In Memoriam

Paul Uccusic

The Shaman in Him - About Paul Uccusic (1937-2013)  

At best, we can only guess who someone really was. What someone has left us, what his legacy to us consists of, we may ask ourselves. Paul Uccusic founded the European branch of the Foundation for Shamanic Studies, built it up and led it for many years. This Herculean deed may be considered a life's work, it alone would be enough of a legacy, if one thinks of all those people who have attended seminars with Paul and other teachers of the Foundation and have found an approach to Core Shamanism. And yet this is only part of the picture.

Paul Uccusic was not only a teacher, he was also a successful author of numerous books, all of which revolved around his life's theme: healing. He researched the subject as a critical journalist and then one day recognized and embraced the personal calling to be a healer and finally - after meeting Michael Harner in 1982 - faced the undeniability of the shamanic experience. His focus on healing in shamanic practice is part of his legacy, as it teaches humility and thus represents the most effective means against the dangers of hubris and gurutum. For in shamanism - in native cultures as well as in Europe - the only thing that counts is the result, the actual occurrence of healing.

As a person who grew up with the ideas of socialism and was engaged in the fight against fascism in the post-war years in Austria, with a scientific education as a chemist, he always approached shamanism critically, soberly and pragmatically. He avoided to throw out the "child" of enlightenment and modern science with the bathwater of newly discovered spirituality. Rather, he succeeded in cultivating the ability to hold two logically contradictory facts to be true at the same time. A remarkable model of lived clarity for dealing with the many fault lines that run through Western intellectual history. Thus Paul Uccusic was able to see different things at the same time: He clearly recognized the sinister role of both the Christian churches and the Enlightenment in the suppression of shamanic knowledge in Europe. He was nevertheless guided by scientific rigor in dealing with shamanic experience. And he equally appreciated and studied the mystics of the various world religions. He was undoubtedly closer to these mystics than to the dogmatists of all ideologies and faiths, from which he kept away. The book that is probably his main work as an author, "Der Schamane in uns" (The Shaman in Us, 1991), testifies to his ability to understand his experience as a shamanic practitioner in the 20th century in Europe in the context of all those traditions of thought that had helped to shape him.

Paul Uccusic was a master in taking back his own person. He could do this also and especially as author of numerous books, as "homme de lettres", who loved to read and write books: "Words are smoke and mirrors and especially in shamanism cannot be replaced by personal experience." [1] He was able to say this as a teacher of shamanism who traveled ceaselessly across the European continent, when he never tired of emphasizing: "The spiritual teachers of the shaman [...] are exclusively those in the non-ordinary reality." [2] And he took a back seat as a discreetly acting healer of countless people, when he reminded again and again that shamans must be "hollow bones", because they work with the power of their helpers and not their own. Today we may see the life work of Paul Uccusic in the tradition of pioneers such as C. G. Jung, Mircea Eliade, Carlos Castaneda and Michael Harner, all of whom have made their respective specific contribution to opening wide again the gates of a connection to the non-ordinary reality in the industrialized nations.

It is said that we get to see what we can grasp and what we can carry. Paul Uccusic could grasp and carry an enormous amount, accordingly he got to see and charged a lot. Therefore, he has left us nothing more and nothing less than the renaissance of shamanism in Europe with the means of core shamanism, and at the same time he has also provided us with the reappraisal of the spiritual foundations. He has given us principles of clarity and withdrawal of the ego, which guide us on the way to the future, and he has shown us this way, because to us: "[...] remains only to go the way - the way of ordinary life, of daily experience, but also the way of the heart. It can be walked quite well with the help of a method that has already served our fathers and forefathers: the way of the shaman." [3]


[1] Uccusic, Paul (1991): Der Schamane in uns: Schamanismus als neue Selbsterfahrung, Hilfe und Heilung. München: Hugendubel, S. 247.
[2] ebda.: S. 248.
[3] ebda.: S. 262.

Text: Dr. Andreas J. Hirsch is an author, photographic artist, curator, editor, and faculty member of the Foundation for Shamanic Studies Europe.


Paul Uccusic, founding director of the Foundation for Shamanic Studies Europe, succumbed to the consequences of an accident on 02. 08. 2013.

Paul Uccusic was born in 1937 in Vienna. After studies of chemistry, physics and mathematics at the University of Vienna, he became a journalist and served in leading positions in different daily newspapers in Austria. In 1971, he got in touch with parapsychology and spiritual healing. He is the author of several books about healing.

His affection for Tuva was expressed, among other things, in several expeditions as well as two books on shamanic stories and songs, respectively, of which he served as editor. The establishment of the Foundation for Shamanic Studies in Europe and the dissemination of core shamanism in Europe and beyond are his life's work.

Articles by Paul on Shamanism

Published books by Paul can be found in our recommended reading section.


  • „Psi-Resümee“ (1975)
  • „Naturheiler“ (1978)
  • „Doktor Biene“ (1982)
  • „Heilen“ (1984)
  • „Der Schamane in uns“ (1991)

As publisher:

  • Mongusch B. Kenin-Lopsan, Schamanengeschichten aus Tuwa (2011)
  • Mongusch B. Kenin-Lopsan, Schamanengesänge aus Tuwa (2013)