Author Topic: Michael Harner and The Way of the Shaman  (Read 49439 times)

Offline morgain

  • Posts: 6
Re: Michael Harner
« Reply #15 on: September 16, 2011, 06:45:53 pm »
I really value the discussions I'm reading.

First of all I am going to take a deep breath and say that many many years ago when Harner's first book came out I did find useful things in it. Like some basic practical techniques for trancework.
Also I think the original little book was not that arrogant - he wasn't famous then. My memory might be faulty on that - his arrogance; it was a long time ago.
Anyway I used to recommend it way back then purely as a first step introduction.

But as "shamanism" took off fast and became fashionable in my country I quickly disapproved. Because I do not think that "all religions are one" nor that "native spirituality" is universal.
I also saw that "shamanism" was rapidly becoming the province of male gurus, perhaps as a reaction to the inroads made by feminism and Goddess work in Paganism, and other alternatives. (I have posted on Leo Rutherford's type of exploitation of women elsewhere here.)
Plus of course the commercial aspect.
However I still will not deny the original Harner book was useful since better ones were not available to me then. Like so much of the 'New Age' poor quality, dishonest, gabbleblotchett can act as a bridge to better things.

Picking up on Jallan's comment "if it is just his journeying methods that work well for me, it immediately becomes something of value" yes that is true. But sex with a prostitute is still poisoned sex which is based on lies, even if it gives very limited relief.

Jallan also refers to the collective unconscious. This and Jung's "archetypes" are used to justify a lot of cultural appropriation.
Supposedly different peoples' spiritual traditions all slosh around together in an enormous soup cauldron inside us, or else we're swimming in it. The bits all mix together and we can reach in with a spoon and scoop them out to eat.
This is very sloppy soupy thinking! Different spiritualities are certainly not the same and do not work as they need to outside their place and time. I doubt these modern "shamans" would eagerly eat their father's brains when he's freshly dead, pickle an old mate's head to hang on their front door, kill and skin a child to use the skin in ceremony, or castrate themselves in honour of their deity. Yet all these have been perfectly respectable spiritualities in their own place and time.
Nor do I find much in common between the Welsh (Celtic) Annwn and the Christian Hell which condemns to total eternal suffering with no appeal. I would expect the many varied cultures of Native Americans have a great variety of after-death places to go.
It's worth considering too that some religions teach peace (Buddha, Quakers) while some actively support war (many Celts, certain Muslim traditions, the dominant Christianities).

Archetypes are equally flawed. Our concepts of Mother are wildly diverse depending on our culture from a closely present affectionate experience to a detached, busy or absent one. Similarly the way Elders are treated varies a lot from honour to contempt. Concepts of "the Trickster" force very different traditions into one crude bundles that denatures them.
The idealised concepts of a middle class Viennese gentleman early 20thC do not represent a universal human experience.

As Janner says "comparatively little is known about these ways (celtic and germanic) that isn't new-age flowerpower bullshit." But comparatively little is not nothing. The stones are there, as are our rivers, woodland, hills, seas and a whole rich native tradition of honouring them. We also have our reactions to objects and other people.
This is not laid out neatly in a well designed book. But searching, and learning to trust ourselves, developing our independent personal wisdom, is worth more than any book. Harder, but valuable.
That said try Miranda Green for the Celts. Anything by John Koch for Wales. Or try Ronald Hutton for Pagan history of Europe. Doreen Valiente is honest and wise.

Kathryn gives great advice on working on our own native local traditions in Britain.I am so happy she points out that here too there are widely varying cultures. While I accept the term Celtic it doesn't take us very far as it contains different regions each with upland, lowland, coastal, city, conquered and unconquered, homeland and diaspora peoples.
On the manuscripts there are problems as they are so late in history. But much good scholarship has teased out useful information. Try the Centre for Advanced Welsh & Celtic Studies, Aberystwyth.
Also do not overlook that native traditions here in Britain are alive today. We didn't go away! Think of the miners in Wales for example.

Critter says "You can't just pick and choose what is useful. There's no such thing as that.  If you're choosing a particular religion/belief to follow then you have to learn from within that, and it's not about what "you" think/feel/believe is useful or not. I mean, how on Earth could you possibly know what is "useful"?"
Critter that kind of obedient hierarchy spirituality may be important for some genuine shamans and among some modern Pagans too, but it's not the only Way. Here too there is variety and some traditions, original Buddhism and British Craft too, the personal criticism and selection is a central part of what you're asked to do.

