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Steve Greybraids/Tengerism

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Hi!  Is there anyone here who could telll me a bit more about this fellow and his organization.  
quote from post:
"Across Siberia and Mongolia, shamans are organizing into shaman associations.  Due to the large number of immigrants from these countries to North America, it was decided that a North American association was necessary.    
  This organization would primarily serve the ever-growing immigrant community, but it would also teach Americans about their traditions.  
  I am very excited about this and I hope you enjoy their site as much as I have."    
  Steve Greybraids

Thank you

I'm not sure what to think about this group because I don't know nearly enough about Siberian culture(s). But I do see some things which strike me as very good ideas or information.
"Becoming a shaman is often just as much of a curse as it is a blessing....To grow into a shaman, they must accept the calling and be recognized and trained by an elder takes an elder shaman to watch for signs from the person who was hit. If they believe they are chosen, they would take them as a student.
A shaman’s training takes a lifetime of work....
If anyone claims they can make you a shaman in one weekend for a fee, you should think twice. If you were to walk into a martial arts equipment store and buy a black belt, this would not make you a black belt. There are no quick fixes.
To preserve the ancient traditions, official shaman’s associations were founded in Mongolia, Buryatia, and Tuva. The governments of these countries are involved with the registries in order to help preserve the ancient traditions and integrity of Siberia’s aboriginal people.
This is for a good reason. The aboriginal peoples of the Americas have had a great deal of problems with their spiritual beliefs. Their ways have been misrepresented and even blasphemed. Fake “Indian medicine-men??? have charged an unknowing public for pseudo Indian teachings and ceremonies. Nobody knows who is the real deal and who is just out to make a buck.
Wanting to avoid such an exploitative situation, the shaman associations make sure that the traditions remain true and keeps dishonourable or fake shamans from practicing."

But I think the title of this page is misleading. It actually agrees with what we've been saying about not charging.

While the sites does seem to be primarily to educate the public in a general way, there's also a page saying they plan to hold workshops, so I'm still uncertain what to think. I also found one of their pages reposted on a historical reenactors site.


Tengerism and the role of Greybraids in it seems to have been misunderstood from the get-go.  By the way Greybraids may sound a little Native American but I don't think he tries to be native anything, he has just been a very helpful person.  
The Circle of Tengerism is a non-profit organization that is being organized in the United States in order to educate people about indigenous Siberian spirituality.  It has been organized to specifically coordinate with the shamans' associations in Siberia and Mongolia in order to present factual information about Native Siberian beliefs and combat a lot of misconceptions about Siberian shamans as well as debunk some of the cults and false teachers who have made their way over here and are causing confusion and dishonoring the ancient traditions.  In many ways we are following the lead of what Native Americans have been doing to take back their own heritage from those people who were exploiting their spiritual symbols and ceremonies.
Greybraids is a person who is interested in Siberian spiritual traditions and because he sympathizes with the goals of the Circle of Tengerism he volunteered to help spread information about the inauguration of the Circle of Tengerism site to people whom he believed would find it interesting.  He is not a member or officer but a very good friend of the organization.  His help has been much appreciated since he has skills that others of us do not have in using the Internet.
Some of you may wonder why we chose to use the word Tengerism instead of the more familiar word "shamanism."  This choice has its roots in Siberia.  "Shamanstvo," which became the word shamanism, was the word that Russians came to apply to Siberian native spirituality in general.  In the 20th century Native Siberian scholars came to favor a new word, "Tengrianstvo," Tengerism in English, for it described the Native Siberian spirituality more adequately.  This name is based on the word used to describe the spirits that are revered, the spirits of the heavens especially, but also the spirits of the earth and ancestors which is central to our beliefs.  Shamanism over-emphasizes the shaman.  First, you do not have to be a shaman in order to practice most of the basic spiritual practices that native people in Siberia practice as a part of their everyday life.  Shamans are spiritual specialists who are called upon for certain situations of spiritual crisis or for certain rites of passage and for healing.  Most of the time people interact with the spirits directly through personal ceremonies done every day and in all kinds of contexts.  Secondly, in the western world shamanism has taken on such a confused meaning largely thanks to the New Age that unfortunately for us it is practically impossible at this point to even re-possess it as part of a uniquely Siberian spiritual heritage.  For example, at a gathering of spiritual leaders and teachers some years ago in Virginia that I attended wearing traditional Buryat clothing someone asked me what nationality I represented.  When I stated that I was a Buryat shaman I was asked "Is that something like a Native American shaman?"  It kind of rankled me that people live under some delusion that Native Americans have shamans and somehow we Siberians, who gave the word to the world vocabulary, are just some kind of imitators.

The second half of this post, a balky computer and bad connection problems again (argh!)

I would like to make one comment to educatedindian, and I hope it will be understood in the way it is meant to be.  That is with regard to the comments about whether shamans get paid or not.  It should be understood that Native Siberian people and Native American people do not have exactly the same customs.  Whenever shamans receive money or other gifts for ceremonies or other services in which it is the spirits that serve the shaman are believed to do the work the "mense" is given to the spirits although ultimately it benefits the shaman and his/her family.  When the shaman is performing other services where the spirits are not directly involved there may be a literal price but in that case the shaman is acting as a human being and receiving pay as any other person would.  In spiritual work, however, there is no discussion of compensation for that is completely taboo, the only thing that may be mentioned is that certain objects will be required for the ceremony (especially since some of the younger or urban folks don't remember exactly what they need to bring and nothing is more awkward than being ready to do ceremony and having to send someone out to the store at the last minute to get what is missing).  
The point is that we are different.  We cannot be held to Native American standards of behavior.  Native Americans have had to endure a lot of stereotypes about how they are supposed to believe and how they are supposed to behave.  If we do things different from Native Americans it is because we are Native Siberians and we have different customs, the standard that we should be held to is if we are honest, true to our traditions, and honoring to the spirits we profess to work with.  By those criteria I think almost any reasonable person can believe that the Circle of Tengerism is an honest representative of Native Siberian traditions in the English speaking world.  
If you want to do more in-depth research compare the statements on the Circle of Tengerism website with the ethnographic literature about Siberian shamanism and you ought to be satisfied.  Hopefully that will be enough to take them out of questionable status in this forum.  I vouch for them as a founding member of the Golomt Center in Mongolia and a founding member of the Circle of Tengerism.



p.s.  The fact that some statements on the Circle of Tengerism website are mirrored on the other website you cited is not of any great consequence with regards to the legitimacy of the Circle of Tengerism.  A couple of members of the Circle of Tengerism belong to that re-enactment group and there is nothing objectionable about that material being used to explain the shamanist beliefs of Mongols.  After all since Mongols originated in Siberia Mongolian shamanism is essentially identical to that of their Siberian neighbors.  It also should not be assumed that all Mongol re-enactors are white Americans.
Furthermore none of the members of Circle of Tengerism in the group who have that site do ceremony as part of their re-enactment.  They put that page up because a group called the Dark Horde did a page about Mongolian shamanism that was so full of fiction and lies that they felt compelled to present information about authentic Mongolian shamanism to rebut that scandalous page.

Sarangerel, my main concern over the section on payment was that some of the frauds could misquote or take parts of it out of context to claim it's OK to sell ceremonies. I also mentioned the reenactors site just because I couldn't find anything else mentioning the Tengerism site in English. I also wasn't sure what to make of the message onthe site that they did workshops. I'm guessing now it's educational and cultural workshops, and certainly not how-to-do-ceremony.


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