My Introduction to Shamanism


Carlos Castaneda Cover - Shamans of Rock and Roll - Shamanism MovieLooking back, I can see that my inter­est in shaman­ism began while read­ing Carlos Cas­taneda as a teenager. Cap­ti­vated by the stories of his encounters with Don Juan Matus, a Yaqui Indian shaman, Castaneda’s books gave me a frame­work from which to begin to explain expe­ri­ences I had as a child.

Often while play­ing in the woods around dusk – especially at Girl Scout camp (go figure) – I’d sud­denly feel a shift in my per­cep­tion – with the look and feel of my sur­round­ings altering completely. It felt like I had entered a different world. Even though I was still in the woods, my senses were heightened and I would be in this state for sev­eral min­utes before returning back to what felt like a more ordi­nary real­ity.

Read­ing Cas­taneda gave me the lan­guage to begin understanding some of these experiences. There seemed to be much deeper levels of reality than what I was learning about and experiencing in school or at church. And, Castaneda gave me permission to look beyond that ordinary reality.

Years later, while studying Native American traditions, I had the good fortune to participate in a work­shop with Michael Harner from The Foundation for Shamanic Studies ( that would fur­ther deep­en my expe­ri­ence with shamanic practices. In particular, I learned how to journey into other worlds and make contact with the spirits that I encountered.

Since then, I’ve used journeying and soul retrieval techniques in many heal­ing ses­sions. And, I even got the chance to take a work­shop with Cas­taneda him­self shortly before he passed.

I’ve also been a long-standing practitioner of the Bön Buddhist tradition. Bön is the indigenous shamanistic “religion” of Tibet – and is one of the world’s most ancient unbroken spiritual traditions. While much of its teachings are similar to Tibetan Buddhism, Bön Buddhism retains much of the richness and flavor of its pre-Buddhist roots.
For more information on Tibetan Bön Buddhism please visit


  1. I have never heard of Bon Buddhism. What are the differences and similarities of Bon Buddhism and Tibetan Buddhism? and of Shamanism?

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