Jallan says "I tend towards looking at traditions that seem "uncorrupted" first. I was simply hoping to find some kind of "basics" here from which I could rediscover the traditions of my own ancestors, but perhaps I am looking in the wrong places."
Harner can tell you about some basic techniques of trancework. This forum has a wealth of wisdom about all kinds of stuff. There are teachers and writers who share wisdom from a British - Welsh - English point of view.
But the greatest teachers are our own Land and waters and the bonds we forge with each other. "Our masters" the dominant economic elite, are hell bent to smash us into lonely atomised individuals. They no longer have their colonised slaves so they have turned their power hunger on us. Don't let them! We need our families and we need clans which are bigger. Use individual thinking to stand back, criticise, assess. But foster your web too for together we are strong to survive.

The best way to learn to respect the Native Americans and other native traditions is to read and listen to them, and nurture self respect about our own. Valuing our own will prevent us grabbing theirs.
« Last Edit: October 10, 2019, 12:53:31 am by NAFPS Housekeeping »

Re: Michael Harner
« Reply #16 on: September 16, 2011, 07:48:08 pm »
Hi Morgain, good to meet you.

My point was referring to the mix match that people do with differing beliefs.
Taking what they like from one culture, and mixing in what they like from other cultures.

Ceremony, for example, as I understand it, has aspects that are pertinent and relevant
to that culture/way. Removing aspects of the ceremony and/or throwing in aspects from
an entirely different belief/culture pretty much negates the intended original ceremony
and what it was created for.

I personally don't engage in ceremony, as I have none. But what I have learned here is
that the NA ceremonies must be done in the native language and that every element of
it is purposeful, intended, and necessary. Removing elements of it because you don't like
it, or think it should be something other, or adding in elements that have nothing to do
with the original intended ceremony, negates it. Renders it powerless to its intended purpose.

And I feel that this is also true when people take from this and that belief/culture system
and mix it all up and call it something else. I don't believe that is useful, but confusing.

On a personal level, regarding life and what you glean from living it, I do agree that bits
and pieces will be discarded or kept. But when it comes to practicing a discipline of a belief
system, one must follow what was laid before and changing it, I'm sure that that does happen
from time to time, but that it is done so within the protocol of the system. Not just because
someone feels like it, or doesn't like this or that part of it.

:)




« Last Edit: September 16, 2011, 07:51:52 pm by critter - a white non-ndn person »
press the little black on silver arrow Music, 1) Bob Pietkivitch Buddha Feet http://www.4shared.com/file/114179563/3697e436/BuddhaFeet.html

Sad-Old-Druid

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Re: Michael Harner
« Reply #17 on: September 18, 2011, 03:02:15 pm »
Re: Carmina Gadelica. Yes: some sections (eg Frìth [Augury], vol. V) are almost completely Christianised.

Also in the songs and stories, scattered throughout (eg ... agus a Leabhra fhéin ... [‘... and by the Book itself ...’]).


More refreshingly, there is also:

.   .   .   .   .   .   .  For I have seen
In lonely places, and in lonelier hours,
My vision of the rainbow-aureoled face
Of her whom men name Beauty : proud, austere :
Dim vision of the far immortal Face,
Divinely fugitive, that haunts the world,
And lifts man’s spiral thought to lovelier dreams.


                                                                  ? Fiona MacLeod. The Dominion of Dreams, Constable, London, 1912
____________
oh my


Re: Michael Harner
« Reply #18 on: September 18, 2011, 03:41:58 pm »
To Jallan and others hoping there is something useful or practical in Harners book.

If we seek healing, we cannot be healed if what we use is considered stolen and damaged property by those from whom it was taken without permission.

As part of ones healing one must first decide at what point one will refuse to do certain things.

Peter Coyote, in his book Sleeping Where I Fall, tells how he visited a Navajo group in the 1960s. He was deeply impressed and eventually asked whether it was possible to become initiated into its rituals.

With the greatest kindness but firmly, the elders told him no. They told him that they had to be all the more careful in safeguarding their traditions because these were specific to the tribe and region and they were under increased pressure from outsiders who wanted access, desperate for healing.

Peter Coyote later found another practice path, one that has given him enduring healing. He stated, that the tradition he later found did welcomes and make a place for outsiders, but that the Navajo traditions, by their very nature could not let him in without those very traditions being distorted by including an outsider. As I read his story, PC was able to heal because of his capacity to respect boundaries--that there were traditions that could only retain privacy and potency by remaining closed to him.

To get involved with material from Harner and others carries with it the risk of becoming someone who disregards boundaries, and shapes traditions to suit ego driven need, when a tradition remains alive because it introduces us to something larger or deeper or wider than our own needs.

