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Thread: A frustrated effort to reach out to a self-proclaimed shaman

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    A frustrated effort to reach out to a self-proclaimed shaman

    August 18, 1996
    Dear Dr. Harner:
    I am now reading The Way of the Shaman which I obtained from Prof. Roberto Baruzzi, who you met at the meeting in Brazil. I find your work stimulating and fascinating. I am an anthropologist as well and did my fieldwork in Java about kebatinan (Java's mysticism) with my dissertation being Sumarah: A Study of the Art of Living. My adviser was Jim Peacock. While I was in Java, I became a leader, a pamong or guru, in Sumarah, which honestly involves a set of responsibilities that I take more seriously than my Ph.D. In Sumarah, we practice gradual opening to Reality which is both the problem and the divine essence of existence itself. As in shamanism, we do healing and work with the spirit realm as well. The opening process goes through many well-understood stages until we reach what we call sumarah or surrender, at which point we cease to describe the experiences involved very much in that they are a part of divine being and constitute no confusion to us in Java. However, I have been out of Java for sixteen years now and in the last five years I have been through many experiences that enter into the higher and undiscussed areas of our practice which have become something of a burden in this social environment. As a result, I have been pleased and surprised to see so many things paralleled in your shamanic approach. When we enter full surrender to Tuhan Yang Maha Esa or Open Being in the jinem level following entry into sumarah, we begin to openly:
    Mamayu hayuning bawana
    Mamayu hayuning jagad
    Serve the harmony of the world
    Serve the harmony of the universe
    At this point our experience gradually joins with the Divine Being and we essentially lose any distinguished sense relative to our experience, i.e., the ego disappears and we serve and work the being that arises out of our open reception of existence. The maturation process in going from jinem through junun to suhul depends on the accumulation of experience involving service and suffering. In the process we develop open links within our being in a kind of mutual presence involving "inner communication" in the Natural and Spiritual realms. As I said, in Sumarah we also do healing but the primary thrust of our practice is more a confrontation of existence itself and "serving the harmony of the universe" as best we can, though in suhul we enter into a relationship with existence which looks more like: "I didn't make this mess, but I sure am going to clean it up" which is called the Divine Resolve (Tekading Ingsun).
    Be that as it may, your discussion of your experiences and those of other shamans is similar to my own during the past few years. In particular, the description of Power Animals is much like my own experience with my Masters who are also long-term associations from animal beings many of whom go back to my childhood as well. Evidently, your discussion of these similar experiences has released a fair amount of pent-up energy and eased the burden involved in protecting these sacred associations from misrepresentation. I am grateful to you and Sandra Ingerman for your candor in depicting your experiences.
    My reconnection with these old friends came after I got to know the Furies who provided sufficient open definition in my being so that the Masters could come out of where they had been placed by our love. The bond that unites me to the Furies and to my Masters is our service of True Justice (Sejatining Keadilan) for all beings now and forever. But, in fact, the phase of articulating and openly expressing all of this material all sort of started with a misbegotten love affair with a woman here in São Paulo, who seduced, enthralled, mugged, mauled, emasculated and left me for dead for a few years after having been my student, friend and then a patient using our technique of bearing (nggendong), which is the open association of ones presence with another who is in need of help, generally due to some emotional trauma (her marriage had ended badly and she was complaining of depression). Previous to her arrival in my life, I had been contentedly married and present in jinem in what I would term the confused and irresponsible ambiance of Brasil. I had started a Sumarah group but the practice doesn't fit very well in this social environment in that people do not characteristically give satisfaction in Brazil, as I found out in much more detail from Magali, and as a result the opening process is much more difficult using our essentially cooperative method.
    It's interesting, when she got to work on seducing me (my God the inner pledges she made to lift my being) I kept remembering a saying from Zorba the Greek that had always seemed to capture much concerning relational responsibilities:
    God has a very big heart, but there is one thing he will not forgive: when a woman calls a man to her bed and he will not go. I know because a very wise old Turk told me.
    So I went and what a disaster. I think next time I would rather face God's anger than go through something like this again. After she had control of the relationship, I was subjected to what Ms. Ingerman describes as soul theft or what we term criminal sense and energy deprivation and criminal ab disposition. In the terms of the ayahuasca experience you relate at the start of The Way of the Shaman, in Magali I have found the "dragon-like creatures" who "had created life on the planet in order to hide within the multitudinous forms and thus disguise their presence" openly expressed in all their evil. Phew. The only positive aspect I have found to the experience was that the pain involved propelled me through to the open statement of suhul in a hostile social environment in a kind of force-fed maturation process.
    At the meeting you spoke to Roberto about being interested in the experiences of other shamans. I guess I qualify and would like to share mine with you. Along these same lines, I have recently read Sandra Ingerman's Soul Retrieval, in which she argues that we should:
    Imagine joining hands with others like you who are seeking wholeness and healing for their own selves and others. Feel the power that comes from joining hands with like-minded people. . . Please take from the power of the circle when you need to, and give back to it when you have some extra to give. Know that circles don't end--they continue. This book doesn't end either; the work here continues.
    This is our perspective in Sumarah as well. We are all together in one place, one Reality; let's work on being here together as best we can and learn about our relationships and responsibilities by knowing them in the communion of shared being.
    Yours truly,
    David Gordon Howe (Elok)

