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The ugly truth about Native American "shamans," "wisdom keepers" and "spiritual teachers"

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posted on Dec, 9 2011 @ 08:42 AM
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I'm starting this thread because I (again!) found an admiring thread on this forum about Kiesha Crowther ("Little Grandmother") with her "Tribe of Many Colors." This woman is a fraud and a liar.

The Sioux/Salish tribes that she supposedly represents have been vehemently protesting and saying they don't know her:


"The Culture and Elders Committee of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Reservation protect the intangible cultural resources of the tribes including language, songs, stories etc. No tribal Elders or elders have met with nor do they condone the claims and actions made by Kiesha Crowther. She is not their 'shaman', she has no right to claim this title and the Elders and elders of CSKT of the Flathead Reservation would like her to cease and desist immediately from making such false claims that erode the traditions that members of the CSKT Culture and Elders Committee are trying to preserve."


Here's a video about her:


There have been many attempts to debunk her from Native Americans. But who wants to listen to *real* Indians? What they have to say is so much less enticing and "magical" than what these wannabe shamans spout.

I should know, because I was a gullible follower of those "plastic shamans," as the Native Americans call them, for years.

I used to be obsessed with anything Native American. Back in Germany, where people are easily duped by so-called "shamans" and "spiritual Indian teachers" touring the country, I had a Native American teacher (who later ended up in jail for defrauding and mutilating women in his alleged "rite of passage" ceremonies). There was also an "official spokesman of the Hopi" who used to give made-up messages from the Hopi Elders. Bavaria is also a hub for a huge number of followers of Dhyani Ywahoo, who runs the Sunray Peace Village in Lincoln, VT.

But let's start from the beginning, and I'll tell you the whole story.

When I still lived in Germany, I absolutely LOVED all things Native American (still do, but now I have much more respect and don't spend my hard-earned money on those fake ceremonies and workshops anymore
).

Through friends, I found this Native American teacher, a very interesting character, to say the least. He seemed genuine, but I learned later that
a) he had a habit of marrying younger German women who could financially support him;
b) that he couldn't go back to the US because he'd be arrested at the border (for what, I still don't know)
c) he went to jail because in some kind of self-styled "puberty ritual," he sowed women's vaginas together (without anaesthesia, of course, because true Indians aren't afraid of pain).

Unbelievable? Maybe. More unbelievable, though, may be that women were naive enough to allow him to do that. Though I can see how that happened. I had one ritual with him (NOT the puberty one!), and his reasoning was very compelling. He basically said that in today's Western societies, so many people are emotionally and spiritually stunted because there are no real rites of passage anymore for kids (which I think is true).

In traditional Native American tribes, the boys' rite of passage was the "vision quest" at the age of 12-14, and the girls' rite of passage was a celebration when they got their first period and so became women. In our over-modernized Western world, we don't have those anymore, he said, and so many people would stay "boys and girls" throughout their entire lives and never reach full maturity.

There IS something to that, I must say... when you watch old movies from the '40s and '50s, you never see a grown man who still acts like a juvenile, whereas today it seems to be almost the norm. And I know many women -- for some reason especially those without kids -- who seem to stay girls perpetually; that even goes for some that I know that are in their sixties now.

However, I digress. So this "teacher's" solution was to do a "re-run" of the missed rites of passage (somehow for women only), which, for the "puberty rite" involved sowing the woman's vagina shut (and then re-open it after a while, I guess) as a simulation of a teenage virgin's hyphen. Unreal, but it seems a lot of women fell for it.

Then, not too many years ago, here in Vermont, I found out that Dhyani Ywahoo was organizing native "Elders Gatherings" every year. If you haven't heard of her, she claims to be the last of the Ywahoo lineage, which has been chosen as the "Sacred Peacekeepers" of the Cherokee tribe for generations. She's purportedly also the Keeper of the Sacred Pipe for the Cherokee nation.