If one reads material from someone who has generated dismay by treading upon boundaries and mixing and mashing rituals, one can risk becoming coarsened and impatient and greedy. One may not start out this way but gradually be led to the silent assumption that Ritual and Tradition Must Serve My Needs My Pain My Self. That Boundaries and Differences Do not Exist Do Not Matter.

One also risks becoming greedy for experiences, for workshops, for pay to pay rituals that only inflame greed and consolidate small self. One slowly becomes involved with the entire social network of persons who consider this normal and desirable.

Who consider it quite all right to take/steal and distort private ceremonial material from custodial cultures and then to emotionally profit from something never meant to be used in such a manner.

Ones emotions may feel so deep and so profound.

But that isnt what ceremony is for.

What is being described here is the moral equivalent of organized crime. In the legal sense it is not criminal at all. But from the standpoint of the First Nations whose boundaries were violated and whose ceremonies were marketed in distorted form, this has been a long process of organized crime.

Quote
My point was referring to the mix match that people do with differing beliefs.
Taking what they like from one culture, and mixing in what they like from other cultures.

Harner's core shamanism is a mere idea put together with no voice from the cultures and tribes whose material was stolen and then distorted.

Core Shamanism presupposes some sort of unifying belief system that transcends cultures and is world wide and give non tribal persons permission to take ceremony and ritual out of context, a stance that practitioners would never approve of.

The people who came up with this core shamanism started from a premise called perennial philosophy, a notion cooked up by Westerners that there is some sort of primal wisdom that undergirds all spiritual traditions. Joseph Campbell popularized this on TV back in the 1980s.

Long before, in the 1910s and 1920s, a European maverick named Rene Guenon created an interpretation of history that modern progress was actually not progress but loss, and that modernism cut off access to ancient initiatory wisdom and that one had to find a valid source of initiation and sort through many counterfeits. Guenon influenced Julius Evola, Frithjof Schuon and Mircea Eliade.

Mircea Eliade is of the utmost importance for his writings on shamanism and yoga were highly influential in academia.

Frithjof Schuon, a European Traditionalist came up with a notion that shamanic cultures were custdians of what he called Primordial Wisdom. schuon was fascinated with the Lakota and assumed they were custodians of 'primordial wisdom.'

Among those influenced by Schuon was Joseph Espes Brown

Yet another person influenced by Schuon was John Huston, who remains active and influential as a proponent of perennnialism.

Traditionalism is an ideology created by and for troubled modern persons who live and suffer on full stomachs and in urban environments, well buffered from
nature. And it is through traditionalism that too many persons caught the notion of spiritualities being essentially the same and that rituals could be taken out of context, then mixed and matched in the name of some ideological agenda (Schuon, Brown, Huston, Eliade).

Later, the agenda shifted from being ideological to being entrprenuerial. (Castaneda and his successors)

If you read books written by these people and go to social events and gatherings sponsored by them, you risk being coarsened and losing ability to see and respect boundaries that matter to those who are the custodians of the traditions that have been misintrepreted.


Re: Michael Harner
« Reply #19 on: September 18, 2011, 04:05:55 pm »
Jallan

Quote
I tend towards looking at traditions that seem "uncorrupted" first. I was simply hoping to find some kind of "basics" here from which I could rediscover the traditions of my own ancestors, but perhaps I am looking in the wrong places."

Trying to locate uncorrupted traditions may be as difficult as trying to locate the last digit in Pi.

The quest for an uncorrupted tradition is also part of the Traditionalist yearning expresssed by Guenon and Schuon. Some such as Schuon, a Traditionalist, saw Native Americans and other shamanistic traditions the source of Primordial tradition.

Quote
Guénonian Traditionalism. ...was established by René Guénon, a French philosopher who at one point worked within the context of the Catholic Institute in Paris, but in 1930 left Paris for Cairo where he died some twenty years later...

Guénon’s Traditionalism..derived ultimately from Perennialism, a religious and philosophical school established in Florence during the Renaissance.

Renaissance Perennialism held that all the world’s religions were expressions of a single original “perennial” religion, since lost to humanity.

This hypothetical “perennial” religion is the “tradition” referred to in the title “Traditionalism.”

Guénon’s Traditionalism, however, was more than a revival of an old and by then somewhat discredited theory. He added to it a conviction that European civilization was in terminal decline, having lost even the memory of those eternal religious truths that are the only real basis of genuine civilization.

