters on repatriation of remains, very accessible.

Offline kosowith

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Re: To be or not to be ... a shaman
« Reply #7 on: April 24, 2005, 04:40:22 pm »
When in the Southwest last summer I picked up a flyer in Sedona last summer for Trisha where Bilk Med Eglett was now claiming to be a "traditional Metis Medicine woman"  She lost her claim to be Crow when the tribal president who sold her a membership was impeached and her "membership" and a number of others were revoked.  She is also advertising  $500 sweats through the Featherd Pipe Ranch, Helena, MT (we just call it the sewer Pipe Ranch around here) as Metis.


DIGOWELI

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Re: To be or not to be ... a shaman
« Reply #8 on: April 24, 2005, 07:08:22 pm »
AL you said:
Like a lot of people in the pseudo-shamanism movement, she sees what she wants to see. Halifax is not much of an anthropologist.

REH:
That was not what both Campbell and others thought in the early seventies.   Her work with Graf on Hallucinogenics is still quoted as seminal.    

AL:
The book of hers you love so much has a lot of "shamans" who were clearly not, one a notorious and very obvious fraud, Brooke Edwards AKA "Medicine Eagle."  (snip)

REH:
There were a number of people who were rethinking relationships to Indian religion in the 1960s as a result of Hallucinogenics.    It destroyed the way they were taught and so they looked around.   Many Indian practitioners took them on.   The most telling story in that book is the one about the one who failed because he wasn't from that culture.   Its not easy sitting forty days in a ice hut on a piece of leather with no movement, only ice for water and two pieces of meat.   Reminds me of that Christian who walked across the big Sandy desert in Australia for 41 days with nothing but his hands to gather sustainence.   Changed his life but he was still a Christian when he finished.   There are many older Shaman narratives in that book and I still stand by its usefulness.   As for BME:

Never met the lady but do know a lot who did and they liked her at the time, including some famous Lakota.   The Medicine way is a tough one.   Religion is divided just like music.   Traditional, Contemporary and Commercial.   There are many people who sell out.   Rarely is an academic challenged for that but they do it all the time in the name of scholarship.   It takes generations to undo what they did.   Their books go out of print and it still hangs around in people's lives.  

AL:
What's kinda funny is that "Med Eagle" was claiming to be "Nez Perce and Sioux" at the time of the book when now she claims to be Crow, even has a phony enrollment card and certificate posted online.

REH:
So go challenge her face to face yourself.   There are many people whose parents told them wrong things to throw them off and try to assimulate them.   I know one, who is a well respected doctor,  who was first three different peoples before she found her grandfather at Standing Rock.     That is what happens when you depend upon myths and writing instead of people.  

We in the Nuyagi Keetoowah Society don't bother.   We don't authenticate people, we simply worship as we were taught and have experienced.   The Creator decides who is and isn't and a card is just a card.  We don't judge people that way.    If someone claims to be from us and we don't know them,  then we challenge them.  I pointed that out on this list to Joseph about whom he asked.   If we don't know about it then we trust the Creator to work those things out properly.  

There are also students who were bad students and who claim to be teaching our work.   The only way out of that is certification like Ilana Rubenfeld and Moshe Feldenkrais or trust the Creator.   Certification is relevant only if it means merit and not descent.   No one really cares about descent when faced with dying from cancer.   They want someone who has diminished its complexity and can help them be cured.    That is merit.

continued  

DIGOWELI

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Re: To be or not to be ... a shaman
« Reply #9 on: April 24, 2005, 07:15:28 pm »
REH continued:
What were nations are now tribes and are becoming corporations with branding based upon descent.   What it has brought us is the Unkten in Oklahoma casinos.    We are in the Arts business and know these rules.   We elect to keep our spirituality our own and we have registered it with the government.    They will authenticate the registration and we like it that way.   One of you did make a stupid statement about 501-C-3 religious institutions.   All religious institutions have to prove that they are such.   Expecially during this touchy tax time.   They don't just give them out up here.   There are plenty of sophisticated tax lawyers who will take you to court in order not to have to pay more school taxes for their children themselves.   Your comments are em-bare-assing.

AL
"Prem Das", a white guy who poses as a Huichol shaman, is another exploiter.

REH:
When I met Matsuwa and spent a whole night in ceremonial with him he had a very smart white guy as his apprentice.   He was intelligent, well traveled and very respectful of his teacher of several years.   His name was East Indian where he had also studied.   He also marketed yarn paintings from Huichol artists at Matsuwa's Rancho.   His name was Prem Das.    That is all I will say.

