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Dreaming with the Ancestors

Dreaming with the Ancestors

by Teresa MacColl, MA

International Association for the Study of Dreams

Psiber-Dreaming Conference

September 5, 2008

Dreaming with the Ancestors

by Teresa MacColl, MA

In Irish myth, the Salmon is the oldest and wisest of all the animals, and it was said that any person who ate the Salmon of Wisdom would gain the gift of prophecy… they would be able to see their future. By seeking and working with the Salmon of Wisdom, we can gain an understanding that is rooted deep in the collective awareness of all humanity. By remembering the dreams and stories of our ancestors, we can remember our ancestor’s future, and reclaim a more balanced, holistic, and ecologically sustainable world.

My name is Teresa Rae MacColl, and my tribes are Celtic from Ireland and Scotland, Teutonic, and Anglo-Saxon. I am a graduate of Dr. Apela Colorado’s Indigenous Mind (IM) Master’s Program at Naropa University, where I chose to research my Celtic Indigenous roots or rather my roots chose me that’s how the ancestors work.

When I first met Apela, she called me “Fish Girl” , and she said to me “I’ve waited years for a Fish Person to come along!” I had been working with white sturgeon in the fisheries department at UC Davis at the time, designing fish ladders for the sturgeon. Apela is from Wisconsin and her tribe, the Oneida, have a deep reverential connection to the sturgeon. So Apela too is a “Fish Person”.

After working in the sciences most of my adult life, where one is trained to not talk about or have feelings or emotions connected to the animals they work with, I had finally found a teacher and mentor who I knew loved and cared about fish and ecology in a very deep spiritual, ancestral, and traditional way, and I knew I was on the right path. So began my training as an indigenous scientist.

Indigenous science is a holistic discipline that considers nature to be alive and intelligent. Unlike western science, the data collected from indigenous science are not used to control the forces of nature. Instead, the data shows ways and means of accommodating nature.

Students conduct research using the critical distinctions that indigenous scientists rely upon (please see list below). This research offers a unique opportunity for students to encounter their ancestors and their whole self with the support of mind, body and spirit.

The indigenous scientist is an integral part of the research process and there is a defined process for insuring this integrity.

All of nature is considered to be intelligent and alive, thus and active research partner.

The purpose of indigenous science is to maintain balance

Compared to western time/space notions, indigenous science collapses time and space with the result that our fields of inquiry and participation extend into and overlap with past and present.

Indigenous science is concerned with relationships, we try to understand and complete our relationships with all living things.

Indigenous science is holistic, drawing on all the senses including the spiritual and psychic.

The end point of an indigenous scientific process is a known and recognized place. This point of balance, referred to by my own tribe as the Great Peace, is both peaceful and electrifyingly alive. In the joy of exact balance, creativity occurs, which is why we can think of our way of knowing as a life science.

When we reach the moment/place of balance we do not believe that we have transcended — we say that we are normal! Always we remain embodied in the natural world.

Humor is a critical ingredient of all truth seeking, even in the most powerful rituals. This is true because humor balances gravity.1

Indigenous Mind is a masters program where students study and research their own indigenous tribal ancestors earth-based spiritual traditions within a Western Academic framework.


Students individually and collectively go through a deep decolonization and ancestral remembrance process. This is especially important for those of us who are of European ancestry, who are more removed and disconnected from our indigenous roots, or even having awareness that we have indigenous ancestors. Students spend time with traditional native elders and learn what it means to remember who they are in an indigenous tradition, and make an ancestral journey to the land of their ancestors. The quest is to access earth-based spirituality, remember the traditional ways of ones own genealogical ancestors without appropriating from other cultures, healing both wounded masculine and feminine, maintaining balance, and promoting inter-tribal healing and understanding.

In 1855 Chief Seattle warned the white settlers of America that “when the secret corners of the forest are heavy with the scent of many men”, it would signal “the end of living and the beginning of survival.” Those American settlers had forgotten their own native tradition in favor of a religion that taught man he must “be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish in the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves upon the earth” (Gen.I.26). This view of the natural environment denied there is any spirit in nature.

Most people of European ancestry believe their culture is rooted in Christianity, and are unaware of the tens of thousands of years of pre-Christian heritage and spirituality preceding the last two millennia of Christian experience. Christianity is relatively recent, and before it was the pre-dominant religion in Western Europe, most people practiced a spirituality that wasn’t expressed in sacred texts, but which arose out of the experience of being sensitive to the land and sky — to the changing seasons, to the power of the hills and rivers, to the mystery of the stars, and the movements of the sun and moon.2

To the ancient Celts, the realms of the Otherworld were in full view all the time, which included the ancestors, the deities, and the sidhe or faeries. In the Scottish Highlands, you find the “two sights” or an da shealladh in Gaelic, also known as the “second sight”, which denotes the capacity to see both the normal waking world (ordinary reality) and the world of spirit and energy that is intertwined and connected to this one. We find the two sights among certain individuals, who are the dream-seers and the vision-seers.3

When St. Patrick came to Ireland in AD 432, he spent nearly 30 years traveling throughout the countryside bringing Christianity to the local people and establishing churches and monastic foundations upon many Druidic sacred sites. He was not the first one to bring Christianity to Ireland, but he was the one to abolish the pagan rites of the Druids at Tara. Supposedly, first he got rid of the snakes, and then he got rid of the dragons. There were no snakes in Ireland. The Celts used the serpent imagery as a symbol of the universal life energy, a positive symbol of the goddess. So this legend of St. Patrick ridding the land of snakes and dragons was about the conversion of the pagan priests and the killing of the goddess, the feminine. St. Patrick also banned different forms of divination as “giving offerings to the demons”, which included the dream-seers and the vision seers.4

2 Carr-Gomm, 4-11.

3 MacEowen, 253

4 Concannon, 150-151.

“Your dreams are your doorways” —

Auntie Poepoe, Hawaiian elder

Much of our post-modern world does not have elders or intact cultures to link the modern and dissociative way of studying our dreams, with the ancient integrated ways of our ancestors. So in the IM program, we are attempting to reclaim what our indigenous ancestors did, and that is to use our dreams as guides, and to connect with our ancestors, and dream tribally.

Students learn how to understand and interpret dream messages from the ancestors and the spiritual world, and are taught by elders how dreams work on multiple levels to impart messages and understandings for today, and simultaneously reconstitute tribal ways. Tools for understanding dreams as guides in the waking world, particularly in their propensity for cross-cultural understanding and healing, are also provided. Dreams are one way the ancestors “speak” to us.

Our ancestors used to dream together as a tribal group, and they would share their collective dreams with the community. As we re-create a tribal dream community, we are able to gather up and perceive patterns and large writ ancestral communications that may come only to a group, and may be too much for a single person, or perhaps the dream is unifying people towards something that involves a group. We can perceive a collective Gestalt.5 In our IM tribal dream community, we collect and record our dreams together in a “dream database”, where we can look at our dreams collectively and track different patterns and themes in relation to the phases and signs of the moon. Working with dreams using indigenous protocol has enabled us to bring back the sacred art of tribal dreaming

5. A structure, configuration, or a pattern of physical, biological, or psychological phenomena so integrated as to constitute a functional unit with properties not derivable by summation of its parts (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/gestalt).

“It’s time to make your dreams come true.”

-Mr. Hale Makua, Hawaiian elder

IM Dream Data:

Those of us that are the “Dreamers” started dreaming with and for each other or what I like to call “dream weaving”, and the collective dreams give a more informed story of what the dream messages were communicating to us. Ancestral information would come through the dreams of others as well our own individual dreams. Working with the community, one let’s go of their attachment to the dreams, because sometimes we are being “dreamed through”. The other message that comes through is that Mother Earth needs healing, and through our collective dream research we find that our ancestors used this dream information such as this to help maintain balance and harmony.

Below are some examples of storytelling through the dreams, and “dream weaving” with other students, connected to the ancestors and the land of the ancestors. The first dream I had is an example of one of many dreams I had that was connected to someone else, their ancestors, and the land of their ancestors. I was being “dreamed through”, and “seeing” ancestral information for someone else (this is how my Celtic ancestors dreamed, they had dreams of prophecy or the “second sight”) but also there was a message and work for me in the dream. What we are also finding is that we are becoming a global tribal dram community, and that ultimately the dreams and the “work” transcends space and time. For me personally, I know the dreams I have are connected to healing Mother Earth, which is not separate from healing and finding balance in the masculine and feminine within ourselves.

Journey into my Polish Indigenous Mind

Journey into my Polish Indigenous Mind


Atava Garcia Sweicicki


Submitted in Partial Satisfaction of the Requirements

for the Degree of

Master of Liberal Arts in Creation Spirituality

in the

Graduate Division


Naropa University

December 2003

Approved: Dr. Apela Colorado

Project Advisor (Signature)

Approved Marlene De Nardo

Reader (Signature)

In memory of Barbara Kay Dean

September 29, 1942 – October 25, 2003

Dedicated to my family, to Polish ally Nancy Connor, and to the traditional farmers of Poland who fed us and loved us.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Writing in Alignment with My Ancestors 1

Chapter I: Origins and Maps 4

Opening Prayer 5

Discovering Creation Spirituality and Indigenous Mind 8

Indigenous Science 10

Remembrance 12

A Map for Polish Slavic Remembrance: The Story of Baba Yaga 13

Feeding the Doll 18

Listening to the Doll: Intuition and Navigation 19

Cleaning the House: Feng Shui as an Initiatory Rite 20

The Doll Works Magic at Night: Dreamwork and the IM Recovery Process 21

Seeking the Sacred Fire: The Forgotten Medicine of the White Hoop 22

Following Jezi Baba’s Trail: Heeding the Call of my Polish Ancestors 24

Chapter II: Stories from the Polish Land 29

The Dragon and the Lizard 30

Discovering the Polish Dragon 31

The Divine Feminine in Poland: Matka Ziemia, Matka Boze, and Mary Magdalene 35

Matka Ziemia: Moist Mother Earth 35

Marian Pilgrimage 38

Mary Magdalene’s Forgotten Chapel 40

The Teachings of the Forest 44

Recovering What Has Been Lost: Finding My Polish Family 49

Chapter III: Synthesis, Antithesis, and Thesis 53

Weaving 54

Lessons in Antithesis 56

The Historical Shadow 57

The Story Repeats Itself 60

Reenactment 63

Dreamtime: Excavating for What Has Been Lost 65

In the Arms of Jezi Baba: In Honor of My Polish Sister Barbara Dean 69

Notes from the Road: The Un-Conclusion 74

Bibliography 80

Introduction: Writing in alignment with my ancestors

“Knowledge in the traditional world is not a dead collection of facts. It is alive, has spirit, and dwells in specific places. Traditional knowledge comes about through watching and listening, not in the passive way that schools demand, but through direct experience of songs and ceremonies, through the activities of hunting and daily life, from trees and animals, and in dreams and visions. Coming-to-knowing means entering into relationship with the spirits of knowledge, with plants and animals, with beings that animated dreams and visions, and with the spirit of the people.” 1

This thesis is my own personal account of coming-to-knowing in a traditional way. I am telling the story about how I, a woman of Polish descent, came into relationship with the indigenous wisdom of my Polish ancestors. The path I walked in this process was the Master’s of Liberal Arts in Creation Spirituality with a concentration in Indigenous Mind. Creation Spirituality honors the original blessing, or sacred nature, of all of creation. Creation Spirituality weaves together the wisdom of western spirituality, indigenous wisdom and post-modern science.

The Indigenous Mind Concentration is a natural extension of the philosophy of Creation Spirituality. In the Indigenous Mind concentration, each student reconnects with their own ancestral culture or cultures. Guided by world-class indigenous elders, the students in Indigenous Mind gain an understanding of indigenous knowledge that is firmly rooted within their own cultural background.

Like many traditional people worldwide, my Polish ancestors have a rich tradition of stories, legends and folk tales. Many of these stories are encoded with cultural, historical and spiritual information. Rooted in this storytelling tradition, my thesis has emerged as a story that weaves together personal narrative, history, folk traditions, mythology, dreams, and indigenous wisdom. Two short videos from my ancestral journey to Poland accompany my written thesis: “Thank You Mother Poland” is a video collage of scenes from the Polish countryside, set to the music of Polish composer Frederick Chopin. “Mary Magdalene’s Forgotten Chapel” documents my and Barbara Dean’s adventure in which we discovered Saint Mary Magdalene’s abandoned and looted chapel at Kalwaria, Poland.

1.F. David Peat, Lighting the Seventh Fire, The Spiritual Ways, Healing, and Science of the Native American (New York, NY: Birch Lane Press, 1994), 64

Telling one’s personal story has power/relevance in the realm of traditional knowledge, the power of specificity. Kim Johnson, whose doctoral research explored the path of a European American woman recovering her traditional mind, writes:

“Elders and teachers from living traditional cultures have taught me that recovery of the good mind, the mind that is healthy and whole, begins in the specificity of each person’s story,. Generalities only point in the direction of healing, while specificity is the place where healing occurs. I can speak in truth from my own experience.”2

As the stories from my thesis developed, I discovered they naturally grouped themselves into three chapters. The first chapter, “Origins and Maps” gives background information and introduces indigenous science and the ancestral remembrance process. In this chapter, I explore a map of the Polish Slavic remembrance process: the fairy tale story of the fearsome witch Baba Yaga. I explain how BabaYaga’s trail led me to follow the path of my Slavic ancestors and make an ancestral journey to Poland.

