Michael BenanavMA Counseling, 1999

Michael Benanov is an alum of the Pacifica Master’s in Counseling program. He’s an amazing guy who writes for the New York Times, has contributed to Lonely Planet Guide for India, and does incredible photography and documentation of the nomadic life in India – see his notes for details on that. He lives in Dixon, NM. A small village in the northern mountains.




Dear friends,

I’m happy to announce the launch of Traditional Cultures Project’s new online multimedia piece: Alevis of the Munzur Valley<http://www.munzurvalley.com>!

If you happened to see the story I recently wrote about the Munzur Valley for The New York Times, this project will take you even deeper into the place and the culture – and you’ll find many more photographs, plus videos, that the paper had no room to run.

Please take some time and check it out – and please share it with others via email, Facebook, Twitter, or whatever social media you use.

To all of you who helped support this project – thank you!

Hope you all enjoy it!




What it’s about:  In a rarely visited nook of eastern Anatolia, the Munzur Valley wends through one of the most scenic, biodiverse, and culturally compelling regions in Turkey. In addition to being home to one of the country’s largest national parks – where bear, wolves, and ibex roam the hills – the valley is also the heartland of the Kurdish Alevi religion: a mystical faith with strong shamanistic and Zoroastrian roots, a complicated relationship to Islam, and an intimate and sacred connection to the natural world. Today, Munzur’s unique traditions and rare ecosystems face numerous threats, including plans to build a series of dams that will submerge villages, pilgrimage sites, and wildlife habitats.

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