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Interview Topic:

How Physics and Shamanism Mutually Reinforce One Another

The conversation will focus on how Claude's science and physics training and profession have facilitated and enriched his shamanic training and practice; and how his shamanic practice has revealed that there is no inconsistency between science and shamanism. Claude calls this the reciprocity and synchronicity between scientific and shamanic knowledge. As Claude's evolving knowledge from physics continues to deepen his shamanic knowledge and practice, shamanism has taught him that the world that physics and science study, and all the technologies that they help create, have an inherent sacred dimension. It is essential for us to recognize this sacred dimension if we are to use these technologies in a harmonious way.

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Book: The Shaman Within: A Scientist’s Guide to the Deeper Dimensions of Your Life, the Universe, and Everything: Click here for the link


Claude Poncelet was born in Brussels, Belgium in 1937. He came to the United States in 1951 with his family and continued his studies and remained in the United States after his family returned to Belgium in 1956. Claude is married to Noelle, a psychologist, who was also born in Belgium. They have two daughters and two sons, and eight grandchildren. Claude is an avid mountain trekker, backpacker and kayaker, an amateur astronomer and a lover of poetry. He is a scientist and a shamanic practitioner and teacher. He has taught shamanism in Europe, Russia, Ukraine, and North America for more than twenty-five years and is committed to help develop a shamanic tradition for the modern technological world. For him there is no inconsistency between scientific and shamanic knowledge. Claude and Noelle live in Mill Valley, California.

Claude has a Ph.D. in Physics from North Carolina State University and a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Manhattan College. Claude’s professional career spanned both the academic and the business worlds. Claude was Full Professor and Chairman of the Nuclear Science and Engineering Division at Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh. Later he was a member of the Advisory Board of the University of California Bren School of Environmental Science and Management and chairman of their academic curriculum committee. He is a retired member of the New York Academy of Sciences and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

In 2000 Claude retired from Pacific Gas and Electric Company in San Francisco, where he was responsible for environmental policy and strategic environmental management. Claude served as chief liaison for PG&E on President Bush’s Commission on Environmental Quality and on President Clinton’s Council on Sustainable Development. Earlier he was associated with Westinghouse Electric Corporation where he was a Fellow Scientist in the areas of energy systems analysis and technology development. 

Claude was a charter member of the Aspen Institute’s Series on the Environment in the 21st Century and of the California Environmental Dialogue. Claude served on the Boards of Directors of the Pittsburgh Chamber Music Society, of the Center for a Sustainable Economy, and of Redefining Progress, where he served as Chairman of the Board. He is a facilitator and trainer for the Awakening the Dreamer/Changing the Dream initiative of the Pachamama Alliance. Claude is the recipient of the 2001 Silicon Valley Environmental Leadership Award. 

Claude has led workshops in shamanism for over 25 years. He was a member of the faculty of the Foundation for Shamanic Studies. His focus has been in helping to develop shamanic practices and a shamanic worldview adapted to the modern world. He has taught shamanism in the United States, Canada, Belgium, France, Switzerland, Ukraine, and Russia and Siberia. In 2010 Claude was invited by the European Union to participate in the meeting Positive Visions for Biodiversity, as a representative of the spiritual dimension, to help shape the EU strategy on biodiversity for the years to come. Claude is the author of The Shaman Within: A Scientist’s Guide to the Deeper Dimensions of Your Life, the Universe, and Everything, published by Sounds True. He is working on a manuscript on time, from personal time to cultural time to scientific time.

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