The second chapter, “Stories from the Polish Land,” the heart of my thesis, arose from my ancestral journey to Poland. These stories reflect my direct experience with Polish people, Polish land and Polish spirits. I tell the story of my encounter with Smok, the Polish dragon in Krakow. In the section titled “The Divine Feminine in Poland,” I relate my encounters with three of the faces of the Divine feminine in Poland: Matka Ziemia (Moist Mother Earth), Matka Boze (Mother of God), and Saint Mary Magdalene.

2 Kimmy Karen Johnson, “On the Path of the Ancestors: Kinship with Place as a Path or Recovery,” (Doctoral dissertation, The California Institute of Integral Studies, 2001) 31.

The video “Mary Magdalene’s Forgotten Chapel” corresponds to the story I tell here about our pilgrimage to Magdalene’s chapel. In “Teaching of the Forest” I tell the story about an encounter with a Polish elder and forest crone. In the final section of Chapter II, I relate the experience of meeting my own flesh and blood relatives in Poland.

The third and final chapter of my thesis, “Synthesis, Antithesis and Thesis”, includes the stories and reflections about my process of integration and coming-to-knowing. In this chapter I delve into the lessons taught to me by the historical shadow o my Polish ancestors/ and discuss how this shadow continues to play out in my own life. “Reenactment” relates my encounter with my first Polish traditional ceremony. In “Dreamtime” I talk about the ways my dreams have supplied valuable information in the remembrance process. At the end of Chapter III, I give tribute to my dear Polish friend and companion, Barbara Dean, who joined the world of the ancestors on October 25, 2003.

Three is a sacred number to my Polish Slavic ancestors. The number three appears any times in Slavic fairy tales, mythology, folklore, and rituals. By structuring my thesis into three interconnected parts, I am symbolically aligning myself with the wisdom of my ancestors. As I do this, I am weaving together these three parts into one complete story. As Lakota scholar Vine Deloria Jr writes:

“Since, in the Indian system, all data must be considered, the task is to find the proper pattern of interpretation for the great variety of ordinary and extraordinary experiences we have. Ordinary and extraordinary must come together in one coherent comprehensive storyline.”3

3Vine Deloria, Jr, “If You Think About It, You Will See That It Is True,” Revision, A Journal of Consciousness and Transformation: Indigenous Science (Washington D.C.: Heldref Publications, 1996), 39.

Shamanic Inquiry as Recovery of Indigenous Mind












Toward an egalitarian

exchange of knowledge


Published in:

Schenk & Ch. Rätsch (Eds.), 1999, What is a shaman?,

Journal for Ethnomedicine, special volume 13, 125 – 140.

Berlin: VWB – Verlag für Wissenschaft und Bildung

[Page numbers inserted below as P125 etc.]



Jürgen W. Kremer

3383 Princeton Drive

Santa Rosa, CA 95405




[P125] Abstract




 [P126] Dreaming

A few years ago I had a dream which pertains to the issues at hand:

The location of the dream is Hamburg, the town where I grew up in Northern Germany. Sitting on the threshold in the doorway of a pre-war brick house beside my partner I overlook the river Elbe from on high. We are atop the ancient ice age rim of the river, the border of its once miles wide flow, thousands of years ago when reindeer roamed these latitudes. The reindeer now live much farther north, and the river moves in a much more narrow bed; yet it still spreads to considerable widths three hundred or so feet below us, where ferries criss-cross its course and ocean liners enter and leave the harbor. We are not just sitting atop an ancient river bed, but also very close to the old building where I went for Kindergarten shortly after the Second World War. At that time it was a place with a comforting huge tile stove and a garden with plants and trees inviting the imagination of children at play. I realize that there are achaeological excavations in process behind the old Kindergarten. Signs are put up all around it: No trespassing! Stay out! Not to be deterred, I leave my body at the moment of seeing these signs and enter the forbidden grounds. I hover over the ancient ruins which are uncovered thanks to the work of the archaeological team. A round, towerlike structure emerging from the depths of the ground is clearly visible. It appears to extend a good ways into the earth. I understand that this is an ancestral ceremonial structure, as are other similar ones right next to it. The name of the place where this dig into ancient cultural history occurs is Altona[P127] meaning “all-too-near.” Legend has it that an orphan was blindfolded when the burghers of Hamburg wanted to expand their overpopulated city. The idea was to place the new town where the orphan would stumble and fall. But what happened was unexpected. The boy had barely left the city gates, when he stumbled and fell. The attendant burghers exclaimed in surprise that this was all too near, in the local vernacular:  “All to nah!”  – thence the name for this part of the city – Altona. The place where I gain access to the layers below the contemporary city and old ancestral cultural memories is all too close in this dream, right there with my childhood, and fenced in by signs forbidding entry.


I wake up bringing with me not only the memory of the dream images, but its self-interpretation at the end. This dream contained an answer to the curiosity and spiritual hunger which I had tried to satisfy since adolescence through the study of native peoples and shamanism in particular.


This dream and the image of the abstract at the beginning define my approach to shamanic inquiry. They also point to the cultural struggle of “the west.” The key to shamanic inquiry in the eurocentered context is the remembrance in itself of what it seeks in other peoples – recovering indigenous mind. Cultural history and the prevailing definitions of scientific inquiry make such a project difficult, to say the least. Native American intellectual John Mohawk has put it thus: “I do not want people to adopt Indian rituals because I want people to own their own rituals. I want them to come to ownership out of experiences that are real to them. Then I’ll come and celebrate it with them.”


Let me circumlocute this dream by responding to the editors’ request to present my personal interpretation of shamanism. The following statements are purposefully succinct and provocative; they are presented in no particular order or hierarchy. A theorem is the result of something seen (Greek qewrew), whether as mental speculation or at a spectacle or performance. I offer what I have speculated and seen of proceedings shamanic as “conversation pieces” arranged around the dream and the image initially given. This is what I have learned from my work with Native Elders, shamans, medicine people, and noaidis. As such they are my personal contribution to an ancient immanent conversation. This particular conversation disallows artificial splits between the concrete and abstract, between the personal-biographical and the impersonal-general, between transcendent and immanent, etc. It is integral in the profoundest sense of the word. I have presented arguments for my approach elsewhere, references to these publications are inserted behind technical terms or statements warranting explication. Here I am describing my perspective in a personal way. I am doing this with awareness of my maleness, and my mixed Germanic ancestry. I am also quite conscious of my current location in the U.S., and the impact Native American intellectuals and spiritual leaders have had on me. I write for Europeans and people of European descent; others engaged in a eurocentered consciousness process need to see what useful things they may or may not glean from this. I paint black and white, what truly isn’t black and white at all – but all this may be a good starting point for a conversation.




Conversation Piece #1

Shamanism is a construct which mirrors eurocentric thinking.

The Ism of shamanism is the part “made up” or constructed by the early ethnographers and anthropologists serving the abstracting and universalizing pursuit of truth as defined in the western sciences. This definition of science is inherently imperialistic, as it relinquishes its participation in the phenomena in order to grasp and control what is left to be seen after the act of dissociation (1992b). Thus, as shamanism attempts to grasp the desired knowledge it may reflect more of itself in the mirror, than of the native peoples it is interacting with. In this sense the Ism of shamanism is all made up by eurocentric thinking. At this historical juncture I feel an obligation for specific cultural healing to the Tungus ªaman whose exposure to Russian visitors in the 17th century presumably led to the terminology of shamanism (see Voigt, 1984, for a discussions of the etymology and history of the word shaman); had ethnographers written in a similar vein about the yomtas of the Pomo-Miwok people, or the noaidis of the Sámi people, or the volvas of the Norse people, or the hataalis of the Diné people, we now might have the Ism of Yomtism, Noaidism, Volvism, or Hataalism. My interest is in the specificity of the immanent conversation, not just in order to pay hommage to cultural diversity, but to continue and affirm the specific indigenous knowledge (whether ecological, medical, astronomical, or otherwise) which can help us in our times of crisis. The most important questions to ask for any inquirer into matters shamanic is: What is the construction, what is the conversation I am participating in, if I am to inquire into what I am interested in? The Ism is the part where the labors of eurocentric social constructions are most visible, and where the loss of specific understanding of people, places, times, stories, and ceremonies needs to be recovered; the ªaman (or noaidi or yomta) is where the power of individual, cultural, and ecological healing rests through the specificity of the conversation.


Conversation Piece #2

Reflection upon and awareness of one’s own cultural viewpoint is a mandatory prerequisite for participation in the conversation.

I view shamanism as a particular aspect of an ancient, immanent conversation which indigenous people all over are continuing to this day (1996b, g, 1997e). This conversation is summarized in the graphic of the abstract. It is defined by its conscious participation in the phenomena (rather than a distancing view of the phenomena; 1992b). People of European descent or people who have entered the eurocentered process of consciousness have split themselves off from this ongoing interaction with place, ancestry, animals, plants, spirit(s), community, story, ceremony, cycles of life, and cycles of the seasons and ages. This dissociation has created a conceptualization of social evolution, in which a major shift has occurred from prehistory to history, from oral traditions to writing civilizations, from the immanent presence of spirit(s) to the transcendence of god(s). In my [P129] analysis, we engage in acts of imperialism – however subtle they may be – as long as we don’t understand our own shamanic and indigenous roots. I find it only legitimate to write about shamanism if what I write is true to my own shamanic tradition (even when and especially when writing about others). We can only be proper participants in shamanic exchange and dialogue if we know who we are as indigenous people. Otherwise we should take our hands off of other cultures. (1996a, 1994a, e).


Conversation Piece #3

The inquirer as partner in dialogue.

So, why do inquiry – even shamanic inquiry as recovery of indigenous mind? I can only think of one good reason: To resume an ancient conversation, which has balance as a goal (rather than control and progress), in order to be able to redress the ill effects wrought by an obsession with technological progress, an increase in population, etc. For me to become a partner in dialogue I need to recover my own indigenous roots, not to recreate a past long gone, but to move into the future in a complete, holistic conversation. If this is the context for dialogical inquiry, then there is no privileged access to knowledge nor a privileged preservation of knowledge; “Truth” has become truths or “temporary resolutions” to the issues at hand. As part of such conversation and dialogue it may become apparent that there are certain things to be said, and certain things which we need to be silent about (in our own tradition or in traditions we are exchanging with). (1997e, 1996a, f, 1994d)


Conversation Piece #4

If I don’t know who I am as an indigenous person, I should not write about other indigenous people.

Fundamentally, in my book there is no legitimate inquiry about shamanism unless I know who I am as an indigenous person. Of course, as a consequence of knowing that (or parts of that)  the need for inquiry and the nature of inquiry change entirely. If I know who I am as an indigenous or cultural person (however fragmented that understanding may be), then I may be able to relate to other native peoples (peoples still practicing shamanism) as an equal partner in dialogue, rather than arrive as an outsider intent on finding “Truth” (the implicit assumption of the eurocentered paradigm is that this “Truth” then ultimately should also become the tribe’s “Truth” as evolution continues, and the tribe investigated advances on the evolutionary ladder, thus presumably incorporating the “Truth” of self-defined more advanced civilizations). Of course, my guiding interests in shamanic inquiry are bound to change as I understand and remember myself as a person with indigenous roots. As long as we think writing about shamanism is about “them,” we remain unconscious of shamanism in us. (1996a, 1994h)



Conversation Piece #5

Shamanism is just one aspect of the immanent conversation of native peoples.

For me it is important to keep in mind that what is commonly understood as shamanism is just one aspect of a complex set of cultural practices. (It should be noted that the terms “shaman” and “shamanism” are problematic for many indigenous peoples, Native Americans in particular.) To split the indigenous conversation in such a way that healing endeavors become highlighted serves eurocentered research approaches and their knowledge construction, but distorts what is known by virtue of decontextualization. What appears as unusual, inexplicable or even bizarre through this lense may have entirely different connotations if seen as part of the holistic indigenous conversation. Thus we exaggerate the unusualness of phenomena, ultimately only trivializing it because it is denuded of what it is a natural part of. It splits individual healing from communal or cultural healing, it neglects that individual illness is situated in the context of a process of cultural balancing – history, place, story, ceremony, etc. For me this means that my shamanic inquiry requires that I participate in the entire conversation, and understand healing from that perspectve. “To heal” is etymologically connected with the German heilen, and the indo-european root *kailo-, referring to a state and process of wholeness (“whole” also being related to this root). But “to heal” is also connectect to “holy” (as is heilen to heilig), which gives an ancient root to the reemergent wholistic and transpersonal perspectives on healing. Lincoln (1986, 118) concludes his analysis of “healing” in the indo-european context by stating “that it is not just a damaged body that one restores to wholeness and health, but the very universe itself. … The full extent of such knowledge is now revealed in all its grandeur: the healer must understand and be prepared to manipulate nothing less than the full structure of the cosmos.” For what is stated here regarding the older layers of indo-european thinking we can find analogies in contemporary indigenous traditions, such as the Navajo chantways. (1997h, 1996a, b, g).


Conversation Piece #6

Recovery of indigenous mind is the appropriate contemporary definition of shamanism for people of eurocentered consciousness.

