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Throwaway Sons and Keeper Daughters
Mike Ramey

A few years ago, I first tackled this topic of "sons" and "daughters". Based upon new readership, coupled with more Internet exposure, I have dug back into the "gold" file to bring this one forward.

I'd like to open with a question. Time was that mothers cried at weddings.

Why are more FATHERS crying at weddings these days?

Is it because of the cost?

Is it because of the location?

Is it because of the fact that their "baby girl" is finally getting "hitched"?

No, none of these reasons. More Fathers are crying at weddings because their future son-in-law is JUST as BAD as feared he would be!

Brothers, we'd better get a firm grip on the young men who make up the next generation that is coming up behind us, and make sure that they understand that the only place SUCCESS comes before WORK is in the DICTIONARY!

You'll find out why I�m concerned, in just a few lines.


Now, let's all catch our breath, and go over a few "realities".

First, if the truth were told, not all of our young men have gone wrong. Yes, there are a few, but the majority of them are hard working, honest, moral, and are NOT sleeping around, nor shacking up. If they were, their parents (be they two parent home, or single parent home) would have KILLED them DEAD by now. In the words of Bill Cosby: "I brought you INTO this world, and I can TAKE YOU OUT!"

Better take your medication for this section, brothers, because sooner or later, "THEY" WILL be showing up at your house, looking for your daughter. And SHE will have invited them.

Who is "THEY"?

Those pants-drooping, gold-wearing, nappy-headed, diamond-in-the-ear, uneducated knuckleheads who criss-cross the landscape of the school, the church--and the jailhouse. The ones who think that it's OK that the WOMAN work, and the MAN stay at home to watch Rap Videos and do HIS nails.

Now, if the truth were told, not all of our daughters are princesses, nor are all of our sons brutes. Somewhere, WE--as a people--have "bought" into the LIE that we need to be MORE concerned about raising our daughters, and letting our sons merely "exist".

Check out any TV newscast or your local newspaper. Whenever we see a family featured, the camera or the writer is MORE concerned about the status of the �girls� in the family. Where are they going to college? What careers will the go into? Can they kick a soccer ball, or shoot a basketball? If there are any sons in the home, they are quickly overlooked. Even the father is overlooked, as the TV camera quickly gets the �words of wisdom' from the mother, and very few words from the father.


The tragedy in our "feminized" society is the following: We have grown more sensitive to making sure that our DAUGHTERS have degrees, and NO household skills; and our SONS know how to cook, clean, and sew--WITHOUT an education. It�s almost as if we WANT our sons to be "consumers" rather than fill their rightful role as "producers". Have we been in this country for nearly 400 years, survived slavery, segregation, Jim Crow, and other atrocities--to put our OWN race out of business by making our young men invisible, and our young women high-profile?

I would HOPE not, but this IS the way things are LOOKING!

African-Americans are the number one consumers (according to research I have listed in other columns) of the mainstream press. WE watch MORE television, by MORE Cds, and got to MORE movies than any of the other cultures in this land!

We are already seeing the impact of this "attitude" in the realm of "Throwaway" sons and "Keeper" daughters. More and more articles are coming out, showing more and more young women showing up on college and university campuses, far outnumbering the incoming young men. Two articles released just in the third quarter of 2002 further underscored the point, as OUR young women were asked about the "low" number of OUR young men in higher education.


To make matters worse, this is NOT something that is just affecting African Americans. Caucasians are noticing the same thing happening in their ranks. To make matters STILL worse, there are ONLY three all-male colleges in the USA, and more than 70 all-female colleges.

If a young man does not have an education, nor has any aspiration to graduate from high school, college, or even trade school, who is going to provide for YOUR grandchildren?

That's right--YOUR daughter!

Unless YOU want the job to raise a whole new generation of children!

Now, let me say up front, there is NOTHING wrong with a young woman going off to school and getting all the education she can. She is going to have to support herself as she moves out from under your roof. However, the reality is HER education is ONLY a means of helping her future husband and family. We USED to have both parents working outside of the home in the Black community, without the aid of federal grants and studies, and the kids--in many cases--turned out to realize that EVERYONE has a role in keeping a home going.

WE had "latchkey kids" and "two parent homes" as a matter of SURVIVAL. Since White folks did not believe in including us in the economic mainstream until the Civil Rights Movement, we did what we HAD to do!

However, somewhere along the way, we have lost sight of the fact that HUSBANDS are to be the providers for WIVES after the "I Do's" are exchanged. Not the OTHER way around, as the PC crowd likes to have "shown" in the mainstream press.


Even in the ranks of politics and business, OUR people keep OUR young men invisible, and our young women HIGH PROFILE. I have noticed that when a Black company "makes it," you see more of our young women, than young men. In politics--regardless of party--if the office holder is Black, you see more of our young women on his staff than young men.

Check out the photos. Who is there, and who is NOT?

We talk a wonderful game about how "we" want our young men to achieve. However, when the photos are taken, the studies are finished, and the TV camera lights are dimmed, we STILL have few young brothers in the game.

Many of us have "relegated" them to the sidelines.

No wonder many of our young brothers are not achieving. Some of us are great roadblocks and discouragers, rather than way clearers and up lifters! There are dozens of young men of color who go overlooked, under encouraged, and under appreciated by their OWN people!

Especially IN Black-owned companies and businesses.


Brothers, take a GOOD look at your sons and daughters.

Are you raising BOTH of them right? For in reality, you are RAISING someone else's future HUSBAND or WIFE! If yours are NOT right, what are you "passing on" to a right-minded, soon-to-be married young man or young woman?

A hand grenade with the pin pulled.

Yes, I have heard about the "single parent" issue. However, time was a single parent was feared by their children. They would NOT rest until each child was taught right, and DID right. FAR TOO MANY single parents are letting the streets raise their sons, and are �best buddies� with their daughters.

What goes around comes around, brothers.

Usually on YOUR daughter's wedding day.

Mike Ramey is the author of THE MANHOOD LINE. A monthly, syndicated column written from a biblical, business, and common sense perspective for men. Email welcome. 2002, 2004 Mike Ramey/Barnstorm Communications International (1).

Distance Learning Universities
Bringing Access to Education To People Around the World
LaWanna L. Blount, Ph.D.

Today we are participating in the rise of the "Learning Revolution" coupled with the exploding growth of distance education in higher education. Distance education is when students and instructors are separated and education takes place beyond the spaces of the campus or classroom. Indeed, distance education has become a major form of delivery and learning for this information age and is tailored for professionals, who may not wish to drive to the nearest college or university and sit in classes or any person who may not have access to college or university.

Merisotis and Phipps (1999) reviewed the research and found that distance learning courses compare favorably with classroom-based instruction and enjoy high student satisfaction. Other research by Allen, Bourhis, et al. (2002) indicates that students find distance learning as satisfactory as traditional classroom learning. Altbach (2000, 28) maintains with the advent of internet technologies enrollments have expanded from 40 to 80 million in the past two decades with probable increases of another 20 million in the coming decade, mostly from developing countries. The National Center for Education Statistics maintains that "Fully 1 in 10 of the more than 2 million individuals taking graduate level courses is enrolled in distance education classes." (Cited in Kleiner, 2000, 56).

