The ancient artifacts that we decode as ritual instructions are at the core of the unique work offered by the Cuyamungue Institute (CI). As instructors and representatives of this work and this institute, it is our responsibility to maintain the standard for any postures that we add to the Official Cuyamungue Institute Canon of Ritual Body Postures. Our founder, Dr. Felicitas Goodman, established a protocol for posture verification which is the responsibility of CI’s Board of Directors to uphold. This work is alive and evolving. We are growing it as a community, entrusted to follow the established protocol in testing new artifacts and posture candidates. We appreciate your contributions to our growing body and archive of research, and joining The CI Research Team.
Under the guidance of the CI Board of Directors, all prospective new postures are explored and researched before added to the canon. Please submit the following data to submit a new posture.
- Document as much information as you can find about the artifact that inspired the posture. It’s history, current location and ownership, when and where it was found, its originating culture, era, and if you have found one, or many representations. Are there variations? Note those. How many artifacts depicting this posture are known, and from what cultures? Is it a variant of a known posture with key differences? What does it have in common? Photos from multiple sides, with close-ups of key features are helpful, though not always possible to find. Credit the image source. Identify features that signal this may have been used in rituals or by the religious specialists of that culture. This may include the face of the artifact having the “look of inward gaze”, similarities in the poses of known postures, shared iconography or symbols seen on known postures or serving as a clue to the type of trance journey, archeological evidence associated with shamans, or historical eye witness accounts.
- Write up the instructions for holding this posture, from head to toe. Note if props are needed, such a chair or low stool for sitting.
- Test the posture multiple times, with various groups of participants. Document each participant’s experience. In leading a group using the experimental posture, simply demonstrate the posture yourself. Sharing the image of the artifact and its history and culture takes place only after the sharing of experiences. This is an important step in keeping the resulting data pristine and free from “leading” and prior expectations.
- You might share the posture with other instructors. Ask them test to the posture according to the protocol with their groups and to document the resulting experiences, and share that data with you.
- Submit your findings to the CI Board of Directors in writing. Attach photos of the artifact, and a suggested category and name of the posture. We will test this with our regular advanced posture sessions to add further documentation. We can then schedule a time to confer with you and discuss the results.
Following these steps for the submission of new potential postures will help maintain the coherency and viability of the CI Canon of Postures. As Dr. Goodman bequeathed her intellectual property to the Cuyamungue Institute, the 501-c-3 non-profit research organization headquartered in the USA, it is the mission and responsibility of the CI Board of Directors, and all of its instructors and facilitators to collectively maintain the database and canon of all postures, and to follow the established mission and protocols. Quality is our goal, not quantity. Poor experiences from postures weakens our database and our teaching. Let’s all work together to honor and fulfill the original vision of this work established by Dr. Goodman.
Postures that have not yet completed these steps are considered “Exploratory Postures” are not recommended for use in introductory workshops. For optimal experience for those new to this work, we only use the the certified cannon of postures.
Exploratory Postures not yet verified should not be published or shared with the general public (beyond your exploratory groups) in any books, magazines, videos, or any form of media, or in any way that associates or suggests exploratory postures have been accepted and added into the CI canon of postures, until verification has been completed.
Thank you are contributing to the evolution of this work and for your continued support and dedication to strengthening the database of postures.
Should you additional question about posture verification please contact the Board of Directors.