Shamanism is commonly defined as the practice of some form of “technology” (including intentional alterations of consciousness) for the benefit of individuals or a community, conducted by practitioners who have been endorsed by this community. It is my contention that the appropriate contemporary practice of shamanism for people ensconced in the eurocentered paradigm is the recovery of their indigenous roots (and this way their own “shamanic” traditions, “shamanic” being a word probably more appropriate for people of Eurasian descent than anybody else). This is the starting point from which all manners of shamanic healing may arise. This then is a healing process on behalf of the individual, family history, history, community; in short, it is the healing of the [P131] dissociative split and the recovery of participation in the phenomena. Physical and psychological healing are a particular aspects of this. Shamanic inquiry becomes recovery of indigenous mind, which becomes the resumption of the ancient, immanent conversation. Ecologist Wolfgang Sachs talks about the necessity to develop the social imagination for sustainability; it is my contention that we can develop such imagination through the restitution of the indigenous consciousness process, where we can inquire about and understand the needs of all participants in a particular place and time. Balance may thus be regained. To presume that any such project of recovery work can arrive within one lifetime at the level of immanent conversation still practiced by contemporary native peoples (even in the face of colonization) would by hubris – recovering the indigenous consciousness process after a prolonged history of dissociation is a multigenerational project.


Conversation Piece #7

We need to travel in a way which does not touch “the other” with the virus of progress.

How then are we to travel to other places and do inquiry about shamanic traditions? Maybe we are not to travel there. The minute we cease and desist the “othering” of shamanic cultures we have to question deeply why we are traveling and where we are going. If we aspire to be partners in dialogue, then any conversation requires mutual consent. Additionally, it requires the consent of all participants in the conversation. This means, for example, that I cannot travel without my ancestors. It also means that I need a welcome from the ancestors of where I want to go. Thus it takes an invitation from the partners in dialogue, but it also takes permission from ones own indigenous culture. Dreams are important here. Offerings and conversation with spirit(s) are mandatory. And more. I know that as long as I don’t travel within the framework of this immanent conversation I am bound to infect wherever I go with the virus of dissociation and progress. I can only travel once the other has ceased to be other for me. (See McGrane, 1989 for relevant discussions; Kremer, 1994a).



Conversation Piece #8

The hunger for shamanism is the denial of the indigenous roots from which eurocentered thinking originated.

The current interest in shamanism reflects more than just a “legitimate research field” (in the scientific view), which is finally receiving some acknowledgement (of course, the legitimacy of this interest is tautologically defined and justified by the scientific paradigm itself). With it comes a cultural hunger created by the loss of indigenous conversations in eurocentered societies. The fascination with exotic other cultures, the nostalgic yearning [P132] for something ideal in the past, or the romantic images of Native Americans riding the plains or retreating into kivas on remote mesas – all this originates from cultural starvation. Of course, there is an incredible amount we can learn from indigenous peoples in general, and shamanism specifically, which may benefit our modernist pathologies, provided this learning occurs in an appropriate context. And, of course, indigenous peoples have never lived in a perfect world, the ideal of balance is always and at best a fleeting achievement. Traditional Hopi stories describing situations where things are out of balance (koyaanisqatsi) are very educational in this regard; see the Hopi Ruin Legends (Lomatuway’ma et al., 1993). Our idealizations are the flip side of evolutionary thinking, and an expression of its shadow. The projection of our hunger onto other cultural traditions is not going to satisfy the emptiness in ourselves. In a sense it is junk food. Being nurtured by our own indigenous traditions and nurturing them in return is what will satisfy and stop idealizations, romanticism, and nostalgia. The research of other cultures and the incorporation of their practices without consent is only legitimate, as long as we act within a dissociative paradigm. Once we regain our own immanent conversation, inquiry and exchange of ceremonial practices need to await guidance from the conversation of all parties involved – ancestors, communities, plants, animals, stars, and all. Or, in the words of Jung: “Shall we be able to put on, like a new suit of clothes, ready-made symbols grown on foreign soil, saturated with foreign blood, spoken in a foreign tongue, nourished by a foreign culture, interwoven with foreign history, and so resemble a beggar who wraps himself in kingly raiment, a king who disguises himself as beggar? No doubt this is possible. Or is there something in ourselves that commands us to go in for no mummeries, but perhaps to sew our garment ourselves?” (1970, 49)



Converation Piece #9

The cross-cultural differences between indigenous and eurocentered peoples is qualitative, rather than quantitative.

Another way of saying this is: Cross-cultural differences between eurocentered peoples are of the same order, and cross-cultural differences between indigenous peoples are of the same order, but the differences between these two groups are of a different order or quality. I have defined the evolutionary trajectory of the so-called civilizing process as dissociative schismogenesis (1992b, c). This is a run-away pathological process, where the split from one’s origin increases in an addictive dynamic governed by progress ideologies, and where the loss of awareness of one’s root has tremendous power. Phenomena are seen as entirely external, and one’s participation in the phenomena is unconscious. – On the other hand, the immanent conversation of native peoples is aware of its active participation in the creation of the phenomena. The (explicit or implicit) goal of the conversation is not some transcendent state or some evolutionary goal set in the future; the goal is balance within each individual, between individuals, and among all participants of the conversation, balance within the cycles of the different world ages, balance as hunters, [P133] horticulturalists, gatherers or pastoralists, balance as sedentary people or nomads. – This qualitative difference between these two groups of cultures leads to tremendous interactive problems, which remain largely veiled for eurocentric folk. They are the proverbial apples and oranges. The dissociative inquirer can only approach the participative conversation qua dissociative means – resulting in an imperialistic acquisition of knowledge. The participative conversation, because of its values, usually welcomes dissociative inquirers, even when their pathology is apparent (the traditional worldview usually makes such open door policy practically mandatory, and frequently disregards the significant qualitative difference in paradigm, a difference which is also politically highly relevant). The truth generated by this approach (whether in one of the sciences or as new age spiritual practice) is, in final analysis, a validation for the conversation of the dominant paradigm. The indigenous conversation has no need for research other than the ceremonial and spiritual inquiry into what is needed for balancing in a particular place at a specific time in history. To my mind that is more research than most of us can handle. Exchanges with other indigenous cultures are guided by the contents of this conversation. – Wislawa Szymborska’s poem Conversation with a stone describes the distinction I am talking about aptly: ” “You shall not enter,” says the stone. // “You lack the sense of taking part. // No other sense can make up for your missing sense of taking part. // Even sight heightened to become all-seeing // will do you no good without a sense of taking part. // You shall not enter, you have only a sense of what that sense should be, // only its seed, imagination.” ” – These differences in paradigm can easily be illustrated in the area of physical healing, say with herbs: Within the eurocentered paradigm we pick an herb for its curative properties known to relieve a certain ailment. Herb collection is an entirely different event within an indigenous context. Here, it is a ceremonial event which involves spirit, and, especially, the spirits of the plant to be collected. It is a participatory event with the plant relations which presupposes detailed knowledge, including knowledge of their “language.” It requires knowledge of cycles and preparations necessary for gathering. It means understanding plants like any other intelligent people. This is no longer the collection of an herb, but an engagement and appointment with spirit to help heal. What heals is more than the beneficial chemical ingredient in the herb.


Conversation Piece #10

Dialog partners have the historic task of healing the history of projective identification in relation to indigenous peoples.

In relation to indigenous peoples colonialism is always an essential ingredient in the context of exchange, dialogue or research. The euro-centered, well-bounded ego frequently cannot see this deep structure of such encounters, which is present whether talked about or left unspoken or unconscious. It is this ego, which is likely to project from its personality make-up whatever it has dissociated from into its own past or onto indigenous peoples. In fact, projective identification may be the most apt clinical term to point to the [P134] psycho-emotional process eurocentered cultures are engaged in with contemporary indigenous peoples (this term also acknowledges that history is carried and handed down specifically in the process of socialization within each individual). Projective identification means that other people are made to feel the highly conflicted and split off material dominant cultures unconsciously injected into them – so that they feel and experience it as if it is their own. Natives feel the eurocentered dissociation from prehistory, ancestry, nature, etc. as self-hatred (“primitives”) which is destructive to their cultures. Of course, self-hatred as an effect of internalized colonization warrants a much longer statement than I can offer here. Notably, in individual psychotherapy projective identification is known to be a pathological process oftentimes quite resistant to change because of its strongly self-reinforcing nature; this would seem to imply that we can assume strong resistance to the healing of the history of colonialism in the relationship between indigenous and eurocentered cultures. I would think that the retraction of these projections is the first order of business; for this we need a different metaphor than “regression in the service of the ego”, which is appropriate for individual psychotherapy. I suggest that the integration of history and prehistory qua connection with indigenous roots (recovering indigenous mind) is an appropriate terminology. The reintegration of cultural shadow material presupposes the possibility of an ego – the indigenous ego in communal conversation, if you wish – which would be differently constructed than our contemporary ego can easily imagine. The revival of shamanic practices can be an aspect of the resolution of historically determined shadow material – or it may perpetrate the denial further.


Conversation Piece #11

Psychologizing spirit(s) misses the mark.

For Europeans and Euroamericans the easiest way – other than by anthropological means – to approach native peoples and their shamanism is probably via psychology, particularly transpersonal pyschology. This seems to be the current moving force within eurocentered societies, where the influence of psychological thinking has increased steadily over the years. Joseph Campbell’s approach to mythology and Jung’s archetypal psychology offer attractive avenues in this regard. While these and others can be extremely helpful for people of euro-centered consciousness, they easily become problematic projections when applied to native peoples. Jung himself had actually quite a good understanding of this when he looked toward alchemy as an earlier tradition in his own background or when he stated: “A spiritual need has produced in our time the “discovery” of psychology.” While various forms of psychology may open the door to the remembrance of an indigenous mind process for people of European descent, even transpersonal psychology is hardly identical with it. It is important to be aware that an archetype is not a spirit. Psychologizing spirit is a way of preserving and affirming eurocentered thinking. Faris (1990, 12) has summarized this succinctly in his discussion of the Jungian interpretations of Navajo traditions: ” Such motions … are still popular and [P135] continue to be attractive to both romantics and humanists who seem interested in fitting Navajo belief into some variety of universal schema – reducing its own rich logic to but variation and fodder for a truth derived from Western arrogances – even if their motivations are to elevate it.” To my mind the prerequisite for writing about shamanism is that spirits are or have been present to the author. Otherwise it seems more appropriate to be silent about a universe only partly seen.


Conversation Piece #12

Remembering indigenous roots is medicine.

It seems so much easier to see the “medicine” in a plant, a feather or a stone people lodge (sweat) – and it is so much harder to see the medicine offered by the confrontation with history. The land I live on now is not my ancestral land – it is the ancestral land of the Ramaytush-speaking people of the San Francisco peninsula, the first people of this particular land with a name we still remember, the original keepers of this land. The beauty of the land I live on has suffered from the devastating consequences of technological progress. I live in a society where the destruction of its aboriginal cultures is scarcely acknowledged and is not mourned by the majority of people; living in this society I am in a certain way complicit in the ongoing perpetration of racism and cultural genocide. Yet, I also live in a city which seems to be among the most comfortably and richly multicultural places in the U.S., with less pollution than in many other metropolitan areas. My Germanic ancestry puts me in the gateway of the Shoah. I recall Hitler’s perversions of mythology in the service of genocide; I will never forget the image of the Germanic goddess Nerthus cattle-drawn past Hitler, which I saw in the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. I recall the aberrations of the Vikings, their vicious slaughters and conquering – another guardian at the threshold. Passing these and more guardians, witnessing what they hold, is to heal old collective wounds as they have been passed down to me as an individual, passed down consciously and unconsciously. These guardians don’t stand at the threshold simply to propagate guilt. The guardians are medicine for the collective shadow of the Western world. They are the medicine of remembrance with all that it entails, be it fear, pain, guilt, anger. Ancestry and stories of origins and homeland have been abused for various ideological purposes, usually right-wing and fascistic. The story of our cultural self-understanding is open-ended, necessarily. The exposure to the medicine of the guardians is mandatory in order to counter chauvinistic or nationalistic abuses. The healing power – for individual as well as collective healing – of the witnessing of history with all its perversions, twists, and contradictions, is a) a prerequisite for anybody of European descent as part of shamanic work, and b) in a profound sense more powerful than any animal bone or feather that one might want to pick up.


Boring Things

I am bored with the shifting fashions of shamanic inquiry and New Age appropriations – yesterday the Australian aborigines, now the Siberian tribes. I am bored with the fashions of charismatic figures and the disempowerment of seekers.


Exciting Things

I am excited about the possibility of the disappearance of the white man (‘white man’ in the sense of the masculinization of the phenomena through eurocentric consciousness). I am excited about the possibility of resuming ancient forms of knowledge exchange, where we all might mirror each other through the original instructions we all received (while taking care of the teaching circles or instructions from the tree of life). I am excited about developing evolutionary thinking which gets us off the linear trajectory through the remembrance of all of our traditional stories (the cycles of history as evolution). I am excited about the possibility to see the history of our planet spoken in multivocality, which respects not only different traditions, but takes care of each place and time to the best of our ancient understandings for today. I am excited about the possibility of universal connection through specificity of knowledge trade rather than dissociation and abstraction. I am excited about the possibility that the oppositions between cultural relativism and scientism may resolve itself into the universalism of the knowledge exchange among immanent conversations.


