Jens Lyberth

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Jens Lyberth, full name Jens Simeon Lyberth, is a Greenland Inuit living in Ottawa, Canada who claims to be a traditional shaman and sells seminars and ceremonies in various countries, first using the name of Angaangaq Lyberth but meanwhile changed to Angaangaq Angakkorsuak. He was born in Qeqertarsuaq, Greenland November 2, 1947.[1]

According to his own account, the name translates to "The Man Who Looks Like his Uncle". However, Lyberth recently seeks participance in indigenous events in the USA using the moniker "Uncle" without mentioning his real-life or his alleged "shamanic" name.[2] His regular target is the Newage market in various European countries and the USA which provide affluent participants. Advertisements for his seminars and 'healing circles', with a few exceptions, are published by internet platforms and magazines aiming at a Newage clientele.

Biography

Lyberth is an Inuit born in Greenland. There is diverging information regarding the year of his birth; his publishers Random House e.g. say he was born in 1947[3], others mention the year as 1949[4]. He moved to Canada during the 1970ies, presumably in 1975, where he seems to have been involved with the early Inuit Circumpolar Conferences[5], active as a speaker,[6] and seems to have held a job with Inuit Taparisat [Brotherhood].[7]

Both Lyberth and his wife are members of the Bahai denomination.[8]

Economic Activities

Several companies seem to have been owned and run by Lyberth, e.g. one in Iqaluit/Frobisher Bay, J. Lyberth Enterprises Inc., which was dissolved due to non-compliance on January 3, 1996 after almost 18 years of existence.[9] Another company was Lyberth and Associates Inc. in Ottawa, founded on February 7, 2003; this company, too, was dissolved for non-compliance on 4/11/2006.[10]

Several further companies went by the name of „Sirmiq Aattuq“: one likewise dissolved „Sirmiq Aattuq (Melt the Ice in the Heart of Men) Ltd.“, registered on May 5, 2004 in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada.[11], dissolved for non-compliance on July 2, 2007.[12] A Sirmiq Aattuq LLC was registered in Tennessee as of August 3, 2005, but terminated as of January 8, 2009[13], with another Sirmiq Aattuq LLC registered in Delaware in June 2009.[14] One of these companies organised an event in Greenland, a so-called „Fire and Ice Ceremony“, with some 120 participants on July 17-19, 2009.[15] Still another Sirmiq Aattuq LLC was founded in Fort Myers/Florida which seems to have been responsible for receiving payments for Lyberth's seminars.[16]

His present company, IceWisdom International LLC, is again situated in Fort Myers, Florida and in June 2011 had „Ice Wisdom“ registered as a EU trade mark.[17]

Acitivities as a shaman

Lyberth claims to have been trained as a shaman by his grandmother.[18] He describes his grandmother, and sometimes also his mother, as having been healers.[19]

His shamanic activities probably first started in Canada, as, in a 2004 publication by a Canadian Inuit Women's Association titled „Analysis Report: Inuit Healing in Contemporary Inuit Society“, Lyberth is interviewed as „a traditional healer specializing in Inuit specific trauma recovery for Inuit adult survivors of child and sexual abuse. He also provides healing services in federal prisons and participates in national and international meetings on native spirituality, healing and culture. He is originally from Greenland but has lived in Nunavut and southern Canada. Currently. He now resides in Ottawa but travels frequently in the North.[20] It is most revealing that the interviewer, herself an Inuit presumably knowing her traditions and history, comments on several claims made by Lyberth with the remark that this was interesting, but she never heard this before.[21]

In this interview, Lyberth claims to have been working as a shaman for over 20 years, indicating that he started before 1984[22], and he claims not only to work with Inuit in Nunavut, but also with „the Athabaskan in Alaska, Yupik Inuit, Inupiat, Kalaallit, Inuit, Cree, Mohawks“.[23] Since medicine persons acknowledged by their indigenous communities are supposed to speak their language fluently and have a profound knowledge of the community's history and traditions, Lyberth can hardly fulfil these prerequisites for all the ethnic groups he claims to work with. Lyberth himself thwarts his claim, since Yupik, Inupiat, and Kallaalit are all Inuit groups, while he mentions 'Inuit' separately. Athabascans are not an ethnic group but a language family consisting of various ethnic groups who are not Inuit but Native American.

