Artists & Spirit Series: Warrior Medusa

by Ileen Root Ph.D.

The Cuyamungue Grandmothers had gathered for council, and I was so honored to be welcomed among them for the first time. I also felt honored to be asked by our group coordinator, Sue Birch-Bannister, to lead us in the “Warrior Medusa” posture.

This is a new posture unknown by many in our community. I’d discovered her while researching the “Death Goddess” archetype, noticing that many ancient full body statues of Gorgon Medusa showed her in a very stylized posture, reminiscent of the yoga warrior pose.

My ecstatic trance-honed radar was pinged. Several groups have since tried her with reports of a potent metamorphic or rebirth experience. This would be my first time engaging the Spirit of Medusa on the land at Cuyamungue. I was excited to introduce her to Cuyamungue’s wise, powerful Grandmothers.

The Grandmother’s Council was held in September 2013, near the time of the Equinox, and directly corresponding with the Jewish New Year. I was also going to lead our group in a brief Yom Kippur ceremony at sunset on the first night of the holiday. Known as the “Day of Atonement”, Yom Kippur is a profound time of reflection and letting go.

I’m always so moved by the Spirit of Cuyamungue whenever I’m fortunate to visit and participate in ecstatic trance groups. This year promised to be particularly cathartic. I walked the land in meditation to prepare.
I also spent a quiet afternoon making a collage of Warrior Medusa to share with my colleagues, as I’d forgotten to bring an illustration of the posture. Fortunately, Marsha Streng had brought a bounty of art materials to share. I’m definitely not an artist, but I love trying to be.

Something magical happens during the process of envisioning and creating, transporting us out of ordinary reality, much as with ecstatic trance. Id forgotten all about my Warrior Medusa collage until Paul sent me the picture. I’d lost it in my recent move, and hadn’t thought about it, or the Grandmother’s Council in a long time. Yet, just looking at the photo and writing this article has brought the entire adventure back to me in real time. I’ve always journaled about my trance experiences; now I add visuals as well.

About the Author

Ileen Root is a passionate seeker of higher consciousness and spirituality. After an eclectic career as a librarian, corporate executive, stockbroker and headhunter, she “followed her bliss” and earned a Ph.D. in Jungian-focused Depth Psychology at Pacifica Graduate Institute.

Ileen currently is a life transformations counselor in private practice, as well as writer, lecturer, and workshop leader on opening to expanded consciousness, such as lucid dreaming, and oracular divination. She is also a Certified Instructor in ecstatic trance with Cuyamungue, the Felicitas Goodman Institute. Ileen is currently completing a book “The Medusa Key: Lost Alchemy of the Dark Goddess.”

Long a resident of the sunny Gulf shores of Clearwater, Florida, Ileen has recently moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan. She’s now a survivor of the snowiest winter western Michigan has experienced in 50 years. She will become a snow-bird next year, spending winters in Florida and summers appreciating Michigan’s beautiful Great Lakes without snow.

Article by Ileen Root: Finding Medusa Ritual Postures

About the Artist and Spirit Series
The Artists & Spirit program is an opportunity to explore, expand, and document our ritual posture experience with sketching, painting, sculpting and other visual art mediums.

Art sits at the center of our work at the Cuyamungue Institute. It is through the artwork of the ancients that Ritual Postures have been preserved and communicated through the centuries. Ritual Postures activate our creative center, and stir the dialogue with the Soul. Taking the the imagery encountered during our spirit journey experiences with the Cuyamungue Method as inspiration for artistic expression is a rewarding exercise on many levels. Artists are finding new layers of meaning in their experiences, as you will hear in their reports. You are invited to submit your art and your story.