NAFPS Forum

General => Frauds => Topic started by: A.R. on April 04, 2007, 12:40:35 am

Title: Michael Harner and The Way of the Shaman
Post by: A.R. on April 04, 2007, 12:40:35 am
In another thread Educatedindian wrote:

Quote
While I agree very much with networking on similar issues, I've never cared much for the idea of trying to find similarities between very different traditions. It's too easily transformed into the pseudo shamanism ideas of people like Michael Harner, that it's OK to exploit any tribal tradition because somehow they're really all the same.

It is some years ago now, that I read the book The Way of the Shaman by Michael Harner, and was actually totally horrified.
Called it mutant, Frankenstein form of shamanism.
Now I read, that he does workshops called: "Core Shamanism"

Personally I don't think that there is anything wrong in finding similarities between different traditions per se, but the problem I found with Michael Harner's approach, was that at the very core of it IS "Western thought", or "Western model for Reality" or "Western Reality Orientation" (of which I've spoken earlier).   
What Michael Harner then does, is to pin outer "Shamanic" expressions and practices onto that "Core Grammar of the Western Thought", in a manner that can be likened to that of  decorating a Christmas Tree. 
Hence the quotations and the beliefs expressed in his book become terribly distorted.

Could have picked the book to pieces, pointing out these distortions from almost every page, but didn't want to get into it, wanted to push that book right out of my mind as it was just too sick to dwell on any further.   
There is a huge difference whether you are describing "shamanic" anything  from the viewpoint of the insider of that tradition to  the explanations of an outsider-looking-in .....


In The Regional Conference on Circumpolar and Northern Religions & Shamanism held in Helsinki, Finland 1990.... Sandra Harner was also a guest speaker.
Michael Harner's take on "shamanic drumming" was a study of the emotional and psychological effects "shamanic" drumming had on his study subjects:

Excerpt from Harner's speech:

"Each participant using his or her own tape recorder and player with earphones and Dolby sound reduction made a journey to the accompaniment of taped drumming (Harner 1980b:Side A, a steady regular beat at the rate of about 257 beats per minute) for twenty-seven minutes (cf. Harner 1988a) with the express purpose of activating the immune response. Saliva samples were collected in sterile plastic cups with lids, labelled, and immediately refrigerated. Participants also completed Speilberger's State Trait Anxiety Inventory, STAI, (State version only) and Schlosser's Well-Being Scale WBS-58. WBS-58 is a preliminary, refined version of WBS-36. Filler items in WBS-36 were omitted in accordance with Schlosser's proposal (Schlosser 1990: 137) as were three items not appropriate to current state and 35 new items added".

Many people have been "taken" in by Harner, Buryats and Finno-Ugric academics alike, thinking of him as a person helping in "Shamanic revival".  And I suppose there are no problems, people taking "saliva samples" what not,  but when the near universal (Harner's words) techniques and methods of shamanism are practiced without traditional cultural  perspective, then very core essence of these so called "shamanic techniques" is ignored and arrogantly bypassed.

Nothing "shamanic" can even be attempted without the full inner comprehension of the Traditional Cultural Core Cosmological Shamanic Worldview.

So if the Traditional Cultural Core Perspectives are ignored, how can Harner possibly be aiding in preserving "Shamanism".

A.R.


Title: Michael Harner
Post by: Jallan on January 05, 2011, 01:54:50 pm
Hi guys, this is going to be my first post on this forum so....

I have recently decided to order Harner's book "The Way of the Shaman" but apparently there's been a lot of criticism on his work on this forum. I seem to be unable to post in the "frauds" section of the forum so I'll ask here. How big a fraud is this man? After all if the practical aspects of what he describes work (I'm referring specifically to journeying and the like) then it isn't a complete waste of money is it? Are there at least some useful things to be found in his book? I want to make sure I'm not just wasting money, paper and energy here. But in the end, practical experience beats any book.

thanks.
Title: Re: Michael Harner
Post by: Defend the Sacred on January 05, 2011, 03:31:49 pm
If you go to the main page and search on "Harner" or "Michael Harner" or "Core Shamanism", many threads will come up.

