Letter from the President – September 2014
by Paul Robear
The nature of consciousness has intrigued and puzzled philosophers for centuries. While modern science has made significant advances in understanding how the brain works, the relationship between the brain and consciousness remains an enigma. That’s part of what makes the work of Cuyamungue Institute so interesting — we too are explorers into this realm, using a method for direct experience, one first employed by ancient cultures the world over.
This quest became the life’s work of CI’s founder, anthropologist Dr. Felicitas Goodman. She deduced that some of the art made by pre-agricultural societies represented simple sitting and standing postures that served to focus and enhance altered states of consciousness (ASC) which were induced by a surprisingly simple ritual induction centered on “sonic driving.” It seems our ancient ancestors were well versed in how to naturally and easily induce an inherent physiological shift to support these expanded states of consciousness that allowed them to commune with an intelligent, sentient cosmos. Dr. Goodman traced this shamanic wisdom tradition’s foundation to the earliest human cultures — some of the most powerful ritual postures are found in the painted caves of Europe.
In the early 1970′s Dr. Goodman explained: “This method is based on my discovery that certain works of non-western art – such as figurines and rock paintings – are not just simply expressions of creativity, but in fact are ritual instructions.” When we follow these “ritual instructions” and hold the postures we achieve a bodily induced shifting of consciousness; a trance experience. The outcome of this is the systematic process we call “The Cuyamungue Method.
You can have this direct experience… and if you are new this this work we invite you to learn more about us!
And as always, I’d like to hear from you. We continue to collect and share stories and articles from both beginners and advanced practitioners via this newsletter and CI’s website. Your first-hand reports of your experiences, your observations on how this work impacts your life, and your research helps CI continue its mission as a research and resource organization. It is how we may all be the current link in a journey that stretches back millennia, and paves the way for its reach into the future. Thank you for joining Felicitas, and all of us at CI in this quest! Email me at [email protected] with your reports, questions, and comments, and tell me more about yourself, how you find this work and website if you are new to it, how we may help you get involved.
President / Executive Director
We are happy to share the following news and articles.
In this issue:
- Birds Eye View: The view of the Cuyamungue Institute from above.
- Report: Introducing New Board Members
- Article: Stone Masks – 9,000-Year-old
- Artists & Spirit Series: Poppy Woman Posture by Mark Gilliland
- Initiatory Training Report: Two Introductory workshops recently completed
- Next Workshop: Men’s Conclave – October 1 – 4, 2014
- Article: Totem Pole Journey Blessing Ceremony
- Article: Native Rights Leader – Billy Frank Jr. – Six thousand people attended the memorial service
- International Instructor Conference: Summer 2016
- How to Submit an Article: you are invited and encouraged to participate
SCROLL DOWN for Articles and Links
Bird Eye View of the Institute (Click for enlarged view)
This is a recent (summer of 2014) fly over photo taken by Chester Walker, Ph.D, Archaeo-Geophysical Associates. Thanks Chet!
Click for the enlarged view that has the names of each building and significant locations around the Institute.
Join me in extending a hearty welcome to our new Cuyamungue Board of Directors members, James Lawer, David Shank, Julie Nicol Strider, who each bring vital new energy, insight, and expertise to CI and its mission. This is an exciting time in CI’s history, as we set new goals and expand our reach! Here I’ve asked each of our three new members to reveal a bit about themselves, their background, and what they bring to CI:
—–> Click here for the rest of the story complete Article
Stone Masks – 9,000-Year-old by Paul Robear
One of the long-standing traditions at the Cuyamungue Institute is the Masked Trance Dance. It’s more than a workshop, as it engages us in a deep transformative experience using another age-old ritual practice, using masks, long used for ceremonial and practical purposes.
I thought I’d share here news of a recent exhibition at the Israel Museum showcasing a rare group of 9,000-year-old Neolithic stone masks — the oldest known to date. The twelve masks originate from the same region is Israel, many of them making their debut into the public arena. Their round holes for eyes, tiny noses and prominent displays of teeth make quite the impression. What is their story? One theory is they were made to honor the spirits of dead ancestors. It is also thought they were used by in religious and social ceremonies, and in rites of healing.
Learn more about the ancient history of Mask Rituals.
Learn more about the Masked Trance Dance at Cuyamungue.
Artists & Spirit Series: Poppy Woman of Gazi
by Mark Gilliland
From my journey notes: I take the stance as the rattle begins. I immediately sense a circle of dancing lizards, circling a fire. They beckon me to enter the fire. I find myself lost in a white space, resolving slowly into snowy fields and hills. Above circles a hawk. I follow after it. We travel over the forest to a cave. Inside around a circle of fire, sit medicine men. They tell me it is time to face my death. I can choose between the bear, the panther, or the wolf. I decide to go with the bear as he is healing medicine, too. He comes up to me, embraces me, and draws his claws down over my backbone, saying “You don’t need this anymore”. With that, he pulls off my skin… —–> Complete Article
Report on Two Initiatory Training Workshop in July
taught by Paul Robear and Laura Lee
CI enjoyed a very international summer season! In addition to the Centennial, our two Initiatory Training Workshops were attended by people from Australia, Austria, France, Italy, England, and Canada, as well as Americans who traveled from Maine, California, Washington, Texas, Florida, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Alabama, and Pennsylvania.
