About the Author

Names are slippery things. I had a client once who tried so patiently to tell me why calling herself “Nenah Sylver” instead of “Nina Silver” would bring her more prosperity because of its numerological vibration, but her explanation just wouldn’t sink in. Maybe the concept was too complex for me. Or maybe it was because I couldn’t stop giggling.

C'est moi!

C’est moi!

At any rate, my name is Craig R. Smith, not to be confused with the Craig Smith who is a professional basketball player, the Craig S. Smith who writes for the New York Times, or the W. Craig Smith who was the art director for Gilligan’s Island and Victor/Victoria. The R. stands for Ross, after a distant uncle, though I think the only place I’ve ever used the name in full is on my driver’s license.

However, about fifteen years ago, two Yaquis told me my “Indian name” was Maito Sewa Yoleme. (The t in Maito is pronounced with a slight lisp, so it’s “my-th-toe say-wah yo-leh-may.”) They said a close approximation in Spanish would be El Mirador de Milagros—a seer of wonders. I liked it; the name seemed to fit.

A sewa yoleme is someone who goes back and forth between everyday reality and the spirit world, and shares what he has seen and learned there. The Yaquis call the spirit world the Sewañia, or “flower realm,” because psychotropic plants are one of their chief vehicles for entering an altered state of consciousness. And maito is a term of respect, a teacher.

Professionally, I’m a writer, editor, and graphic designer, and the owner of Smithcraft Press, a small independent publishing company. Despite a rather disturbing penchant for low humor, I’ve garnered a good deal of respect as a non-fiction writer and a religion scholar.

Physically, I’m a bearded Friar Tuck, complete with matching bald spot; spiritually, an explorer of the edges of consciousness, from Taoism and Zen Buddhism to existential Christianity and Jewish mysticism to everything in between—including Native American medicine practices and various forms of aboriginal shamanism.

If you’re familiar with the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, you might be interested to know that I’m a thorough-going INXP INXJ (see comments below)—off the scale on the “N” rating, actually, with nary an “S” percentile in the bunch.

At any rate, I really appreciate you stopping by to read these ramblings. I am not worthy.


18 thoughts on “About the Author

  1. indigo bunting

    Who took that adorable photo of you?

  2. An adorable friend who has precisely the same attitude about Disney as I do.

  3. Bonjour Craig,

    I have bookmarked your site – wow! Great work – well organized. Your words about “plastic shaman” hit home because I fell prey to one in 2001. What a horible experience. However, it has made me more sensitive to this issue. “plastic shamans use the mystique of these cultural traditions, and the legitimate curiosity of sincere seekers, for personal gain” – very well written.

    Be well,


  4. Thanks for the kind words, Dominique! I wish I can take credit for the plastic shamans quote, but it’s actually from Wikipedia’s article on the subject. However, I definitely agree with you: there are too many fakes out there who set themselves up as teachers, only to take advantage of people who are legitimately hungry for spiritual “meat.” I’m glad you’ve been able to move into something healing and holistic like Creative Wheel.

  5. Craig,

    Your site is great, and I chose to review it on my spiritual blog review site today. Please come visit me when you get a chance, and I hope you will see a few more visitors in return! You have quite the list of interesting topics! Many thanks!


  6. Thanks, Darcy. Your site is lovely, and your words are most kind. Though I think some of the most interesting things on this blog are the comments from readers—they are intelligent, thoughtful, and deeply spiritual folks.

  7. Looks interesting. I’ll be back as time permits to wander through looking for pockets of resonance. Meantime, have you ever had the opportunity to read this article: Embracing the Fragmented Self: Shamanic Explorations of the Sacred in Schizophrenia & Soul Loss

  8. Thanks. I think you’ll find we share similar perspectives. I appreciate the link to the article—I’m sure it will be right up my alley.

  9. You’re welcome. I found this article you’d written on The Shamanic Vision which made mention of “the shaman’s sickness.” Feel free to recommend others in a similar vein if you’ve got them tucked away in some corner.

    I don’t consider myself to be a shaman, but my own experience certainly did have “shamanistic” aspects. I’m still learning from that experience, still, that doesn’t make one a shaman.

    Meanwhile, you may enjoy this link as well: Skeleton Woman: The Life/Death/Life Nature. And because it’s music month, a song to go with it: Lay Me Down.

  10. Actually, Jason Godesky wrote that article; you’ll find him at The Anthropik Network. As for the concept of the shamanic initiatory illness, you might enjoy “How to Become a Shaman in Five Easy Steps” (a bit of humor from Tori McElroy).

  11. Re: “How to Become a Shaman in Five Easy Steps”

    Ooooh. That one was a gooder. Bitingly funny! Well . . . except for that insanity and dismemberment part.

    For those who actually do find themselves in such a place, perhaps the following will be helpful: Guidelines for Making it Through a Spiritual Emergency.

    Thanks for sharing the links, Craig.

  12. If you’re familiar with the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, you might be interested to know that I’m a thorough-going INXP (off the scale on the “N” rating, actually, with nary an “S” percentile in the bunch, and about halfway between an INTP and an INFP).

    Just a quick comment. What you are describing is impossible. Introverts often test badly for the P/J parameter. If the N is off the chart you are dominant. Assuming you are sure about the I (which is likely given your interests) you are Ni dominant. So your sequence is either:

    Ni-Te-Fi-Se = INTJ or
    Ni – Fe – Ti – Si = INFJ
    i.e. an INXJ
    an INXP would look like:
    Fi – Ne – Si – Te or
    Ti – Ne – Si – Fe
    and I don’t think you are going to get those two confused.

  13. You may be right. When I was tested originally, and was an office manager, I was very strong on the J, tons of decisions to make. To compensate, I was very F, which was in line with the non-profit organization I worked for: empathetic, touchy-feely.

    About ten years later, when I had been working for myself for a while, I tested very strong on P: I loved, and still love, to keep a lot of things open-ended, and let them unfold more gradually. But I also became more strongly T; now I’m tend to be very analytical, perhaps too much so.

    When I went back to look at my notes from the earlier testings, I think my X is between I and E. I am natively an Introvert, needing a lot of solitude to recharge, but I have very well-developed Extrovertive skills. I’m comfortable in both worlds.

    So I guess I’m really an XNTP. Does that make more sense?

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  18. Hi Craig, Would you please send me a note to jkgayle AT gmail dot com? I’m talking with our co-bloggers at blt about a matter to run by you as well.

    Hope you’re well. All the best.

    J. K. Gayle aka “Kurk”

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