Guénon and his followers were convinced that these truths could be recovered from surviving non-Western religions, principally Hinduism, and that individual Westerners could achieve real spiritual progress only by joining such surviving living repositories of spiritual truth as Sufi orders (or in Schuon and others, Native American traditions)

http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:hIGNUlsSSq8J:http://au.academia.edu/MarkSedgwick/Papers/279550/Western_Sufism_and_Traditionalism+traditionalism+sufism&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&strip=1

Many Traditionalists opted to live out this salvage operation by becoming, in their own way, Sufis, using Sufism as a means to an end.

Others tried to appropriate Native American practices, most notoriously, Frithjof Schuon.

Ones yearnings for an 'incorrupt' tradition can be influenced by ideologies one is not aware of, if one's yearnings have been inflamed by an author writing as a Traditionalist who has not clearly stated that he or she is operating from that agenda.

Some Traditionalists are up front, many are not.

 . Many books on spirituality are written by authors who are Traditionalists (eg Huston Smith ) but who dont always state from the outside that this is their ideological bias.

One major flaw in Traditionalism is to ignore evidence that does not fit the Traditionlist world view. If a reader is not told up front that the author has this bias, the reader is not being given a fair deal. Guenon's dissertation was rejected by the Sorbonne for this reason.

Mark Sedgwick, a scholar who did a thorough audit of Traditionalism notes that 'hard Traditionalists' who state the ideology up front are often unable to get much influence, whereas persons who write and teach as 'soft Traditionalists'--who dont proclaim it publicly but who are influenced by the ideology (eg Eliade, Brown, Huston Smith) are often very successful at gaining mass audiences.

http://books.google.com/books?id=GcUFmQ-NF_0C&pg=PA24&lpg=PA24&dq=traditionalism+inversion&source=bl&ots=QyrZPZBFaQ&sig=2mCpVCsYs5tVbo-Klk9fHOBhV2E&hl=en&ei=jxJ2TvPzGsbh0QGj2_DZDQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CBQQ6AEwAA

This is all the more important because Traditionalism is deeply emotional, and can trigger urgency and at the same time, validate feelings of unease that a reader already has.


Re: Michael Harner
« Reply #20 on: September 18, 2011, 04:15:35 pm »
(deep breath)

I hope to get across just this--the extent to which our genuine yearning for meaning can be shaped and sometimes distorted by authors in ways we are not aware of--if the authors fail to tell us where they are coming from, and what hopes, dreams and ideologies shaped their attitudes when writing or teaching us.

If an author or teacher is operating from cravings that have been sharpened and enhanced by an ideology such as Traditionalism which is an ideology based on craving purity and on fear of counterfeits, this can complicate a student's quest.

A teacher should not add his or her unstated cravings to the ones we already have. Our own questions are more than enough without being burdened by a preceptors hidden agendas.

I write as I do because my own parents were burdened by bizarre and tragic secrets. The silent emotional turmoil in the household disturbed me. The outcome took decades to solve and I avoided many social opportunities when younger, thinking I was someone who was insane.

Now I know that I am not insane.

And am now sadly aware of the dreadful power of secrecy--a quite different matter from privacy which is needed to safeguard life giving rituals.

Traditionalists are obsessed with secrecy. My take is that what we need for healing is not at all a secret. No malevolent force is trying to hide from us what we genuinely need to become humane and human. 

Secrecy is non consenual and is imposed. Secrecy preserves oppression and power differential.

Privacy is negotiated and conscious.

And privacy is what was violated when native american ceremonies were put on the market by those who would have us pay to pray.

Secrecy generates fear and perpetuates anxiety.

Privacy supports vitality and life and engenders trust

Offline Defend the Sacred

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Re: Michael Harner
« Reply #21 on: September 18, 2011, 06:22:23 pm »
A note of clarification here. The European "Traditionalists" described above should not be confused with people from traditional, indigenous, living cultures who refer to themselves as "Traditional" or "Traditionals". Very different. Another reason why we need to know where someone is coming from and what they think a word means before we assume we're speaking the same language.

Even if someone Indigenous calls themselves "Traditional", we can't assume we know what that means unless we know what traditions are followed in their community, family and social group.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2017, 07:52:54 pm by Yells At Pretendians »

Offline AnnOminous

  • Posts: 100
Re: Michael Harner
« Reply #22 on: September 18, 2011, 10:18:27 pm »

And am now sadly aware of the dreadful power of secrecy--a quite different matter from privacy which is needed to safeguard life giving rituals.

Secrecy is non consenual and is imposed. Secrecy preserves oppression and power differential.

