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Internet Book of Shadows, (Various Authors), [1999], at

                                 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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