Shamanic Career

The outline of my “shamanic career” can be given briefly: During adolescence I developed a benign form of cancer, a bone tumor. The surgery and subsequent healing process prevented me from undertaking a journey which I had dreamed of since childhood: I had won a scholarship at my school to visit the northernmost part of Scandinavia – Sápmi – and to go to a place which lived most vividly in my imagination: Girkonjárga (which I knew then only as the Kirkenes of the Norwegian language). Many years later I had an unexpected experience which jolted me out of the life course I was on (the practice of clinical psychology), and – finally – led me to that very place in Sápmi: During an experience – commonly labelled “out of body experience” – I appeared as an agent in what seemed a healing for another person. This embarked me on an exploration of various alternate forms of healing, primarily those called ‘shamanic.’ I spent time with shamans and medicine people from various cultures, including Navajo, Cherokee, Pomo-Miwok, Japanese, Cambodian; I travelled incessantly to the tribes and archaeological sites of the Southwestern U.S. In addition to studying these various traditions I fasted, danced, and sweated. I also explored what various proponents of New Age shamanism had to offer – [P137] some of these people were native, some of them not so native or fake native, all of them were decontextualized in one form or another. As I listened to them and researched their claims the meaning of their decontextualization became increasingly apparent to me. After years of study with and of traditional, non-traditional, and anti-traditional people I realized that I could not be a participant in indigenous endeavors unless I knew who I was as an indigenous person. The work with my Oneida colleague, Dr. Pamela Colorado, was instrumental for this process; her conceptualization of “indigenous science” has impacted much of my work. The realization regarding my own indigenous roots led me to review my relationships with people who had taught me and who I had researched, and resulted in a deep exploration of my Germanic ancestry. I worked through some of the shame and embarassment which had prevented me in the past from looking at the older layers of Nordic history. I finally began taking trips not just back to Germany, but to the last remaining people in Europe living in an indigenous frame of mind, the Saami people of the far north of Scandinavia and the Kola Peninsula, the land they call Sápmi or Saami Eatnan. The meetings with the members of PRATEC from Lima, Peru – facilitated by Frederique Apffel-Marglin – were influential in my own conceptualizations of immanent conversation (particularly thanks to conversations with the late Eduardo Grillo). Out of the many Saami people who met with me during my travels the ongoing work with Biret-Máret Kallio is of particular significance for my recovery work and its conceptualizations. […] (See 1997a, c, 1996e for extensive autobiographical material.)



It seems customary to think about influences in terms of books and teachers. For me other storehouses, “libraries”, or “universities” for ancient knowledge have been at least equally significant, namely rock art and archaeological and sacred sites. On the continent where I live the rock knowledge of the Southwestern U.S. (Horse Shoe Canyon, and innumerable other sites), and sacred places like Chaco Canyon, White House Ruin, Spider Rock, Uxmal, Chichen Itza, and others have been of tremendous importance for me. In Europe the rock knowledge of sacred sites in Bohuslän, Nämforsen, and Jiebmaluokta in particular, and places like Čeavceageađge have been of particular significance. Early on the work of Stanley Krippner and the contacts he provided were influential. Other than Colorado, Wilkinson, Kallio, and PRATEC the works by Pentekäinen, Valkeapää, Mohawk, Deloria, Churchill, McGrane, Faris deserve particular mention. The many native teachers who have generously shared their knowledge and ceremonies are gratefully acknowledged.




Churchill, W. (1992). Fantasies of the master race. Monroe, ME: Common Courage.

Churchill, W. (1995). Since predator came. Littleton, CO: Aigis.

Colorado, P. (1988). Bridging native and western science. Convergence, XXI, 2/3, 49-67.

Colorado, P. (1989). “Indian science” from fire and ice. In J. Bruchac (ed.), New voices from the longhouse. New York: Greenfield Review Press.

Colorado, P. (1991). A meeting between brothers. Beshara, 13, Summer 1991, 20-27.

Colorado, P. (1994). Indigenous science and western science – a healing convergence. Presentation at the World Sciences Dialog I. New York City, April 25-27.

Colorado, P. (1996). Indigenous science. ReVision, Vol. 18 (3), 6-10.

Deloria, V. (1993). If you think about it you will see that it is true. Noetic Sciences Review, 27, 62-71.

Deloria, V. (1995). Red earth, white lies. NY: Scribner

Deloria, V. (1996). If you think about it, you will see that it is true. ReVision, 18(3), 37-44.

Dion-Buffalo, Y. & J. Mohawk. (1994). Throughts from an autochtonous center. Cultural Survival, Winter, 33-35.

Faris, J.C. (1990). The nightway. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press.

Jung, C.G. (1970). Psychological reflections. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. (Quote from collected works 10, 26f.)

Kallio, B.-M. (1996). Noaidi – jemand, der sieht. Ethnopsychologische Mitteilungen, 6(1), 59-77.

Krippner, S. & A. Villoldo. (1976). The realms of healing. Millbrae, CA: Celestial Arts.

Krippner, S. & P. Welch (1992). Spiritual dimensions of healing New York: Irvington.

Krippner, S. (1986). Dreams and the development of a personal mythology. The Journal of Mind and Behavior, 7(2-3), 449 – 461.

Krippner, S. (1995). The use of altered conscious states in North and South American Indian shamanic healing rituals. In R. van Quekelberghe & D. Eigner (Eds.), Jahrbuch für transkulturelle Medizin und Psychotherapie. Trance, Besessenheit, Heilrituale und Psychotherapie. Berlin:VWB.

Lincoln, B. (1986). Myth, cosmos, and society. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Lomatuway’ma, M., L. Lomatuway’ma, S. Namingha & E. Malotki (1993). Kiqötutuwutsi – Hopi ruin legends. Flagstaff, AZ: Northern Arizona University.

McGrane, B. (1989). Beyond anthropology. NY: Columbia.

Pentkäinen, J. (1984). The Sámi shaman. In M. Hoppál (ed.), Shamanism in Eurasia. Göttingen, Germany: edition herodot.

Szymborska, W. (1995). view with a grain of sand. NY: Harcourt Brace.

Valkeapää, N.-A. (1985). Trekways of the wind. Guovdageaidnu, Norway: DAT.

Valkeapää, N.-A. (1991). Beaivi, Áh_á_an. Guovdageaidnu, Norway: DAT.

Valkeapää, N.-A. (1996). Poems from Trekways of the wind. ReVision, 18(3), 45-48.

Voigt, V. (1984). Shaman – Person or word? In M. Hoppál (ed.), Shamanism in Eurasia (part 1) (13-20). Göttingen, Germany: edition herodot.

Wilkinson, T. (1996). Persephone returns. Berkeley, CA: Pagemill.


Publications pertaining to my summary of shamanic inquiry

(1997a) Recovering indigenous mind. ReVision, 19(4).

(1997b). Transforming learning transforming. ReVision, 20(1); see also (1994k).

(1997c). BeFORe Gimbutas. ReVision, 20(1)

(1997d). Introduction to special issue on transformative learning. ReVision, 20(1)

(1997e). Editor of a ReVision issue (vol. 20, #1) on Transformative Learning

(1997f). Editor (with Joseph Prabhu) of a ReVision issue (vol. 19, #4) on Alternative Perspectives on Development

(1997g). Editor of a ReVision issue (vol. 19, #3) on Indigenous Science – Further Contributions.

(1997h) Die Schattenseiten evolutionären Denkens – Ken Wilber als Beispiel (Teil II). Ethnopsychologische Mitteilungen, 6(2).

(1997i). Übersetzung des Artikels Noaidi von Biret-Máret Kallio. Ethnopsychologische Mitteilungen, 6(1), 59-77.

(1996a) The Possibility Of Recovering Indigenous European Perspectives On Native Healing Practices. Ethnopsychologische Mitteilungen , 5(2),149-164.

(1996b) The shadow of evolutionary thinking. ReVision, 19(1), 41-48.

(1996c) Lingering shadows. ReVision, 19(2), 43-44.

(1996d) The shadow of evolutionary thinking (enlarged article). In submission for reader edited by Rothberg and Kelly on Ken Wilber and the future of transpersonal inquiry – A spectrum of views.

(1996e) Mind on fire. ReVision, 19(3); at press

(1996f) Introduction to special issue on indigenous science. ReVision, 19(3); at press

(1996g) Die Schattenseiten evolutionären Denkens – Ken Wilber als Beispiel (Teil I). Ethnopsychologische Mitteilungen, 6(1), 41-58.

(1996h). Editor of a ReVision issue (Vol. 18, #3) on Indigenous Science.

(1995a) Evolving into what and for whose purpose?. ReVision, Winter 1996, 18(3),27-36.

(1995b) Introduction: Indigenous science. ReVision, Winter 1996, 18(3), 2-5.

(1994a). Seidr or trance? ReVision, Spring 1994, 16(4), 183-191

(1994b). Trance postures (with Stanley Krippner). ReVision, Spring 1994, 16(4), 173-182.

(1994c). Foreword (with Jean Achterberg). ReVision, Spring 1994, 16(4), 147

(1994d). Shamanic tales of power. In: van Quekelberghe (ed.), Trance, Possession, Healing Rituals, and Psychotherapy / Yearbook of Cross-Cultural Medicine and Psychotherapy 1994(pp. 153-180). Mainz, Germany: Verlag für Wissenschaft und Bildung.

(1994e). Perspectives on indigenous healing. Noetic Sciences Review, Spring 1995, 13-18.

(1994f). Indigenous science for euro-americans, In R. I. Heinze (Ed.),  Proceedings of the 11th International Conference on the Study of Shamanism And Alternate Modes of Healing. Berkeley, CA: Independent Scholars of Asia.

(1994g).Traditional Knowledge Leads to a Ph.D. [Interview with Pamela Colorado and Jürgen Kremer, by Richard Simonelli] Winds of Change 9(4), 43-48.

(1994h). Euro-americans, retribalize! Printed in 1994k

(1994i). On understanding indigenous healing practices. Ethnopsychologische Mitteilungen, 4(1), 3-36. (1995)

(1994j). Practices for the postmodern shaman? In R. I. Heinze (Ed.),  Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on the Study of Shamanism And Alternate Modes of Healing. Berkeley, CA: Independent Scholars of Asia.

(1994k). Looking for Dame Yggdrasil. Red Bluff, CA: Falkenflug Press.

(1993a) The past and future process of mythology, In R. I. Heinze (Ed.),  Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on the Study of Shamanism And Alternate Modes of Healing. Berkeley, CA: Independent Scholars of Asia. [In press]

(1993b). Co-guest editor (with Jean Achterberg) of a ReVision issue (Vol. 16, #4) on Trance and Healing – Psychology Biology and Culture.

(1992a) Culture and ways of knowing. ReVision, Spring 1992, 14(4), 167. [Foreword]

(1992b). The dark night of the scholar. ReVision, Spring 1992, 14(4), 169-178.

(1992c). Culture and ways of knowing – Part II. ReVision, Summer 1992, 15(1),3. [Foreword]

(1992d). Whither dark night of the scholar? ReVisions, Summer 1992, 15(1), 4-12.

(1992e). Prolegomena shamanica. Red Bluff, CA: Falkenflug Press.

(1992g). Guest editor of two ReVision issues (Vol. 14, #4 and Vol. 15, #1) on Culture and Ways of Knowing

(1992h). Memory Lightning Memory. ReVision, 1992, 15(1), backcover. [Story.]

(1991a). Contemporary shamanism and the evolution of consciousness – Reflections on Owen Barfield’s Saving the Appearances. Open Eye, 8(3), 4-5,9.

(1990a) Vincent Van Gogh: “Great artist and failure in initiation?”. In R. I. Heinze (Ed.),  Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on the Study of Shamanism And Alternate Modes of Healing (pp. 151-161). Berkeley, CA: Independent Scholars of Asia.

(1990b) Sacred crafts (with Debra White). In R. I. Heinze (Ed.),  Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on the Study of Shamanism And Alternate Modes of Healing (pp. 176-185). Berkeley, CA: Independent Scholars of Asia.

(1989a) The shaman’s body. In R. I. Heinze (Ed.), Proceedings of the 5th International Conference on the Study of Shamanism And Alternate Models of Healing (pp. 375-384). Berkeley, CA: Independent Scholars of Asia.

(1989b) Authentic traditions and their confrontations with Western knowledge. Journal of Navajo Education, Winter 1989, VI, 3-12.

(1988a). Tales of Power. In R. I. Heinze (Ed.), Proceedings of the 4th International Conference on the Study of Shamanism And Alternate Models of Healing (pp. 31-49). Berkeley, CA: Independent Scholars of Asia.

(1988b). Shamanic tales as ways of personal empowerment. In G. Doore (Ed.), Shaman’s Path: Healing, Personal Growth, and Empowerment (pp. 189-199). Boston, MA: Shambala.

(1988c) Metanoia – Tales of power and epistemological learning. Journal of Learning, 1(1), 28-43.

(1987). The shaman and the epistemologer. In R. I. Heinze (Ed.), Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on the Study of Shamanism And Alternate Models of Healing (pp. 7 – 21). Berkeley, CA: Independent Scholars of Asia.

(1986). The human science approach as discourse. Saybrook Review, 6,65-105.



Remembrance: An Intercultural Mental Health Process

Remembrance, An Intercultural Mental Health Process

by Pam Colorado

Mental Health is a European, western derived construct which, in the context of colonialism, has been imposed upon Native peoples. thus one could question the health of “mental Helth”. I propose that it is possible and timely to create processes and models of mental health which are intercultural and have, as their first order of business, the healing of mental health practitioners…myself included!