The book introduces Lyberth in this way:
"Angaangaq is a traditional healer specializing in trauma recovery for Inuit adult survivors of child and sexual abuse. He also provides healing services in federal prisons and participates in national and international meetings on native spirituality, healing and culture."[24] Offering treatment for indigenous survivors of residential schools, who were often victims of sexual abuse and physical violence during their time at school, was a lucrative market at that time, as the Canadian government had installed an Aboriginal Health Fund to provide monies for such treatment. The Fund finished operations in 2010. Further Newage providers operating with monies from this fund e.g. were Psychology of Vision and Ngystle Society. However, no respective qualification as a psychologist or in trauma treatment can be established for Lyberth.

Lyberth is often portrayed not only as a representative or elder for the Greenland Inuit, but as an elder „for the Native Communities of the Circumpolar Artic, North and South America and Europe“.[25] [26] As one basic prerequisite in indigenous communities for recognising an individual as an elder is the profound knowledge of history and traditions, it is quite evident that Lyberth will not be in a position to have such profound knowledge for the circumpolar Arctic, let alone for South America and Europe on top of that. Such claims therefore have to be viewed as a mere sales pitch emphasising an alleged position and importance.

A so-called „Institute for Theological Zoology“ in Germany even describes Lyberth as „the UN representative of Eskimos“ and invited him for their founding ceremony.[27]

Ceremonies Appropriated and Invented

Lyberth sells a variety of ceremonies which either do not belong to Inuit culture or have been invented by him for his Western clientele. Among these appropriated ceremonies are the sweatlodge and the Vision Quest, which are both unknown among the Inuit but are practiced by various Native American peoples. A twelve-day Vision Quest in Greenland advertised by Lyberth in 2011 was priced at € 2,690/US$ 3,870, airfares excluded.[28]

Indigenous ceremonies appropriated

On his website, Lyberth presently (2014) e.g. announces a three-day sweatlodge seminar in Bavaria, Germany from July 25-27, 2014:
"Three-day Sweatlodge Seminar
During these days, Angaangaq will guide us through one of the most important and most sacred ceremonies of the indigenous peoples of America, Greenland, and Siberia. His teachings as well as the practical preparations of the lodge will provide us again with a link to nature, the elements, our ancestors, ourselves... “The Sweatlodge is the womb of Mother Earth. There, you can be who you are. I am not the shaman there, there I am me.... me – naked, innocent, powerless. I return home. And when I finally leave the lodge, I am reborn. I walk upright and powerful like the creator made me.“[29]

Although advertised as a "Spiritual Journey with Angaangaq", a 2010 advertisement announces participants will do a Vision Quest:
"You will spend four days and nights fasting and in silence at your place in the wildnernes. There you will begin your way home - to your heart. Spiritual walking tours will take you around Long Lake across mountain ranges and plains and to the inland ice."[30]
The Vision Quest is another ceremony unknown among the Inuit, but practiced by various indigenous nations on the American mainland. It must therefore be doubted that Lyberth is knowledgeable enough to ensure that participants will not be harmed when left alone without food and water for four days on their own, in particular in an arctic climate, although Lyberth seems to offer these quests during summer months only.

Invented ceremonies

Among the alleged ceremonies apparently invented by Lyberth is a "Shamanic Spiritual Walk" organised in 2011. The eight-day event was charged at € 1,950/US$ 2,800 per participant, again excluding airfares.[31]

Another invention announced at Lyberth's site is a „Shamanic Dogsled Journey“ which took place from March 3-13, 2014. As of January 2014, there were no details given on his site except for a note that more detailed information was to follow.[32]

Lyberth further sells intensives and so-called longtime circles, presumably to increase customer loyalty. These events are promoted with a Newage phrasing:
"In these three-day seminars, Angaangaq introduces us to his work as a healer, medicine man, and shaman. While he plaits the energy of the group with his stories and chants to a powerful, beautiful, and healing circle, the ice in the heart of participants starts melting. We start to see our world with different eyes, our hearts eventually open to the beauty in us and around us. Our attention for ourselves and for others is growings – personal transformation is happening.“[33]

The longtime circles apparently cover a span of three years during which participants are said to „walk side by side with Angaangaq and our consciousness grows beyond all our imagination“.

