Stephan V. Beyer
Stephan V. Beyer, Ph.D., J.D., is a well-known writer and speaker on shamanism and spirituality. He is also a community builder, peacemaker, and carrier of council. He has been trained and certified in many areas of circle processes, mediation, and nonviolence and has offered peacemaking workshops to a wide variety of audiences, from therapists to theologians, and at Montessori, charter, alternative, and public schools. He has served as a Lecturer in the Department of Criminal Justice at Chicago State University, teaching undergraduate courses and graduate seminars in restorative justice and in the theory and practice of nonviolent resistance. He lives in Chicago.
For more than forty years I have been fascinated by the sorts of anomalous human experiences that have been marginalized and pathologized by mainstream psychology — meditation, hallucinations, lucid dreams, shamanic visions, out-of-body experiences, delusions, visualization, false awakenings, apparitions.
I lived for a year and a half in a Tibetan monastery in the Himalayas, and I have undertaken and helped to lead numerous four-day and four-night solo vision fasts in Death Valley, the Pecos Wilderness, and the Gila Wilderness of New Mexico. My published work has dealt with subjects from Tibetan Buddhist ritual meditation to ayahuasca shamanism in the Upper Amazon.
I have also studied wilderness survival among the indigenous peoples of North and South America, and studied sacred plant medicine with traditional herbalists in North America and curanderos in the Upper Amazon, where I studied the healing plants with doña María Tuesta Flores and received coronación by my maestro ayahuasquero don Roberto Acho Jurama.
I have Ph.D. degrees in religious studies and in psychology, and I have taught as an associate professor at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, the University of California – Berkeley, and the Graduate Theological Union.
I am an independent scholar doing research and fieldwork in ethnobotany, shamanism, ethnomedicine, and hallucinogenic plants and fungi, with a focus on indigenous and shamanic healing systems and the cognitive psychology of anomalous experiences. My current research centers on concepts of healing and the lived body across cultures, the cross-cultural transmission of ethnomedical systems, the role of alternative medical models, and differing cultural conceptions of herbalism and the healing plants.
I have served on the editorial board of the Journal of Contemporary Shamanism, and currently serve on the advisory board of the International Center for Ethnobotanical Education, Research, and Service.
• Shamanism, ethnomedicine, and indigenous healing systems