Issues of mental health and culture are central to my life. I am a traditional Oneida woman, married to a Hawaiian, Kuhuna Kalai Wa’a and Kii, that is, a man who has the Huna or secret knowledge of how to carve traditional ocean going canoes and images. We live on the island of Maui where I commute to California to teach in the Traditional Knowledge Program—a doctoral program for tribal people worldwide. I am also of French ancestry and travelled to France during my early twenties to make peace with the conflict I felt as a mixed blood person.

In twenty years of activism my model of mental health practice evolved from a largely clinical social work/community organizing focus (with a few cultural touches) to an almost completely cultural, spiritual practice that drew on western psychology when necessary. Although reluctant to draw on extra cultural approaches,I found psychology and its terminology to be helpful in dealing with deadly colonial wounds, notably alcoholism. Counselling methods also became a bridge to the western and professional world and to assimilated parts of my personality. In fact, western counselling helped me to decolonize and to embrace my true cultural identity.

But joining Native and western approaches to mental health has always made me uncomfortable. First of all, there are no guidelines or mutually established ethics to govern the linking. Second, the concept of mental health is inextricably bound up in relationships of domination and power. Prior to the invasion of North America there wasn’t even a concept of mental health! Native cultures sought and were an expression of grounded lives lived in balance and intimate communication with all living beings. third, western practitioners’ denial of the power dynamics between Natives and westerners emotionally charge the counselling process. Fourth, whether we like it or not, there is no part of Native life that has not been violated or desecrated. As a result, we carry enormous and undifferentiated anxieties and pain; often we swing back and forth between western and Native behavior without conscious choice. Finally, as my genetics suggest, there is no escaping the obvious fact that American Indians and Euramericans (with their mental health practices) share a land and a reality. We must address the intercultural mental health conundrum and transform it into something good.

Recently, I worked with a French American person whose wife had suffered with terminal cancer for ore than two years. I began the work in my usual way, as a cultural person who used western concepts to communicate and engage. Four months later, when the work was complete, I had been taught a way of doing Native mental health in the western world; moreover, a westerner had entered my Native paradigm and healed aspects of my life. I refer to the process as remembrance and share some of it with you now.

A stormy twilight sky holds the ocean in an indigo embrace. Moving smoothly through the cold spring ocean, I hesitate for a moment, questioning the wisdom of a swim so late in the day. Hawaiian elders warn against this. As I realise I am alone in the water, a sense of vulnerability rises; I do not recall how I got here. I want to return to shore but am powerless to move. The growing density of the night time sky is matched by a sense of growing danger in the water. Suddenly, I am aware of an enormous and awesome presence—Mano! The shark1

My reaction is instantaneous. Rolling over on my back I lie suspended in the water and I wait. Mano is one of the most powerful animal spirits in Hawaiian cosmology. The shark empowers priests, healers and intellectuals; it is an Aumakua, the head of a major clan system and it is Mano that accompanied and protected the first Polynesian voyagers to settle the Hawaiian islands. Lying motionless is the only act of reverence available to me. I can feel him approaching from my right; swift and smooth. He transverses the length of my body, as if appraising me. Death may be imminent. I am afraid. I am hopeful. The shark turns and heads directly towards me. Bright blue lines of electricity stream from either side of his head. Reaching my still body, he races beneath me, around me, wrapping me in blue lines of vivifying intelligence and power. Then he is gone.

I awake, shaking and weeping with joy. Gathering up my medicine bag, I pull on some clothes and head to Launiopoko Beach to make an offering of thanks. Pulling Indian tobacco from its pouch, I call to Mano. Laying a gift of tobacco in the water, I wait. Was it a true dream? A few moments pass, doubt begins to enter my mind. Just then a movement about fifty feet off to the left catches my eye. It is a shark fin, standing nearly one foot out of the water. This must be a great animal. As quickly as it moves towards me, it turns and disappears from sight.

As I drive home, I wonder at the beauty and power of Native ways. The feelings that went through me when I saw the shark acknowledge the offering! I wonder what the meaning of this experience is and what is expected of me. A few days later, a stranger stops by our house to look at Hawaiian art work. It is Mr. Robert Requin (Mr. R), an elderly gentleman of enormous wealth and great political repute.

It is not usual to greet someone of Mr. R’s standing, so I paid attention to what happened. As he entered our house, he went almost directly to the scale model canoe, “Lele O Ke Kolea”, the canoe that brought the first Hawaiians here. As I approached Mr. R to welcome him a spiritual presence, nearly palpable, filled the room. My traditional training enabled me to see it my western mind interpreted it as a crucial bonding. I was shocked because I had never had such a moment with a non Native person.

Any traditional Native person will tell you that ordinary reality is not real at all. This world is spiritual and beings of great power, like Mano, move through the veil of our conscious minds. Like Creator, Mano touches us. It is only an instant but in that moment we experience something timeless and real—our own truth. Truth, according to Native thought is meant to be lived. When a dream comes, work of transformative nature is sure to follow. Because the work is spiritual and difficult, it is important to interpret the direction of the dream accurately.

In the weeks that followed, I struggled for understanding and direction. I spoke to another traditional person who responded, “A strange thought just came to me—your visitor is Mano!” The truth of the message was so strong, it took my breath.

Identifying the Mano as the spiritual protector and power of my visitor, gave me a beginning point for determining how we were related. For a few days, I struggled trying to remember anything I heard or knew of the relationship between Mano and the Thunderers—my clan. The answer came in the middle of the night when I awoke thinking of a petroglyph from the Northwest Coast (where I learned the process of deciphering the ancient language).

On a large rock, located in the tideline, is a carving of the Shark and Thunderbird, held together by a huge lizard—the protector of water and change of consciousness. This 15,000-year-old carving is predictive of transformative learning—of movement into a higher integration of knowledge which will be sensory or predictive. The Lizard also implies genealogy or ancestral communication. In a western sense we might say I had determined an archetypal relationship. I understood that this was a powerful connection but I lacked a course, or even a next step of action.

One day, during a phone conversation with Mr. R, we discussed our French family histories. Realising that our ancestors had arrived in the New World about the same time, I decided to check my family tree, a lengthy document. Turning to a random page, I glanced down and discovered that a man from my family and a woman from his had married in 1560; furthermore, this couple moved to the New World and became the progenitors of both his family line and mine! This confused me. If I had found a mutual Indian ancestor, I would know what to do or who to contact. I was in for a surprise.

Mr. R had purchased a number of traditional Hawaiian art pieces of my husband’s and had asked me to bless them. I readily agreed, until I turned to do it and discovered the purchases included Lei o Mano—weapons of war constructed of sharks teeth and a wood that women do not touch! How do I, as a woman, pray over weapons of death? Is this proper? Do I have the authority? These questions took several days and the pieces were to be delivered the next day. Finally, I understood the next step.

Moving the weapons into the sunshine, I made my prayer but something didn’t feel complete. So, I meditated some more and realized that I needed to do a night ceremony as well.

That night on the lanai, the spirits spoke in unmistakable messages. Mr. R’s wife had survived because two, vainglorious physicians, eager to win the respect and approval of her wealthy husband, had used extraordinary means to keep the woman alive. She had been tortured. I knew it because for a brief moment the spirits made me feel what she had suffered; it was agony. I was told that her end would come soon and I was given several other pieces of information for Mr. R.

When I came in from my prayers, I was shaking with fear. I knew I had to tell Mr. R but I doubted myself. What if I was wrong? What if I had misinterpreted something? And I questioned my right to even tell someone such news. Nevertheless, the following morning while burning sage, I called Mr. R and shared, as gently as I could, all of what had transpired. To my amazement, he nearly wept with relief. In the next few weeks, everything happened just as I had been told. I was stunned at my self doubts and with the power of these old ways.

I was also pleased that ancient Native ways could help Mr. R—in fact, even seeming to complement his devout Catholicism. But two weeks after his wife’s death I learned that my sister was alcoholic and suicidal. Thee generations of family addiction came crashing down on me. All my work in healing did not seem to stop the destruction and death in my own family. I was terrified.

Another dream came to me. This dream revealed the origins of the family addiction problem. It rested in an event that happened in France nearly 700 years ago—an event that Mr. R’s family shared. I awoke from the dream, it was near midnight. Heading directly for the closet, I rummaged around until I found my baptism candle (although raised traditionally, I had also been baptised Catholic, perhaps to cover all the bases!) I took the candle out to my rock altar and then stopped. I didn’t know where to put it. How could I respect these two ways and still bring them together? Desperate for my sisters life, I finally placed it on the lower right hand corner. Then I began my prayer, in my Indian way, explaining what I was trying to do and why. I asked permission to proceed. It seemed okay, so I picked up the candle, stuck it in the damp tropical earth, and lit it. I wasn’t sure how to pray. I tried all the Latin prayers I could remember but nothing felt genuine. Then I tried it the Indian way, by calling to the ancestors. Suddenly, the sultry, leeward night was hit with a cold wind from the North. It came down on me so hard and fast, I had to cup the flame to keep it from going out. I was scared. I knew I had pinpointed the cause and I knew I needed help.

The next morning, I called Mr. R and asked him to help in the tradition of his French Catholic religion. He agreed and for the next three days he prayed for us.

About a week later, Mr. R and I spoke. I thanked him and told him the astonishing news. My huge French-Indian family had finally acknowledged the problem of addiction in our family and was preparing for a family intervention for my sister. He was not surprised because he had felt a peace come over him the first night of his prayers. We both wept and laughed on the phone. Who would ever have guessed the combined power of a Pagan and a Catholic!

I used to think that darkness was evil but an Elder once told me, that darkness is safety, security, like the womb. In the darkness we are all one; separations cannot be seen. Perhaps this is the Huna, or inner secret Hawaiians know. For Mr. R and I to heal required great risks and trust. We both stepped into our shadow many times but we were not alone. At night, in a dream, the shark spirit came to give me the power to do the healing work. Although I doubted myself, I still went to the beach and made a thanksgiving offer. A real shark came proving the truth of the dream as well as the value of facing self doubt.

Mr. R knew of the terrible things his culture has done and continues to do to Native people, but he stepped through that history when he asked for my help.

I entered the shadow again when I turned to my French genealogy; used my candle and asked Mr. R for his help. It was difficult to do. Yet, the evil visited on my family—the multigenerational alcoholism derived from and depended upon the continuing hatred and divisiveness of Catholic and tribal people.

Most likely I will never see Mr. R again, but in the dark moment we shared, a beautiful healing emanated. Two people—from vastly different political, socioeconomic backgrounds, one traditional Indian, the other Catholic—joined using western psychological language and simple loving prayers particular to our own cultures. We healed. Nothing happened, yet everything changed.