The purpose of this paper is to encourage continuing education through distance learning by presenting information about the state of distance learning universities, trends in distance education and providing a list of evaluation questions for you to use in selecting a distance learning university to suit your career goals.

Distance Education, the Delivery Mode of the 21st Century
This rapidly developing new delivery system and new mode of learning is fulfilling its goal of bringing access to education to people world wide by making it possible for an increasing number of people to obtain an education, to continue their education and obtain degrees. Currently, scarcely one percent of the world's population hold college degrees (Cox, 2000, 18). Indeed, this type of delivery system is especially tailored to the professional worker, who at mid career does not have time to sit in classes, which may or may not be the best learning situations for all those present.

This delivery system as a mode of learning, driven by the increasing use of new technologies is an education not dictated by time and space. This delivery mode consists of use of Internet, email, video, video conferencing, and video-and audio streaming. All sorts of opportunities exist to further learning; from undergraduate and graduate degrees, training programs, and professional development courses, all available in a distance learning mode in higher education. In addition, many of the distance learning universities have designed programs with a one on one focus, which can be specifically tailored to an individual�s career needs. An early criticism of distance education was the argument that people do learn from group interaction in traditional classrooms and the face to face interaction with their instructors. However, with refinement of technologies, this need for group interaction learning has been answered in part in the form of on-line forums, chat room interaction, group videoconferencing and networking. Some of the distance learning universities have a mix of face-to-face interaction through required residencies, or instructors meet with students to plan their program of studies. With distance education, without the barriers of time and space the semester system is not needed; rolling admissions are the scene of these new universities. Students enroll any time, complete courses and enroll in the next ones when ready without waiting for a new semester to begin.

Increasingly, the need for college degrees in order for people to maintain their jobs and to further develop their careers is becoming a reality in this information age. The changing demographics of higher education; new types of institutions spawning across the eduscape; the funding crunch, coupled with the new technological developments have propelled this new delivery system front stage in higher education. (Institute for Research in Higher Education, 1995, 41-42).

The number of traditional universities offering some programs through the distance education mode is rapidly increasing and about half now offer some programs in distance education. There are many universities designed to operate in a distance education mode without any required residencies of students. Some distance education universities require residencies of a determined number of weeks per year. Such an arrangement provides an excellent mix of delivery systems. Some universities considered as multinational universities offer academic programs in another country. Such universities may be collaborative arrangements with local academic institutions or branches of the major university abroad. An example of a collaborative degree program is that between Johns Hopkins University and Nanjing University. (Altbach, 2000, 30).

The pioneer of distance education universities is Britain's Open University that began its planning in 1967 and became a model for other distance learning universities. The Open University soon proved to the world that distance education is indeed, a viable delivery system in the future of education. Today its enrollment is approximately 215, 000 students. The largest of the high enrollment distance education universities is in China, the China Central Radio and Television University, with more than 3 million students. The University of South Africa, modeled after Britain's Open University has 120, 000 students. (Dunn, 2000, 34).

The authoritative reference for you to review in selecting a distance education university to suit your particular needs is Bears' Guide to Earning a College Degree Nontraditionally by John and Mariah Bear. Dr. John Bear has spent over two decades tracing and compiling information on distance learning universities. In recent years other Bears have assisted him in compiling this directory. Dr. John Bear was a consultant to the FBI to help prosecute owners of degree mills in the DipScam operation from 1970 to 1992. Bears' Guide contains much information about 1600 accredited and non-accredited distance learning universities, and is available from in paperback.

Akamai University is an example of a young, effective and developing university, which offers Certificate, Bachelor's, Master's and Ph.D. programs fully at a distance without required residencies. Akamai is not regionally accredited at this date ..........

Akamai University was founded in 1998, as the International University of Professional Studies on the island of Maui, Hawaii. During 2000, the planning and development activities began which evolved toward the development of Akamai University. The University has as its mission the advancement of the human condition and the sustainability of the planet through superior quality education and research programs and proliferation of demonstration projects worldwide.

There are nine Centers for Studies, which offer Doctorate, Master's and a variety of graduate certificate programs. These Centers include Business and Economic Development, Ecological and Environmental Studies, Education and Literacy, Energy Medicine, Global Health, Information Technology and Media Studies, Applied Psychology and Human Services, Sustained Human Development and Transpersonal And Consciousness Studies. Akamai University has some of the lowest tuition rates of distance learning institutions. Students can enroll for single courses, which may be transferred to a degree program later on. Undergraduate courses and Certificate Programs are offered through affiliated institutions. These can be reviewed at the Akamai web site through the affiliation link.

Problems and Issues for Distance Learning Universities
In recent years as a result of the proliferation of the distance learning universities, most states in the USA have set out strict state regulations for these universities to operate within their state. The problem is that as these types of universities operate across state and international boundaries regulations become more difficult. In addition, our traditional accrediting agencies are not structured to work with distance learning environments. Back in the early 90s the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education in speaking of the future about accrediting organizations and nontraditional education stated, "Accrediting organizations will lose their usefulness and slowly disappear." This seems to be starting to develop; by mid century we can expect corporations and state and local governments to set up their own types of testing and evaluation systems. However, recently, new accrediting agencies are beginning to appear.

In view of distance education university environments various accrediting agencies have been designed to deal with these new types of universities. First, there is the Commission on Interstate and Trans-regional Accreditation (CITA). This body was formed by the regional accrediting agencies who joined together to accredit education institutions that serve students across state boundaries and in more than one accrediting region. Once a school gets CITA accreditation then it is accepted as a candidate for a regional accrediting agency. There is the accreditation agency of GATE, Global Alliance for Transnational Education. This accrediting agency accredits military schools abroad, and is designed to understand distance education environments. Another accrediting agency, structured to evaluate distance education is the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC). Other accrediting agencies are the International Recognition and Accreditation Council (IARC) and International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE).

Accreditation is very important for potential students and for a university for it legitimates a university in the eyes of the public. Accreditation is a voluntary exercise in which a university applies to an outside agency of experts to make visitations and evaluate its total operations. It involves a series of stages, which requires cost and effort over a long period of time as the accrediting committee scrutinizes the university policies and programs and processes, talk to faculty, students, and staff to make an evaluation. Thus, for a university to be accredited means that the university has been investigated and has been approved as meeting standards in its programs and operations. However, because a school is not accredited does not necessarily mean that its programs are not up to standard. A university must start out unaccredited when it opens its doors and time is needed to develop its programs and processes. Accreditation is a process of how well a university is performing as a higher learning institution. Thus, a university must have enrolled some students.

However, not only should a potential student ask whether a school or university is accredited they should ask with WHOM is it accredited? There are some accrediting agencies that are not recognized accrediting agencies. In addition to the six regional accrediting agencies that are authorized to accredit schools within their regions there are also approximately 80 professional associations with authority to accredit specialized schools or specific departments or programs within a school (Bear and Bear, 1998, 48). When you check out a school that says it is accredited determine if the U.S. Department of Education and /or the Commission on Recognition of Post Secondary Education (CORPA) recognize the accrediting agency. You might check in a current edition of Dr. Bears' Guide, or check with the US Department of Education.

Libraries and Distance Education Universities
Another grave concern with distance education universities is the library resources, which they have available for students, especially for graduate students for their research work. Most distance education universities have developed their own virtual libraries; and there are several virtual libraries, which offer full text services for a fee to the distance learning communities. Questia Media Library, which is the largest academic library in the world, makes available access to 400, 000 full text selections including books, journals, newspapers, and magazines. For some of the online libraries, universities may pay an institutional membership fee for the link and students and faculty pay an individual membership fee to utilize the library resources.