Main threads and info on Harner: "Core Shamanism" http://www.newagefraud.org/smf/index.php?topic=236.0
(the links in the first post are down, but accessible via the Wayback Machine. Links updated further down the thread)

The Michael Harner foundation "Foundation for Shamanic Studies" http://www.newagefraud.org/smf/index.php?topic=1295.0
   
Harner's Foundation Becoming a Cult? http://www.newagefraud.org/smf/index.php?topic=161.0
Title: Re: Michael Harner
Post by: critter - a white non-ndn person on January 05, 2011, 03:44:44 pm
Hi guys, this is going to be my first post on this forum so....

I have recently decided to order Harner's book "The Way of the Shaman" but apparently there's been a lot of criticism on his work on this forum. I seem to be unable to post in the "frauds" section of the forum so I'll ask here. How big a fraud is this man? After all if the practical aspects of what he describes work (I'm referring specifically to journeying and the like) then it isn't a complete waste of money is it? Are there at least some useful things to be found in his book? I want to make sure I'm not just wasting money, paper and energy here. But in the end, practical experience beats any book.

thanks.

Hi,

I understand what you're saying, regarding there might be something true or
of value in his books, which make it not a complete waste of time.

Thing is, all frauds/fakes use a bit of truth. The best lies are founded on a
very small bit of truth. It doesn't make it better or worthwhile to pursue.


Title: Re: Michael Harner
Post by: educatedindian on January 05, 2011, 05:14:15 pm
I'm not certain what you mean by practical. If you mean does it have accurate information, the answer is no. It's so general and generic as to be useless. Academics don't use his work. It's impossible to accurately or even respectfully condense thousands of traditions into one book.

If by practical you mean can it help you find a spiritual path, again, how could an inaccurate work possibly do that? I always recommend people look first to the traditions of their ancestors. If you use the search button at top, look for threads like Alternatives to Nuage, NAFPS HIghly Recommends, For Those With Recently Discovered Indian Ancestry, and the like.
Title: Re: Michael Harner
Post by: Jallan on January 05, 2011, 08:30:42 pm
What I intend to do with this book is take only what is useful. What I mean by practical information is information that is practically applicable and useful. After all, if it is just his journeying methods that work well for me, it immediately becomes something of value does it not?

Apart from that I study the ways of my ancestors, but comparatively little is known about these ways (celtic and germanic) that isn't new-age flowerpower bullshit. I am currently reading Eliade's book on shamanism (he is supposed to have had "fascist" ties but I see no evidence of this yet, it seems to me simply an academic work and he appears respectful towards the things he describes) and believe in the idea of a collective consciousness. There are many phenomena that appear universal among religions and traditions, but of course they can not all be thrown on the same pile, and must certainly not be exploited and marketed. I had expected Harner's book to be an analysis of this collective consciousness in shamanistic practices and that it would provide some practical techniques, from which I can build on myself. I'm sure there will be useless material in there, but I will take what is useful, and I have people close to me who can help me. I expect no book will be able to match practical experience here, and of course studying with an indigenous shaman, for which I will be spending some time in the mountains of Nepal this coming summer.

I was just wondering if any of you had read the book and could tell me if there was anything worthwhile in there (especially for someone who is new to this). I suppose the best thing to do is to simply read the book and make my own judgment.
Title: Re: Michael Harner
Post by: Laurel on January 05, 2011, 09:44:33 pm
What I intend to do with this book is take only what is useful. What I mean by practical information is information that is practically applicable and useful. After all, if it is just his journeying methods that work well for me, it immediately becomes something of value does it not?

No, Jallan, it does not. If I stole money from you and bought something very helpful to me with that money, it wouldn't be OK because it helped me, would it?

Apart from that I study the ways of my ancestors, but comparatively little is known about these ways (celtic and germanic) that isn't new-age flowerpower bullshit. I am currently reading Eliade's book on shamanism (he is supposed to have had "fascist" ties but I see no evidence of this yet, it seems to me simply an academic work and he appears respectful towards the things he describes) and believe in the idea of a collective consciousness. There are many phenomena that appear universal among religions and traditions, but of course they can not all be thrown on the same pile, and must certainly not be exploited and marketed. I had expected Harner's book to be an analysis of this collective consciousness in shamanistic practices and that it would provide some practical techniques, from which I can build on myself. I'm sure there will be useless material in there, but I will take what is useful,

When we "take" from those who never gave to us, we're stealing. Period. If there are phenomena that are the same across all religions, then we should learn/experience these phenomena from a religion that wishes to share them with us, not one that wishes to keep its ways for its people.

and I have people close to me who can help me. I expect no book will be able to match practical experience here, and of course studying with an indigenous shaman, for which I will be spending some time in the mountains of Nepal this coming summer.

