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Exclusive: ‘Spirit Power and the Cave’ by Michael Harner

Please enjoy “Spirit Power and the Cave”, an exclusive excerpt from Michael Harner’s Cave and Cosmos: Shamanic Encounters with Another Reality.

Power

In February 1957, a small band of Shuar (Jívaro) men and I became lost after trekking for weeks through mountainous Upper Amazon rainforest. Tired, disoriented, and hungry, we finally ran into a friendly group of Shuar hunters who told us that we had been going in exactly the wrong direction. They shared a bit of their provisions and pointed the way toward the Shuar neighborhood we sought.

Leaving the hunters, we soon came to a small but raging river, fed by recent rainstorms in the Andes to the west. This was an obstacle to our further progress, so we waited for several days for the waters to go down, without luck. My companions waited quietly and seemed unperturbed by the situation while I became increasingly impatient, for I knew it was possible to construct rafts of balsa logs and to get across using makeshift guadua bamboo paddles.… Read the rest

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What Jennifer Aniston May Not Know About Ayahuasca

JenniferAnistonHWoFFeb2012It’s the evening of January 25, 2007, and I’m hosting my first Ayahuasca Monologues storytelling event to a packed room at Eyebeam Atelier in New York City. On stage, Breaking Open the Head author Daniel Pinchbeck, who semi-popularized the hallucinogenic tea ayahuasca within the spiritual counterculture, brushes aside his disheveled hair, asking in a voice barely audible from laryngitis, “How many of you here have tried ayahuasca?” Out of 220 people, only nine hands lift in the air, and they are mostly the featured storytellers (including myself) that I’ve directed for the show that night.

Cut to February 2012, and the mega-celebrity, Jennifer Aniston, best known for playing perky girl-next-door Rachel in Friends, is tipping a bowl of ayahuasca to her lips in Universal’s newest romantic comedy Wanderlust. In just a few years, the once secret “shamans brew” of the Amazon has snaked its way into the popular consciousness, including the entertainment industry with cameos in the TV shows Weeds and Nip/Tuck and now the movie Wanderlust.… Read the rest

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Murder Of Indigenous Child Provokes Strong Reaction

Índia da etnia TerenaA follow up to this story, via the Boundary Sentinel:

The murder of an eight year old child from the Awa-Gwajá indigenous community, allegedly burnt alive by loggers in the state of Maranhão, Brazil, has caused outrage throughout the Internet, as well as disbelief by many in the face of such cruelty.

The Indigenous Missionary Council (CIMI) confirmed that “suspicions indicate that an attack has occurred between September and October against the camp of isolated indigenous” of the Araribóia reserve, and added more information:

The charred body was found in October 2011 in a camp abandoned by the isolated Awá, about 20 km from the Patizal village of the Tenetehara people, a region located in the municipality of Arame (Maranhão). The National Indian Foundation (FUNAI) was informed of the incident in November and no investigation of the case is ongoing.

According to Rosimeire Diniz, CIMI’s coordinator in Maranhão state, “the situation has been reported for a long time.

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Loggers Allegedly Burn 8-Year-Old Amazon Tribe Girl Alive

File:Brazilian_indians_000Hey, they need their jobs!  Raf Sanchez reports in the Telegraph:

The child was said to have wandered away from her village, where around 60 members of the Awá tribe live in complete isolation from the modern world, and fallen into the hands of the loggers.

Luis Carlos Guajajaras, a local leader from a separate tribe, told a Brazilian news website that they tied to her a tree and set her alight as a warning to other natives, who live in a protected reserve in the north-eastern state of Maranhão .

“She was from another tribe, they live deep in the jungle, and have no contact with the outside world. It would have been the first time she had ever seen white men. We heard that they laughed as they burned her to death,” he said.

Reports of the killing, which was said to have happened in October or November last year, were seconded by the Indigenous Missionary Council (CIMI), a Catholic group which said it had seen footage of her charred remains…

[continues in the Telegraph]

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eBook Readers Live in a Different Universe of Books

Bezos Kindle TouchAmazon’s released their list of 2011′s best-selling books, revealing that 40% of the best-selling ebooks didn’t even make it onto their list of the best-selling print books!