Privacy is negotiated and conscious.

Secrecy generates fear and perpetuates anxiety.

Privacy supports vitality and life and engenders trust
Honouring Boundaries, I want to say thank-you for sharing this profoundly important message.  I don't know when I have read such a clear, succinct, powerful and meaningful explanation.  My gratitude (and a hug if I may).

Re: Michael Harner
« Reply #23 on: September 19, 2011, 03:04:21 pm »
Dear Anne, thanks so much.

Where I picked up this difference between privacy and secrecy was from a pamphlet on the wall of a library that had been placed there by our wonderful librarian. It listed Signs of Spiritual Progress and included these two items

*A deeping appreciation of the difference between privacy and secrecy

*Losing interest in the games of domination and submission on offer in various theatres of cruelty

Privacy is the feeling when a cat or dog or someone you love goes trustfully to sleep in your lap.

Secrecy holds with a tense, stifling grip.


The three people who were my parents were all three burdened by fear and shame and hid much of their suffering and the details of their lives from me.

This meant there were many incongruities between what was said & professed  verbally and what I sensed at a non verbal level.

Eventually I learned the discipline and the healing power of privacy/boundaries from my therapist and the creation of privacy/confidentiality from the 12 Step Nation.

And from my parents, their fate and the fates of their friends and the children of their friends, I witnessed the harm done by secrecy.

Many in the outside world do not understand privacy these days. They give it away on Facebook and through other venues.

One need not intrude upon the First Nation to learn enlivening privacy.

I can offer a story.

Many years ago, I  met a man who had hemophila, the inherited condition in which ones blood does not clot soon enough. A minor bruise or fall can result in a hemorrhage that is crippling if one bleeds into a joint or fatal.

My friend, when he was a little boy, was forbidden to do anything active, where there were risks of falling or bruising. If he had a 'bleed' in those years, it meant a trip to the emergency room, hours of waiting until plasma transfusions stopped the bleed, then long periods of disability.

My friend told me that one day, when he was 8 years old, he couldnt stand it anymore. He was a kid, a boy and damn it, just wanted to got out there and PLAY.

He stole a bicycle. Took a joyride. And fell, hard.

My pal had a bleeding episode into his crotch that generated a painful nasty
blood blister that went from his crotch to his knee.

"I decided I didnt want to face the blame and yelling from my parents. So I hid it."

So, at just age 8, this kid kept quiet and hid his huge blue bruise, hid his pain, managed to spend weeks dressing and undressing and bathing, without his parents or his brother finding out what he had on his body. He had to find ways to walk without betraying that he was in pain. One has little if any privacy when just 8 years old.

So my pal had the bravery, cleverness and determination to hide his adventure. He hid his bruise and hid his pain, hid his limp from everyone until it all healed up.

What kept this from being shame ridden secrecy and turned it into life enhancing privacy was my friend's decision that this was not about shame. He wanted something all his own. He wanted an adventure, he wanted to take a risk in  life, and he didnt want to be yelled at and shamed for wanting to be who he was--a young man who wanted to get out and live.

This kid was not from the first nations. But somehow, with no mentor, he instinctively took himself out of the family circle, went outside, and endured risk, pain, kept it all hidden and converted what could have been a shameful secret into his own private dignity--something he could hold inside of himself
and know to be his own.

At just eight years old, he converted secrecy and shame into empowering and enlivening boundary/privacy. At eight years old, he had given himself and passed a courage test.

Further research:

'Traditional' vs 'European Traditionalist' -- yes, a very important difference.

If anyone wants to learn more about the European Traditionalists (Guenon, Schuon, Eliade, Evola) a very fine survey is given by Professor Mark Sedgwick in his book, Against The Modern World

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&source=hp&ie=ISO-8859-1&q=against+the+modern+world+sedgwick&btnG=Google+Search

Segwick was perhaps the first to provide an objective survey of the Traditionalist ideology. If anyone takes a look at the various reviews on Amazon, one will see that this was greatly resented by those who had preferred to operate in secrecy and without accountablity. In reaction some started baseless rumors that Sedgwick was himself Muslim or had been rejected by esoteric lodges and had written out of spite.

Anyone who is a dedicated custodian of First Nation traditions or who is (believe it or not) interested in Muslim Sufi studies should read Sedgwick's survey and history of European Traditionalism because both Sufism and First Nation traditions have been intruded upon and then distorted by those whose first allegiance is to Traditionalist ideology--which as I stated above, was created by rootless and emotionally needy intellectuals in urban settings, in the era 1880s to 1920s.