AL quotes:

"Chapter Three, The Marketing of Huichol Shamans
American youth, suffering from a crisis of meaning which became especially acute as the credibility of the "establishment" diminished in the mid-1960s, abandoned tangible political objectives to pursue "tales of power," of a "supernatural" sort, disseminated by a disorganized group of collaborators interested in profiting from meeting the unmet demand for gurus and mysticism. The Delgado-Furst-Myerhoff version of Huichol culture was inherited, and is being passed on with little if any modification, by Prem Das, Brant Secunda, and others. Their version of Huichol culture and "shamanism" is the version known to today's New Age consumers.
Like Gordon Wasson, I am outraged by marketers who bastardize ancient rituals and cheapen the tremendous personal sacrifices, unbending dedication, and humility required of bona fide Huichol and Native American healers and ritual specialists (those defined as "shamans"). My admiration for authentic aboriginal American ritual practitioners is what animates my criticism of those who prostitute and trivialize their teachings."

REH:
Al, here's the citation on the net for your quote:
(Carlos Castaneda, Academic Opportunism and the Psychedelic Sixties
Kikes, Jay Courtney (1993)
Victoria, BC: Millenia Press.
ISBN: 0-9696960-0-0 paperback
Description: Paperback, xxviii + 285 pages
Contents: Foreword by Phil C. Weigand, acknowledgements, introduction, prologue, 5 chapters, Appendix A: Peyote: Divine Cactus or Dangerous Drug?, Appendix B: How Maize Was Acquired by Huatacame, Appendix C: Peyote Song, Huichol Glossary, bibliography, index, about the author.
Excerpt(s):
Foreword
by Phil C. Weigand)  
http://www.csp.org/chrestomathy/carlos_castaneda.html

REH:
What is interesting to me as a man of the theater is that Wiegland calls him Jay Fikes but the title calls him "Kikes."

These arguments are like the psycho-analytic arguments of Indians from the 1950s.  They were ethnocentric and ultimately genocidal in character.     They are also like the arguments against Rodin in Paris by the Academy that caused their students to destroy the first "Thinker" statue.  

When we left home to escape such rigidity we weren't the first or the last to elect not to stay and become alcoholics or commit murder or suicide.    These academics have an agenda which is to claim that their photographs of the culture are still relevant.   All cultures add to their life or they die.   They don't only add cars and dishwashers.  

continued  


DIGOWELI

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Re: To be or not to be ... a shaman
« Reply #10 on: April 24, 2005, 07:28:32 pm »
(continued)
AL:  
Halifax also claims Nicholas Black Elk was a shaman. Nope, he was Catholic and had been for over 30 years at the time the book was written. The famous book on him is pretty much Neihardt's words far more than Black Elk's.

REH:
Any serious traditional on the list would run away from you for saying such things.   Are you saying that traditional people who have both Catholic and traditional relgion aren't practitioners of traditional religion?    What about all those Mayans,   Baptist Stompdancers, Catholic Sundancers,  Catholic Mede, or the churches in the Pueblos?   Many Aleut and Inuits are both Russian Orthodox and Traditional in their faiths.    And I've known Huna Christians.   Where do you think the Christian Keetoowahs came from?   Do you know who Evan Jones was?  

Nickolas Black Elk and John Fire Lame Deer were my father's Sundance Teachers when Frank Fools Crow danced with him.   My father was certified by the Pine Ridge Elders to teach Sundance to Sioux college students who couldn't get home for their study.   They told him he always had a house at Pine Ridge if he wanted it.   (Even though he was a Cherokee)  Fools Crow was a close friend.    I carry a buffalo rattle from a Fools Crow Sundance by one of those students as proof should I be challenged.    

AL:
Matsuwa was misrepresented and his name was misused by another exploiter named Brandt Secunda, so I have to wonder if she did the same.

REH:  I don't know Brant Secunda.   You should speak to him.   But Joan was a gorgeous blond.   Are you claiming the 106 year old man had the hots for her and that's why he taught her for several years?    We all had the "hots" for Joni but she had a very verile young Jewish hunk for her boyfriend and we couldn't get through the door.   One of life's little disappointments but life goes on.    Al,  this is strictly Powwow thinking.   Aren't you a little uncomfortable?

AL;
Her being a Buddhist has nothing to do with why she's an exploiter. Claiming to be a "Buddhist shaman" does. Buddhism is more of a philosophy.


REH:
Haven't seen Joni in twenty years but she did serve her apprenticeship and as far as I know complete it.   That would make her what she says.   She has also pledged as a Buddhist Nun and as you said, shaved her beautiful hair and is working with the dead and dying using what she knows.   So what is wrong with that?  

