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Harner, Michael

Category: Ordinary person

Michael Harner is an American. He trained as an archaeologist, then, as a graduate student, in 1956-57 he undertook field research on the culture of the Jívaro (Shuar) people of the Ecuadorian Amazon. Harner's dissertation later became the basis for his book, The Jívaro: People of the Sacred Waterfalls.  In the 1960s he then did additional fieldwork among the Conibo people of the Ucayali River region in the Peruvian Amazon, during which he was given ayahuasca, which rather blew his socks off.  In 1964 he went back to the Conibo and underwent the ‘training’ I have provided in the observation – an initiation.

These experiences became the basis for everything else he has since undertaken.    He has capitalised on his experiences by writing books, speaking on conferences, making his experiences the subject of a doctorate and also setting up a business.  The business is called ‘the Foundation for Shamanic Studies’ – it aims/claims to teach shamanic techniques and runs workshops and residential courses. 

Harner states he is “the formulator of core shamanism.", which is an interesting claim given the number of shamanic cultures still operating without a great deal of input from him.  He claims to be “famous for bringing shamanism and shamanic healing to the contemporary Western world” – a bold claim.

There is more.  This quote is from Wikipedia

"Michael Harner is widely acknowledged as the world's foremost authority on shamanism and has had an enormous influence on both the academic and lay worlds”. 

 So not one to hide his light under a bushel.  Another amazing quote

“What Yogananda did for Hinduism and D. T. Suzuki did for Zen, Michael Harner has done for shamanism, namely bring the tradition and its richness to Western awareness." 

 So we need to forget Mircea Eliade and Piers Vitebsky then.  The entire process he underwent is described in the one observation as it makes no sense to separate out the stages.  It was one initiation ceremony so I have kept to one observation.


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