First Reading, Vol. 13, No. 3, Sept 95 ESPC

Ancient Altered States

Ancient Altered States

“Here’s a real nice sheep getting killed,” says archeologist Dave Whitley, pointing at a rock. Whitley is not hallucinating. Step up to the rock and a carving can be seen: a horned sheep and a man with a bow and arrow, a petroglyph made by a Shoshone some 1,500 years ago.
The Shoshone was the one hallucinating. He was a shaman, Whitley says, who came here to this canyon in the Mojave Desert in California on a vision quest. The bighorn sheep was his spirit guide. “Killing the sheep” is a metaphor for entering the supernatural through a hallucinogenic trance.
You can see why Whitley has taken some grief in his day. For 30 years the prevailing theory about petroglyphs like this one has been that they were all about hunting. The assumption was that Native Americans believed that making art of their prey would magically cause the creatures to materialize in abundance. On the surface, the hunting-magic explanation seemed to make sense. Of some 100,000 petroglyphs in the canyons of the Coso Mountain range, 51 percent are bighorn sheep and 13 percent are male humans. For a long time no one bothered to question it.
Trouble is, the Shoshones didn’t eat much sheep. “We looked at 10,000 bones, and precisely 1 was a bighorn,” says Whitley, tossing back a wool serape. If not for the serape, you would be hard-pressed to divine the man’s vocation. Ruddy-cheeked and plaid-clad, he could as easily be out here hunting chukar or mending downed fences. “If they were going to make rock art out of what they were eating,” he adds, “there’d be bunnies all over the rock.” Though Whitley spends most of his time running a cultural resource management consultancy in his hometown of Fillmore, California, his background is in research and academics, at UCLA (where he still teaches) and at the Rock Art Research Unit of the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa.
What sets Whitley and a handful of his colleagues apart is a willingness to stray from the ordinary precepts of archeology into the hinterlands of anthropology and psychology.Whitley turned to ethnographies of the Shoshone and Paiute tribes that inhabited the Coso Range–a string of small mountains lying east of the Sierra Nevada–from as early as A.D. 1200 to the end of the last century. Ethnographies are detailed descriptions of people in traditional cultures, gleaned from interviews and the observations of field anthropologists.
From ethnographic materials, Whitley learned that the places shamans made rock art were held to be portals to the supernatural; cracks and caves in the rock were interpreted literally as openings to the beyond. The art itself–carved with chunks of quartz–is said to depict visions that came to the shamans in their trances. The bighorn sheep is referred to as the spirit guide specific to rainmaking. One ethnographic source cited shamans who traveled from as far away as Utah to these canyons in their quest for rain.
With an average annual rainfall of about four inches, the Mojave Desert seems an unlikely setting for rainmaking activities. This is a landscape of dust and desolation, a sere, scrubby chenille of sage and saltbush. Joshua trees point spiky mascara-wand limbs this way and that, invariably at nothing. Sheep Canyon, where we are hiking, is a dry riverbed.
“It does seem odd,” allows Whitley, “until you realize that Native American shamanic rituals subscribe to the principle of symbolic inversion.” Where the natural world is dry, its supernatural counterpart is the opposite.
Why didn’t archeologists bother to check the ethnographies before? “Partly,” says Whitley, “there’s this perception that prehistory has to be interpreted on its own terms.If we go to the ethnography, then we’re assuming that the past was like the near present, and then what’s the point of doing archeology? There’s deeply embedded presupposition that archeologists maintain, and that is that because things change over time, time causes things to change.” Which isn’t always true. Shamanic rituals have persisted unchanged for centuries.
The other part of the story is that few archeologists had any real interest in pinning down the origins and meaning of rock art. Whitley was the first American archeologist to do a dissertation interpreting rock carvings (the technical term is petroglyphs; rock paintings are pictographs). There has been a tendency among archeologists to regard the study of ritual and belief as less scientific and less relevant than the study of technology and subsistence. “It’s that bumper sticker: “he who dies with the most toys wins,'” Whitley says. “Which is, to me, a very shallow, materialistic view of human culture.”
To illustrate his point, Whitley gives the example of Australian Aborigines. “You can take a line from the center of Australia out to the coast, and you can plot on that line a series of different aboriginal cultures. And if you look at the complexity of their kinship system and the complexity of their technology and tools, what you see is a perfect inverse relationship.” Coastal groups have a complex technology and tend to use a lot of tools. In the middle of Australia, it’s more like it is in the Cosos. “Those guys are running around near to buck naked, surviving only on their wits, yet they have this kinship system that is mind-bogglingly complex. And it structures every aspect of their social life. Now what is more important, this complex cognitive mental construct or the kind of tools these folks made?”
Whitley stops talking and directs his gaze at my hiking boot. “You’re standing on a sheep.”
The art of the Coso Mountains is not all sheep and stick-legged men with feathers and horns. High above Whitley’s head is a circle filled in with grid lines, like a flattened fly’s eye. Across the canyon, a sine wave snakes across a boulder. Beside it is an arc of nested curves, like a fragment of a mammoth fingerprint. Abstract patterns are everywhere among the boulders–grids, hatch marks, zigzags, curves, spirals. They’re trippy, doodley, devoid of any recognizable meaning. For years, archeological theories about these markings amounted to guesswork. Maps? Menstrual calendars? Solstice observatories? Forget about it. Let’s go dig up a hogan.
There is another place you can reliably see these images, and that is inside your head. In the 1960s, neuropsychologists began cataloging the visual imagery of altered states of consciousness. Subjects given LSD or mescaline would lie on mattresses, describing their visions into researchers’ tape recorders. The first stage of the hallucinogenic experience–whether brought on by drugs, sensory deprivation, fasting, or rhythmic movement–is characterized by recurring geometric patterns, known variously as “phosphenes” or “entroptics.” The seven most common categories strike a familiar chord: grids, parallel lines, dots, zigzags, nested curves, meanders, and spirals.
Whitley wasn’t the first to notice parallels between this abstract imagery and that of rock art. In the 1950s, a German neuropsychologist named Max Knoll noted similarities between electrically stimulated (and, later, LSD-induced) patterns that appeared in his subjects’ visual fields and common abstract patterns in southern African rock art. In a 1970 article in Scientific American, psychologist Gerald Oster highlighted “phosphenelike figures” in prehistoric cave drawings.
One of the first archeologists to come on board was David Lewis-Williams, professor of cognitive archeology and director of the Rock Art Research Unit at the University of the Witwatersrand. Lewis-Williams found examples of the seven common entoptic patterns throughout the ancient rock art of the San bushmen. He also found evidence in the ethnographies that San shamans went into trances, both to heal and to make rain, and that they recorded their trance visions on the rock to preserve them. (Coso Shoshones believed that if they forgot their visions, they would die–powerful incentive to jot them down.) Lewis-Williams’s “neuropsychological model” for interpreting rock art incorporated not only abstract images but also the representational images that occur in the later stages of trance.
The Shoshone and Paiute shamans didn’t, as is often assumed, take peyote or jimsonweed. Their route to trance was a combination of exceptionally strong native tobacco, lack of sleep, sensory deprivation (the canyons here are mute as tombs), and fasting.
Somewhat surprisingly, given his interests, Whitley himself has never tried hallucinogenic drugs. “What I do do is, I interview archeological field crews a lot.” He did experience entoptics once, when someone ran a heavy dolly over his foot. “Pow! Entoptics. Just like the cartoonists draw around someone’s head when the safe lands on his toe. Those guys are keyed in to it.”
Cartoonists aren’t the only artists keyed in to entoptics and altered states. Whitley says Wassily Kandinsky, revered tribal elder of abstract art, wrote a paper in a psychological journal in 1881 about the entoptics that preface a migraine. Whitley also says Kandinsky studied shamanism and the role of the subconscious in art, and that this influenced his transition from figurative to abstract art. “His paintings are full of entoptic forms.”
Entoptic means “within the eye.” It’s believed that these geometric patterns derive from the optic system itself. In some instances, says Whitley, “you’re basically seeing what’s in your eyeball.” Retinal blood vessels and “floaters”–the faint squiggly lines that meander across the vision field–may be the anatomic inspiration for dots and meandering line entoptics. Concentric circles, spirals, and grids are probably generated by neurons firing in the visual cortex and the retina.
In the second stage of altered states imagery, the mind steps in and tries to make sense of the doodlings set before it. This is something minds do: they decode visual input, matching it against the memory banks of stored experience. If a match is made, the image is recognized. How the brain interprets an entoptic depends on the state of the brain’s owner. “The same ambiguous round shape,” wrote psychologist M.J. Horowitz in Hallucinations: Behavior, Experience, and Theory in 1975, “…can be ‘illusioned’ into an orange (if the subject is hungry), a breast (if he is in a state of heightened sexual drive), a cup of water (if he is thirsty), or an anarchist’s bomb (if he is hostile or fearful).” Or a bighorn sheep body if he’s a shaman on a rainmaking vision quest.
By way of demonstration, Whitley leads me to a carving of a bighorn that is more horn than sheep. Three parallel arcs span the length of the sheep, rainbowlike, from its head to its tail. Whitley identifies the entoptic: “Nested or catenary curves.” The size of the horns, and the fact that there are three, not two, suggests the curves appeared first, and the shaman then interpreted them as horns.
A few hundred yards down the canyon, Whitley points out a fantastical creature, like something form one of those split-page children’s books in which the giraffe’s head is on the monkey’s body, with kangaroo legs. The figure sports bird-talon feet, an upright humanoid body, and big, downward-curling horns.
This is an example of Stage 3 of Lewis-Williams’s neuropsychological model: the full-blown vision. The shamans didn’t think of it as a vision. To them it was a parallel reality; they had entered the realm of the supernatural. The literature on altered states of consciousness describes the sensory changes involved. According to Lewis-Williams, “This shift to iconic imagery is also accompanied by an increase in vividness. Subjects stop using similes to describe their experiences and assert that the images are indeed what they appear to be.”
The man with the horns is the shaman himself, in his own vision, entering the supernatural and “shape shifting” into his spirit guide. The original assumption about the horns was that they were a hunting disguise. Which makes sense until you think about it. “It’d be way too heavy,” observes Whitley. “Besides, the Native Americans have systematically denied this.”
The talons in place of the shamans feet could be part of a common metaphor for entering the supernatural: flight. (Many petroglyphs of therianthropes–being part animal and part human–also have wings in place of arms.) This probably ties in with the feeling of floating up and out of one’s body, as often happens during the third stage of a mind-bending altered state.
“Here’s a guy with six fingers on one hand,” says Whitley. “Clearly not a normal individual.” Again, it fits with the literature on altered states of consciousness. Imagined extra digits are a common hallucination.
The humanoid figures that aren’t busy turning into sheep are busy shooting them with bows and arrows. In the mythology of the Native American cultures of the Far west, death is the most prevalent metaphor for entering the supernatural. (At this point, according to Whitley, the shaman has become his spirit guide and the two are considered interchangeable.) Whitley cites the example of Coyote, the shaman character of myth, who begins many of his adventures by dying or being killed, whereupon all manner of supernatural events ensue. On a physiological level, the metaphor makes sense. Consider what can happen to a person who enters a trance: his eyes roll back into his head, he may go limp and lose consciousness, he may bleed from the nose. Whitley has shown me examples here today of bighorn sheep with lines coming from their noses.
Beside the horned shaman is a shaman with what appear to be truncated golf clubs or perhaps musical quarter notes protruding from his head. Whitley insists they’re California quail topknot feathers. They do look a lot like the bobbing doohickey you see on these birds’ heads, but to link this to the flight metaphor strikes me as a bit of a reach.
As it turns out, it might have nothing to do with flight metaphors. Rain shamans, Whitley explains, wore a distinctive headdress festooned with quail head feathers. Know your ethnographies.
Not all petroglyphs fit the neuropsychological model of rock art. The Hopi carved clan symbols on rocks during pilgrimages. Northern Plains tribes decorated the landscape with symbolic renderings of their war exploits. The carving on the standing stone in front of us fits no established categories. Whitley has no idea who made it, or why. It says, “E=mc2.”
Given that this canyon sits within the million acres of supersecret labs and missile ranges known as China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station, it was most likely military personnel. Even if the carving were a sheep, Whitley wouldn’t have been fooled into believing it was carved by early Native Americans. He can eyeball a petroglyph and tell, by the degree to which the carved areas have darkened, approximately how old it is. Our little theory of relativity inscription is, relatively speaking, brand-new. The etching still appears white. After about 500 years, a “brown crud,” as Whitley puts it, begins to become visible. The crud, known in academic circles as rock varnish, derives from microbes on the rock surface. Over time, different trace elements leach out from the varnish at different rates. By calculating what’s leached out and how much, chronometricians can get an idea of how long the varnish has been there, and from that, the carving’s age. This can be compared with the results of radiocarbon-dating of organic materials such as lichen and pollen that are trapped on the carving as the varnish accumulates on top of them. Neither method is especially precise, but the combination suffices to pin the date to within a few hundred years.
While the oldest Coso petroglyphs may have been made as long as 16,500 years ago, the overwhelming majority fall in the neighborhood of less than 1,500 years old. Whitley has a theory to explain the sudden flurry of shamanism in the region. An examination of the archeological record around this time shows a dramatic increase in abandonment of villages in the region. The likely reason: The area was being sucked dry by a major drought some 800 years ago. Hence the unprecedented upsurge in rainmaking endeavors.
In a bizarre display of symbolic meteorologic inversion, rain clouds have appeared overhead. Against the gathering gray, a dozen Canada geese fly in perfect V formation, as though under orders from the base commander.
The rock art of the Coso Range is by no means the oldest in the world. The famed Lascaux and Chauvet cave paintings of France date, respectively, from 15,000 and 30,000 years ago. As anthropologists had yet to materialize 30,000 years ago, no ethnographies exist for these peoples. Partly because of this, European rock art archeologists were slow to warm to the shamanistic, neuropsychological model. The skepticism may also have had to do with European separation of archeology and anthropology; they’re not, as they typically are in the States, part of the same academic department.
In 1992, Whitley brought French archeologist Jean Clottes, the world-renowned scholar of Paleolithic cave paintings, out to the Mojave and did his pitch. Clottes wasn’t easily swayed. Though the rock art of France and Spain most certainly includes the classic entoptic patterns, Clottes saw too many other images that didn’t fit.
“Over the next two or three years,” says Whitley, “I brought him back to the Cosos again, and he started reading the ethnographic texts.” Eventually Clottes crossed the divide. Whitley knew he had him when Clottes called him up in 1995 after the discovery of the famed Chauvet cave. “He said to me, ‘There’s a therianthrope here!'”
It’s easy to buy the entoptics portion of the theory; the similarities between the rock art and the hallucination descriptions in the neuropsychology papers are too striking to dismiss. Less clear are the Stage 3 visions. What’s odd is the uniformity of the Coso shamans’ hallucinations. The vast majority of the estimated 100,000 images found in the Coso Range fall into one of six categories: bighorn sheep (51 percent), humans (13 percent), other animals (5 percent), weapons (2.4 percent), medicine bags (1.3 percent), and geometric (entoptic) designs (26 percent). Yet the hallucinations of nonshamanic drug-induced trance are limitlessly diverse. Whitley’s answer to this is that the shamans may have been practicing some form of “lucid dreaming.” With the help of special glasses that flash lights when the eyes begin the characteristic movements of REM sleep, lucid dreamers achieve a borderline level of consciousness that allows them to watch their dreams like movies and, it’s said, even influence the plots and direct their outcomes. The ethnographies say nothing of this practice. However, as Whitley points out,that doesn’t mean it didn’t occur. “This may,” he says, “be an example of rock art supplementing the body of ethnographic knowledge.”
Back at the mouth of the canyon, a vision appears out of the mist: four wild horses running abreast, manes rippling like white water. As abruptly as they appeared, they wheel and vanish again into the fog. A comment about the four horses of the Apocalypse prompts a raised eyebrow from Whitley. “Some horses got left behind when the military evicted the homesteaders here.” Some things are less symbolic than they appear. And some aren’t.

