Drugless Ecstasy

Attaining altered states through shamanic dance and chanting

For Donna Henes, a self-proclaimed contemporary healer who has conducted rituals for 30 years, shamanism has a decidedly urban twist. "People here feel very disconnected from everything, especially nature," she says, noting how it's easy to lose track of the seasons in the city, dwarfed as we are by slabs of concrete. "But in New York, the wildlife is the people. We are nature." Henes conducts full-moon drumming circles from her Brooklyn home, a rose-and-aquamarine–hued space resplendent with fake flowers and images of the Virgin Mary—think spiritual bordello—to help people get in touch with the seasonal cycles. "It's a way to reconnect with the order of the universe and learn we're not the boss," Henes says.

Parashakti Bat-Haim
photo: Leslie Van Stelten
Parashakti Bat-Haim

Details

Parashakti
212.501.3760
info@parashakti.org
parashakti.org

Itzhak Beery
212.533.0909
itzhakbeery.com

Miranda Ryan
201.239.0561 shamanicascension.com

Mama Donna's Tea Garden and Healing Haven
718.857.2247
donnahenes.net

Luis Garcia, a young, hip shaman with a Latin vibe
718.827.7336

Shamaniccircles.org, a comprehensive site with information on shamanism, gatherings, and healers

Grand Space
718.482.3185
grandspace.com

Alok Holistic Health
212.388.1516
alokhealth.com
Workshops on nutrition, health, meditation, and spirituality, including TranceBreath.

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While the prevalent image of a shamanic ceremony may be that of a rattle-thumping, crooning spiritual journey, healing comes in many forms. New York offers a smorgasbord of options, including workshops at Brooklyn's Grand Space holistic center, at 778 Bergen Street, which provides a menu of healing methods. Located in Prospect Heights, the center offers workshops on healing circles, yoga, meditation, trance dance, and bodywork. Director Alan Pratt, former Roxy go-go boy and a foot fetishist with a company catering to the foot-obsessed gay man, sees it as a place for wild self-expression and playfulness. "We like to call ourselves a playground because people really need to have fun. People need healing now more than ever," Pratt says. His staff also delve into dance, theater, raw-foodism, and fasting rituals. "Spirituality is a profound journey," says Pratt, rather amazed by the community that has begun to emerge from Grand Space. "We do a lot of hugging here."

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