Trends and Distance Learning Universities
It may be stated that the traditional university, with its bureaucratic infrastructure, place, pace and time frames, is out of step in today's information society.

According to Dunn (2000, 37) "The Virtual University has been born and is growing rapidly; it will be the predominant mode of higher education by the year 2025." Dunn (2000, 35) predicts that 10 percent of existing public colleges and 50 percent of independent colleges will close in the next 10 years. While I believe that traditional colleges will always exist, as traditional universities can be a viable choice for undergraduate students, colleges will need to change because of the impact of this new delivery system in higher education. I would see many 2-year colleges forming stronger affiliations with four-year colleges. Some students, mainly undergraduate, will do better enrolling in a traditional university because they need the predetermined pace schedules for their college work. In addition, much of a young person�s development exists in the broad social, cultural and athletic experiences of college life.

Hold your breath! Weigel, (2000) offers a realistic prediction that DISTANCE LEARNING MAY OFFER FREE DEGREES in the future. How does this work? Weigel maintains that with mass distance education, tuition costs could be paid from advertising which is especially targeted to the student in shopping portals with revenue shared agreements between an e commerce site and the educational link on which it advertises. Education is big business and advertisers will benefit from a targeted student market.

Without a doubt distance learning universities will rapidly attract more "world class faculty" with multinational experience and research. Attracting such faculty further enriches, enhances, and broadens student�s learning. Thus, the distance-learning student will advantageously be prepared to take a place in the global workplace.

Another prediction is that students will be encouraged to move along faster in a seamless education from high school to undergraduate to graduate school. (Dunn, 2000, 37).

Evaluating a Distance Learning University
After you identify several universities on the web that have programs that are of interest to you and you can self-pace your learning then pursuing a continuing education by distance education is for you.

Here are some questions you might think about when selecting a distance learning university program and how you might evaluate your choices of a distance education university.

  1. Your first contact with this university of your choice is an important one. What kind of a response do you receive when you contact the University to ask about your program of interest? Do you receive an automated response or a personal response that answers your questions from a member of the university administration? The type of response provides an excellent first impression and an image of that university.
  2. Check out the University with Bears� Guide. This Guide is considered the authority on distance learning. John and Mariah Bear comment on the programs available in all of the accredited and non-accredited distance education universities as well as categorizing them by tuition costs. As tuition costs change rapidly you must inquire at the particular institution in which you are interested.
  3. Check the university web site to see if they are accredited and by whom? If not accredited determine how long they have been in operation and ask if they are in a particular stage of the accrediting process. Are any of the professional schools accredited?
  4. Check and compare the tuition costs with other distance learning universities.
  5. Is there a residency requirement? Where is it held? How long is the requirement. Are you prepared to travel for a residency requirement?
  6. If everything looks favorable, check out the faculty. Where did they receive their Ph. D. s? How many have Ph.D. s within the school of your program of interest. What kind of experiences do the faculty have in your program of interest? Is it diversified? Are there multinational faculty? Are they actively involved in writing and research of some kind?
  7. How many students are enrolled? Can you contact alumni of the university by email or telephone to discuss their learning experiences at this university?
  8. What kinds of policies exist about Prior Learning Assessment and transfer credits?
  9. What kind of library access does the university have? Does it have its own Virtual Library, and /or membership in a full text library on-line service?
  10. What kind of learning delivery system will your program have? Will it be a mix of synchronous, asynchronous; web based, email, telephone, teleconference, and videoconference?
  11. Will you be assigned a program adviser who will oversee your program and advise you throughout the program? Ask if you can contact this faculty member to explore further information about the program of your interest?

After you go through these questions, you should be able to make a good decision about whether your choice of a university fits your career and learning style.

Distance education is a mode of delivering higher education, which provides access to many people at lower cost and from the evidence it appears to be a rapidly developing delivery mode, especially for the career adult. Distance learning will eventually become a major mode of learning in higher education. As new technologies rapidly continue to be developed and refined many new types of learning situations will be available now, and in the future for continuing your education.


Allen, Mike, John Bourhis, Nancy Burrell, Edward Mabry, "Comparing Student Satisfaction with Distance Education to Traditional Classrooms in Higher Education: A Meta-Analysis," THE AMERICAN JOURNAL OF DISTANCE EDUCATION, 16 (2), 2002, 83-97

Altbach, Philip G., "The Crisis in Multinational Education," CHANGE, Nov./Dec., 2000, 28-31.

Bear, John B, Ph.D. and Mariah B. Bear, M. A., BEARS� GUIDE TO EARNING COLLEGE DEGREES NONTRADITIONALLY, Benecia, California: B &B Publishing, 1998.

Cox, Geoffrey M., "Why I Left a University To Join An Internet Education Company," CHANGE, Nov./Dec. 2000, 12-18.

Dunn, Samuel. L., "The Virtualizing of Education," THE FUTURIST, Mar./Apr, 34-38.

Institute for Research On Higher Education, University of Pennsylvania "The Landscape, The Academy in A Changing World: Restructuring Higher Education," CHANGE, July/Aug., 1995, 41-44.

Kleiner, Carolyn, "Best Graduate Schools, Traditional vs. On Line and Distance Graduate Studies," U.S. NEWS AND WORLD REPORT, April 10, 2000, 56-9.

Merisotis, Jamie P., and Ronald A. Phipps, "What�s the Difference? Outcomes of Distance Vs. Traditional Classroom �Based Learning," CHANGE, May/June, 1999, 13-17.

Weigel, Van B., "Free Degrees? They�re only a matter of Time," CHRONICLE OF HIGHER EDUCATION, 5/19/2000, Vol. 46, Issue 37,B8.

Dr. LaWanna L. Blount is the founding Director of the Center for Education and Literacy at Akamai University. She has been involved with distance education since 1989.

Journal Articles 2004 Vol 2

JAHC Archive 2004 Vol 2

Solitude & Sufficiency
John Laughlin, Ph.D.

Breathwork as a Therapeutic Adjunct in Counseling
Jim Morningstar, Ph.D.

The Journey of Don Antonio Arguello, Urban Shaman and Artist
Claudine Jeanrenaud, Ph. D.

Solitude & Sufficiency
John Laughlin, Ph.D.

"I have a great deal of company in my house; especially in the morning, when nobody calls." Henry David Thoreau

Max Picard, amid Nazi Germany, wrote in his The World of Silence, "Silence is a basic phenomenon, and when one stands before a basic phenomenon, one is confronted by the beginning of all things. Solitude is both the necessary prelude to and context for creativity. As the seed lies silently in the ground slowly germinating, so our thoughts and potentials remain in the depths of our minds and souls waiting to bear fruit. Solitude is often the soil they need to emerge into the light of consciousness.