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    PF Ordo Hereticus MaskedOne's Avatar
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    Re: A frustrated effort to reach out to a self-proclaimed shaman

    You've dated this 1996 and Michael Harner passed away in 2018, why is it here in 2021?
    "It is not simply enough to know the light…a Jedi must feel the tension between the two sides of the Force…in himself and in the universe."
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    "But those men who know anything at all about the Light also know that there is a fierceness to its power, like the bare sword of the law, or the white burning of the sun." Suddenly his voice sounded to Will very strong, and very Welsh. "At the very heart, that is. Other things, like humanity, and mercy, and charity, that most good men hold more precious than all else, they do not come first for the Light. Oh, sometimes they are there; often, indeed. But in the very long run the concern of you people is with the absolute good, ahead of all else..."

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  3. #3
    Silver Member monsno_leedra's Avatar
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    Re: A frustrated effort to reach out to a self-proclaimed shaman

    Like MaskedOne not sure why you posted this here. The thread title suggests contacting an author and receiving no response. Yet, to me anyway, the content suggests something else.

    To be honest it is the content of the post that actually caught my interest. To be more precise a specific aspect of the content and how that aspect came across to me. Specifically, from your write up you seem to indicate you were inducted or initiated into some sort of shamanic like practice. Then turn around and cast blame upon someone you say you took as a student for subverting you all the while ignoring your own failings in the situation. Not only failings but your own "Shadow" urgings and acceptance to those impulses is what jumps out to me.

    Then turn around and try to excuse it under the guise of "Soul theft". Sorry to me that is not what occurred. No fracturing, no traumatic incident to cause the fracture to occur or the spirit to splinter apart. No energy of a vampiric type action to steal ones spirit or dominate it by power, force, threat, coercion, etc. Nothing that in my experience would qualify as any type of "soul" fragmentation or loss. Realistically not even anything that might be what I think of as "Soul Abandonment" where the higher nature of one's soul or spirit might step away and your more base nature or primordial nature takes control. Sort of a take flight notion, what I think would be "flee" function when you want to consciously avoid an action.

    Your talking about "True Justice" but where was the "True Teacher" and "True Master"? If you were manipulated that easily then you were not a master nor qualified to be a teacher. Your own shadow was not mastered nor integrated within yourself. Yet the shadow could be taking the action for you.

    I will say I hope you've grown and recovered from that period. I will also add that all who walk the path of the shamanic like practitioner in my experience have played the fool at some point as well. We think we are experienced and qualified and then fall on our sword as it were. Mine was not with a student but in aiding a friend with a question of life and death. It involved murder, a tombstone fragment and journey work. I survived but was definitely not ready for the task at hand at the time. Took years before I fully removed all the layers of that excursion.