Longtime programmes apparently cover a span of three years and are said to aim at „participants who are prepared to gain access to a new level of consciousness. The three-year programme implies a definite intent and dedication, and a deep commitment to oneself and one's own growth."[34] These programmes exist in Europe and North America with participants meeting three times per year. Both the European and the North American circle have their own e-mail address on a server „icewisdom.com“.[35]

Another circle is called „Wisdom Keepers“ consisting "of all those who walked together in the longtime circle. Teachings which are beyond our everyday reality will integrate us into the subtle natter of the universe. This circle meets once per year for several days on different continents“.[36] A flyer published on Lyberth's website mentions a further "HeartSpirits Circle", a three-year programme, advertised as supporting us in our healing". The three-year course comprises three annual meetings which take five days each at an annual cost of € 2,280 per participant.[37]

Cooperation with Organisations and Persons

On his website, Lyberth claims to cooperate with several esoteric organisations and groups, as well as renowned institutions and organisations; these claims are also repeated on websites announcing events with Lyberth or promoting him.

Within the Newage Scene

One example of Newage organisations cooperating with him is the so-called „World Council of Elders“ which is run by Woody Vaspra aka Lenwood H. Vaspra, another plastic shaman. Vaspra claims to be of Hawaiian and Chinese descent and to have been adopted by the Lakota; his so-called World Council of Elders allegedly organises elders from more than 50 countries. None too modest, Vaspra also claims to be a Vietnam veteran, a football and baseball player, a skier, biologist, an aeronautical engineer, and Chief adviser to NVF and the Native American Olympic Steering Committee. Vaspra runs „international Sundances“, falsely claiming to have been given the right to do so by Lakota elders, and works with several more plastic shamans.[38]

Lyberth is further a creative member of the Club of Budapest whose membership is comprised of two groups: the so-called 'creative members', most of whom are Newagers, and the honorary members, many of them former politicians and well-known public figures, among them e.g. Mikhail Gorbachev and Jane Goodall. Lyberth claims to serve on the special advisory board of the Jane Goodall Institute, but this cannot be verified on the Institute's website. He also was accepted as a member to the World Commission on Global Consciousness and Spirituality which is connected to the Club of Budapest; both organisations have Ervin Laszlo for their president.

Likewise, he maintains to be a member of the Four Worlds International Institute for Human and Community Development which was founded by Phil Lane Jr, himself a Bahai like Lyberth, who is indigenous but viewed rather controversially by indigenous persons in the USA and Canada.

The Basler Psi Verein who have organised events with Lyberth before, announces a workshop with Lyberth for their 2014 congress.[39]

Cooperation not verifiable

Other claims made by Lyberth and repeated by promoters are not verifiable, as e.g. any involvement with the American Indian Institute Traditional Circle of Indian Elders and Youth. Lyberth furthermore claims to be an elder for the Aboriginal Justice Learning Network, for Justice Canada, and an „elder advisor to the board of directors“ of the Canadian Institute for Conflict Resolution, which are all not verifiable on these organisations' websites. Further institutions named by Lyberth and promoters are: the United Nation Environmental Protection Agency, the Panel on Religion and Spirituality, the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, or the Unesco Panel for Oceans, Fishers and Hunters. In this last case, it is not even possible to verify the existence of such an panel which only appears on sites maintained by Lyberth and his promoters. Lyberth's claim of being with the Earth Restorations Corps is impossible to verify since the organisation's site has been taken down and the URL is for sale.

