Cave and Cosmos: Shamanic Encounters with Another Reality - Michael Harner 2013


To My Wife,

Sandra Harner,

a Rose Constant and True

To My Children

And to All Those Who Have Worked to Save the Ancient Knowledge

All royalties from this book go to the Foundation for Shamanic Studies, a nonprofit, incorporated public (501)(c)(3) charitable and educational organization dedicated to the preservation, study, and transmission of shamanic knowledge for the welfare of the planet and its inhabitants.

The shamanic way of healing presented in this book should not be considered as an exclusive method of confronting medical problems. It should be viewed as an adjunct to orthodox medical or psychological treatment, unless contrary medical advice is given.


First, I wish to express my gratitude to the thousands of students who contributed shamanic-ascension and other kinds of experiences to the archives of the Shamanic Knowledge Conservatory (SKC) of the Foundation for Shamanic Studies. This book would have been impossible without their help. I especially thank those whose experiences were drawn from the SKC archives in recent years for the Celestia Study.

A lifetime of acknowledgments almost book length in themselves is due to the multitude of persons and peoples who helped me on the long path to Cave and Cosmos. To be practical, however, I reluctantly restrict myself now to expressing my thanks for assistance received by the Foundation primarily during the last half-decade or so for various purposes, including staffing, indigenous assistance, the SKC, and work on this book.

Of immense importance has been the generous help of my longtime friends and supporters Dr. Baron A.M.F. and Dr. Melinda C. Maxfield (the Maxfield Foundation), without whom this book would not have been possible. Equally important has been the generosity of Betsy Gordon, Dr. Angeles Arrien, and the foundations carrying their names. I gratefully thank them. I thank also the members of the Board of Trustees of the Foundation for their steadfast support, donation of time, and wise counsel. In recent years they have included Dr. Maxfield, Robert Lee Morris, Dr. Frances E. Vaughan, Ralph M. Field, Heather Burch, and Dr. Jeffrey David Ehrenreich, besides the three officers of the Foundation: Susan Mokelke, Sandra Harner, and me.

Other major supporters of the Foundation and its work during these years include Bokara Legendre and the Tara Fund, Elizabeth Marshall, Edgar Brown, Della Clark, Don Ensslin, the Estate of Margaret Cohan, the Fetzer Institute, the Frank Pace Jr. Foundation, Alicia L. Gates, the John Fetzer Memorial Trust, Susan Mokelke, Robert Lee Morris, Claudia Kuntze, the Shared Vision Charitable Foundation, the Sterling Fund, the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, John and Jessica Schairer, the Seattle Foundation, and the Flow Fund Circle. Numerous others—too many to list here—also helped through their donations, their support as faculty members or as members of the Circle of the Foundation, or in other capacities. I thank them all with deep gratitude.

Two remarkable persons in particular must also be recognized. One is the Foundation’s vice president, Sandra Harner—my wife, adviser, editor, cheerleader, critic, and partner in our shamanic adventures for half a century—who has supported and participated in this endeavor with a patience and modesty I have long admired. This book would not exist without her. The other is Susan Mokelke, whose electronic sophistication, generosity, creativity, and tireless work as executive director of the Foundation for Shamanic Studies have been essential to give me time to complete the book. She also assisted with the numerous details involved in its final preparation for publication.

I give my immense thanks to Noelle Burch, who for years has done the vital work of at least two persons at the headquarters of the Foundation with remarkable efficiency and grace. Over a span of years, former research associate Gizelle Rhyon Berry did excellent and essential work organizing the archives of the SKC for the Mapping of Nonordinary Reality (MONOR) project. Coleen Judson for a time was able to follow up her work. I also thank Louis G. Leeburg, James Harner, and Carolyn Fee for their efforts on behalf of the Foundation.

I express my great appreciation of the Foundation’s excellent faculty members, all experienced shamanic practitioners as well as teachers, now led by Susan Mokelke. They are too numerous to list here, but I must express my gratitude to fellow anthropologist Bill Brunton, editor emeritus of our journal, Shamanism, who until retirement was always ready to undertake important international missions for the Foundation despite hazards to his health.

I must also honor another faculty member and anthropologist, the inimitable late Heimo Lappalainen, for his pioneering work on behalf of the Foundation in Siberia and Central Asia, and especially for his role in the success of the 1993 FSS expedition to Tuva.

I honor that pillar of strength, generosity, ability, and modesty, Paul Uccusic, the FSS director for Europe, who has been responsible, with the help of his wife, Roswitha Uccusic, for the evolution of a remarkable multinational faculty. His work, including in the Central Asian country of Tuva, has strengthened the Foundation on both sides of the world. Others who deserve acknowledgment for their overseas educational work on behalf of the FSS include Alicia L. Gates in Latin America and Spain, and Kevin Turner in Asia.

By acknowledging some, I know I have failed to acknowledge others equally deserving of appreciation. I only ask that the many of you who have helped make this book possible in a multitude of ways realize that in my eighties I may not recall at this moment everyone deserving of remembrance.

I do remember, however, those whose vision and support were vital in the very first years of the Foundation. They include Norman and Michael Benzie, Dorothy S. Lyddon and her daughter Martha, David Corbin, Nan Moss, David Rockefeller, Jr., and the ever-young, far-seeing, and courageous Laurance S. Rockefeller.

Finally, I gratefully acknowledge the invitation to publish with North Atlantic Books given me by its founder, Richard Grossinger, and I also express my appreciation to Doug Reil, Kathy Glass, and the rest of the staff there. Finally, I salute and thank my truly outstanding editor at North Atlantic Books, Wendy Taylor. Her professionalism and consideration have been a great gift.

After this book went to press, I received from fellow anthropologist William Lyon a copy of his new work, Spirit Talkers. I wish to acknowledge him for making a parallel case that spirits should be taken seriously.