José Luis Stevens, PhD is the President and Co-Founder (with wife Lena) of Power Path Seminars, an international school and consulting firm dedicated to the study and application of shamanism and indigenous wisdom to business and everyday life. José completed a ten-year apprenticeship with a Huichol (Wixarika) Maracame (Huichol shaman) in the Sierras of Central Mexico. In addition, he is studying with Shipibo shamans in the Peruvian Amazon and with Paqos (shamans) in the Andes in Peru.
In 1983 he completed his doctoral dissertation at the California Institute of Integral Studies focusing on the interface between shamanism and western psychological counseling. Since then, he has studied cross-cultural shamanism around the world to distill the core elements of shamanic healing and practice. He is the author of twenty books and numerous articles including Encounters With Power; Awaken The Inner Shaman; The Power Path; Secrets of Shamanism; Transforming Your Dragons; and Praying With Power.
Since one of the main themes of these times is crisis I thought it would be useful to dive into the topic just to crack it open a bit for greater understanding. Perhaps we need not run from every crisis but can find ways to experience it without resistance.
The simple definition of a crisis is a time of intense difficulty, trouble or danger. When crisis occurs, people think of many words to describe it: Catastrophe, a dire situation, disaster, emergency, cataclysm, calamity, huge mess, extreme hardship or adversity, chaos, anarchy, jam, crunch, difficulty, and so on. All these descriptions add some flavor to the overall definition of crisis.
Believe it or not there is much controversy in academic circles about the differences and similarities of the mystic path and the shamanic path. While there is no right answer, here we will look at these similarities and differences. We do not know how old each of them are, but evidence suggests that the shamanic path is older because of its relationship to human survival. Shamans have been around for anywhere from forty to seventy-five thousand years and of course with each new discovery the time frame gets earlier. Shamans have always specialized in the gathering, storing, and execution of power in order to better heal the sick, discover the location of herds for hunting, predict and alter weather patterns, talk to plants to discover their properties and medicines, and communicate with allies to improve the tribes’ chances of survival.
In this brief article we are going to examine some of the most fundamental aspects of beingness and how almost nobody understands how these aspects are the keys to happiness. This brief article could be a book or it could be a short article like this one. To begin I am going to make some rather outrageous proposals that I will not attempt to prove here. All I will say is that much wiser people than myself have made these proposals throughout history knowing that they almost completely failed in their mission to educate the human race on these matters.
One of the greatest repercussions of the grand transition the human race is undergoing right now is destabilization. To review a little context here, the human race is now going through the greatest transition it has ever experienced at any other historical period. There are several reasons for this. The human race has always been evolving and is continuing its evolution at a breakneck speed right now even though many people are so disgusted with human activity and behavior that they are convinced the human race is actually regressing. This may appear to be so but it is entirely inaccurate.
Once again, the USA is reeling from another mass shooting of children and teachers in a school setting. People are enraged that nothing has been done by lawmakers to meaningfully reduce the slaughter and many feel hopeless that anything will be done given the power of the weapons industry in the United States and the value placed on the private ownership of guns in the US.
In early May of 2022 I flew to the Amazon in Peru to lead a dieta, a plant diet supervised by the Shipibo people of the upper Amazon who are famous for their knowledge of plants, the songs of the plants, and their powers to transform us. This was perhaps my thirty-third diet over the last twenty-seven years, each diet seven days in all. Many of the plants require dieting three times for 21 days in all. I first began dieting with the plants in the mid 90’s and as I did so more and more people wanted to join me so that now, I and my wife Lena, and our daughter Anna often take around twenty people per trip. This group, composed of eleven mostly veterans was smaller than usual due to the still-present specter of COVID.
Miguel Ruiz, Toltec shaman and author of “The Four Agreements” includes “never making assumptions” as one of the four agreements to make with oneself for greater mastery in life. Unfortunately, most people have no idea what he is talking about.
Over the last several years I have written a number of articles that referenced infection and viral activity in relation to the pandemic that has been so impactful on our lives. In this article we will look past the pandemic in order to understand the immense choices that are available to us through viral activity.
Bullying has been around for tens of thousands of years. In other words, there is nothing new about bullying. What is it? Bullying is mistreating another by belittling, harming, hurting, and inflicting pain psychologically, emotionally, mentally, physically, and all the ways pain can be inflicted.
Earth, Air, Fire, and Water are the four building blocks of our physical planet and everything on it and together these four elements offer some stability to our experience. This is what this article focuses on. While these elements are powerhouses easily witnessed in the oceans and rivers, volcanoes and forest fires, tornados and hurricanes, earthquakes and avalanches, they are also present in subtle ways in every part of the planet from the makeup of our bodies to our energy needs, transportation, food, shelter and many other aspects. They are literally everywhere we look.