In Memorium

In Memoriam

Where we remember those who enriched our lives with their presence on this Earth.

 Hail and Farewell.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Huston Cummings Smith

May 31, 1919, Suzhou, China- December 30, 2016, Berkeley, CA

Tribute by Ron Boyer

Huston Smith died on December 30, 2016, at his home in Berkeley. He was 97 years old. His numerous, insight-filled papers and books on comparative religion will live on. Huston was a giant of the “human-potential” circuit, and a brilliant exponent of the Perennial Philosophy. I had the honor of being introduced to him by Stan Krippner in 1981. He became a correspondent of mine and a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of The Laughing Man, a magazine on comparative esoteric religion that I edited at the time. Years later, I introduced myself to Huston following his keynote acceptance speech at Saybrook University, on the occasion of his receipt of an honorary doctorate degree. I was a bit intimidated. After reading his books, I was awed by his wisdom and authority. But I found Huston to be one of the gentlest, kindest, and humblest souls I’d ever met. More than a great scholar, he was a truly wise and good-hearted man. He practiced what he preached.

I remember well our brief conversation that day. I told him that his writings on esoteric religious traditions reminded me of the contributors to a delightful little journal I had discovered called the Journal of Comparative Religions. The journal was founded by a number of renowned scholar-practitioners, including Fritjof Schuon, Martin Lings, Titus Burckhart, Ananda Coomerswamy and others, many of whom were proteges of the French scholar of religions, Rene Guenon. Huston smiled from ear to ear, his eyes opened wide as he held my shoulders and exclaimed: “You and I are soulmates!” He went on to explain excitedly that this group formed a primary inspiration and foundation for his own work. “If we take the world’s enduring religions at their best,” he said, “we discover the distilled wisdom of the human race.”

After that, I met him on many public occasions over the years, and we always repeated this little ritual. I would always remind him who I was, and he always got excited and said, “My soulmate has arrived!”  The last time I saw him was years ago. He was the keynote speaker at a major public venue in Santa Barbara. I got to say a quick hello to him as he left. He had grown extremely frail and held on to his biographer Phil Cousineau’s arm for support. Still he graciously stopped to greet me personally and give me a warm smile. Then he autographed my copy of his book, The Forgotten Truth, with a shaky hand.  Another giant has fallen. I’m honored to have had the opportunity to meet this gentle soul and study his lasting and important scholarship.

 In Memoriam: Fawn Journeyhawk

Tribute by Ron Boyer

Fawn Journeyhawk, a guest artist and contributor to Coreopsis, passed away early in the New Year. Fawn was a “breed,” a part European and part Mandan (Crow) and Shawnee Indian doctor whose skills as a healer, both among Native American and non-Native people, were legendary. I met Fawn in Ashland, Oregon, a meeting I described in an interview with Fawn published in Coreopsis. We became instant friends. I called her my Sister Fawn and she called me Little Wolf Brother or Little Brother for short. She adopted me as a member of her Medicine family, her “alpa pack” she called them, a group of Anishinaabe (Chippewa/Ojibwe) medicine women of the Bear Clan and a Hawaiian Kahuna woman.

I had the honor of conducting the only successful ethnographic interview with Fawn that was video recorded.  Before our interview, she warned me—as did Stan Krippner, who introduced us—that several attempts had been made and, unfortunately, her energy field was incompatible with cameras and electronic recording equipment, and that thousands of dollars in damaged recording equipment had occurred over the years. But the Ancestors gave us their blessing, she told me, and the recording went off without a hitch. The raw data will be made permanently available through Michael Harner’s wonderful archive on shamanism, through the Foundation and Center for Shamanic Studies.

Although I was unable to see her during her last months, I received a call just after she passed away from my videographer, Marc Strauch, who had recorded our interview and became friends with and a student of Fawn’s. Apparently the day she passed away, Marc reported, the snow-storm clouds broke and a magnificent double rainbow formed over the area where she died. Then, shortly after she died, I received a call from a stranger who had known Fawn and who had noticed a number of hawks circling her for several days. She tracked me down through the Coreopsis article with Fawn and asked me to put her in contact. She was certain the hawks were sent from Fawn to remind her it was time to move ahead with her training.

When I shared these synchronicities—or meaningful coincidences—with Carly Turner, Fawn’s adopted niece and Medicine helper, Carly reported that she had also seen a double rainbow just after Fawn died, only her sighting took place in Arizona, in the last place Fawn had lived before recently moving!  Carly also shared that each time she’d recently gone out to sing Fawn’s spirit free on its journey to the other world, she’d been startled by hawks flying out of the nearby bushes. I can’t think of a better tribute to Fawn than to share these reports with your readers. Fawn was very private, down-to-earth, and unassuming, but a very holy woman, a wakan woman. Fawn’s Medicine and spirit was very strong, and she brought her rare gift of humor and healing to many, many people.

 

In Memoriam: Fawn Journeyhawk

Tribute by Carly Jean Turner  

Fawn Journeyhawk was my adopted aunt, teacher, and one of my best friends. She was many things to many people—healer, Indian doctor, craftsperson/artist, storyteller, shaman, seeker, and wisdom-keeper. She had so many adventures in her life; it’s as if she lived a thousand lives in one. I was put into Fawn’s path by my father, her spiritual brother, to be her medicine helper and learn all I could from her. In the first months of training, she “miraculously” healed me from chronic fatigue and celiac disease. Auntie Fawn, when told it was a miracle, smiled and said: “It’s not a miracle; it’s medicine.”

Auntie Fawn was a beautiful creature, inside and out. In her seventies, she looked like she was in her fifties. She aged gracefully and always kept a child-like sense of wonder behind her big doe eyes. The first thing people who know of her might think when they hear her name is her incredible, innate power abilities. I think of her laughter, her smile, and her endless humor. Adventurous, fierce, joyous, full of spit-fire, she could laugh in any situation. Auntie Fawn wasn’t a heyoekah or practitioner of clown medicine, but one could think that. She had a big, loving, and giving heart. She believed in love, laughter, creativity, and imagination. She was as tough as a rock, with the gentleness of a daisy. Her medicine was true heart medicine.

Fawn was a powerful contemporary Mandan (Crow) and Shawnee “hollow-bone” high-medicine shaman. Auntie Fawn stated, “I’m a conduit. The power I wield is not my own. I refuse the spotlight; I don’t want to focus on me. I want to focus on my work. It’s my work that needs to reach the people.” Her work was amazing. Her connection to the higher spiritual frequencies was remarkable, as were her connections with animals of all kinds. She healed hundreds of people and left a lasting impression on those she met. She didn’t fear being traditional, just as she wasn’t afraid to try new medicine ways, to “update the medicine” she would say. She pushed the frontier of native/Indian ways and melded together an integrated balance with other healing traditions around the world. If Fawn didn’t know something she sought it out with the fire of the sun behind her eyes.

Fawn was a member of one of the last generations that knew the old ways. We can all benefit from her example and forge that connection ourselves. Humanity may depend on it. She showed the world that the old ways still fit into modern society. There is much more magic in this world than 21st century technology. Fawn had that magic. She was a rainbow on a sunny day.