have always known that there is more to life than what we are
told. Because of my experiences in Viet Nam in the sixties, I
felt that people in non-western cultures still knew something
which we had forgotten. I found it, amazingly, while sitting in
a university library as an anthropology student - the world is
alive. For the next ten years I continued to read about shamanism
and experimented with the things I read. I had many powerful experiences,
but I didnt know what to do with them. I had no teacher
to help me to understand.
the early 80s I reconnected with Michael Harner who had
just written The Way of the Shaman. During a long weekend
course with him I learned to shift my consciousness and entered
the World of the Spirits. All the deep experiences of the past
ten years fell into place and I felt myself walking on my path.
In 1984 Michael asked me to teach with him and in 1986 I taught
my first solo workshop. In the same year I founded the Scandinavian
Center for Shamanic Studies with Annette Høst. I have never
stopped teaching shamanism since then.
path toward becoming a shaman means to become an apprentice to
the spirits, and this changes ones experience of life. Accepting
these changes is perhaps the greatest challenge. In the beginning,
many people find it hard to understand what the Spirits are saying
to them. As a teacher, I feel my role is to help people to find
the road to the spirit world, encourage them to accept the power
offered, and learn how to bring the power back to the physical
have been teaching shamanism for more than thirty years, not only
in England and Scandinavia, but Hungary, Russia, Finland, Germany,
Switzerland, Italy, France, Scotland, Ireland and even the USA.
I am seen as an elder in the resurgent shamanic community. But
I still see myself as an apprentice to the Spirits. Being able
to work this way is a great gift, and as my own Spirit Teacher
said: The greater the gift, the greater the responsibility.
Part of this responsibility I feel is encouraging connection.
A few years ago I invited those who have worked with me to form
an international shamanic community, and ever since we have been
exploring the power of people working together together
with each other and together with the Spirits.
big change came in my life when I found a beautiful home in the
woods of southern Sweden - Åsbacka - where I now live and
practice with my partner, Zara Waldebäck. As well as teaching
abroad, here we work with smaller groups doing trainings and retreats,
individual mentoring and healing. My path to get here has taken
many years so far, and I wouldnt be here if I hadnt
met everyone Ive met on the way and been to all the places
Ive been, from my native Pennsylvania to Viet Nam to Europe,
Denmark and Sweden, to Greenland to Lapland - and to the world
of the Spirits.
I am inspired by the shamans of other cultures, I do not use rituals
belonging to them, nor do I work with psychotropic plants, hallucinogenic
drugs or dogmatic systems. The shaman works by asking for help,
and I am given rituals by the Spirits for bringing power and for
healing for making whole. The Spirits are my
teachers, and to contact them I use song, drums, rattles, dancing,
and silence. Although I have and use many beautiful rattles and
drums, shamanism, for me, is not essentially about power objects
and exotic equipment. Shamanism is about life. Life is change.
Shamanism is change with power.
Jonathan via email firstname.lastname@example.org or on ÅSBACKA FACEBOOK