Her "Sunray Peace Village" is located in Lincoln, VT, and once a year, in the summer, elders from Native American tribes as well as from other countries (from Peru (Mayan elders), to Germany, to Mexico, to Hawaii (Kahuna teachers)) would come to the village -- along with hundreds of visitors who for three days camp out on the grounds of the village -- to conduct teachings and ceremonies, etc.

[I should add that she's also big in Buddhism and has in recent years started building a Buddhist nunnery on the village's grounds; she claims her son is a rinpoche, and she always has alleged Buddhist rinpoches from Tibet and such at the village. There are also a great number of steady followers who worship her like a goddess and whom she honors with regular teachings; those people -- most of whom are just very sweet albeit misguided people -- do free community work at the village, planting, sowing, keeping the grounds in order, and so forth, and are absolutely devout disciples.]

Anyway, I went to those Elders Gatherings for three years, and it was great. I totally loved it. They have two ceremonial arbors there, which are decorated for the gatherings; the bigger one is the regular arbor, which you have to enter clockwise after being smudged, and then find a seat to hear the teachings and speeches, and participate in the ceremonies and dances. The smaller arbor is the so-called "Moon Arbor," where women who have their period must go since they can't be with the others in the regular arbor. As far as I know, traditionally women in their moons were excluded from ceremonies because, according to what I've heard, their power in that time was so chaotic but strong at the same time that they could wreck an entire ceremony and cause havoc for the other participants... hence the "Moon Arbor."

It was a great experience to go there; for the Elders Gatherings, people would come from all over the US, Canada, France, Spain, Germany, Switzerland, etc. and gather for a few days in peace and harmony. It was beautiful.

HOWEVER, after I'd gone there for three years or so, I happened to stumble over this Native American message forum on the Internet called "New Age Frauds and Plastic Shamans" (NAFPS), which was established by *real* Native Americans. I learned a lot through that website -- actually more than I ever wanted to know, to be honest with you.

First of all, it turns out that most Native Americans hate white/semi-white/native people who twist and warp their traditional ceremonies and sacred teachings and supplement them with New Age mumbo-jumbo. They call these people "Twinkies" and have nothing but contempt for them. What they basically say is that learning about true Native American spirituality is a way of life and takes years if not decades; it's not something you do in a weekend workshop.

(continued)




posted on Dec, 9 2011 @ 08:47 AM
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OK...Great post period. You know what are you talking about.
edit on 9-12-2011 by greenCo because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 9 2011 @ 08:48 AM
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[By the way, Native Americans don't even HAVE "shamans," they have medicine people. The only indigenous peoples that call their medicine men and women "shamans" are in Siberia and a couple tribes in the rainforest, as far as I know. Go figure.]

But please read for yourself what Native Americans think of having their sacred ceremonies usurped:


Do you think you are "Indian at heart" or were an Indian in a past life? Do you admire native ways and want to incorporate them into your life and do your own version of a sweat lodge or a vision quest? Have you seen ads, books, and websites that offer to train you to be come a shaman in an easy number of steps, a few days on the weekend, or for a fee?

Have you really thought this all the way through? Have you thought about how native people feel about what you might want to do?

Please think about these important points before you take that fateful step and expend time, money, and emotional investment:

Native people DO NOT believe it is ethical to charge money for any ceremony or teaching. Any who charge you even a penny are NOT authentic.

Native traditionalists believe the ONLY acceptable way to transmit traditional teachings is orally and face-to-face. Any allegedly traditional teachings in books or on websites are NOT authentic. Learning medicine ways takes decades and must be done with great caution and patience out of respect for the sacred. Any offer to teach you all you need to know in a weekend seminar or two is wishful thinking at best, fraud at worst.

Most of these FRAUDULENT operators are not the slightest bit reputable. Some, such as Robert "Ghostwolf" AKA Robert Franzone and Forrest Carter, have actually been convicted of fraud. Some are sexual predators who prey upon their followers. "Sun Bear" AKA Vincent La Duke was a serial rapist who was facing numerous charges when he died, including the rape of girls as young as fourteen.

