US-anthropologist Dr. Michael Harner discovered and formulated the basic principles of shamanism as the essence of his comparative studies of different shamanic cultures, which he had conducted at the Upper Amazon, in Saamiland, Mexico, the American North West and the Canadian arctic. The development of core-shamanism is grounded in those universal characteristics and techniques of shamanic work, which can be found across cultures. Independent from individual cultures, core-shamanism contains the essential power and priciples of shamanism and makes them available. For those, who are in danger of loosing their shamanic traditions or – especially in western industrialized nations – have already lost them, core-shamanism offers new access to shamanic knowledge.
Following his initial shamanic training in the Upper Amazon in the late 1950ies and early 1960ies, Michael Harner developed his personal practice of shamanism and shamanic healing in the United States. He also began to teach about the practical importance of the ancient shamanic knowledge and wisdom of the tribal peoples of this world. As he wrote and lectured on shamanism, students began to ask him to introduce them into the shamanic methods. In response he started giving workshops in the early 1970ies.
Founded in 1979 as the Center for Shamanic Studies, the Foundation for Shamanic Studies since more than 35 years represents an approach to shamanism that is characterized by respect towards indigenous cultures. The Foundation is devoted to the preservation, the study and the dissemination of shamanic knowledge. In workshops held by the faculty of the Foundation for Shamanic Studies primarily that kind of knowledge and techniques are offered, which are indispensable for shamanic divination and healing work. This takes place based on modern sciences and western ethics and in consideration of comtemporary living conditions. At the same time the Foundation supports cultures, where living shamanic knowledge has survived up to present times. As a not-for-profit organization the Foundation is strictly committed to the well-being of the community.
The European branch – the Foundation for Shamanic Studies Europe, founded in 1987 – is worldwide the only multinational, multicultural and multilingual faculty in the area of shamanism. Especially also here lies its importance in co-shaping a modern shamanism and the responsibility to build bridges. Bridges between shamanism and science as well as between spirits and humans for the benefit of living and future generations.