Wow.

I was just wondering if any of you had read the book and could tell me if there was anything worthwhile in there (especially for someone who is new to this). I suppose the best thing to do is to simply read the book and make my own judgment.

Or you could open your mind and listen to people who know more about this than Harner does, or than you do. It's a simple matter of respect. These ways were not given to you or to me or to Harner to "take what we can use" as we will. That's...um...kind of the point of this message board.
Title: Re: Michael Harner
Post by: Defend the Sacred on January 05, 2011, 09:47:29 pm
Jallan, if you're trying to connect with the ways of the Celtic and Germanic ancestors, you won't find your way there via Harner's fantasies about Native Americans. You also won't find your ancestors on a mountain in Nepal. Look to the living cultures - the folk practices, songs, prayers, poems and beliefs that still live in the languages of the individual Celtic or Germanic cultures. (Note the plural there. Multiple cultures under each of those liguistic/cultural umbrellas.) If it's not enough for you that some of these earth-honoring, polytheistic, ancestor-revering ways survived alongside Christianity, and you need to be certain something is pre-Christian and written down (because, well, anyone who was alive before Christianity isn't here now, and if you are distrustful of the conservative oral tradition you're going to be relying on vellum manuscripts) look to the materials that were written down in the native languages, in the time period in question, when writing first came to those lands. You will have to learn the older dialects and written forms of the languages, if you don't know them already. I am going to take a leap here and assume you don't know the languages, otherwise I don't think you'd be asking this question. If you like, I can refer you to some good language-study programs.  It's more work than imitating Harner et al's outsider fantasies of NDNs, or dabbling in other newage workshop experiences, but I think you'll find it more rewarding.  :)

As for traveling to lands where your ancestors are not from and doing pay-to-pray with "shamans". You might want to search from the main page on "spiritual tourism". The spiritual traditions and lifeways are particular to specific lands, specific cultures, specific spirits. Harner's mistake was to think these things can be wrenched out of cultural context, outside of a traditional system of training and the necessary checks and balances needed to keep people sane. Without that context it usually veers quickly into fantasy and illusion.  

Many of us here have read Harner and Eliade. I read "Way of the Shaman" when it first came out, and Eliade's work around the same time. Still have the books around here somewhere (probably in a box in the basement). My conclusions about him are based on reading his work, and seeing what their work has spawned in the decades since they first published.
Title: Re: Michael Harner
Post by: critter - a white non-ndn person on January 06, 2011, 12:25:06 am
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"?
Title: Re: Michael Harner
Post by: Jallan on January 06, 2011, 07:06:15 am
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"?

Yes, I know what you mean, but what I mean is that the small bit of truth I can find in the book could still be useful, if I can cut through the bullshit. (In reality Im probably just trying to convince myself I haven't wasted money here lol)

Anyway, thanks for all the comments, they're very helpful.
Title: Re: Michael Harner
Post by: czech on January 06, 2011, 09:19:46 am
Quote
I want to make sure I'm not just wasting money, paper and energy here.

Quote
what I mean is that the small bit of truth I can find in the book could still be useful, if I can cut through the bullshit. (In reality Im probably just trying to convince myself I haven't wasted money here lol)

If the purchase of that book has led you to this forum, you can find plenty of truth here. You haven't wasted money or energy. In the future, perhaps you will not waste paper (or fuel), either.
Title: Re: Michael Harner
Post by: critter - a white non-ndn person on January 06, 2011, 01:52:38 pm

Yes, I know what you mean, but what I mean is that the small bit of truth I can find in the book could still be useful, if I can cut through the bullshit. (In reality Im probably just trying to convince myself I haven't wasted money here lol)

Anyway, thanks for all the comments, they're very helpful.

I know what you mean, what I'm saying is that if you're trying to learn then you know nothing of the belief
system you are trying to learn and so there's no possible way for you to know what is true. And why muddy
your endeavor by reading material that has been ousted as fraudulent? It's not real, so there's nothing to
learn, only confusion. Put it down and take up Kathryn's advice, learn for real.
Title: Re: Michael Harner
Post by: Jallan on January 06, 2011, 04:15:20 pm
Thanks all for your replies, you make valid points.