Women should be extremely wary of any " teacher" who claims sex is part of an alleged "ceremony." Most of these FRAUDULENT operators have been caught making complete fantasies of what many whites WISH natives were like. Another way to say it is that they are outright liars and hoaxers. Some, like Carlos Castaneda, were exposed as long as three decades ago.

You probably are asking yourself, "Aren't any of these people for real and a good way for me to learn?"

We (native people and our supporters) realize that most of you do not know any better, at least not yet, but we hope you learn about these matters from more reputable sources and in a more respectful manner.

If it says New Age or Shamanism on the cover, it's not a good source for learning about natives. Find out which authors can be trusted before you pay money to operators who harm us all.

Please understand the following points about native spiritual ways:

Native belief systems are COMMUNAL, not focused on the individual's faith like Christianity, and are TRIBE-SPECIFIC. There is NO "generic Indian" form of spirituality. There are as many differences from tribe to tribe as there are between Hinduism and the Church of England. No one would think of teaching those two as the same and calling them "Indo-European," yet many of these FRAUDULENT operators teach a thrown together mishmash of bits and pieces of different beliefs.

TRADITIONAL elders are very cautious about changing rituals and mixing different customs, it does happen, of course, but only after lengthy discussions that can take decades. FRAUDULENT operators are very casual and haphazard in what they do, in a manner that shows they have no understanding of or respect for the sacred.

TRADITIONAL elders DO NOT believe that any ceremony can be done by anyone who feels like it. It's that same caution and respect for the sacred. Yet these FRAUDULENT operators will let anyone do their inaccurate version of a ceremony if they have the money. Vision quests, for example, are intended for young boys age 12 to 14, but boys don't have much money, so these FRAUDULENT operators sell "quests" for hundreds or thousands to mostly middle-aged men and women.

There is also the matter of telling people they can be shamans and charging them for it. If you were interested in Judaism, would you pay money to someone who said he could make you a rabbi in just one weekend seminar? If someone did this and then claimed Jewish objections were foolish, we would recognize he was anti-Semitic. Think about the lack of respect these operators show to native people and beliefs, and to their own followers, by defrauding people.

Native people DO NOT use the label "Shaman." Think also about how it makes it harder for natives and whites to get along when whites have been given an untrue picture of native cultures. We have to learn to get along and we can't do that as long as whites give support to operators who push a fraudulent version of what we are like.


(continued)



posted on Dec, 9 2011 @ 08:49 AM
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While waiting for the continuation of your post, I would like to add that many so-called shamans practice dangerous rituals that they are simply not qualified to perform. Specifically, there have been deaths caused by "New Age healers" aping the Native American sweat lodge ceremony. Unless he or she gets in there with you, don't trust them!
edit on 9-12-2011 by DJW001 because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 9 2011 @ 09:06 AM
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If you know of any "Native American wisdom keepers," "shamans" or some such, you can also go to the message forum on that website and search for their names. Most of them, I assure you, will come up as frauds.

Which is where I found Dhyani Ywahoo's name -- they said she was a fraud and a liar, and there was nothing real about her. I couldn't believe it; she seemed a genuinely spiritual person, and all the native elders coming to the gatherings every year seemed to love and respect her.

So I dug up the official website of the Cherokee nation and sent them an email, requesting information on Dhyani. They wrote me back that, indeed, Dhyani Ywahoo (aka Diane Fisher) was a fraud and that they'd been keeping an eye on her for years.

First of all, there is no special "Ywahoo lineage," nor is there such a thing as a generations-long tradition of "Sacred Peacekeepers." Even more ridiculous, Cherokees (unlike other tribes, such as the Lakota Sioux) don't even HAVE one sacred pipe, hence there is no Keeper of the Sacred Pipe. In other words, it's all completely made up.

