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I have been dedicated to a life of spiritual pursuits for more than fifty years. The later sixteen of those have had a primary focus in Shamanism and Mysticism, but please understand that I do not consider myself a shaman. As my teacher said, “Never trust a shaman under the age of eighty.” Perhaps one day I will earn that title, but for now, I am a serious student that uses shamanic tools and techniques. This book recounts a few of my early experiences along the path. I started writing this more than ten years ago and recently discovered it among some old files. I guess it is like a good cup of tea, it needed to be steeped before drinking.


The River Song
The river runs
The river walks
The river sings
The river talks

Let me live
Let me be
Like the river
Flowing free



A few years ago I came to an understanding of life on this planet as a schoolhouse; living is learning, with each personal existence as a custom course. To me the world’s form is best understood as a textbook and Life as a field trip. I am very grateful to all the people appearing in my life as teachers. They have been bosses, mentors, lovers, parents, merchants, and passersby. I am likewise grateful to the things and places that have provided lessons; they are plants, rocks, clouds, winds, animals, spirits, caves, beaches, mountains and streams.

One of the teachers I am most thankful for is the Kern River. It was and is a significant place of my learning and transformation. While sitting along the banks I learned songs; in the middle of the flow I discovered a voice that drowned reality. I sensed the rush of life blood as it fell from the mountains. I felt the loneliness as it emptied into a field, being a river without a sea. Its purpose is not joining a pool. This river exists only to flow. As a schoolmaster it brings life in addition to carrying death. It is also known as the Killer Kern. Merle Haggard gave a tribute to that designation in his song Kern River, “Well it’s not deep nor wide, but it’s a mean piece of water my friend. I may cross on the highway, but I’ll never swim Kern River again.”