On Science: Power/Love // The Dominant/The Repressed

For Education Seminar

On Science: Power/Love // The Dominant/The Repressed

1. It is well known that just before his death, Einstein talked about a necessity of changing “The Way of Thinking”. That was some 35 years ago. He warned that while everything else changed since two explosions of Atomic Bombs, our way of thinking had not changed. And as the consequence, we are drifting towards our own annihilation by the power of our own science. He meant our way of science has to be changed. His saying is famous, but so far we have failed to heed his warning.

Today, the danger of all-out Nuclear War between the two superpower nations has somewhat receded. But, we have not eliminated the possibility of Nuclear Holocaust. And, we have problems of Air and Water Pollutions, Acid Rain, Waste Disposal, and accelerated destruction of Natural Environment, all thanks to the rapid developments in our Science-Technology. We have come to suffer increasing Stress, Tension, Anxiety and Alienation in our society. Despite Economic developments, the gap between the Poor and the Rich is widening. We have now Permanent unemployment as a part of our economic structure, demoralizing young generation into despair. Economic inequality, internal to our own country as well as in international sense is reaching a degree that can be called criminally immoral.

We may not think of ourselves as privileged, but Canadians are within the top 10% of the richest nations and the fact that we are in a university places in the top 10% of Canadians. That puts us in the richest 1% of the Humanity. The poor half of the Humanity live with an annual income less than $500. We are the “Yuppies”. Yet we cannot escape the problems of the World today.

Even if we think of Education to be the means to attain “Good Life” in personal sense, let alone thinking of Education for a better life of Humanity as a whole, we are failing. The warning of Einstein still stands like a bad prophecy. Einstein meant “Science” to be the “Way of Thinking” that has to be changed. But we have failed to do so. Perhaps, that is why Educators are concerned about Science (and Technology), and that is where “Love Science” comes in [*1]

2. But, you might ask what is wrong with “Science”. Did it not work wonders? Let us think about this, for answering this question is one way to understand that our science is “Power Science” and also we may pick up some clues as to how to change that.

Let me take the “Progress” of science-technology for example, and talk about it a bit. In the past 400 years or so, the progress was fantastic and it brought a general improvement of Physical Health standard. In industrialized countries, it helped the peasant class, at least some of them in the class, to climb out of the life of heavy physical labors and created the “middle class”, if not “affluent” consumers. This came about because our “Power Technology” provided the means to convert and substitute the Fossil Energy for Human Muscle Power. The fossil energy had been accumulated and stored on the Earth for the past hundreds of millions of years. It was just sitting there. To exploit it was a very “clever” move, as I shall explain below.

Thanks to the free gift of Fossil Energy, we, at least some of us, are liberated from heavy physical labors to do things like science. (Please remember that we are the top 1% of the Humanity, and ones who have Time to think. The rest of Humanity hardly have the “Luxury” of thinking. That puts us in a certain obligation.) And, at the same time, in order for the Progress of Technology to continue, Science as its Infrastructure had to be developed. This made up a “Positive Feedback Loop that can be nicknamed “Vicious Circle” and it took off and escalated. We call this phenomenon Industrial-Scientific Revolution. To be sure, for the Industrialization to advance, other Infrastructures, such as organizational management, systems of market distribution and government control had to be developed. The emergence of modern Nation-State and Colonialism coincided with the Industrial Revolution, not by chance but by necessity. Modern School Education system was also a product of the historical time. The development of Science was only a small part of the huge social movement as such.

3. However, the concentrated massive power is the characteristic of Industry. for an illustration, let us look at Energy Economy, (Physical Power Economy). In the U.S. and Canada, the average Energy Consumption per capita is like 10 tons of Coal Equivalent per year. In terms of “Human Power” unit, this amount is about 300 “Human Power-Year”. That is to say , we have 300 slaves working for each of us. This is the reason why we have only 4% of working population in agriculture and we can still have plenty of foods.

Of course, we only use about 1/3 of that power for production of things and efficiency is low like 10%. Nonetheless; we are supported by the Fossil Power Input, equivalent of 10 very diligent slaves for each of us in average. But the labor force working in the primary energy production sector is less than 1% of the total. That is to say, the concentration of the energy sector is such that one person can provide for energy needs of 100 other workers. This is an example of “Concentration” of Power just as Nuclear Bombs are. (Every one manpower invested in primary Energy Industry is returned some 10,000 manpower equivalent of “raw” Energy. Unfortunately, this will not last too long.)

Number of active Physicists in North America is about 50,000. Scientists and Engineers combined, we may have 750,000. That is about 0.4% of the total population. They are the “Producers” of the “Science-Technology” as the infrastructure of the industry and the rest are the passive “Consumers” of the science-technology as such. [*2]

4. Thus, you might wonder if Public Education System needs to care about Science Education at all. It might make sense to have specialized schools for scientists and engineers — like “Military Schools” and let them concentrate on Science Education. Even if there is a failure rate of 80%, the Lethbridge School District needs only one Science Education Class for each grade, and the rest of the children may be spared of the pain, frustration and humiliation of taking Science-Math courses which they hate anyway. As far as the Science that is needed for Production Industry is concerned, that would be sufficient.

If so, is it not a waste of time, money, and manpower to try “Ramming Physics down the throats” of children who are going to be passive consumers of “science” as such? In terms of economic efficiency, University of Lethbridge need not have a Physics Department. It is a lot economical to pay the specialized students to go to “The Western Canada Federal Industrial Science University” where Research in such Science can also be concentrated. (U.S.S.R. seems to practice this.) Science is often said to be “universal” and “International”. If so, why not let a few American Elite Institutions for science-Technology take care of all North American needs in this regard?

At any rate, unless one is going to be a Hard-Hat Scientist or Engineer, why should anybody know anything about Science of that sense?

I ask the above questions to you, for I hope you would think about what “Science” means to you, What Values Science has, other than being an Infrastructure to Production Industry.

Your answers to the questions, I think are keys to the fundamental question of Science Education, and ways to respond to Einstein’s warning.

[*1. Historical note.]

I quoted Einstein’s statement made in 1954. But a long time before that the questions about “Science” and its relations with “Labor”, “Industrial Production”, “Power” and “Love” were raised by the 18th and 19th century Utopian thinkers.

F.E. Manuel. Utopian Thought In The Western World. (Harvard U. Press 1979. Leth. Pub. Lib. 335.02.M.) has chapters titled “New Face of Love”, “The triumph of Love”, etc. referring to Count Claude Heri de Saint-Simon (1790-1825), and Francois Marie Charles Fourier (1772-1838).

You find in the book that these philosophers dealt with problems of “Science” and “Love”, and rightly or wrongly made concrete proposals for Education so as to make an ideal Society. Interestingly, at first Saint-Simon was a believer of Science and sought salvation of humanity in Science. But he soon came to criticize the failures of “scientists” already some 200 years ago. He saw that scientists were no more than servants to Industry.

If you read on to Robert Owen and Karl Marx et al who followed, you find a long history of the unresolved struggle about “Science” relative to “Power” and “Love”.

As to Historical Development of “Masculine Science”,  Brian Easleea Witch Hunting, Magic and the New Philosophy, and Evelyn Fox Keller Reflections on the Gender and Science offer analyses.

As to Ideological Struggles about “Human Science” since the time of Marx, Paul Ricoeur’s Lectures On Ideology and Utopia gives a philosophical analysis.]

[*2. Canada has 1.2 Scientists & Engineers per 1,000 population. U.S. has 3.2, Germany (w) 2.1, Japan 4.3 (1981-82). About 40% of the U.S. scientists and Engineers are employed in the military-industrial complex, which makes the number to be about 1.9.

It is also known that some 1/2 of the US graduate students in science and Technology is imported from abroad. The science Education there, even for a limited purpose of supporting Industry, is failing, despite many “Tinkering” attempted on Science Curriculum. A recent joke (half serious) is that in order to free Male scientists to do SDI, science Education has to attract more Females who could replace Males in Science Teaching. That Teaching is considered to be “less important” than Research is the current ideology in the North America, and the joke carries the obvious Male Chauvinism.]


F. Cottrell. Energy And Society.

J.M. Fowler. Energy and the World.

E. Shumacher. Small Is Beautiful.

B. Ward. Spaceship EArth.

J. Ellul. The Technological System.

A. Toffler. The Third Wave.

D. Bell. The coming of Post-Industrial Society.

K. Polanyi. The Great Transformation.

E.P. Thompson. The Poverty of Theory and Other Essays.

F. Capra. The Turning Point.

M. Bellmann. Reenchantment of the World.

B. Easlea. Witch Hunting, Magic and the New Philosophy.

E. Fox Keller. Reflections On the Gender and Science.

P. Medawar. The Limits of Science.

M. Weber. Science As a Profession. (in Gerth and Mills. From Max Weber.)

H. Marcuse. One Dimensional Man.

Eros and Civilization.

M. Foucault. Archaeology of Knowledge. Power/Knowledge

F.W. Manuel. Utopian Thought in the Western World.

P. Ricoeur. Lectures on Ideology and Utopia.

I. Illich. Shadow Work.

P. Freire. Pedagogy of the Oppressed.

P. Colorado. “Science: A Way Of Knowing – AWay of Life” (in Child Welfare Needs. Indian Association of Alberta.)

Appendix to Part I.

On Tunnel Vision, Peripheral Vision, A-Life-Through-Doing-One-Thing-At-A-Time, Columbus’s Vision, and Dream Map In Your Head.

There are differences in Ways of Thinking, (Levels of intelligence, or Quality of Mind, etc.) But it seems that people tend not to see them. Using familiar examples, I would like to demonstrate the differences. The examples are also useful in distinguishing Power Science and Love Science. Besides, for teachers to know the differences in the ways mind works may have a pedagogical value. Let me cite 3 examples.

(A). Wayne Gretzky is said to be capable of knowing what his teammates are doing while chasing a puck towards the goal. The defense men of the other team try to block his advance not only by physical presence but try harassment, so that Gretzky may be disoriented. In this sense Hockey is different from Baseball. It is just as a “mental” game as a game of physical power. You like Hockey because it is a complex game, besides being a Powerful and Exciting one.

I do not know much about Hockey, but I count on your knowledge to try illustrating what it means to have a different way of thinking , or different levels of intelligence. Help me.

My question is this. How does Wayne know and keep track of his teammates while concentrating on the puck in front of him?

Chasing the puck is a “Goal Oriented” task. Your eyes are fixed on the Object. You are moving the Object to the Goal with all of your Power and don’t have time to look around. You have a Tunnel Vision to do that. That is the situation Newtonian Mechanics deals with. The motion is from a point A to point B. Yu force the way through. That is the way Power Science thinks; Max Weber in Science As A Profession, talked about this and said “If you are not willing to put on Blinders, you’d better go see a movie (i.e. you are not cut out to be a scientist/scholar)” If you have a purpose, you better concentrate on it. “One Track Mind” is the must in science. You understand that.

But that is not quite enough. Gretzky has something else in his mind. Remind you that just breaking through the defense is difficult enough. You do not have too much room left in your mind to think about something else, like which movies to go, etc.

Yet, it is said that Gretzky has a kind of “Moving Map” in his head and know where his teammates are at that moment and also anticipate where they are going to be. He also knwos defensemen of the other team are coming at him and about to give him a hard body check into the side wall. The Map is not the usual static one at a given time, but a dynamic one that contains anticipated Future, or the “Flow of the Game”. In that sense, the Map is a Relativistic one.

[I do not know, but I do not think Gretzky has ever taken Relativity course. Here, what is important is not whether Gretzky knows Relativity in formal sense or not. What is important is that, as educators or educators-to-be, you recognize it. The role of educators is not “teaching” anything like Relativity, but to recognize it in actions of people and encourage them. Any mediocre person can read physics texts to a roomful of students and think it “teaching”. To recognize what students are doing takes more understanding than just ability to read off texts.

Particularly, I think this ability to “recognize” what is in children is an absolute necessity, if one wishes to get involved in Cross Cultural Education.]

The “Map” is imaginary thing in his head. And I do not know how he carry and maintain it. He is not looking around. It seems that he make up the Map by Periphery Vision, plus perhaps by Intuition, Instinctive Feeling, or Dream-like Fantasy.

As to Periphery Vision, we know one thing. That is, even the 100 yard sprinter running gets the sense of his Body Balance from Periphery Vision. The sprinter has a Tunnel Vision as to the goal and the track in front of him or her. What the sprinter is doing is “One Track Minded” thing. But the Tunnel Vision on an object does not tell how one’s body is oriented. It is the Periphery Vision that tells your body orientation relative to the Environment that you are Not Looking At.

If you make an analogy here, you can sense what I am driving at. The way our Power Science and Technology do things is very much like the 100 yard race. Things are done with a Tunnel Vision, often in competitions with something or somebody. That is, Power Science-Technology has not Periphery Vision to sense its own orientation. The Natural and Social Environment is ignored.

What I am insinuating here is that Love Science is like Periphery Vision. Gretzky got it.

(B) To illustrate the Power of having a Map further, let me cite a historical event. This has to do with how Christopher Columbus got to America. In a sense, this is a bad example in that the Power was used to help build European Colonies. But the Map of Columbus is also a dramatic example of the fundamental method of modern science that I cannot resist citing.