I was absolutely devastated after reading that. I tried one more time (only for one day) to go to the Elders Gatherings, but I just couldn't stay there anymore. Watching those people nearly worshiping Dhyani and calling her "venerable" almost make me puke. I even contemplated to expose her right then and there, but I figured that usually people don't appreciate being robbed of their happy self-delusions. I probably would have been chased out of the village with torches and pitchforks.

Since then I haven't been to the Elders Gatherings anymore -- but to be frank, I still miss them. Sometimes I do think ignorance is bliss. ;o)

Anyway, I think we're all going to do the *real* Native Americans a much bigger favor if we don't buy into these fake "shamans" and "N.A. teachers" and DON'T hand them our money so they can further perpetuate their frauds.

Did you know, for example, that the much-touted "Medicine Wheel" is not a N.A. traditional thing but was invented in the 1970s by a celebrity Indian/shaman named Sun Bear?

Or have you heard about the Sedona sweat lodge scandal, where "spiritual teacher" James Arthur Ray kept people in a "warrior sweat lodge" for hours until some of them died?

How long does this have to go on until we finally learn? As the intro page of NAFPS says, true N.A. teachers wouldn't take money for their teachings -- they might ask you to help with their travel expenses or provide food and shelter if they need to travel somewhere, but the teachings themselves shouldn't cost anything.



posted on Dec, 9 2011 @ 09:07 AM
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reply to post by sylvie
 


Wait. People believed her in the first place without the rejection by the real native Americans ?

Hello It's obvious she's not even Native American




posted on Dec, 9 2011 @ 09:08 AM
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Somehow that last post bailed on me and I couldn't add anything. So just to wrap it up: Let's all be more considerate to the needs of the *real* Native Americans... and do them a favor by just leaving their ceremonies and sacred things the hell alone. End of lecture.



posted on Dec, 9 2011 @ 09:18 AM
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Originally posted by skepticconwatcher
reply to post by sylvie
 


Wait. People believed her in the first place without the rejection by the real native Americans ?

Hello It's obvious she's not even Native American



These days it's really not so obvious who is or isn't Native American. I know some rather pure-blooded natives that don't look like the "typical" native at all. You sound like you know more about Dhyani Ywahoo, though. If so, let's hear it.



posted on Dec, 9 2011 @ 09:32 AM
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What I know about medicine men and those from my own reserve is that they have a hate-on for "white man", his ways, technology (other than the essential basics) and the treaties that were forced on them. Even mixed bloods, like myself, can't "walk the path" as my elders can. It's just the way it goes.

European people have a rich, ancient history, look into your own culture's past if you yearn to learn the ways of the past and leave other people's heritages alone.



posted on Dec, 9 2011 @ 09:32 AM
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That explains why many people seem to be so materialistic even if they claim be spiritual through these so called shamans



posted on Dec, 9 2011 @ 09:40 AM
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"There's one re-born every minute"


Actually I was surprised to read that Carlos Castaneda was considered a fraud.

Interesting thread. I've always felt that peoples stereotyping of the 'mystical' Native American peoples as a crass symptom of the modern times we live in. It seems that some people develop a 'deep' understanding of tribal spiritualism after the most cursory of glances. Like one guy I know who doesn't bother to read classic books, he simply buys an audio-book version and plays it in his car when he drives around, then professes to be very well read, and will attempt to express his literary knowledge at every given chance.
edit on 9-12-2011 by seabhac-rua because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 9 2011 @ 09:46 AM
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nice explanation.
having lived here in arizona and new mexico for 25 years, and romping the rez's and pueblos,
has exposed me to alot.
for many years i dug and sold crystals. sedona, flagstaff, taos and santa fe etc....
i experienced the entire new age boom for the most part.
at first many natives welcomed the influx of the hippyish culture.
seemed people wanted to learn about them for the first time.
was fun for a few years, the hopis were one of the most welcoming tribes.
ther havasupai also opened themselves up. many visited supai, including myself multiple times.
after a while of this, it was realized that some of these people began giving themselves native sounding names
and titles, along with claiming to have been 'taught' traditional ways.
bunch of mumbo jumbo.
generally speaking, spiritual people don't brag about what they do. they watch and observe.
to think you can be diagnosed without spending time with the 'healer' is foolish.
after so many years of romping the rez and making friends.
due to my business, i work on the rez's and pueblos,
i've been to dances, cerimonies and sweat lodges.
ones i'm welcome to attend.
i have never been offered another name, and have only been invited to be part of a clan.
which is basically a couple of navajo families i've know for years welcoming me into their homes.
so, basically, as a rule of thumb, 98% of the claims of any native american knowledge, wisdom etc....
is book learned or made up entirely.