A note about Castenada.   You quote a fiction by Walters but did that fiction do as much to stir up the average person as Castenada's?    There are people who really believe that Possum lost his tail to a Rabbit tailor.   I don't but I do think there are truths to be learned from all of the stories.   When you are a child you believe literally, when you grow up you think and see that it was really your uncle behind that mask.   Castenada caused more than one smart aleck academic to reconsider the intelligence and adulthood of Indian People.   He opened a door with trickery that they had closed and that the bigoted would not even consider.   I'm old enough to remember that as well as segregation and bigotry in the Cherokee Nation.   I don't judge Castenada, I only see that my children are not fooled and see it for what it is.   I also am not fooled by Education of Scale where people lecture and ignore the first fallacy of real teaching trapping people in killer assumptions that ruin their lives for this lifetime.    That is not a nice thing to do.   Calling Hitler NuAge is stupid and inaccurate.   Hitler was a believer in blood and blood quantum and reservations.    Sound familiar?  

AL:
Ghost Singer is a fiction work of Walters on repatriation of remains, very accessible.

REH:
I know those ceremonials from our people and if I am going to do them for the people of the Southwest then I will go study there.   My time is short and I don't get to read fiction or go to operas much anymore.  

Good talking to you.

Ray Evans Harrell


Offline educatedindian

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Re: To be or not to be ... a shaman
« Reply #11 on: April 25, 2005, 01:51:36 am »
"There are many people who sell out.   Rarely is an academic challenged for that..."
ROFL! Obviously you've never read about Castaneda, Harner...or criticisms of your favorite, Halifax.

"So go challenge her face to face yourself."
Obviously I don't have the money to throw around that you do.

"There are many people whose parents told them wrong things to throw them off and try to assimulate them."
What this has to do with anything, I doubt anyone knows, including you.
You don't quite use Tontospeak or OldChiefSpeak, but it comes close sometimes.

"We in the Nuyagi Keetoowah Society...don't authenticate people."
And yet later on, you brag about your father being "certified" to do Sundances. Which, many Cherokee have told me, is something the very traditional Cherokee don't do.

"We elect to keep our spirituality our own and we have registered it with the government. They will authenticate the registration and we like it that way."
Contradictory. Most NDNs feel the opposite way. Nations decide their own enrollment, that's what sovereignty means. But asking the govt to say if your religion is legit or not...

...I can't imagine something more dangerous than that. Or less NDN.

"One of you did make a stupid statement about 501-C-3 religious institutions. All religious institutions have to prove that they are such."
First, labelling it "stupid" shows you being childish and abusive once again, this time to Joseph whom you praised before.
And second, what you're saying is nonsense. Most Native religious institutions choose not to "prove" themselves to the feds.
Only if there were funds to protect would you need a 501 exemption.  

"When I met Matsuwa and spent a whole night in ceremonial with him he had a very smart white guy as his apprentice."
Your silly name dropping to impress people is having the opposite effect. It's embarassing to watch you make a fool of yourself repeatedly...
and that includes watching you dig another hole for yourself by praising an exploiter like Das.

"When we left home to escape such rigidity we weren't the first or the last to elect not to stay and become alcoholics or commit murder or suicide."
Really nice of you, spreading such self hating racist ideas about NDNs (assuming you actually are NDN). Plenty of rezzes are not violent, don't have much alcoholism, etc. And I don't see "rigidity" mentioned in suicide notes much.

"Are you saying that traditional people who have both Catholic and traditional relgion aren't practitioners of traditional religion?"
I'll just save myself some typing and start using the abbreviation:
FIBR-Fiction Invented By Ray

Nicholas Black Elk had not taken part in ceremonials for more than 30 years at the time Neihardt spoke to him. That's pretty well known, so unless your father was very young, I suspect you're doing more silly fictitious name dropping.  

"Are you claiming the 106 year old man had the hots for her and that's why he taught her for several years?"
What the heck have you been smoking?
FIBR number 2 from you.

"Castenada caused more than one smart aleck academic to reconsider the intelligence and adulthood of Indian People."
ROFL!
Castaneda's books are today used in academia almost entirely as an example of how anthropologists should NOT be. They're pretty racist books, filled with what I call the Red Gandalf stereotype, that NDN medicine people exist to play Tonto for white Nuagers or drug users. I think it was Deloria who said all Castaneda did was make Noble Savage stereotypes acceptable for the white hippie counterculture.

I go much further. Castaneda ruined thousands of lives. Look up what happened to his Cleargreen cult.  Brace yourself, it doesn't get much uglier.

"Calling Hitler NuAge is stupid and inaccurate."
FIBR number 3 from you.
What have you been smoking?