It is with great sadness that I inform friends and associates, and other interested individuals, that Crow Swimsaway passed from this earth plane on April 7, 2018. Crow enjoyed phenomenal health for most of his 81 years, maintaining the vigor of a much younger person. but contracted an inflammatory lung condition in late 2017, which worsened over the winter. In early March he was hospitalized with the Ohio Veterans Administration, and did not recover. I encourage you to read about his fascinating and varied history. He is greatly mourned by his students, friends and family.

—- Bekki Shining Bearheart

Crow’s Bio

Crow’s life has been a variegated journey through many landscapes and ways of living including academics, self-sufficiency, art and craft, farming, writing and editing, food (food both free-standing and combined with almost every other way of life), the military, and (since the early 80’s) spirituality and helping others to heal.

These seemingly disparate streams of interest and excitement have all flowed productively together to form unique qualifications for the life of a shamanic practitioner and teacher. He devoted the 1950’s and 1960’s to scholarly learning and manifestation, including BA and MA in cultural anthropology from the University of Chicago and PhD in social anthropology (based on two years of fieldwork in Taiwan) from the London School of Economics of London University in England.

In the early 1970’s, toward the end of the primarily academic part of his life, Crow answered the call of Spirit to talk to the Crows and learn to live shamanically. He followed that life for about ten years, making spiritually inspired metal work, until he met Bekki.

Their shared spirituality and need to manifest this in their life together led them to begin teaching shamanism in 1982. This was also when they began tattooing: tattoo being closely linked to shamanism in tribal culture as well as their lives. Shamanism became more and more powerful for them until, in 1990, with the help of friends, they founded The Church of Earth Healing and devoted themselves to this path.

Since then they have taught and practiced healing work individually and together at venues throughout the Eastern and Midwestern U.S. and in Britain, including colleges, universities, Unitarian Universalist Fellowships, metaphysical shops, training institutions, herb schools, private homes, gatherings and festivals.

Their teaching is uniquely informed by their healing practice. Their healing work is inspired by the continuous research which their teaching and writing requires.

Crow’s omnivorous curiosity and need to follow connecting flows of energy have led him to pursue other healing modalities. He has devoted recent years to studying herbalism (as is common among tribal shamans) and worked with professional herbalists of Eastern and Western disciplines. (Just for fun, he took the Ohio Master Gardener training in 2002.)

He has also studied Cranio Sacral healing as an extension of the shamanic hands-on energy healing he practices and teaches.

In addition to his early academic books and papers, Crow has written numerous articles about shamanism and alternative healing. See Bear Walks, Crow Talks, a collection of articles from the last twenty years by Bekki and Crow. For the curious, a longer biographical sketch of Crow appears in that collection. Crow’s Resumes for Food and Farming are available on request.

He has completed books on shamanic extraction (Spirit Knife, Soul Bone), shamanic work with ancestors (Circle of the Ancestors), and his autobiography (Anecdotal Evidence). Several others will be published posthumously.

Friends singing one of Crow's favorite sons at his memorial service
Singing one of Crow’s favorite songs at his memorial