posted on Dec, 9 2011 @ 09:54 AM
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Originally posted by Cheerfulnihilist
What I know about medicine men and those from my own reserve is that they have a hate-on for "white man", his ways, technology (other than the essential basics) and the treaties that were forced on them. Even mixed bloods, like myself, can't "walk the path" as my elders can. It's just the way it goes.

European people have a rich, ancient history, look into your own culture's past if you yearn to learn the ways of the past and leave other people's heritages alone.


Yes, but don't be so hard on white people wanting to learn Native American ways. In itself, I actually think that's a good sign. N.A.s are one of the few original hunter-gatherer, tribal societies -- Europeans DON'T actually have anything like that in their ancestry. Our ancestors were all farmers and lived under feudal governments.

I think more and more white people realize that living in close connection with the Great Spirit and Mother Earth, disturbing nature as little as possible, would be the right way to live, and they hope to find inspiration and guidance from native peoples on how to do so. That they in the process fall for "plastic shamans" and white frauds like Kiesha Crowther is unfortunate, and they need to learn that they won't "become" Indians no matter what they do.

I'm sure Christians would feel the same way as you do if someone usurped Jesus and made some kind of cartoon figure out of him (see the "Buddy Christ" from the movie "Dogma" for a good example).

However, aside from taking over and changing N.A. ceremonies, I think a lot of people can benefit from finding a spirituality that sees all living beings as equals and is more reverent towards the earth that sustains us. So, even though "twinkies" may be misguided, IMO, their intentions are going the right way.



posted on Dec, 9 2011 @ 09:58 AM
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If you want a real "Native American" experience, go to your nearest reservation. Volunteer at the childcare centers, strike up conversations at the community center, visit people's homes, attend ceremonies and celebrations you are invited to. It's very easy.

You do not have to pay money to be accepted and welcomed. Just be yourself.

And if you can't do that? Pay attention, homage, and kindness to the nature around you. Let it influence your heart, mind, and soul. You will change for the better.



posted on Dec, 9 2011 @ 10:01 AM
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Originally posted by starwarsisreal
That explains why many people seem to be so materialistic even if they claim be spiritual through these so called shamans


A lot of New Age "gurus" are quite materialistic and unpleasant people. For example, a friend of mine once met Pleidian channeler Barbara Marciniak on a group travel to France, where they among other things stayed at a castle for a few days. She said Marciniak was just a nasty b***** -- always wanting special treatment because she was "famous"; the best room in the castle (and NO roommates like the others, please!), the best this and that. My friend said she was completely insufferable.

Now, I understand that it might be hard to keep your ego in check and stay humble when people flock around you and think every word you say is divinely inspired, but I think as a "spiritually advanced person," whatever that may be, you should at least make a decent effort.
edit on 9-12-2011 by sylvie because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 9 2011 @ 10:04 AM
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Originally posted by rubbertramp
nice explanation.
having lived here in arizona and new mexico for 25 years, and romping the rez's and pueblos,
has exposed me to alot.
for many years i dug and sold crystals. sedona, flagstaff, taos and santa fe etc....
i experienced the entire new age boom for the most part.
at first many natives welcomed the influx of the hippyish culture.
seemed people wanted to learn about them for the first time.
was fun for a few years, the hopis were one of the most welcoming tribes.
ther havasupai also opened themselves up. many visited supai, including myself multiple times.
after a while of this, it was realized that some of these people began giving themselves native sounding names
and titles, along with claiming to have been 'taught' traditional ways.
bunch of mumbo jumbo.
generally speaking, spiritual people don't brag about what they do. they watch and observe.
to think you can be diagnosed without spending time with the 'healer' is foolish.
after so many years of romping the rez and making friends.
due to my business, i work on the rez's and pueblos,
i've been to dances, cerimonies and sweat lodges.
ones i'm welcome to attend.
i have never been offered another name, and have only been invited to be part of a clan.
which is basically a couple of navajo families i've know for years welcoming me into their homes.
so, basically, as a rule of thumb, 98% of the claims of any native american knowledge, wisdom etc....
is book learned or made up entirely.