The #1 and #2 best-selling ebooks of the year weren’t even available in print editions, while four of the top 10 best-selling print books didn’t make it into the top 100 best-selling ebooks. “It couldn’t be more clear that Kindle owners are choosing their material from an entirely different universe of books,” notes one Kindle site, which points out that five of the best-selling ebooks came from two million-selling ebook authors — Amanda Hocking and John Locke — who are still awaiting the release of their books in print. And five of Amazon’s best-selling ebooks were Kindle-only “Singles,” including a Stephen King short story which actually outsold another King novel that he’d released in both ebook and print formats. And Neal Stephenson’s “Reamde” was Amazon’s #99 best-selling print book of 2011, though it didn’t even make it onto their list of the 100 best-selling ebooks of the year.… Read the rest

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Alberto Villoldo On Ayahuasca

Alberto Villoldo

Alberto Villoldo

Disinformation’s sister video label True Mind has just released a documentary film featuring Alberto Villoldo, Amazonia: Healing With Sacred Plants. Dr. Alberto Villoldo writes for True Mind about his film:

I started out in the brain laboratory at San Francisco State University – literally surrounded by hundreds of formaldehyde preserved brains. We were studying how we develop psychosomatic disease, and how we could create psychosomatic health.

One day I realized that I had been looking out of the wrong end of the microscope, becoming caught in the minutiae of neurons and brain chemistry, and missing the larger picture of the mind. I decided to leave my lab and travelled to the Amazon, to work and study with medicine men who had no MRI’s and brain scans, only the power of the mind and local herbs to heal their patients.

For twenty-five years, I apprenticed with extraordinary shamans and healers, and learned the use of the fabled vine of the dead, ayahuasca.

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Will Librarians Revolt Over Amazon’s Kindle Lending Program?

Amazon Kindle FamilyA California librarian is urging librarians to complain to Amazon over issues with privacy and advertising in Amazon’s new Kindle ebook lending program for libraries. “In our greedy attempt to get content into our users’ hands, we have failed to uphold the highest principle of our profession, which is intellectual freedom,” she argues in a 10-minute video. (Read the transcript here):

Kindle has allowed Amazon to harvest all of this borrowing data, so it’s an instant violation of all of our privacy policies … [I]f they’re using a Kindle, Amazon’s keeping friggin’ everything. And we haven’t told people that, and we need to tell people that.

She argues Amazon’s retention of your reading history may violate, for example, California’s Reader Privacy Act, and she also complains that the check-out and renewal process include unacceptable promotional content about Amazon’s for-sale ebooks. Though she owns a Kindle and loves ebooks, she’s urging librarians to speak up.… Read the rest

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Selling Wikipedia Pages As Kindle eBooks

WikiFocus BooksThis article identifies a supposed ebook “author” whose 887 different ebooks were all apparently cut-and-pasted directly from Wikipedia entries!

The “WikiFocus” series targets obscure niches with few competing ebooks, like Hello Kitty, Aquaman, or the comic strip Archie.

“Of the 887 ebooks, all but 10 earned terrible reviews, averaging one star or less,” this article notes, “or received no reviews at all.”

A typical review? “This ‘book’ is just a word for word copy of the Wikipedia page.”

(And a least one other “author” has attempt the same trick, trying to pass off a Wikipedia page about Charlie Sheen as an $18.95 biography!)

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Will Bookstores Boycott Amazon-Published Books?

AmazonEncoreAmazon has begun signing their own authors and then publishing the books themselves, leaving booksellers “wary” as Amazon “tries to have it all,” according to a Boston newspaper. The co-owner of an independent bookstore near Cambridge considered boycotting Amazon’s new line of books, complaining “They are a huge competitor, and they don’t collect sales tax, giving them an unfair advantage.”

A children’s bookstore noted that “the pie is getting cut into fewer pieces. I’d be nervous if I were an adult book publisher.” Borders bookstore has already declared bankruptcy, leaving The Daily Show to joke that bookstores should simply become “digital downloading” stations — or a “living history” museum where future generations can learn what “a magazine rack” was.”

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Google Earth Begins Mapping Amazon Rainforest

Photo: Alex Guerrero (CC)

Photo: Alex Guerrero (CC)

Not sure if ‘street view’ is the right term for it, but Google has begun mapping the Amazon much like it does streets in cities and towns. Via The Australian:

Two women washed clothes in the dark water of the Rio Negro as a boat glided past with a camera-laden Google tricycle strapped to the roof, destined to give the world a window into the Amazon rainforest.

A “trike” typically used to capture street scenes for Google’s free online mapping service launched last Thursday from the village of Tumbira in a first-ever project to let web users virtually explore the world’s largest river, its wildlife and its communities.

The project was the brainchild of Amazonas Sustainable Foundation (FAS), which two years ago went to Google Earth with a vision of turning “Street View” into a river view in the lush and precious Amazon Basin.

[Continues at The Australian]

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