Support from respectable organisations

Unfortunately, Lyberth also sees support from respectable organisations, like e.g. the Alfred-Wegener-Institute whose Head of the Climate Science Research Division did a question and answer session with Lyberth for pupils in the town of Bremerhaven in 2009.[40] He was also invited to provide a lecture by DGPPN (German Society for Psychiatry and Psychotherapay, Psychosomatic Medicine and Neurology) at their 2011 meeting.[41] Lyberth seems to have been announced as a specialist in trauma and addiction therapy working mainly with indigenous persons.[42] More support came from Polarwelten; their site still carries 10 articles on Lyberth, various of his seminars and events with him[43], although they commented a 2009 event organised by Lyberth: "Unfortunately, the 2009 meeting was more of a Newage meeting of wealthy Middle European and American guests [...]".[44]

It must be pointed out, however, that such support took place in 2009 and 2010; all of the above organisations have since apparently stopped cooperating with Lyberth, although they did not distance themselves from Lyberth and his activities.

Lyberth furthermore claims to be an „elder in association with West Virginia University“ which also cannot be verified. From the university's website, Lyberth did a lecture there in 2002[45], and has since been exploiting the university's name to promote himself.

Acitivites at Newage Congresses, Fairs, and Institutes

The Munich based "Institute of Ethno-Medicine" list Lyberth as a lecturer, besides established Newage figures like Pedro Guerra Gonzales (who keeps an Ayahuasca retreat near Iquitos/Peru and is a member of Karin Tag's Council of World Elders), Stanley Krippner, Fabio Alberto Ramirez, Pablo Russel, Wolf-Dieter Storl, Holger Kalweit.[46] Despite their name giving the impression of a universitarian institute, they seem to be a for-profit business, as they e.g. publish a VAT Registration Number.[47] In 2013, they changed their name to "InfoMed - Institute of Holistic Medicine".[48]

In August 2014, Lyberth will participate in the annual "Pacha-Mama Camp" in Bavaria/Germany, again as one of several alleged shamans and healers.[49]

In 2011, Lyberth participated in the 18th "Rainbow Spirit Festival" where he held a lecture.[50]

Film Festivals

A US director, Kara Rhodes, produced a film on Lyberth which is promoted on various festivals, one of them the "Indian Inuit - North American Film Festival" which takes place bi-annually in the town of Stuttgart, Germany. For the 2014 programme, Lyberth not only presented this film, but did an official "opening ceremony". A second film shown also promoting Lyberth was done by German film makers.[51] Although there are renowned persons and institutions among festival organisers, like e.g. the ethnological Linden-Museum, there seems to be a growing influence by Newagers on the choice of films and guests.

Lyberth will also promote these films at the Cosmic-Cine Film Festival taing place in Switzerland and Germany in April 2014.[52]

Card Set

Apparently Lyberth issued a set of so-called "Ceremonial Cards" which is promoted by a longtime US supporter. Although the promotional text claims the cards were to be used by the Greenland Inuit, they are at the same time said to be aimed at a "general audience of people ready to embark on inner climate change in order to address the changing climate of our planet".[53] The flyer informs about the plan to publish the card set as a book on the US market and also arrange a German translation. To this end, the author Jane English means to attract funding in the way of donations, and informs that checks are to be issued to her personally. As she warns prospective donors that donations are not tax-deductible, a non-profit status to cover these operations apparently has not been obtained.

Wikipedia Presence

The English Wikipedia carries an article on Lyberth, still with the name of "Angaangaq Lyberth". The article was first submitted in April 2008, but seems to be the only contribution of this author on indigenous issues.[54] The aforementioned supporter of Lyberth's, Jane English, in 2011 effected additions to the article which contain desinformation; this being her only contributions to Wikipedia.[55]

Miscellanea

An account of Lyberth's appearance in Berlin mentions he claimed to have received a proposal for marriage by none other than Brigitte Bardot, with him refusing for the reason Bardot was a vegetarian.[56] The alleged proposal does not sound very likely, since Bardot since long is married to Bernard d'Ormale, a member and former advisor of extremist right Front Nationale resp. their former chairman Jean-Marie Le Pen, and e.g. in 2012 supported the FN candidate for presidency. Bardot also happens to take a very anti-Muslim and general anti-immigrant stand, and in her 2003 book, she condemned mixed marriages. She received four fines from French courts for comments inciting racial hatred.[57]

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