Many books and materials claiming to present First Nation and Sufi material has been written by persons actually operating from a European Traditionalist bias--which is not itself a tradition at all.

One convert to Islam told Sedgwick this:

Quote
'Only someone who knows the Traditionalist philosophy and is looking for it will recognize its presence in these books (eg Nasrs Ideals and Realities of Islam--discussed in the prior paragraph same page--C)Traditionalist interpretations are never presented as such but rather are given as the simple truth.
'There need be no dishonesty in this practice' Sedgwick charitably remarks, 'we all present things in the way that we see them, without feeling obligated to explain precisely how we have come to see them in that way....What most readers will be unable to distinguish between is Sufi spirituality and Maryami, or Traditionalist spirituality.

To a specialist in Sufism who is familiar with Traditionalism, almost every essay contains interpretations that are clearly Traditionalist but are never signaled as such. Many of these interpretations are open to dispute, to say the least. To the non specialist reader, however, neither the origin nor the questionable nature of the interpretations is evident.

Not everyone is happy when they discover Traditionalism behind these books. One Scandinavian scientist who had converted to Islam reacted with dismay on reading an article of mine which identified Traditionalist writers that she and others she knew had read unawares:

"Traditionalist books are everywhere..." she wrote. "Perhaps most scary is the subtle penetration of Traditionalist thinking without references...People pick up these ideas because they are appealing and pass them on..('This) is something that affects everyone who depends on non-Arabic (non-Urdu, non-Turkish) literature."



http://books.google.com/books?id=GcUFmQ-NF_0C&pg=PA169&lpg=PA169&dq=%22subtle+penetration%22+islamic+sedgwick&source=bl&ots=QyrZQXEGfS&sig=5f3Jj-DnEFwBCAlPbndPJtCrBvo&hl=en&ei=X1d3TvqQAYft0gGmppXMDQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CBUQ6AEwAA


How Traditionalist Bias Can Blind a Pilgrim to Dangers

[www.independent.co.uk]

Quoted from a review of the Independent:



Quote:
(Irwin) blithely walked where the Foreign Office would soon advise us not to tread, even hitch-hiking round the Med from Istanbul to the Maghreb, before the Six Day War curtailed such jaunts forever.
'Algeria in the mid-Sixties was a grim place, only recently independent of France, its aggressively secular new rulers repressed anyone deemed overly traditional. Irwin's chosen Alawi sect would be targeted after his return to England. Irwin wonders now how he failed to see the signs.

It is very possible that Irwin failed to see the signs because he may have had his expectations formed by reading Traditionalist Sufi literature.

Traditionalists have and had the bias that modernity represents loss of all that is worthwhile. The Traditionalist perspective is to focus strictly on the quest for hidden, primordial wisdom that modernism has rejected, and to keep focused, with mole like focus, tunnelling toward The Truth and igoring all else as a distraction.

A stance such as this can both give and take away.

Traditionalism can leave an intelligent person highly sensitized and appreciative of whatever fits the biases of this ideology--a sensitivity to beauty and depth, respect and tenderness for elders and what is identified as holy or at least worthwile by Traditionalist criteria.

But this can at the same time take away, leaving this same person blind and deaf to his or her environment.

This is not for lack of intelligence. It is because an intelligent person has trustfully adopted an ideology that through its biases, leaves the adherant adoring and valuing only what is ancient, devaluing and ignoring what is modern. This outcome is a sincere but wilful naivete and an indifference to changes in the political scene, changes that can invade one's cozy sanctuary, and mark one's teachers and oneself for persecution or death.

In short, some ideologies can make an intelligent person naive and blind to danger and IMO, Traditionalism is one of these ideologies.


Irwin is quoted as saying that his search began at university when he wanted to be a Muslim saint.

He became inspired in 1965.

Martin Lings' hagiographical biography of Al-Alawi, entitled A Muslim Saint of the Twentieth Century, was first published in 1961. Al-Alawi had started and was famous for his Zawiya at Mostagnem, in Algeria. Decades earlier, this place had been visited by Frijof Schuon, who spent some months there, and left with a now controversial document, claiming that document was a formal ijaza, giving Schuon the credential to function as a Sufi sheikh. One is not give such a responsiblity after just a few months. Al-Alawi was disciple to his own Sheikh for over ten years.