As for the jankhri in Nepal, I will be learning from him next to doing volunteering so it's not exactly "tourism" as my primary objective is to help those less fortunate in the village but I realise that adopting and performing his rituals in my native land would be meaningless.
Title: Re: Michael Harner
Post by: Jallan on January 06, 2011, 04:36:47 pm
Quote
I am going to take a leap here and assume you don't know the languages, otherwise I don't think you'd be asking this question. If you like, I can refer you to some good language-study programs.  It's more work than imitating Harner et al's outsider fantasies of NDNs, or dabbling in other newage workshop experiences, but I think you'll find it more rewarding.  :)

I am studying Irish language actually. I speak Dutch and English and some German. I have read the Eddas (prose and poetic) and Irish mythology, but due to the fact that there are often some christian elements present in these texts, 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.
Title: Re: Michael Harner
Post by: debbieredbear on January 06, 2011, 05:49:01 pm
One thing I have learned is that much of the traditions are retained in the culture, even when Christianized. If you take for example the Carmina Gadelica, and change the Christian words to older Gods/Goddesses, you get a feeling for it. In fact, one Christian friend said the Carmina was TOO pagan. LOL!
Title: Re: Michael Harner
Post by: morgain 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.
Title: Re: Michael Harner
Post by: critter - a white non-ndn person 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.

:)




Title: Re: Michael Harner
Post by: Sad-Old-Druid 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

Title: Re: Michael Harner
Post by: Honoring Boundaries 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.

Title: Re: Michael Harner
Post by: Honoring Boundaries 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.

Title: Re: Michael Harner
Post by: Honoring Boundaries 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
Title: Re: Michael Harner
Post by: Defend the Sacred 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.
Title: Re: Michael Harner
Post by: AnnOminous 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).
Title: Re: Michael Harner
Post by: Honoring Boundaries 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!


Quote:

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





Title: Re: Michael Harner
Post by: Honoring Boundaries 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.
Title: Re: Michael Harner
Post by: Honoring Boundaries 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:
Title: Re: Michael Harner
Post by: Defend the Sacred 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.
Title: Re: Michael Harner and The Way of the Shaman
Post by: ShadowDancer 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/ (http://shamanism.org/news/2018/02/04/in-memoriam-michael-j-harner-1929-2018/)
Title: Re: Michael Harner and The Way of the Shaman
Post by: Sparks on December 30, 2018, 01:49:41 am
http://shamanism.org/news/2018/02/04/in-memoriam-michael-j-harner-1929-2018/ (http://shamanism.org/news/2018/02/04/in-memoriam-michael-j-harner-1929-2018/)

"No Results Found". — The URL has changed somewhat:
https://shamanism.org/news/in-memoriam-michael-j-harner-1929-2018/

That page links to:
https://shamanism.org/michael-harner-memorial.php
https://www.shamanism.eu/faculty/dr-michael-harner/

There is also this memorial movie:
https://shamanism.org/way-of-the-shaman/documentary.php
Title: Re: Michael Harner
Post by: Sparks 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? (http://www.newagefraud.org/smf/index.php?topic=161.0) &  Sandra Ingerman (http://www.newagefraud.org/smf/index.php?topic=4820.0).
Title: Harnerism?
Post by: Eris on May 25, 2019, 03:32:50 am
I am new to these forums, and I'd like to ask a question to help in my understanding of the group's views.

I'll use Michael Harner as an example because he's so (in)famous. Please understand I am in no way defending him.

Let's pretend that Harner had done the following while writing "Way of the Shaman":
* He titled the book "Way of the Seeker" instead.
* He called his unified system of techniques "Harnerism" instead of "core shamanism".
* He never charged anybody for his services and teachings, and he instructed his students to be the same way.
* He stated at the start of the book something like, "I am of European descent, and not related to any of the indigenous tribes and nations of the Americas. The spiritual techniques I describe in this book are inspired by what I have learned regarding spiritual techniques from a variety of indigenous holy/medicine ceremonies, but the beliefs of every indigenous tribe/nation are different, and never should be "lumped" together under a single umbrella of so-called 'Native-American spirituality.'"