Before Columbus’ time, European navigators were sailing along coastline using landmarks. The mode of operation is characteristically “One Thing At A Time”. This science of navigation was good enough for them to navigate around Mediterranean. It was powerful enough for them to go along African coast to its southern tip. They used to make maps with Landmarks. But to copy maps, and other reasons, they start drawing lines on maps. You note that these lines are not “Real”. They do not exist out on the ocean. They only exist on maps that human minds made. They are mental artifacts.

But the imaginary lines had a great effect on the way people think and act. Once lines are on the map, it is a matter of time for some navigator to think of sailing along a line, like “go on East Wind 10 knots for 2 days” and trace the course on a map to keep track of where the ship is. In fact, Spanish navy perfected the method to locate a fleet in the middle of the Atlantic shortly before Columbus’s time. Columbus learned that. Combined with the knowledge-vision that the Earth is round — and fortuitously there was an error that made the Earth look half its size —, Columbus came to see that India was just 40 days of sailing to the West.

Of course, only Columbus came to have the Map-Vision. Navigating on Imaginary Line was a new science, and others, even a map was shown, would not have had confidence in it anyway. The story says that Columbus had a mutiny on his ship, but since crews did not know how they could set a course to go home, he was not killed.

In a way, the lines are the Man-made Rules imposed on the Nature, and imaginary ones at that. Yet the Imaginary lines imposed on Space-Time was the foundation of modern Geometry and Physics. From that Descartes’ Analytical Geometry emerged, though the story is that Descartes had a Dream in which and Angel appeared and told him how to start New Science. Newton was very much impressed by Descartes’s Geometry and wrote his Mechanics emulating Descartes. Einstein came some 250 years after Newton and negated him, but he also used an Imaginary Map, i.e, Geometry.

Now the point of narrating this story of Imaginary Map is that Gretzky is doing precisely what Columbus, Descartes, Newton, Einstein did. He overcomes the Tunnel Vision by having a Map in his head. By the help of Imaginary Map, which he is not even conscious of, he can do something beyond “reacting” to the immediate situation in front of him, and go beyond the level of “intelligence” that is characteristic to the mode of operation called “One Thing At a Time”.

(C) When you become a grade one teacher, you have some 30 children each doing different things, each having peculiar problems, crying and laughing and some have to go to the bathroom. As a teacher, you care for each one and every one all the time. You know what each of them is doing and what they are about to do. If you think Gretzky is a miracle, you are a miracle.

How do you do that? Your answer probably is “One Thing at a Time”. After all, that is the most any human being can do. But what about your Periphery Vision? While you are wiping off Jony’s bloody nose, you are aware Betty and Rosy are pulling each other’s hair.

On the top of it, you have a Map in your Head called Lesson Plan or Day Plan. The Map is like Ideal Dream and never works under daylight. Nonetheless, without the Map, you would not be able to keep your sanity.

When you said “I do one thing at a  time, and just keep going”, you are not telling the truth. You do not work like Scientists in teaching grade one. You have to care about everything at the same time. But you somehow keep your physical and mental balance relative to, or by the help of the imaginary Map you have in your head. It is just that you are not “Consciously” thinking about it when you are rushing Nick to the bathroom.

What a human mind can do is amazing. Consciously thinking is just a minor insignificant fragment. Our “Rational Thinking” cannot do that, so we say “ONe Thing At A Time”. And we imagine we are running in a Maze with a Tunnel Vision. (The reason why Maze is confusing and disorienting is that we do not see the whole picture. That is when we have no Map. We do not have Environment to know where we are and guide our way out.)


I think you know what I am talking about. When you are in the world of children, you no longer have the luxury of having a Tunnel Vision on one object called “children” or “Class”. You are in it. They are all around you. Perhaps, you feel as if you are trapped in a Maze and you say to yourself that all you can do is to do “One Thing At a Time”. But actually, you do have Peripheral vision, Environmental awareness, Dynamic Map, and are performing a miracle.

“Love Science” to me is to recognize that miracle of yours, feel dignified and enjoy it.

***I add here two notes. (i) Today, Science is fragmented and no longer has a Vision-Map. It is pursuing “One Thing At A Time” with a tunnel vision. I am afraid, Science today, in that sense, has retrogressed, (ii) The Science of “visionary-Map” navigation was practiced by Polynesians long before Europeans came to know it. Native Hunters in the North woodlands also knew the Science, as Hugh Brody’s book Maps and Dreams (a NAS text) illustrates.


28 December 1988 Personal Correspondence on Rocks, Physics, etc.

Dec. 28, ’88

Dear Pam and Woody

Happy New Year. This year will be a year of Take Off for you (so my fortune cookie says). I wish great success for your Science. That makes you very busy, But I have a favor to ask for you. If it is possible for you (or one of you) to come down to Lethbridge and give a talk on Native Science, say in March, could you kindly do that for me? I have a course called Integrated Studies 2009 “Current Issues in Wars and Peace”. It is given Tuesday/Thursday 1:40-3:00. The Theme of the course is “Paradoxes Of Progress” and I intend to touch on Colonialism/Imperialism. [I shall send you the course outline.] I would like to have a lecture, story or discussion led by you. If possible, let me know.


Sam K.

To Pam: Please look at the picture book enclosed. Also there is a one story about “Stone Book”, which might be of interest to you. The style of painting may be called “Super-realist” — “Super” meaning “superposition” of two “manifolds” (spacetime-s) —. I am tempted to try painting like that. It might be possible to do talking and thinking in the same manner. I tried one time a poem in two voices (“Dodos did not make it”). Writing in the Super-realistic stylism may be a fun. Of course, it is a taboo in English (called “mixed metaphors” etc.) and readers would be confused. Worse, Psychiatrists would say you are schizophrenic. Zeno’s Paradox is a mixing of “Being” and “Becoming”, which is illogical in European Languages. [*1]

But in Eastern Philosophy (Yoga), it was well known technique to go into “schizophrenic” state (controlled in some sense by a company of a master/assistance, and considered to be dangerous) to remove the “dictate” of rationalization and to get in touch with the repressed part of mind.

The advantage (and trouble) of Quantum Language is also coming from “Mixed Metaphors” — say in “Particle/Object” metaphor and “Wave/Field” metaphor —. People have troubles in talking individual and Social matters in the same breath. Environment and Human Will are in two disconnected worlds in our usual way of thinking. Even most Biologists do not see the same dichotomy in Evolution Theory. Blackfoot language does mix “Being” and “Becoming” in one word, but I do not know if People are taking any advantage. I get an impression that people who come to university are thinking in English.

I am reading about an article in a book about D. Bohm’s Implicate Order. It has to do with Double Field (Manifold, Universe) that undergoing what Physics calls “Deformation under Stress”. It is a General Relativistic idea that the Universe is made of the “Stress” of Space-Time, but this article tries a Space-Time including “Becoming” manifold.

The Double Space-Time is just like “Rock” is formed under great Cosmic Forces. The “Rock” stores that dynamics liek Trees store their life stories as Tree Rings. What we sense and recognize as “Existence”, “Mass”, “Spin-Rotation”, etc., are manifestations of the “Stress”, which comes from “Becoming” part and relates to Implicate Order. (The word “Stress” in ordinary usage connotes something undesirable, but that has little to do with what Physics calls by the same word. You might understand the “Stress” as something like the explosive “Anxiety” that young lovers experience. You note that for them that is the “Meaning of Life”. They are wrong only in seein it as individualistic/narcissistic sense. But they are not too far off the mark.)

Chinese, Japanese knew of “Vein” which is used as a metaphor for “Reason”. They talked of “splitting Rock by the Reason” etc. What Relativity tries to do is to find “Vein” in Space-Time, or the “Stress Dynamics” that generate the Space and Time, as well as Matters within.

[see also Paul Davies. The Cosmic Blueprint Simon & Shuster 1988.]

When Newtonian Physics made Space-Time to be nothing, it ironically turned out that Space-Time had to be harder than Steel — because it transmit Light wave, and, since the harder the Medum is the faster the wave propagates, Space-Time that transmits Light Wave had to be very hard —. Now, since Relativity, Space-Time became somewhat Soft and Movable (Feminized). It also connotes that Physics changed from that of objects in Motion to Fields in Interaction.

The ways of thinking Social phenomena that give rise to policies, ideologies, prejudices at this time are by and large still Newtonian. People tend to think and talk in the metaphor of “Objects in Motion”, though some changes in the ways of thinking do show up sometimes. That is why it is interesting to hear you explaining how Native Science works in Human-Social phenomena/situations.

At any rate, I am doing what so called “Finsler Geometry” now, and trying to see what it tells me about Rock and Dream. What is interesting about Finsler Geometry is that it has “double Space-time” (or “Double Manifold” : one is static “Being Part”, like the Geometry that Einstein et al have explored, and another dynamic Becoming Part which is not about “objects”.) I think it is closer to what Faraday was dreaming some 150 years ago. I might come to share the Dream, though it may take a few years for me to get to the stage. And by some luck, it might be what you told me about “Rock”.

06 December 1988 Personal Correspondence on Lust and Eros

Dec. 6, ’88

Dear Pam

This is a note about “Lust”. It came from a title of a book about Van Gogh, the insane Dutch painter who chased the Swirling Universe, which was more like Goedel’s universe than that of Einstein. I did not know this, but another author Milan Kundera argues that the word “Passion” in Christian Culture carries a certain tinge of “Guilt”, and “Lust” is a much better word. Kundera, also argue that”Love” has little to do with “Making Love”, and “Making Love” is just a minor part of “Sleeping With” a woman or man. The latter is far deeper. I guess one can go to “Living With” from there. But Kundera drew a line there and his story “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” is about “how not live with” , or rather how incapable we are to live with. We can possibly Flirt but “Living With” is difficult. As it was in the story “Sleeping With” was already too difficult to do.

From there, I tried very hard to imagine if two or more people could have the same Dream. Jung talked of “Collective Unconscious” which is somewhat like sharing a “Collective Dream”. But we rationalistic intellectual individualists do not wish to have awareness of it. Suppose we find out that we share a common Dream, we do not know what to do with it any way. But that may be the reason why we have so much trouble. So we deny Dream.

According my dictionary “Onei” of Oneida means “Dream”. Some missionary saw Oneidas as Dream People and hence the name came? I was looking for a connection/relation of Rock and Dream. So far, nothing turned up. I am in “between Rock and Hard Place”.

Tonight, I heard Guitar Concierto “Concierto de Aranjuez” by Rodrigo. The Adagio part is very famous and you may know of it. I suppose the sad music is about the pain of having “Lust”, though different sense from that of Van Gogh. Human beings are vulnerable, ephemeral, and weak. It’s all because humans are sensual. They need someone to sleep and dream with. And at the same time, they are afraid of doing that. Because that makes people vulnerable to hurts. It is a lot easier to go on a power trip. To score woman, to achieve orgasm is easier than to live with. To dream with is almost impossible. Music convey some of that pain — the expressions in music form are permitted because we can pretend not knowing what is is and hence can deny it. Stories are harder to deny. And therefore handicapped. We have to contrive disguises, half hoping that people would see it obvious and half hoping that people cannot pin it down so that one can escape. We write about sex, but not “eros”. We are only “Flirting”.

When we cannot do any better than flirting — some authors are complaining that even the “Art of Flirting” is dying in the modern ages, between two persons, we can hardly do any better between two peoples. We flirt with “Revolutionary Ideals” etc. Stories about Europeans and Native Americans are full of such “Romances”. They do “move us” alright, but we may be mistaken in feeling that we “Loved”. Our reason of “be moved” may be “Moaning” about what we failed, missed, or lost. They are telling us what we did not do. That pains us. Yet, what could we do?

I wrote 3 letters to Department of Education about Science Education, but discarded two fo long “articles” and decided to send a short note. I am very sad that there is no chance that they would read anything beyond short “memos”.  I have know “pleasure” of reading books, without any care about people escape from Reality when I am hurt, that seems the only thing I can. There is a Dream World which is like a Forest without damned humans.

My name came from an ancient Chinese poem about a love affair. My father somehow picked two letters out of the poem and I and my brother got one each. But the poem ends with a scene where the emperor utters “What am I going to do with you, my darling?” They are killed as the empire was conquered. That is the end of the poem. My father must have known the inevitable end of love affair. (At least I knew, when I took a letter from the same poem to name my daughter.)

But then, what is “Lust” or “Eros”? In conscious intellect, we are thinking of Orgasm, Rapture, but the Pain, Hurt is just as important part of the affair. If one has not tasted tears, it is the same as not having experience of orgasm/rapture. To preferone side may be natural, but it seems inevitable that the other side comes with it. Whether to know/accept that or not makes the distinction between the modern intellectuals and ancient people. Sensitivity, Empathy, Compassion, Understanding, and if I may add a Christian word “Grace”, all come from there. The Success centered mentality of modern scientists (or rather Technicians) is made by cutting off the vulnerability, in Fear or in Arrogance. Native Braves did not negate one’s vulnerability. That has nothing to do with “Winning” battles. but rather they are brave precisely because they were not afraid of knowing/accepting pains and hurts. The “Sun Dance” meant that. I think Deloria is already Europeanized and could not see the meaning of Sun Dance beyond the surface of physical pain. the “Brave” of taking Inner Pain is far greater.

Listening to the sad music, I was thinking like that. The funny thing is, the World, the Universe looks different from that view point. I heard of every instrument for each and did not miss a single note that they are making in a transparency. Goedel’s Cosmology was there. I was glad that I studied Geometry which helped me to appreciate the transparency, though that means absolute “Nothingness”.


Sam K.