This controversy about Schuon's credentials is fully explored and traced in Mark Sedgwick's book, Against the Modern World:Traditionalism and the Secret History of the Twentieth Century. Sedgwick's work in taking full inventory of Traditionalism as an ideology and its methods of quiet and not always candid prosylytizing in academia led many to resent Sedgwick's book and claim he had flunked out of esoteric lodge work--anything rather than admit resentment and chagrin at this secretive movement finally being exposed to long overdue scrutiny.

Given that very many readers are now exposed to Sufim through authors with Traditionalist bias, Sedgwick's book came as a welcome resource.

I have read literature by Traditionalist authors from other belief systems, back when I was younger, and can testify that there is something about this body of work that can give a sense of wonder and of great urgency to a young person and inspire an eagerness for self sacrifice.

Like Irwin I felt that challenge, but unlike Irwin, I was a bit older, had already had some disappointments and did not want to put myself at risk. But I can tell the reader that my brush with Traditionalist literature left haunted for many years and in a painful way.

For more about Traditionalism understood objectively as an ideology, read here:

[forum.rickross.com]

[forum.rickross.com]

Reviews of Sedgwick's book on Amazon.

[www.amazon.com]

When reviews fall into a pattern of those who either appreciate a book vs those who say nasty and vicious things about the author, with few reviews being neutral, that means the author performed a necessary, and valuable service--exposing sneaky shit behavior that needed exposure.


A friend of Sedwicks who had converted to Islam lent him a book by Guenon.

Quote:

Quote:
'The book looked innocent enough' Sedwick wrote. 'a Penguin paperback with an AUC (American University of Cairo--the place where Sedgwick taught) library shelfmark on the spine. The date stamp indicated that the book was approximately 12 years overdue, as I pointed out.
'The convert smiled. 'That is far too valuable a book' he said, 'to be trusted to the library. Make sure you give that back to me.'
(Against the Modern World, page 7)

One can only hope there are no librarians at the gates of heaven. If so, that elitist esoteric delinquent will have a lot of explaining to do. It is one thing to let a book go overdue from carelessness, but to deliberately not return a book to the library because one has reached a private judgement that that book should be with-held from the general public, when it was purchased by the library so that it could be made available... that, friends is creepy.

Later, in describing Traditionalism's concept that what looks like social progress is actually social and spiritual regression, Sedgwick writes:


Quote:

Quote:
''In the words of a contemporary Traditionalist, a young and talented European scholar of Islam--once the modern world is understood in terms of decline rather than of progress, almost everything else changes, and there are not many people are left that you can usefully talk to.'

(Against the Modern World, page 25)

And on pages 169-70 Sedgwick wrote, speaking of Islamic scholars such as Nasr who are actually influenced by Traditionalism, especially the form taught by Schuon and his eccentric Maryamiyya order:


Quote:

Quote:
'Only someone who knows the Traditionalist philosophy and is looking for it will recognize its presence in these books (eg Nasrs Ideals and Realities of Islam--discussed in the prior paragraph same page--C)Traditionalist interpretations are never presented as such but rather are given as the simple truth.
'There need be no dishonesty in this practice' Sedgwick charitably remarks, 'we all present things in the way that we see them, without feeling obligated to explain precisely how we have come to see them in that way....What most readers will be unable to distinguish between is Sufi spirituality and Maryami, or Traditionalist spirituality.

To a specialist in Sufism who is familiar with Traditionalism, almost every essay contains interpretations that are clearly Traditionalist but are never signaled as such. Many of these interpretations are open to dispute, to say the least. To the non specialist reader, however, neither the origin nor the questionable nature of the interpretations is evident.

Not everyone is happy when they discover Traditionalism behind these books. One Scandinavian scientist who had converted to Islam reacted with dismay on reading an article of mine which identified Traditionalist writers that she and others she knew had read unawares:

"Traditionalist books are everywhere..." she wrote. "Perhaps most scary is the subtle penetration of Traditionalist thinking without references...People pick up these ideas because they are appealing and pass them on..('This) is something that affects everyone who depends on non-Arabic (non-Urdu, non-Turkish) literature."

Another person had a slightly different take on the matter, telling Sedwick


Quote:
"This 'subtle penetration' of Traditionalism also struck another observer, James W Morris, who found it more ironic than sinister. 'One rarely encounters academic specialists in the spiritual dimensions of religious studies who have not in fact read several of the works of Schuon' wrote Morris, but 'This wide ranging influence (by Schuon) is rarely mentioned publicly' because of 'the peculiar processes of academic canonization."

(against the Modern World pp 169-170)

Interestingly, a colleague of Sedwick's had tried to get him interested in Schuon, but before matters could go further, Sedwick was mailed information that revealed Shuons very troubled past. As soon as the friend realized that Sedwick knew this and worse, was shocked---the erstwhile friend abruptly dumped Sedwick!