In solitude we confront the meaning of our lives, our suffering, joys, blessings, errors . . . our humanity. Solitude is like a still lake into which we stare noticing our own image framed in the background of heaven. We long for quiet and yet fear that some will wonder if something is vaguely wrong with us. Its ok to say that you are lonely or that you want to get away from it all; to admit that you like to be alone, not for a rest or an escape, but for its own joy. Rose Mary Dougherty writing in the Fall 1996 issue of Shalem News shares her fears:

Sometimes, when I thought of solitude as a place of purification, I was afraid that I might be so changed that my friends wouldn't recognize me or want me when I returned. Sometimes I was afraid that if I took solitude seriously I wouldn't be able to care for people in the ways I wanted to or thought I should.

Solitude is not self-alienation. Solitude leaves you refreshed and ready to meet people in your world. As paradoxical as it may sound, solitude can be enjoyed with others. In marriage, there is a need for solitude separately and together. Often we hear couples say, Well, we do things together, but I still feel something missing. Perhaps that something is the failure to honor and protect our alone time together. This is what Thomas Merton meant when he wrote that spiritual community exists to protect the solitude of its members. And why cant a marriage be a spiritual community? May Sarton, who has possibly written more about solitude than anyone, describes in Recovering: A Journal a moment of shared solitude at a picnic. The two sat near a waterfall, chatting and eating.

And then the silence fell.

We simply sat there and drank in the dappled water, a couple of gulls swimming around a big rock, and far away a pine-covered island and beyond that rising up in the distance the deep blue rounded peaks of the Sandwich range. How rare in our world to sit absolutely still for an hour, not thinking, not even feeling, simply being in the presence of great beauty. At first one notices the small things, the subtle changes as wind suddenly ruffles a small space in the water, the amber color of still water over sand, or the reflection of a single tree, but little by little, it is the whole unified scene that takes over. And it is silence itself that unifies it. One slides down deep, deep into contemplation. This is about ecstasy like the light on lavender petals. It is more like prayer. Beauty beyond our understanding and beyond our uniqueness as individuals. Presence that asks nothing of us except to be in its presence.

Solitude affords us the time to examine our lives without distractions and interruptions, where we can see clearly through the confusion of our hectic lives. It provides perspective on our relationships and a bridge to others. Solitude is a necessary condition for knowing out true self as C. G. Jung illustrates in the following story.

A wealthy Swiss executive came to see Dr. Jung for psychotherapy. He stated that his business was great, no money problems, whatsoever. However, his home life is miserable. Jung assigns him the homework of spending three hours alone after dinner each night for one week. At the next session, Jung asked how the homework went. Well, said the executive, this was just great. After dinner I told my family of my assignment and went to the parlor and closed the door. I played a little Chopin and read a little Chaucer. I thoroughly enjoyed this homework. Jungs serious face looked squarely in the mans eyes, I didnt ask you to spend time with Chopin nor with Chaucer. I asked you to spend it alone. Alone, with nothing to do? cried the man. Id never be able to stand being by myself alone for three hours. Jung replied, If you cant stand yourself for three hours, how then do you expect your family to stand being with you?

When we spend regular time alone, we develop our contemplative capacity. Being fully present to the moment is seeing and listening with a beginners mind. Let me end with the beautiful words of John Keats in a letter to his brother and sister-in-law, George and Georgiana Keats:

Though the most beautiful creatures were waiting for me at the end of a journey or a walk; though the carpets were of silk, the curtains of the morning clouds; the chairs and sofa stuffed with down; the food manna, the wine beyond claret, the window opening on Winander Mere, I should not feelor rather my happiness would not be so fine, as my solitude is sublime.

Breathwork as a Therapeutic Adjunct in Counseling by Jim Morningstar, Ph.D.

Over the past 25 years, there has been an explosion in the blending of ancient breathing techniques for health and awareness with contemporary therapeutic practices. The result has been the evolution of powerful and incisive healing and consciousness changing modalities. This has given birth to the field of breathwork which has promoted significant advances in medical and psychological domains.

As one of the newly emerging tools of complementary medicine, breathwork has the daunting yet highly exciting task of blending the old and the new for the purpose of creating something better than either in isolation. There are many and varied schools of using breath therapeutically. I am referring in this monograph to the schools that have emerged in the past quarter century which train practitioners to work directly with the breathing patterns of clients to help them more consciously achieve and sustain physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual well-being.

Breathwork reinforces a new paradigm in the field of professional counseling - whole brain learning. It bridges both brain hemispheres and accesses functions of brain stem, limbic system and cerebral cortex. It thereby reaches deeper levels of human motivation and behavioral control. Incorporating breathwork into counseling takes us to the intersection of science and art. We can assist appropriate clients to learn organically, not just with their rational thinking. Issues of addiction, for example, require a profound shift in values and motivation that must be learned experientially, espoused organically (not just intellectually) and reinforced environmentally for healthy change to be enduring (Rajski, International Journal for the Advancement of Counseling, 24 (2): 2002).

We no longer live in world of Newtonian physics, black and white thinking nor do our clients. Treatment that accesses the male/female, right/left, intuitive/logical is not just interesting. At this point it is necessary to help restore wholeness to todays clientele.

Traditional and contemporary uses of breathwork in healing arts
Breathing practices such as yoga and Taoist techniques have been used in the Orient for centuries, not just for health maintenance but for diagnosis and cure. Off-shoots have been used in Western medicine for child birth (Lamaze Technique), pain control (hypnosis), and asthma relief (Buteyko Method).

Psychotherapeutic SApplication
More recently breathwork has been used to treat panic attacks, anxiety and a variety of mental health disorders and emotional trauma not reached by more cognitive therapies. Chronic tension is at times not relieved, but only temporarily masked by medications. Breathwork is a tool that helps reach underlying limiting beliefs and habitual behaviors held in place by negative conditioning.

Practitioners may learn to teach both diaphragmatic (belly oriented) and costal (heart centered) techniques to access either the parasympathetic or the sympathetic nervous system for particular healing effects.

Breathwork gives counselors both personally and professionally:
a) a technique for relieving stress,
b) a parameter for daily self care level,
c) a doorway to spiritual awakening,
c) an adjunct to counseling to assist clients in relief from both acute and chronic emotional and psychological pain and in maintenance of more balanced lifestyles.

A breathwork session typically involves 10 minutes to 50 minutes of clinical interview and issue definition and then approximately fifty minutes to an hour of concentrated connected breathing that works on the levels of body, emotion, mind and spirit.

Learning how to sustain a relaxed yet full breathing rhythm through whatever tension that arises in the body is a precious gift. Chronic holding patterns in muscle as well as connective tissue can be released without exterior manipulation. Once this is learned, a life-long method of tension relief is attained. This is an art form and not a mechanical process. One must sense the right breathing pattern for the appropriate circumstances. Like any skill, it develops with practice.

Holding patterns in the body reflect continual messages of protection (fight/flight/freeze responses) from the brain. If our beliefs are such that we see ourselves as unsafe in our body and our world, our body will respond accordingly. In counseling we are looking for more than temporary relaxation states, but a more enduring sense of inner harmony, which leads to more resourcefulness in dealing with life challenges. Core beliefs are ferreted out and more functional beliefs are paired with new states that the client is trained to access. Tools for working with belief systems and anchoring them with physiological sensations are practiced. They are individually developed tools for the reconstruction of a new consciousness and provide a daily reinforcement of a new level of enjoyment in life.

Every family teaches its members by example, which forms of emotional expression are acceptable and which are not. This becomes so ingrained that to change this patterning is beyond the normal range of skills even though the effects may be restrictive or dysfunctional. Working directly with the emotion centers of the brain is outside most conscious awareness. Messages to these areas, however, can be altered and the healthy range of expression expanded. The breathwork session provides an arena for more than release, it links positive states with client directed breathing.

