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                                The 12 steps and Shamanism 
          by Matrika co-sysop of PAN - the Psychic Awareness Network at
          1-703-362-1139  copyright  by PAN and Harvest (  a pagan newsletter at
          box 228 S. Framinham MA 01701 - $13. per year)

          Author's note - this article was first published by me  under the name
          JUKNO in Harvest's Yule edition, 1989.

          Recently  a local charecter in  Alcoholics Anonymous here  in the Wor-
          cester MA. area  died.  His name was "John  the Indian" (he identified
          himself this way) and he  was well-known as an AA speaker all over the
          world, although he lived  near central Massechusetts.  John  had about
          thirty years  of sobriety  and was  a great power  of example  to many
          people including  Betty Ford who told him she had listened to tapes of
          his talks while she was in detox.

          John's story intrigued  many people.  An Indian who  had been orphaned
          on the reservation  when Tuberculosis  wiped out his  familly, he  had
          ended up on  skid row after serving in the  Canadian army during World
          War II as  a dishwasher.   He came to AA  in his mid-twenties,  an il-
          literate  wine.  ( my note - this is NOT to imply that most alcoholics
          are on skid row.  In fact most of them are people with nice famillies,
          a place to live, a car or  even two, a job, etc. etc. etc.   Less that
          2%  of the alcoholics in  this country are  on skid row)   He ended up
          owning  his own construction business  after learning to  read (from a
          elderly woman in AA who was a  school teacher)  and marrying a lady in
          AA with whom he raised a lovely familly.

          Because John had inspired me and so affected my life with his gift of
          simplicity, I was inspired to do a shamanic-style rite in  his memory.
          I  had always  felt sorry  for  John because,  in the  process of  his
          recovery, he seemed to have lost touch with the beauty of this herita-
          ge.  Then it hit me;  John WAS a shaman and anyone who truly worked  a
          12-step program was one too.

          In BIRTH OF A MODERN SHAMAN by Cynthia Bend and Tayja Wiger (Llewelyn
          Publication box 64383, St. Paul MN. 1988 ) it states
              " A shaman is hard to define.  There are no two alike..... what
              happens, a shaman goes through a catastrophe or a string of
              catastrophes that enhance certain abilities within him ( or her! )
                  .....Most often theShaman has togo through a severetrauma, a  
          severe  illness or a severe psychosis and recover from it before he   
          learns the recovery process that he can use."

          The  authors are  quoting Tsonkawa,  Tayja's teacher  on the  Shamanic
          path.  (a Native American Medicine person)

          Many other  authors on Shamanism;  Sunbear, Lynn Andrews,  Amber Wolfe
          and Micheal Harner, to  name a few:  echo this truth.   A shaman is  a
          person  who goes through  great suffering,  usually in  the form  of a
          mental or physical  illness, and then goes on to  heal himself or her-
          self.  They are then able to use that same process to heal others.

          This is what happens in a twelve-step fellowship.  Through the process
          of healing ourselves, we come to the point where we can help others hy
          "carrying the message" after having had a "spiritual awakening" as the
          result of taking the first eleven steps.


          Here are some books that can help any Pagan, Shaman, Druid, Witch,
          Practitioner of  Feminist Spirituality, or other Magickal folk as they
          walk the steps in the process of recovering, while retaining their own
          unique spiritual path.

          TRUTH OR DARE by Starhawk (San Francisco, Harper and Row, 1987)  This
          contains many references to  the 12-step programs, especially Alcohol-
          ics Anonymous and Adult Children of  Alcoholics, in a work on Wicca by
          a well-known priestess of the Craft who is also a psychotherapist.

          CRYSTAL CLEAR by Connie Church (Bew York, Willard books 1987)  It
          contains  a good  section on  how to  use quartz  crystals to  help in
          relieving yourself of bad habits, compulsions, and obsessions, specif-
          ically for use with the various twelve-step programs. (note - amethyst
          is traditionally said to help in all these areas)

          BIRTH OF A MODERN SHAMAN, mentioned above, tells the story of a blind
          Native American woman who was a survivor of Child abuse and had been
          Psycotic  as well  as Alcoholic.   This is  the story  of her complete
          recovery,  including her  eyesight,  (documented by  doctors) and  the
          discovery of her  Psychic gifts with  her Native  roots.  Her  healing
          occured through a process that began for her in Alcoholics Anonymous.

          THE  TWELVE STEPS FOR EVERYONE published by Compcare (Minneapolis MN.)
          this is a non-sexist book on the steps by a grateful recovering member
          of Emotional  Health Anonymous  written in  non-sexist language.   The
          author draws heavily on the Eastern traditions of spirituality as well
          as the traditional Western monotheistic ones.

          EVERYDAY A NEW  BEGINNING Published  by Hazelden corp.  (Also in  Min-
          neapolis, MN. I believe)  This is a daily meditation guide BY women in
          Anonymous fellowships  and FOR women  in these same  self-help groups.
          Unlike the TWENTY-FOUR HOURS A DAY book (published by the same company
          and widely used in AA)  it doesn't use quotes from the Bible.  Instead
          it uses  quotes from various  women authors.   Many men also  claim to
          have benefitted from it due to it's non-religious approach.

          PAGANS IN RECOVERY a networking newsletter for Magickal folk, Shamans,
          Druids,  Feminist Priestesses,  Witches, Pagans, Pantheists,  etc. who
          are in  recovery via a 12-step  fellowship of any  type.  It  has con-
          tacts, reviews, articles, recovery techniques and more.  It is a great
          source of support and inspiration to any Pagan in any of the Anonymous
          support  groups.  It is  $8.00 a year  and the address is  P.I.R.  c/o
          Bekki  6500 S.R. 356 New Marshfield, OHIO  45766



          REFLECTIONS  IN THE  LIGHT by  Shakti Gawain,  published by  New World
          Library, San Rafael, California  1978.  While not ONLY for the 12-step
          programs this book does go into the problems of addictions in light of
          the  New-Age, Psychic Awareness  as well as  many other  subjects.  It
          provides  a inspirational  message  and/or  a  creative  visualization
          exercise with a non-sectarian  affirmation for each day.   The book is
          neither sexist nor  sectarian and is truly  a beautiful aid  to anyone
          seeking to work  the program of recovery.   It is also a great  way to
          share what you are doing with friends  who share your spirituality but
          not your  program, as it  makes no  direct references  to the  12-step
          groups at all.   It is very useful to  those of us who prefer  a daily
          meditation to the  "prayer" people  in the  monotheistic Churches  and
          Synagogues tend to use  in their application of  the program to  their


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