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Quote:
'This was my first puzzle (about Traditionalism) wrote Sedgwick. 'Some of the major Western authors on Islam were followers of a man (Frithjof Schuon)who went around dressed in a feather headress, or not dressed at all, painting some very unusual pictures.'
(Pages 9-10 Against the Modern World)

http://books.google.com/books?id=GcUFmQ-NF_0C&pg=PA9&lpg=PA9&dq=%22This+was+my+first+puzzle%22+sedgwick&source=bl&ots=QyrZQXFz7R&sig=UhP7Cr0Q7DgIPrCurBhBgSODuIM&hl=en&ei=Olh3TtL-LJHJ0AGC6MHoDQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CBkQ6AEwAQ

The secrecy around Frithjof Schuon, who appropriated what he thought was Lakota spirituality, had very unhappy consequences. Schuon turned secrecy itself into a core element of his religion.

http://books.google.com/books?id=GcUFmQ-NF_0C&pg=PA16&dq=%22sad+gentleman%22+sedgwick+against+the+modern+world&hl=en&ei=rFh3Tuj_CYnn0QHc_JzfDQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CCcQ6AEwAA

http://books.google.com/books?id=GcUFmQ-NF_0C&pg=PA9&dq=gold+rawlinson+fascinated+horrified+sedgwick+against+the+modern+world&hl=en&ei=Cll3TrHPBuHC0AHQwKTXDQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CCgQ6AEwAA






Re: Michael Harner
« Reply #24 on: September 20, 2011, 02:17:35 pm »
To bring this thread back to Harner et al, here is some material posted years back on the Ross Institute message board.

http://forum.rickross.com/search.php?0,search=harner,page=1,match_type=ALL,match_dates=0,match_forum=ALL

The R I message board has been around for a long time.

To make sure your search will catch material posted during  the whole time the message board has been available, select "all dates" when constructing your search.

Re: Michael Harner
« Reply #25 on: September 20, 2011, 02:24:11 pm »
A person whose mother became unhealthily distant from her family after exposure to Mill Valley Shamanism wrote under the name Hurting...Needs to Know.

Here are the citations:

http://forum.rickross.com/search.php?4,search=Hurting..Need+to+know+,page=1,match_type=AUTHOR,match_dates=0,match_forum=ALL


The persons posts can be found here:

Offline Defend the Sacred

  • Global Moderator
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  • Posts: 3470
Re: Michael Harner
« Reply #26 on: September 24, 2011, 05:12:47 pm »
'Traditional' vs 'European Traditionalist' -- yes, a very important difference.

In order to minimize confusion, and as our focus here is primarily on protecting Indigenous traditions, I think we need to always make this distinction. When writing, assume most of the readers here will assume the more Indigenous interpretation and connotation of a word. If something has a different meaning among non-Natives or Europeans, we need to consistently note that in the words we use.

Offline ShadowDancer

  • Posts: 94
Re: Michael Harner and The Way of the Shaman
« Reply #27 on: February 04, 2018, 06:14:55 pm »
From shamanism.org on Feb 4 2018

Quote
In Memoriam: MICHAEL J. HARNER, 1929 – 2018
Feb 4, 2018 | FSS E-News, FSS News

February 3, 2018

It is with great sadness that we inform you that Michael Harner, Founder of the FSS and originator of Core Shamanism, transitioned early in the morning of February 3.

He was supported in the days prior to his passage by his loving wife Sandra Harner and his devoted family. He passed peacefully out of this world and on to the next.

http://shamanism.org/news/2018/02/04/in-memoriam-michael-j-harner-1929-2018/


Offline Sparks

  • Posts: 1142
Re: Michael Harner
« Reply #29 on: January 10, 2019, 06:54:23 pm »
A person whose mother became unhealthily distant from her family after exposure to Mill Valley Shamanism wrote under the name Hurting...Needs to Know.

Here are the citations:

http://forum.rickross.com/search.php?4,search=Hurting..Need+to+know+,page=1,match_type=AUTHOR,match_dates=0,match_forum=ALL

That 2004 discussion has moved to this URL: https://forum.culteducation.com/read.php?5,5260

Does the poster claim that Michael Harner at that time was married to Sandra Ingerman? At the time of his death about a year ago, his wife, Sandra Harner, was clearly a different person than Sandra Ingerman.

See also these threads in the NFPS forum: Harner's Foundation Becoming a Cult? & Sandra Ingerman.