Breathwork's underlying philosophy is that the key to change is accepting active responsibility for ones life and having ones spirit in the drivers seat instead of past conditioning. This is not a process of speculation and philosophizing, but rather of direct experience. Counselors do not dictate to clients their spiritual truths. Clients come to know them directly by virtue of their courage to go past fears and self-doubts.

Cycle of Breath
A breathwork session often involves:

  1. a beginning in which one experiments and discovers how to sustain a connected full rhythm,
  2. a middle period of building an energetic charge to a point of release, and
  3. an ending period during which the released energy is grounded and suggestions for application are integrated.

Breath and Energy Releases

Breathwork Training for Counselors
Use of breathwork in counseling requires the skill and sensitivity of a trained counselor who has gone through the process of learning the breathwork technique. Breathwork can induce mild trance or non ordinary states of consciousness. With the direction of an adept therapist, clients can access material that might take them years to reveal (if ever) with traditional talk modalities. This requires the therapist to be conversant with such states, how to use the material (memories, emotions, physical sensations) and how to assist clients to integrate and sustain insight and behavioral change.

Stanislov Grof, M.D. (Psychology of the Future, 2000) has enumerated categories of experiences that may arise in non ordinary states through breathwork as:

  1. Sensory experiences and motor manifestations which may include tightness, pain, numbness, tingling, temperature fluctuation and even tetany.
  2. Biographical experiences of events that have happened to us from birth to the present time both positive and negative, releasing traumas of omission and commission, grieving. This reliving is more than just remembering.
  3. Perinatal experiences from the fetal experiences during gestation and pregnancy, through the birth process, to the experiences immediately after birth.
  4. Transpersonal experiences which can take us beyond our bodies and our own personal (ego) identities. These could include conception, unity, out of body experiences, merging with other forms of life, becoming one with elements, other levels of existence, communication with an archetype, yogic sleep states.

Ethical Concerns
As with any new tool, breathwork can be used well or misused. Counseling opens participants to very vulnerable states. Adding the component of a non ordinary state of consciousness increases the necessity of clear ethical boundaries and competent training. Fortunately several schools of breathwork have addressed this in training of counselors (Taylor and Kornfield, Ethics of Caring, 1995). An international alliance of breathwork schools and trainings have begun to create agreed upon principles, ethics and training standards for professional breathworkers ( Differential diagnosis is also important in knowing what clients are appropriate for such intervention (Morningstar, Breathwork-Therapy of choice for whom?, The Spirit of Breathwork, 2001). And peer review journals are needed to collate the growing body of literature in this field (e.g., The Healing Breath.

Not every counselor is going to want to incorporate breathwork as an adjunct to his or her counseling practice. Nor will every counselor be attracted to use breathwork for her or his own well being and self care. This is as it should be in a pluralistic society. But every counselor and every client breathes. The breathing patterns of a counselor as well as a client tells a great deal about their moment by moment state of ease and resourcefulness in their lives. The growing field of breathwork is contributing valuable data to the conscious and therapeutic use of this simple yet powerful tool we all have right under our nose.

The International Breathwork Foundation ( is a central source for information on affiliated breathwork centers worldwide as well as literature in several languages. The International Breathwork Training Alliance ( is helping to set standards for professional breathwork and also has a list of resources for literature and research.

Jim Morningstar, Ph.D. is director of Transformations Incorporated, the School of Spiritual Psychology (affiliated with Akamai University), the Transformations Breathwork Training Program and Continuing Education for Professionals in Milwaukee, WI.
Transformations Incorporated Email
Transformations Incorporated Website

The Journey of Don Antonio Arguello, Urban Shaman and Artist
Claudine Jeanrenaud, Ph. D.

Not a gallery but a cave. Not a picture of light and bravery, but the pulse of expectant life under the frozen veil that separates the worlds. Not a threat either but a certainty. The spirits are real, be they the Eternal Feminine, its perpetual companion Death, Brother Compassion, Grand Father Eagle, the gigantic princely Wild Mountain Man or last, but not least, the god of uncertainty and change, a dubiously smiling Mercurius.

They are not safe, they are not threatening either. If you feel fear, it is your own. They are just what they are.

It is simply the nature of feminine power to be grand, flashy and flower-like, generously fertile, and somewhat haughty. It is your loss if you feel diminished by it; it is your gain if you feel empowered and energized by it.

Death! Again not a threat, a certainty! Dont run! Death will catch you from behind! If you are an anthropologist or a student of symbolism, you will see the Great Mouth as the entrance to the greatest cavern mankind must face; if you are like me, youll just see that Death has the last laugh! Dont run: its a waste of time!

Did you think the Wild Mountain Man was going to devour you? He is too sophisticated for that! Agelessly present in his gargantuan frame, dressed of velour and golden thread, donning a heavy Christian cross on his chest and boar fangs that glisten in his mouth like the bestial power that we must deny ourselves, he contentedly regards your awe. Good or evil? Wild or sophisticated? Threatening or welcoming? Does he serve the God of Heaven or the Goddess of the Wild? Could he have the audacity to be and do both in a world that recognizes only one?

What about you, silent Grand Father? The first born in this gallery of spirits, the oldest spirit on earth no doubt, your bony face and empty eye-sockets tell of infinite time, of wisdom so profound that we can hear the sound of a stone bouncing into its cavernous depths forever and ever and ever

Now, Brother Compassion, the Siberian Shaman with the bright heart, the Christ-like unconditional acceptance and Marian-like healing love, why do you cry?

But beware of complacency: Mercurius is waiting for you at the next corner! He knows something, something that you dont know. Perhaps he will tell you, perhaps he wont. Perhaps the knowledge would be a relief. Perhaps it would confirm your worst fears Are you brave enough to face the challenge?

Oh, wait a minute did He move? Or did I imagine it?

Art as Shamanic Tool
Art, in its many forms, has been used since the dawn of mankind to communicate with Otherness. It has been utilized in daily ceremony to curry the favors of the spirit: prior to hunting, war, healing practices [1] or rites of passage. According to Shamanic artist Jace Collins [2]"The earliest artists were shamans who used their art to maximize energies for the tribe." He puts it succinctly when he says: "Art is Magic." Don Antonios art is best understood in the context of the evolution of shamanism in contemporary urban society and when contrasted with classical or civilized religious traditions such as Islam, Judaism or Catholicism. These traditions are essentially religions of remorse[3] . They claim to uphold moral hygiene and public health by embracing a dualistic system with one male god who represents light, spirit, and goodness, and his opposite, an earth entity who carries evil, darkness and temptation. Salvation rests on accepting the one male god.

Shamanic systems are pagan and give equal respect to multiple deities (referred to by Bertrand Hell as ambivalence [4] , meaning equal valuing of both good and evil). Such systems celebrate the rhythms of nature and call onto earth spirits for healing and guidance. Much of shamanic imagery therefore represents earth spirits that are considered evil by classical religions. This is the case with Arguellos art. Yet, this same ambivalence has enabled shamanism to survive extermination in many a religious war as shamans integrated "civilized" deities into their pagan systems. This results in what Frobinius [5] called an amalgam of beliefs. For instance, in the New World, rituals can be equally well opened by the "Lame One" (equivalent to the Nordic Odin or the Germanic Wottan), Satan (its Judeo-Christian counterpart), or Saint Peter (the Catholic keeper of the gates of Heaven). In fact the same shaman has been known to shift from one to the other of these archetypal personalities within the same ceremony [6] . This is consistent because the different deities embody the same essential pattern of obliterating boundaries or lifting the veil between the worlds, thus enabling communication between the worlds.