I know exactly what you're saying, rubbertramp. BTW, I used to live in Sedona, AZ, too, for a few years, and my roommates were avid crystal diggers, mostly at Diamond Point. I probably even know you.



posted on Dec, 9 2011 @ 10:06 AM
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Originally posted by ottobot
If you want a real "Native American" experience, go to your nearest reservation. Volunteer at the childcare centers, strike up conversations at the community center, visit people's homes, attend ceremonies and celebrations you are invited to. It's very easy.

You do not have to pay money to be accepted and welcomed. Just be yourself.

And if you can't do that? Pay attention, homage, and kindness to the nature around you. Let it influence your heart, mind, and soul. You will change for the better.


Great advice, ottobot -- thanks for the input!



posted on Dec, 9 2011 @ 10:08 AM
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reply to post by sylvie
 


This is horrible news to me. I am very shocked right now.

I am unable to watch the video but need to know where you got your text (the very first bit) about Kiesha Crowther. I am due to give a mandala painting workshop and use the spiral as it appears in sacred geometry. I wanted to refer to the Norway spiral in 2009, and Kiesha Crowther's reference to it as 'the stargates' that has been drawn by all ancient cultures through the ages.

I am shocked and disillusioned.

Thanks for posting.
Nothing is sacred anymore. Always someone feeding their ego and pocket off what should be held in deep regard.

uuuh.



posted on Dec, 9 2011 @ 10:11 AM
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Originally posted by seabhac-rua
"There's one re-born every minute"


Actually I was surprised to read that Carlos Castaneda was considered a fraud.

Interesting thread. I've always felt that peoples stereotyping of the 'mystical' Native American peoples as a crass symptom of the modern times we live in. It seems that some people develop a 'deep' understanding of tribal spiritualism after the most cursory of glances. Like one guy I know who doesn't bother to read classic books, he simply buys an audio-book version and plays it in his car when he drives around, then professes to be very well read, and will attempt to express his literary knowledge at every given chance.
edit on 9-12-2011 by seabhac-rua because: (no reason given)


*LOL* I was also surprised about the Castaneda thing. I used to read and re-read his books and started at some point to try the exercises he (or "Don Juan") describes in them. THEY WORK!! Once, on a full-moon walk in Sedona, I did the prescribed moves, etc., and had a quite interesting -- and rather frightening -- "ally" experience. Never tried THAT again.



posted on Dec, 9 2011 @ 10:12 AM
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Originally posted by seabhac-rua
"There's one re-born every minute"


Actually I was surprised to read that Carlos Castaneda was considered a fraud.

Interesting thread. I've always felt that peoples stereotyping of the 'mystical' Native American peoples as a crass symptom of the modern times we live in. It seems that some people develop a 'deep' understanding of tribal spiritualism after the most cursory of glances. Like one guy I know who doesn't bother to read classic books, he simply buys an audio-book version and plays it in his car when he drives around, then professes to be very well read, and will attempt to express his literary knowledge at every given chance.
edit on 9-12-2011 by seabhac-rua because: (no reason given)


I cannot understand the difference between reading a book with your eyes or listening to it with your ears. Either way you assimilate the thoughts of the author into your mind. Indeed listening to the literary classics gives your friend every right to express his literary knowledge whenever he wishes.





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