I was born by a river and have lived by rivers all my life. As a child, I felt sustained by the natural world as it informed, inspired, delighted, frightened and comforted me – and it still does. I lived with a strong sense of a greater hidden reality connected to Nature – and I still do.
I owe a great deal to my elders. It was my grandmother who first named me and who, at day's end, would beckon me to join her at the doorway as sunset unfolded across the river. It was she who introduced me to the moon and the moon's ability to follow us everywhere. I had a beautiful mother who loved storms and both my father and maternal grandfather were passionate story-tellers.
As a young woman I worked as a fire lookout for the Forest Service in New Mexico. There I perched upon an isolated steel tower rising almost ninety feet high at an altitude of 10,000 feet above sea level, watching over miles and miles of forested hills, canyons, and desert beyond. Vistas of that magnitude irrevocably altered my personal map of reality.
Later, I moved to the Snake River country and attended the University of Idaho and Washington State University, to eventually earn a degree in Anthropology at about the same time my son was born.
Montana became my next home where I earned another degree in Education and began teaching in a rural school in Manhattan, Montana. A few more years passed and I entered graduate school at Montana State University where halfway through, in a Native American Studies course on religion and philosophy, I discovered Michael Harner's book, The Way of the Shaman, and his teachings of core shamanism. This was a Eureka! moment and circled back to a Big Dream of a year before that presaged this incredible discovery and subsequent unfolding of path.
This path has brought me upheaval, healing, great joy, challenge, and profound learning. Along the way, I have been gifted with fine teachers and friends – both in this ordinary as well as non-ordinary reality. My ongoing explorations and learning continue to reshape my personal reality maps as I experience the great compassion, wisdom, power, and humor of the helping Spirits. Their alliances inspire me and sustain my love of life and desire to be of "glad service" – whenever and however I can.
Today I teach the same Foundation for Shamanic Studies workshops that fostered my own spiritual growth and practice of shamanism – in time bringing me to my calling to weather shamanism. It has been, and still is, an exciting time of explorations and ultimately, of sharing good things.
In addition to her training in Core Shamanism with Michael Harner and other faculty of the Foundation for Shamanic Studies, Nan has also studied with indigenous healers from various cultures, including Siberian, Tuvan, Sami, Chinese, and Native American healers. She is the author of Weather Shamanism and the divinatory card set Cloud Dancing: Wisdom from the Sky, as well as two articles on the spirits of weather, published in Shamanism, the journal of the Foundation for Shamanic Studies.
Nan holds a B.A. in anthropology from Washington State University and a B.S. in education from Western Montana College (University of Montana), including postgraduate studies in adult education at Montana State University. She has worked as a rural schoolteacher in Montana, and as a fire lookout and forestry technician in southern New Mexico.