Today, this amalgam results in some humorous combinations. Ecuadorian Shamaness Liliane Navarette [7] joyfully offers a Lakota sweat lodge ceremony in the front yard of her high rise in the heart of Quito, alongside the pounding of the disco next door. But amalgam also opens the door to the penetration of some universal principles of power and transformation. For example, Toltec Shaman Francisco Hayhurst [8]] and Zurich trained Jungian Analyst Jeffrey Raff [9] both teach that playfulness and joy are the gateways to enlightenment, also true in Shivaic Tantrism [10].

Don Arguello takes this amalgaming to an extreme. The sculptures appear to borrow from a multicultural pool that includes Siberia, Scandinavia, Greece or Native American sources. But actually, this resemblance is incidental and may be due to the shared essential patterns. Arguello does not acknowledge the cultural ascendance of his works, he also refuses to give them names. Thus the references "Fur Man" or "Bones", leaving the viewer to project the appropriate name. This apparent "laissez-faire" attitude expresses a profound change in contemporary urban shamanic perspective.

Traditional Systems and Contemporary Urban Approach
While the fundamental transformative principles remain the same, their cultural interpretation by the two societies has changed considerably over the past century. To illustrate this change, I will use Hells 11 notion that shamanism is a science of disorder. In traditional systems, disorder is believed to come from 'outside' the individual or tribe. It includes wilderness such as glaciers, deserts, and any inaccessible and dangerous realm such as night or isolation.

Today, with the taming of the outer world, travel and technological knowledge, the wilderness has been de-mythologized. And with the impact of analytical psychology, internalized. So, while in traditional systems, breaking taboos such as cutting the wrong tree, hunting the wrong animal or at the wrong time awakens evil spirits, contemporary urban societys evil lies in the psychological realm. It is generated by ones own neurosis resulting from repressed shadows, fear of ones own depth, early childhood trauma, past lives and generational inheritance. While evil, in traditional systems, represents itself as many headed serpents, or venomous hairy beasts with bloody teeth and claws 12, evil in contemporary society appears as the dysfunctional mother, the abusive father or lover. Wild beasts such as the wolf, the eagle or the cat bare the regal demeanor of spirit powers who challenge the courage of the human into love in exchange for healing and power. Don Arguellos Cat story (see Arguellos initiation ordeal below) illustrates this point.

The role of the shaman has also changed. In traditional systems, the shaman is keeper of secret tools and retriever of souls. The shaman alone holds power while the supplicant remains at the mercy of the good will of the spirits. Healing power depends in part on the exact observation of all the details of a very complex ritual that has been handed down through the generations 13. In contrast, under the guidance of the 21st century shaman, and with the advent of individualism and the understanding of personal power, supplicant becomes participant. The participant is responsible for his or her own healing, not the shaman. The participant decides what details of the ritual he or she needs. The shamans power and expertise creates the vessel or sacred space for the ritual to become effective and then guides the participant to understanding the process. It is from this perspective that Arguellos 'laissez-faire' attitude must be understood.

Some aspects have undergone little change, however. For instance, no one becomes a shaman without a calling. In traditional systems, the call often manifests as an incurable disease that only spirits can heal, if and when the neophyte agrees to serve. In contemporary society, this illness maybe labeled a neurosis or an acute psychosis, but also regression in the service of transcendence 14 or the dark sea journey 15. At this stage, both the traditional and the contemporary perspective consider that the appropriate response to the call is to surrender to an initiation ordeal, such as a vision quest. The vision quest can take many forms. In contemporary society, it can be internalized by exposing oneself to sensory deprivation in the hope to attain an epiphany. But sometimes the vision occurs unbidden, i.e., without the neophyte having sought it consciously. Below is Arguellos own account of his initiation ordeal.

Cat Story or Arguellos Initiation Ordeal
"People always ask how I came to this work. I say it came to me. I did not intend to do this. It was like a buildup of old paint, layer after layer of events, learnings, life. The understanding of story is universal, so I offer an account of my calling in this way.

The tale begins many years ago and involves a series of three visions spread over decades of my life. It is the retelling of a shamanic initiation of death and rebirth. It begins with me as a boy of ten or eleven years old and in dreamtime, the time of no boundaries and of endless possibilities.

I am living with my parents in our home, a rambling adobe structure built block by brown mud block by my fathers hand from the very ground on which it stood. I remember it as a home where tortillas shaped by my sisters and hot from the coal were spread with butter that dripped down my chin in warm rivulets. I wanted for naught. I knew no fear. That is until the night when the first of these three visions occurred, when the great black cat arrived.

I was sitting in the kitchen, a simple room with a wood burning stove, chunks of jet-black coal in a tin bucket beside it. I sat at the worn pine table I had known all my life watching my mother stir the potatoes frying in a black cast iron pan. The tantalizing smell of roasting green chili peppers in the oven promised yet another meager but tasty meal.

I was the first to see the great cat, a black jaguar circling the house sniffing at the doors and chuffing at the windows. It was of extraordinary size, larger than any ordinary great cat. Its muscled body gleamed in its sure-footed stride as it paced restlessly before the window. It watched me as it would a plump prairie dog and I knew that it had come to consume me. And I was consumed, by uninitiated fear. The cat appraised me with its yellow all knowing eyes. I trembled with heart pounding terror.

The dark beast had managed its way into the house and consumed one of the family. Naturally, the family panicked and we all gathered in the kitchen where we had come together so often as the center of our life. My father, decisive as always, quickly boarded up the windows and open doors with available material, an ironing board, doors from cupboards, wooden planks. There remained one doorway that led to another room that had a door but that did not fit properly. My father, never believing in waste of any kind used everything, including this door, even though it had left a two or three-inch gap at the top. Horrified, the rest of us remained in the kitchen, clinging to one another and praying loudly to the Virgin Mary for deliverance from this evil.

I could hear Cat prowling about the house and calling out in loud grunts and snarls. Until finally it shows up at the door with the gap. Its gleaming eye peers in at me, measuring me in anticipation of my tortured demise. I shrink away in deathly fear. My heart feels like it will burst and I pray that it will free me from this dread.

Somehow through the grayness of near death I concoct a plan. I realize that this dark manifestation is most powerful and can easily rip through this door. I reason that it either does not want to or does not know that it can, but I know that it can. I decide that when it looks in through the gap I will stick a knife into that searching eye. I go to the knife drawer and choose an old, long, carbon steel bladed knife: its surface gray, its edge dull. Again Cat appears at the gap and stares at me. I shudder but quickly approach and plunge the blade into the fearsome yellow eye. The blade pierces the eye and stabs harshly into the cat's brain. Cat, with an ear-searing howl, drops away.

I awaken and find myself in fear-tinged sweat, trembling yet relieved to be free of that dark beast. Time passes and the apparition is forgotten, lost in the passages of time and age until one warm summer night, sometime between then and now, Cat reappeared from its subterranean lair. I had become an adult studied and practiced in the ancient arts of meditation and eastern discipline.

