As a child I spent as much time as I could in the woods along the river or hiking in the hills. I was fascinated by all the living things. I graduated from South Dakota State University in Mechanical Engineering and went to work for Westinghouse, where I helped install 80,000 horsepower motors on the California Aqueduct and 600 megawatt generators at Grand Coulee Dam. I found that I had the ability to connect to the essence of machines in order to diagnose difficulties. I got the reputation for solving problems that no one else could and I came up with several inventions to solve difficult repairs. I spent several years installing and repairing generators around the country. The constant travel and the exposure to unhealthy chemicals and resins caused long term damage to my health, so I left that job to seek a healthier life and a family.
My love for music led me to start a small record company, Fat Chance Records. I also started writing poetry and stories that I now realize were inspired by my spirit helpers. After I met my wife, I went to work for the Spokane Water Department, where I became the plant superintendent. The stress of doing more with less for 15 years led to more health problems. My wife suggested that I could benefit from a soul retrieval, which she had heard about from a friend. In those days I knew nothing of core shamanism. The experience was unique, intimate and transformative—with the practitioner, a complete stranger to me, reporting things about my life he couldnít have known. My curiosity was peaked. I needed to know more about how it was done and I was referred to the classes and books of Michael Harner.
My training with the Foundation began in the introductory class, The Way of the Shaman, in October of 1999, and I began to journey regularly for self healing. During the FSS Shamanic Divination Training, I saw I needed a new path and that the spirits had been trying to get me to listen for quite a while. I left the city job and retired. I spent the next several months taking care of my Dad while he was dying of cancer and studying to pass the exam to get my Professional Engineer license. The Foundationís Two Week Program was the icing on the cake. The experiences in the class helped me to know what was happening as my Dad was passing and the deeply bonded nature of that group experience helped me greatly
I received my PE license and began the Foundation's Three Year Program, which I completed in the spring of 2005. The experiences of the program left me changed in many ways. I have continued my studies and practice in the years since. I am grateful to have studied with Michael Harner and Alicia Luengas Gates and honored to be accepted as an instructor for the Foundation.
Leon's students say:
Leon demonstrated a broad knowledge of shamanic studies. I especially enjoyed the interactions when we each had questions. He also gave us the ethical boundaries.
The presentation was powerful enough to reinforce the idea of completing the Three-Year Program. Every aspect was well-presented, from location to materials and presenter.
Leon was very good at putting everyone at ease, explaining different situations, and how they apply. The thing I noticed most was how deeply he cared for each person in the class and helped them one-on-one when needed.
I lead a core shamanic drumming circle at the Unity Center in Spokane. In addition to teaching at Gonzaga University as an adjunct instructor in the Civil Engineering Department, I accept clients for small engineering projects. I am still involved with music and was recently asked to read some of my poetry on the local radio station. I live with my wife Virginia, a ceramic artist, on eighty acres of trees and hillside north of Spokane where we have horses and chickens, a large garden and a small orchard. The spirits entered my life and changed its course dramatically.