Teacher Feature – Dr. Lisa Woodside

I thought it would be fun to introduce our Instructor community so I created our Teacher Feature series for the CI Newsletter as a way to introduce our certified instructors in the field and an opportunity to highlights their lives and work.   Paul Robear

Lisa Woodside AM, MA, Ph.D

Lisa is a teacher of Ecstatic Postures and a shamanic practitioner for healing and ceremony. Lisa knew as a girl that to study shamanism is her vocation, but she had no human mentor. She went on to develop her intellectual and academic talents. At about forty, she met a shaman and heard the beat of the drum for the journey. She instantly recognized that she was home. Lisa has followed the drum ever since.

Lisa has studied shamanism with internationally known and indigenous shamans and medicine men and women for twenty-five years, esp. Trance Postures, with Huichol Indians, and Core Shamanism. She pours ceremony for sweat lodge and is a vision quester. With her guides, she leads posture workshops, drumming circles, provides healings, ceremonies, and gives lectures. Current posture workshops include “Kinship with Nature,” “The Divine Feminine,” and “Healing Self and Earth.”

Lisa was facilitating a posture group on the second Friday of each month in a southwestern suburb of Philadelphia for many years.

Regarding her academic career, Dr. Woodside is a retired vice president of academic affairs and professor of humanities at Holy Family University.  She was dean of students and associate professor at Widener University before that. She has a certificate in transpersonal psychology in visualization techniques and a certificate from Harvard University in educational management.

Dr. Woodside’s degrees are in classical languages and literatures and clinical psychology. Teaching world literature, world mythology, and participating in dream groups has trained her to recognize archetypes and patterns in the visions of her students. However, Lisa does not practice over-psychology in her practice. Spirits guide her, and experience, education, and common sense. Lisa welcomes you to contact her with questions and comments.

Seven Questions from Paul Robear

When did you get your certificate?
I earned the certificate over many years because I was studying with a Huichol Mara-akame (Shaman) at the same time.  In the late 1990’s, I met with my mentor Belinda Gore for my oral on a book list. Once, mastery of this list was required for the Certificate. We had a wonderful far-ranging discussion about the books and teaching in a Philadelphia hotel.

How long have you been teaching?
I was teaching even before the Certificate because I was required to run a group for a year for the Certificate. I have been teaching ever since, mostly one-day workshops and a monthly group in my home. I like to attend workshops, also.

Did you study with Felicitas?
The first time I held a posture was with Felicitas at Omega Institute in New York. As she spoke, she was glowing with the enthusiasm and kindness.  My first posture ever was the Sami Lower World Posture. I sank right thought the earth and flew with the spirits through the Lower World. The Bear posture was the final posture of the workshop. We have been singing Felicitas’ song of “Mother make us strong like a . . . .  ” at the end of my sessions ever since.

What is a favorite story about the postures?
When I took a workshop for Egyptian Postures at Cuyamungue, an Egyptian Goddess told me to get a black cat with green eyes.  I thought about it but did not do it. A couple of years later, as I stood in the parking lot outside my condo, a black kitten, a year old, came loping over. Then, he sat on my feet and looked up. I thought, “Here he is.” So Sparkum the Spirit cat joined me to make a family. His yellow eyes have turned green over the last five years. He is a remarkable cat. Does that surprise you?

Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Portland, Oregon.  My family went to the Pacific coast and, in the other direction, to the Cascade Mountains quite often. I had my first mystical experience at the foot of Mt. Hood when some college friends and I were camping at the foot of the mountain. However maybe it was not the first. As my family and I picked huckleberries on the slopes of the mountain and in the tangible silence, I often fell into a reverie of great comfort. I felt the elements of earth and air and plants acutely. Later in life I went several times on vision quest to Mt. Shasta, also a Cascade Mountain. Each time is a treasure.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
I would belong to a group that could align itself with the power of Unconditional Love. With the strength of that power and under the guidance of Spirit, we could focus on severe hardship and heal it to the highest good. No one person could have the amount of power I am talking about.

What is your idea of fun?
In a certain sense, I find all shamanic work, sweat lodges, and posture workshops fun. I loved studying for my PhD in Greek and like intellectual pursuits. On the other hand, walking in the woods and at the sea shore, playing with my cats, going on dates with my boyfriend, talking to my girlfriends, watching late night movies on TV, writing, painting in acrylics, studying French, and reading are some activities I enjoy. I am taking an online course with Sandra Ingerman right now that is fine. I like to introduce people who know Core shamanism to Postures. Last, I like ice cream too much.

From Lisa’s Linkedin page: “