This second vision occurred again in dreamtime. I am an adult sleeping in the comfort and safety of my suburban bedroom. There is a full moon and the neat yards lay in shadow and pearl light. The sounds of the night brush lightly against my sleep: crickets, a dog barking in the distance, a fan hums softly at the window. I sense a difference in the night I cannot account for. It is quiet, too still, as if time has become thick and heavy. Another sound, more intrusive, pricks at my senses. It disturbs. I attempt to ignore it. It will pass if I give it no attention, lend it no energy. Yet it persists and has reached deep into my unconscious, into the black depths of hidden fears. I know what it is yet still fight to contain it in the cold graveyard of old bones and rusted iron fences. It cannot be contained. Cat had returned, larger, more menacing determined to devour me.

I now lay fearfully quiet in my deathbed where I had just moments before lain in innocent safety. The door to my room stood open and inviting to any intrusion of the shadowed night that now hummed with charged energy. My body quivered, my mind challenged the reality, my heart struggled against my ribs in truth knowing terror. Cat was in the house, coming down the hall, its claws click-clicking softly against the dulled oak flooring that would now never see refinishing and I, had no means of escape or defense.

Guttural sounds punctuated the panting and patient breath of this harbinger of nocturnal death. I, on the other hand, dared not breathe lest it give away my presence. The darkness filled the doorway. The fierce drumming of my heart revealed my cowering person to the yellow seeking eye of my tormentor. My fate stood yards away and I lay paralyzed in fear drenched sweat. Cat crossed the threshold and in one leap, a fluid arch, stood at my bedside.

In that fated trembling moment I thought, Ah, there is a means of escape here. Remember your training. This is but a vision So, in desperation, as Cat gathered itself above me, I struggled to free my self from this jolting vision. Cat reached toward me with its open jaws, I in turn, reached into my body and wrenched my soul free of the inevitable death dealing strike. Cat retreated into the murky depths, as quickly as it had arrived, to lay dormant waiting for an unguarded moment when it could finish its determined task of dismemberment of my soul. Once again I had thwarted the beast, first by fight now by flight.

Time in its inevitable way passes and Cat is relegated to the dustbin of memory. A decade, or so, later a third and final vision occurred. I am sitting in meditation, before my simple altar, the sweet smell of burning sage heavy on the air, peaceful in joyful repose, reflecting on the fortunes of my life and the resolved sorrows and regrets of the past.

Unexpectedly, I find myself out of doors. The sky is clear, the air fresh; there are pine trees to the front and to the left and to the right of the clearing. Behind me scrub oak bushes rustle in the breeze. The smell of forest compost is on the air. I breathe standing in the middle of the clearing, deeply taking the earthy smells deep into my lungs when my ear catches a sound in the bushes. I hold my breath. I strain my hearing, not wanting to accept what I know is prowling in the bushes, pacing, watching. Cat has returned. My heart seizes in my chest and the knowing explodes in my entire body. Every cell quivers, every atom responds and shrinks in terror. Cat has returned and is there to finish me off for sure this time.

I look to the left. There in the trees, rustled by a breeze, entities begin arriving. There is a counsel of five glowing figures with human shape but no distinct features. Their aura pulses faintly blue to green. They confer among themselves in hushed and urgent tones. I cannot hear what they say, yet I know they are there to watch me.

From behind me the dark menace brushes aside the foliage in a passing whisper, its massive paws a soft leaf-treading footfall in contrast to the heavy thud of my heart against my ribs. I will sit here very still. Maybe Cat won't see me. Maybe Cat won't think I am food if I don't run. I know I am being watched. Cat approaches me from behind until it stands at my back. I am trembling and my breath is labored. A thick musky animal odor surrounds me. The rumbling throaty sounds vibrate the very air I suck into my lungs. The panting moist breath of cat on my neck makes my hair stand on end. It bristles. Cat circles me, then sits a bit to my right. I squeeze my eyes tight, trying to shut out this horror, and conclude I'm going to die. There is no escape this time. I cannot fight. I cannot run. Give me a quick, merciful death, please, I whisper to the black demon. I will not struggle. I do not want to be mangled and torn to bits.

I offer my throat to Cat, knowing their preferred way of killing is through suffocation. Cat approaches me and I surrender my life to it, my mind purged of all thought. I wait to feel its fangs sink into my throat. Instead, a great dry, rough tongue licks the right side of my face from bottom to top, pulling open my right eye in the process. I see Cat withdraw and am confused. Cat circles me once again in the opposite direction and sits directly across from me.

At that point, I transform into a great cat, a black-panther also, but of normal great cat size. I look to my left at the shining entities. One of them nods to the others and they leave. I say to my self, "Yes, I have passed my test." In that moment I understand that I had learned an essential lesson I needed to learn, the "art of transformation." In the act of accepting death, my great fear of death had been transformed into power, personal power, of equal strength. Also I had acquired my power ally, Cat.

Another knowing I came to receive was that I was to work with others as I had on my self, guiding them in their spiritual quest. For in surrendering myself to Cat, I had unwittingly surrendered my life to service. I began having visions about how to proceed; get a drum, play it, learn its many voices. I learned the power of the drum. I then found out that what I was doing was nothing new. There was a centuries old methodology for spiritual healing and empowerment called Shamanism. Other Shamans writings helped me understand my own experiences and provided me with the language to communicate the experiences.

This story is a quick way of cutting through a lifetime of events that shaped an unwilling person such as my self into service to the community for more than a decade. My early years as a child attending a Catholic school immersed me in spirituality. The saints and angels and demons all commanded my respect and just fear. I related with them on a personal level."

Arguellos Shamanic Development
In his adult life, Arguello became a psychiatric nurse. This role afforded him the opportunity to encounter the full range of human spirit. Employed at a forensic psychiatric unit he witnessed the darkest aspects of human nature where he learned to guard his own spirit against the attacks of the criminally insane "who would just as soon kill you than say hello". In his own words:

"My time with the criminally insane taught me about dark energies that could harm or kill. I learned to protect myself from these energies, those that did not learn paid the price. The period of time when I withdrew from the world, after a difficult divorce, and undertook meditative practices to help stabilize my wounded spirit, moved me in the direction of my calling. My calling has taken me to experiences I would not, in my wildest imagination, ever have envisioned in my earlier years. Astounded, I accepted offers to lecture and do ceremony in halls and churches and universities across the country, and discovered that there is a thirst for spiritual meaning and connection.

Now, fifteen years later, I am older and tired, but it does not matter as I have my power ally, a great black Cat, walking by my side to protect me and to lift me up when I stumble and fall."

Later working with delinquent youth at a juvenile detention center, he envisioned their inherent potential and discovered ways to re-awaken their wounded spirit with his shamans drum. Well read, an excellent drummer, he authored a book "The Death of the Last Dragon" and produced a CD of Shamanic music, titled "Spirit Songs in the Key of (z square plus c)." He has lead countless ceremonies where he drums a sacred space for apprentices spirit flight towards healing places. He himself entered a grave to test his courage in facing Lady Death and says that he now knows that when his time comes he will go to her without fear and willingly as to an ally.

