Long-Standing Mysteries about Ecstatic Trance Postures

by Laura Lee, January 2021

It’s a mystery, and we invite you to muse, ponder, and weigh in on it. You very likely have had your own experience around it, in trance and in your own life, and also heard many examples of the phenomenon emerge as you listened to the sharing of trance experiences. It was noted by Felicitas and many many teachers of this work over the decades. It’s so consistent that Paul started drawing diagrams of where people sat, relative to one another, in the circular kiva at CI. It’s something that we see into our Zoom sessions, within the group that joins in the same posture, at the same time, though separated as we are in our own homes on many continents.
I’ve posed the question aloud, several times, as something the physicists should look into, for isn’t it a fine example, in real time, of ‘effect at a distance’ and ‘group mind’?

How is it that we find so many shared elements of our spirit journeys, in trance? How is it so, that can have experiences that overlap? Many of us seeing similar shapes, geometric signs, the same animals, the same landscapes, receiving similar messages. Below, I will share the highlights of a recent group Ecstatic Trance Posture (ETP) session so you can readily see the emergent theme, of which the varied experiences can be said to express in myriad ways.

Over the years, among many of us hosting ETP sessions, especially in the kiva at CI where we sit in a circle, we find a curious phenomenon. It’s so consistent and prominent that Paul draws a diagram of where people are sitting in relation to one another, as I take notes on the content of the content of each participant’s spirit journeys. Again and again, we find particularly strong correlations in the experiences of those sitting opposite, and those sitting on either side.

I see it as a flag planted itself at the edge of our worldview, waving in the wind to say ‘look here, right here — there’s more to the workings of the Universe than we recognize… yet we are living it in the here and now…..”

It came up again when a few members of our community shared examples of this in our recent 01/03/21 Roundtable Discussion of what most intrigues them about this work. To continue that momentum, we’d like to invite all of you to share your input as well, to better document this phenomenon with your stories in your own words, along with your observations and musings and conjecture.

Here are the stories and observations shared in our January Roundtable:

Anne D shared a particularly memorable kiva session. As she tells it, “Towards the end of one trance, a very large unicorn gallops in. Not the cutesy unicorns that we see adorn children’s toys and books. This is a beautiful power animal spirit, white, with flashing dark eyes. And he’s annoyed. He is impatient with us humans. He points to the left of me with his horn, says, “I am very real. Tell her.” Then he laughs, and thunders off to my right. I was so stunned when, in the sharing around the circle, the woman to my left said a unicorn had appeared in her vision, but but she instantly dismissed it as just a figment of her imagination. And so had he come to me with that message? He had used his long horn to point right at her in my vision. I couldn’t have know he had first showed up to her! It was an early lesson for me to take every detail seriously, and to dismiss nothing that shows up in our trance. To leave our left brain at the door, and don’t stop the trance to question what it shows us. I’ve since then wondered if he ever gave her a second chance…”

Ann also recalls another, particularly significant trance during that workshop with us. As she tells it: “A beautiful little girl with brown curly hair showed up, and she says to me, ‘Grandma, be patient, I’m coming, I’m on the way… and my brother will be following me, but we’ve decided i would come first.’ And then my daughter, after several tries, delivered a baby girl ten months later. And after another four years came a little boy. And they are as tight a brother and sister as can be.”

Carolyn P shared just one of many examples in she later verified images and messages she received in trance, related to the place and culture of the artifact giving us the posture. We await her full report.

Many times Paul and I heard Felicitas make sense of all the elements of our individual trances by sharing a myth from the culture that gave us the posture. This was especially so of the few postures she placed in the category of “Living Myth” — everyone got a piece of the pie, she would say, and its only when you see all the parts of the whole, the group trance in its entirety, that the myth emerges. And this was only for those myths that were passed through the generations intact, and written down to us to know. I wonder about all the myths that were lost over time, perhaps only to be transmitted through our trances. How can we recognize them?

Christine VP has been a big help in that, with the cultures that she studies. She suspects that mirror neurons may be a piece of the puzzle of shared minds. And she quoted a fellow archeologist, Peter Furst, that in shamanic traditions, horns hold power.

We had in earlier trances, with artifacts that wore horns, mused upon the horns: their spiral shape, the cornucopia, the horn’s shape so nicely suited to transmitting energy, in the case of sound waves, a megaphone to transmit, or reversed, to receive — horns were used as early hearing aids. If it works for sound waves, why not the amplification of other forms of energy?

The phenomenon of shared minds is widely found in indigenous cultures as a matter of course. Mareev talked about a tribe who used a specific ritual to share dreams. I wondered why such rituals in themselves are not honored by experimental archeologists as important an avenue of understanding a culture, as recreating an artifact. Paul and I watched Bruce Bradley methodically flint-napping, all the while explaining how he had carefully studied all the chert flakes and trimmings found in an ancient campsite. He had to first understand, stroke by stroke, the order in which a perfectly shaped Clovis point was turn out, before could recreate it himself. And indeed he did, and gifted us with it. “The best way to truly understand the how and why is to figure out the steps, and then do it yourself. That’s where you see the intricacies, and step inside the ancient mind. You have to try it for yourself.” And so, I wondered, why does that not apply to rituals, or to spirit journeying? We know the steps, but ultimately the mysteries only start to reveal themselves with direct experience. So why don’t the academics dive in themselves? It’s an exceedingly rare and brave scientist who does. We’re thankful for those in our circle!

Tony H shared the story told by his friend Vicki, a microbiologist who spent time among a tribe in the Amazon. She talks of witnessing the tribe entering into a shared mind on a daily basis, coming together without noticeable or verbal consent. Vicki told Paul and I the story of going out with the tribe hunting, following one young, armed hunter as they all dispersed into the forest. When one hunter made a kill, the others would somehow know where and when to find him, and help carry it back to the village. There were no verbal calls, no smoke signals, no cell phones. How did they know? “Telepathy is simply a matter of fact of daily life among the tribe”, she concluded.

And the phenomenon of shared minds is widely found in other practices, as we found with our recent panel discussion on Energy Medicine. I find it so interesting that we take it as a matter of course that an energy healer can work long distance with us. According to our culture’s prevailing materialist worldview, this should not be possible. And yet, there it is. Just like our shared experiences in trance sessions with participants spread across the globe. “Effect at a distance”…. “non-local causality” … “Einstein’s spooky action at a distance” As David E pointed out, we could ask Sir Roger Penrose about it, or any of the leading theorists in Quantum Mechanics. And yes, physics had to make a quantum leap to accommodate this, with a whole other physics. But how far outside conventional explanations must we go to account for what we are consistently experiencing?

What is it saying? Well, for starters — what rich turf we are traversing, what mysteries have graced us, beckoning us, as we enter its realms, crossing the magical threshold, again and again — what a wonderful playground…. we are truly blessed. And what I say in return is, thank you Felicitas for retrieving the codes to the portal. Thank you, Universe, for throwing open the door, and welcoming us in!

And thank you for joining us, we find the bigger and brighter our community, the bigger and brighter our experiences — and our Sunday discussions. There was much more shared in our open forum, and I’ll continue this report with a relisten. Paul will be posting the entire talk on the Cuyamungue institute YouTube channel if you’d like to listen in as well. And most importantly, let’s continue the conversation — what stories and observations, what musings and questions, have you to share on this, and more? Email your stories, and have them ready to share in our Zooms gatherings, and let’s continue the quest. It’s so much fun to muse upon.

PS — we wouldn’t expect whales to have a long spiraling horn, but narwhales do, “the unicorns of the sea”. So on some realm, on some dimension not manifest in the physical, why not horses, too?