    Regarding what I presume to be the premise of the original intent of the post, reaching out to authors. It has been my experience that seldom do author's respond to inquires unless they happen to be involved on forums that you are a member of. I've reached out to a few that have responded to inquires but it was usually due to very specific questions. A few times I've been asked to provide input's to some articles on subjects then have corresponded due to those reasons. In those instances though they have been more academic articles and less general occult / pagan topics.
    I'm Only Responsible For What I Say Not For What Or How You Understand!

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    Re: A frustrated effort to reach out to a self-proclaimed shaman

    I don't what's the OP intention of this thread but I think he's a bot.

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    Re: A frustrated effort to reach out to a self-proclaimed shaman

    Thank you for your comments. My beef with Harner was that he basically asked for the letter and for shaman-type experiences through a colleague but then never responded to the letter and left me feeling like an idiot in that I took him at his word and opened up to him. The same happened with Ingerman. I recently tried to contact her to find out what was going on and was informed that she is no longer associated with shamanism. I was unaware that there was a satute of limitations on frustration and disappointment. The message I had in posting the letter was let this be a lesson to you and "Watch your back!"

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    Silver Member monsno_leedra's Avatar
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    Re: A frustrated effort to reach out to a self-proclaimed shaman

    Quote Originally Posted by Elok View Post
    Thank you for your comments. My beef with Harner was that he basically asked for the letter and for shaman-type experiences through a colleague but then never responded to the letter and left me feeling like an idiot in that I took him at his word and opened up to him. The same happened with Ingerman. I recently tried to contact her to find out what was going on and was informed that she is no longer associated with shamanism. I was unaware that there was a satute of limitations on frustration and disappointment. The message I had in posting the letter was let this be a lesson to you and "Watch your back!"
    I admit I'm intrigued by your response.

    Sandra Ingerman still has her site up and still lists her schedule of classes and courses available for calendar year 2021 listed. Sort of looks contrary to what you are implying in your posting. I admit I do not take any of her courses so can't attest to the quality of the material.

    But in all fairness I can see how she or her aides might not respond favorably to an inquiry. A generic inquiry can be time consuming to reply to. One that is overly broad, random in focus or outside the scope of her material might not be seen as anything more than unsolicited material. Sort of like the person who writes and says "I have a great idea for a book!"

    Regarding the issue of statue of limitations on frustration and disappointment, personally I'd say there is no limitation. However, my humble opinion here, your posting never presented either position. Your title suggested an issue but you never touched upon that idea in the actual posting itself. You presented a letter but never touched upon the stated issue. Never telling us why you were actually frustrated or disappointed. Why we should sympathize or empathize with your position.

    As a practitioner you expressed why you blamed someone else who potentially exploited your skills as a teacher. That's basically all I got from your letter. You wanted to tell an author about that and didn't get a response to it. Then tried to say you read from another author about it must be part of your soul got stolen so that must be the reason for the failure. And used that as an "Extra" to tie the story together in relating it to the original author you were writing to.

    But nothing about why it was frustrating or disappointing because you didn't get an actual response. Nothing to support your final sentence of "Watch Your Back!"

    Had it been me posting your initial letter I'd personally have followed it up with a second entry expounding upon the why, how and reasoning for the post. What I had hoped to gain from writing the letter, etc.

    BUt as I usually end these are just my own thoughts and opinions so others may disagree.
    I'm Only Responsible For What I Say Not For What Or How You Understand!

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    Re: A frustrated effort to reach out to a self-proclaimed shaman

    Quote Originally Posted by Elok View Post
    [...] The message I had in posting the letter was let this be a lesson to you and "Watch your back!"
    I could use a little help with the context because I'm failing to connect the dots. How do you mean 'watch your back'?
    “Experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted. And experience is often the most valuable thing you have to offer.”
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    Re: A frustrated effort to reach out to a self-proclaimed shaman

    Sorry everybody. As for Sandra Ingerman, I got it from her secretary that she just does rituals now. I don't know beyond that.

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