Arguello the Artist
When asked how his childhood prepared him for his destiny s an artist, Arguello recalls:
"One recollection is of my father, retired from the darkened depths of the coal mines, who would take me to a nearby hillside where a tan sandstone stone block sat in its weighty permanence. I did not question his intent for this block of stone knowing that in due course it would be chipped and worked into an image of his choosing, usually with a religious theme.

The immediate task to transport this mass from here to there dominated my thoughts and actions. The end product did not enter into the equation at that moment. From these experiences I learned to be in the moment, to not doubt that I could overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles in my path and that the journey cannot be separated from the destination."

The Birth of the Cave-Gallery
Today Arguello calls himself a "retired shaman." But does a shaman ever retire? Or does he merely shape-shift into another form of service? He describes his process thus:

"In retrospect I can identify that the process was put in motion by a friend and artist who had painted mythical figures on walls of my journey room and these served as prima materia. Four painted figures that adorned two full walls were progressively transformed. The initial painting portrayed a tree with extended limbs and an imp growing from its center. Then it became an imp with tree like limbs that reached for and encircled an egg shaped feature that held what appeared to be a woman in an embryonic state. The final figure of this series depicted a goddess image in splendid gold trimmed robes.

Compelled, I added a necklace of semiprecious stones and red glass disks to her bare breasts to emphasize her goddess attitude and give it dimension.

The Grandfather figure followed. Constructed of hide, feathers, and the skull of an animal yet still lay close to the surface of the wall. Fur Man came next emancipating away from the wall, then Bones and next an anima figure with full breasts and haughty demeanor, each figure increased in volume and separation from the surface.

Finally the form stepped free from its attachment and stood independent in a truly three-dimensional figure of impressively grand and imposing stature, wearing custom made finery created by a gifted and sighted seamstress and friend.

Now with 'Shelleyesque' or perhaps with Pinocchio consciousness the figures demand activation. The final figure, under construction, will tower at fifteen feet and move about, activated by an operator, and will expel jets of flames from its eye sockets and a laser beam from its mouth. My hope is that finally these manifestations will be satisfied in their demands."

Perhaps they will, and then, perhaps not

The Spirit Sculptures as a Portal to Otherness,br> Arguello builds his environment to shift viewers into another reality. He sees those sculptures as only part of the vehicle, with scents, lights and sounds contributing equally to the transporting effect. Again, he doesnt name them, thus "Bones", "Fur Man" or "Three-Dimensional-Figure". The other names are mine. Naming them, he feels would limit the viewers experience by forcing his own interpretation on them. His intent to allow for others perception has since been confirmed repeatedly by visitors comments. One person saw the sculptures as "spirits made visible by clothing." Another visitor saw her father who had died inaccessible, but now was making himself available for her through "Mercurius" to complete unfinished emotional business. Another saw what they thought was shadowy material. Another felt nurtured while in their presence, and yet another transformed. A six-year-old saw the figures as gods to be bowed to and honored. Each viewer, in his own way, brought meaning and understanding to the experience. Indeed, Arguello believes that to create a portal for others to access non-ordinary reality while keeping out of the way is the work of the contemporary shaman.

Shamanic Art as Co-creating Conscious Evolution
With contemporary urban societys increasing emphasis on personal responsibility, Urban shamans have realized a revolutionary step in the relationship with the deities of other realities. Carl Jung 16 called this new relationship co-creative, implying a partnership of different but equally valuable powers. Arguello calls it Conscious Evolution.

For Arguello, observing the organic transformation that occurs during the creative process, surrendering to and not interfering with, the unfolding manifestation of spirit in matter leads to conscious evolution. He stands in respectful partnership with Otherness, as a co-creator, and invites the awed viewer to dialogue with It. Of course the ruthlessness and uncontrollable force of Otherness cannot be overestimated. Consciousness is often wildly challenged. The co-creative shaman must remain calm in order to channel this force towards evolution, not devolution. For example, when "Bones" came, Arguello had to make peace with Death by entering the grave and meeting the Lady. "Fur Man" wanted Arguello to experience unconditional love by practicing no-judgment during polarizing political or sociological arguments. To "Mercurius" he gave his own face only to discover that it took on the fantastic proportion of the Unknowable. Could Arguello recognize himself there? Or had his features been stolen only to take a quantum leap into a dimension where Arguello had no choice but to surrender control and knowledge? As for the "Three-Dimensional-Figure", for some it manifests what might be the result of a marriage of Earth and Spirit in all of its awesomeness. But for Arguello, it was simply the joy of manifesting the unspeakable side of the masculine.

Arguello concludes:

"Discussion of conscious evolution is prevalent in greater numbers of diverse groups. The question is: Hhow does one engage in conscious evolution? One critical element is the awareness that the evolution of consciousness can be consciously affected. In the Shamanic context consciousness is viewed as a malleable construct and a basic tenet on which the practice is based.

Creativity or art that does not rely on established standards is a method by which conscious evolution can occur. The Burning Man Festival held on the Blackrock Desert, is an excellent example of this concept. This type of art employs creative consciousness. It directs ones focus to the underlying process where ideas and images gestate, move through their development to grow, or wither away, or be birthed fully formed.

Minute cellular changes in our bacterial ancestors formed our present cognitive level. From a Shamanic viewpoint the time span is irrelevant. What is important is that those minute shifts occur to speed up our conscious evolution. Unfortunately, creativity in our species has often been a curse rather than a blessing. For it has advanced technology to the point of surpassing our social development and therefore may lead in destruction. If we are to survive, we must evolve."

So, looking again at Arguellos process of co-creating conscious evolution, it appears that his task, like yours and mine, is to evolve consciously by first surrendering to the spirits, with discernment, not judgment. Then by emancipating from the two-dimensional condition of life. Then, by accepting the paradoxical nature of being and uniting within oneself opposites such as earth and spirit, death and laughter, fear and attraction. Arguellos art allows the spirits to speak intimately to our souls wounds. Those forces normally act within us unconsciously. Arguellos art gives them and us a mirror so that we might become conscious of them, and they of themselves. Consciousness opens the path to insight, evokes freedom of choice, and empowers self-transformation. This perspective, Arguello believes, is the hope for the next evolutionary leap of mankind.


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Hell 1999: 19.
Hell 1999: 147.
Keeney 2003: 39
Nelson 1994: 246.
Jung 1952: Fig. 170: 333.
Edinger 1992: 59.

Applied Psychology
Integrative Psychology
Business Administration
Engineering and Technology
Economic Development
Environmental Studies
Applied Ecopsychology
Educational Leadership
TESOL Literacy
Public Health Administration
Complementary and Alternative Medicine -CAM
Sustainability Studies
Peace, Diplomacy, and International Relations
Transpersonal Psychology
Professional Studies
University Center
Degree Programs
Honoris Causa Program
Community and Continuing Education

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Akamai University is internationally accredited by the Accreditation Service for International Colleges (ASIC). The University has earned Premier status with ASIC for its commendable areas of operation. ASIC is an approved accrediting body for the purposes of compliance by the UK Border Agency (UKBA) is a member of the British Quality Foundation (BQF), sits on the Quality Standards Group of UK NARIC, and is one of a number of international accrediting bodies listed in the international directory by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) in the USA and is a member of the CHEA International Quality Group (CIQG).


Akamai University
110 Haili Street
Hilo, Hawaii 96720 USA