Here our groups pose with our collective art collage; each square is a composition in oil pastels on paper inspired by the visuals encountered in our spirit journeys.
Click on photos for enlarged view
This intensive workshop is an introduction to the work of Dr. Felicitas D. Goodman and the Cuyamungue Method. In small group sessions, we learn and practice the Cuyamungue Method, journal our experiences and share with the group. We teach how to DO THIS PROCESS AT HOME, step by step, with guidance using succession of ritual trance postures including healing, divination, metamorphosis, and initiation.
———-> For more information
This gathering provides a chance for us to share as friends, mentors, brothers, fathers, sons. Amid our fast changing, fast-paced lives, the demands and pressures that men face today require an extraordinary level of courage, authenticity and tenacity.
Who Can Attend The Men’s Conclave? This is an open event, embracing men of all beliefs, colors, walks of life, economic, social, political, sexual orientation, and religious backgrounds. Space is limited to 15 participants.
The time has come for the men of the institute to gather and share the power of the Cuyamungue Method as a group. This will be the second all male event conducted at CI. Email me directly at [email protected] for more information.
(Pictured is “Lion Man” 40,000 years old from Hohlenstein-Stadel, Germany)
Report on a Totem Pole Journey Blessing Ceremony: “Warrior Up!”
By Paul Robear
On Friday, August 29th, 2014 Laura and I attended a Totem Pole Journey Blessing Ceremony conducted by the Lummi Nation Elders here near our home on San Juan Island. The Lummi Nation brought a specially carved totem poles to San Juan Island to bring awareness to a proposed coal terminal to be built on a 3500 year old ancestral village site.
This ceremony was in support of the Lummi Nation efforts to stop the Gateway Pacific coal terminal and fossil fuel exports that threaten sacred tribal land and water. In addition to speaking to raise awareness of this threat, Lummi Nation Elder Douglas James, also shared sacred songs and prayers. One of the main themes of the evening was it is time to “Warrior Up”!
———–> Complete Article
In Memoriam: Native Rights Leader Billy Frank Jr. 1931- 2014
by Paul Robear
I had the great honor of spending time with Billy Frank Jr. Every time he spoke, I was inspired and moved by his simple, direct, and passionate voice. He just picked up the microphone and spoke from the heart, saying what needed to be said. He has been my inspiration also when I find myself speaking in public; I draw on Billy Frank to remind me to speak simply, directly, from the heart.
Billy Frank Jr. was a Native American environmental leader and treaty rights activist. Soft spoken with a inner passion, Frank became a charismatic statesman for tribal rights.
————–> Complete Article
Renewing and growing our international connections was the common theme throughout the recent Centennial Conference. When Hermine Brzobohaty suggested we meet again at CI in two years, this was met with much enthusiasm and support. So we are already planning CI’s International Instructors Conference for the summer of 2016! We hope to see you at the next International Instructor Conference; two years is the blink of the eye!
If you are not yet an Instructor, talk to me about our recently updated Instructor Training Program.
How to Submit an Article: As part of expanding our Cuyamungue Institute community, you are invited and encouraged to participate. Share how you use the Cuyamungue Method in your chosen field. We are also open to other topics, with the emphasis on the posture work, and research and or experience. More information
We need your support! The Cuyamungue Institute is an independent 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization. Like most non-profit organizations, CI has limited resources. Each one of us can make a difference in our own way; some have the resources to provide financial support, while others have talents which they can share as a committed volunteers. We must always ask the question, “How can I make a difference?” Once we know that answer, we need to act. We are proud of the scope of work we have already accomplished, but this is just the beginning, and there is much more to do! Here’s how you can participate:
- Be a Volunteer. Ask about existing, on-going projects you can help with. Or suggest projects that you can work on, fund, or both!
- Attend workshops at the Institute. Bless yourself and CI. Workshop fees directly support maintenance of the land and buildings.
- Personal Donations. 100% of your donations and gifts go directly to the Institute, and are tax deductible.
- Corporate Donations. Your company can have a tremendous impact. Ask us how we can bring our work to your visionaries and leaders!
Also consider making a donation by clicking here. Ongoing research and new applications of this work is only possible with donations made by people like you. Laura Lee, our Director of Outreach and Development, is available to answer your questions. Contact her at [email protected] Thanks for reading! Please forward this to your friends and acquaintances who will enjoy learning more about us, and please let me hear from you! I am most happy answer any and all questions about the Institute or the Cuyamungue Method. We welcome all correspondence.