If Harner had done all that, how do you think NAFPS would feel about him and his works today?

Thank you. I look forward to gaining understanding from your response.
Title: Re: Harnerism?
Post by: Laurel on May 25, 2019, 11:37:54 am
Harner would still be mixing up and repackaging indigenous ways nobody gave him permission to share, so I don't think most people's reactions would be much different. He'd still be saying "All these ways I was taught can be blended together for anyone at all to use, and no harm done. They're all the same and you can learn them all in a motel seminar in one weekend!" That's...really degrading to the various traditions he was taught.

And he could tell his students not to charge, but sooner or later they would charge. Because, as now, his students would probably consist mostly if not entirely of white people wanting to "feel more indigenous." And we white people like money. Heck, the way we prove a thing is worth doing is by either charging money or paying money to do it. There would be nothing preventing his students from charging, and if Harner made it a priority to hunt them all down and scold them, I doubt he'd have time for doing much of anything else.

Which he wouldn't. Harner would not, in fact, do any of this stuff that "kindasorta sounds a little bit better than" what he is doing (it doesn't really). We know because he didn't do it, he doesn't do it, and he shows no sign of ever changing. He shows no sign of caring what indigenous people think of him, and I don't think he ever will. The kind of mindset that says "Oh, these old ways are pretty cool, but they're really all the same. I, a white anthropologist, can improve them! When I'm done, I'll put my wisdom in a book for others!" is nothing but ego and is unlikely to produce good works of any kind.

He'd still be teaching messed-up, partly made-up stuff and calling it indigenous. That would still be very wrong.

A lot of fake shamans seem to miss this point. They decide that if they don't use the S-word, and/or don't charge money, they can do whatever they want to and the cultures they're ripping off won't care. They're wrong.

I am new to these forums, and I'd like to ask a question to help in my understanding of the group's views.

I'll use Michael Harner as an example because he's so (in)famous. Please understand I am in no way defending him.

Let's pretend that Harner had done the following while writing "Way of the Shaman":
* He titled the book "Way of the Seeker" instead.
* He called his unified system of techniques "Harnerism" instead of "core shamanism".
* He never charged anybody for his services and teachings, and he instructed his students to be the same way.
* He stated at the start of the book something like, "I am of European descent, and not related to any of the indigenous tribes and nations of the Americas. The spiritual techniques I describe in this book are inspired by what I have learned regarding spiritual techniques from a variety of indigenous holy/medicine ceremonies, but the beliefs of every indigenous tribe/nation are different, and never should be "lumped" together under a single umbrella of so-called 'Native-American spirituality.'"

If Harner had done all that, how do you think NAFPS would feel about him and his works today?

Thank you. I look forward to gaining understanding from your response.

Title: Re: Harnerism?
Post by: Laurel on May 25, 2019, 11:43:24 am
I didn't realize when I wrote this that Harner has passed away.  Speaking of him in the present tense was a mistake. I should have said we know he wouldn't change his ways because he never did. And because the harm he did continues to spread and spread.
Title: Re: Harnerism?
Post by: Defend the Sacred on May 25, 2019, 06:44:32 pm
Merging with Harner thread.
Title: Re: Michael Harner and The Way of the Shaman
Post by: Eris on May 25, 2019, 08:42:59 pm

Harner would still be mixing up and repackaging indigenous ways nobody gave him permission to share, so I don't think most people's reactions would be much different.

Your insights make a great deal of sense, and I appreciate you taking the time to explain your thoughts so well.

Pretty much the only way Harner's book could be acceptable, I think, would be if he had removed all mention of indigenous rituals, practices and beliefs --  if he had not claimed anything in his book was connected with the spirituality of any indigenous culture -- and if he had written only about the ceremonies he made up himself.

Or maybe the best thing he could have done was to never have written his book.

Again, thank you for helping me to grow and learn.

-- Eris
Title: Re: Michael Harner
Post by: Sparks on November 14, 2019, 11:21:48 pm
Does the poster claim that Michael Harner at that time [2004] 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.

The question has been resolved. They were never a married couple:

According to Alameda City, California records, [Michael Harner] in fact married Sandra Dickey on 16 Jul 1966. I have found no record of Sandra Dickey and Sandra Ingerman being the same person. Attaching the record. Hopefully the attachment works.