And as an educational institution, we recognize to thrive, we must keep growing and broaden the scope of our work to the latest discoveries and theories in neuroscience, anthropology, archeology, archaeoastronomy, eco-spirituality, ecology, philosophy, psychology, mythology, shamanism, ritual, the heroes journey, the roots of theatre, deep history, art history — the full range of the arts and sciences — That’s why we call it Conversation for Exploration. Here’s where the “aha moments” await, along with an international community of fellow explorers. Our Free Events are open to all. And you can catch up recent discussions on our YouTube, Facebook and Podcasts — hope to see you there!
UPCOMING GUESTS – – What time/ How to particpate? Sundays 9am Pacific / Noon Eastern
Join us… <—- You only need to register once. Attend one or all of the following events!
All presentations are FREE! Should you want to support this work, please consider joining our CI community circle and become a supporting member.
with Inner and Outer Technology. Panel Discussion
Paul and Laura report on recent discoveries — how Nature has equipped life, from insects to mammals, with the physiological apparatus to read a wider slice of the EM spectrum than we experience daily, with physiological technology that can be described as magneto-receptors, solar compasses, star-light meters,
What happens when we tap into the ‘field’ with increased awareness? Cindy Goode joins us to share her journal notes and in-the-moment paintings that beautifully express how in our ecstatic trance work, we too serve as antennae, transmitters and receivers, of cosmic proportions.
Edwin Turner, Professor of Astronomy, Princeton University
Sunday November 21: The Ancient Rituals Symbols & Myths
Behind our Annual Holidays
Richard Schwab, Mythologist
Richard returns to uncover the remnants of the ancient festivals, symbols, and myths at the core of our holiday season. The sequence of the year’s holy days give our traditional celebrations a surprisingly deep history. We are still engaged in ancient rites — they’ve just been a bit disguised. The symbols and motifs and myths that led to Santa’s red suit and sleigh pulled by flying reindeer, the Christmas tree lit with blinking lights and topped with a star, the mistletoe, green branches and wreaths we bring inside our homes, and more. With so many tuned to endless rounds of football, we’ll also look at these rituals.
Deep in the mountains of southwestern China a spiritual tradition said to be thousands of years old still flourishes among the Miao people. It is a tradition that combines ritual and trance to balance and sustain a community of humans, spirits, gods, and ancestors. Both ritual and trance work to transcend physical reality to reveal, articulate, and reaffirm the structures and spiritual forces that surround and influence the material world. At the center of the Miao spiritual practice is the badai (father offspring) and the xianniang (transcendent maiden). The badai, who are male, are healers, diviners, and masters of an elaborate system of rituals. Although they do not trance in a classic shamanic sense, their sensorial rituals enact a dramatic journey into the spiritual world for their community creating a collective, trance. The xianniang, who are female, do trance, and work in conjunction with badai, conferring with spirits and ancestors to determine the need and timing of the badai rituals. Together they provide the yin-yang, a balance of male and female energy to maintain and balance their village. This talk will outline their working methodologies and how they uniquely serve and sustain their human and spiritual communities to this day.
Female Shamans: Spirituality & Healing Practices in Peru
Professor of Anthropology /Affiliate Professor of Religious Studies at USU.
From Pre-history to Today
Across the world and throughout history societies have worshipped the Goddess as the supreme site of fertility, motherhood, and the creation of life. The scope and antiquity of goddess worship are remarkable. Female sacred images are associated with some of the oldest archaeological evidence for religious expression and they still have efficacy in the contemporary world. The earliest proof comes from archaeological finds—paintings and figurines of women with exaggerated secondary sexual characteristics, which emphasize fertility. Famous pieces, such as the Venus of Willendorf are Upper Paleolithic (30,000–10,000 B.C.E.) help us reconnect with the goddess tradition. These types of female votive figures were widely produced and worshipped by very early civilizations such as the Indus Valley Civilization, also called the Harappan Civilization (2500-1500 B.C.E. in modern day Pakistan and Northern India), and ancient Sumer (3500-2025 B.C.E. present-day southeastern Iraq). We will look and compare dozens of images which reflect the energy, power of history of the Goddess.
Marija Gimbutas, a leading scholar in the study of early goddess worship, wrote The Language of the Goddess, considered a significant work in the field, she suggests that these figurines and their associated symbols, found throughout the Neolithic period as well and into the Bronze Age (2000–1400 B.C.E.) in Crete, could represent a goddess religion that was passed down through time.
In the second hour, we will be joined by Mare Cromwell, the founder of the 1000 Goddesses Gathering, a worldwide event now in its 5th year, as a call to honor the divine feminine.
Several of the postures we use come from petroglyphs, and we recently toured one of the world’s largest collections, dating from 5,000 BC to 1400 AD. Near Winslow Arizona, over 3,000 petroglyph grace the walls of a small, easily accessible two-mile long canyon that runs through Rock Art Canyon Ranch, the home and 5,000 acre cattle ranch of 83 year old Brantley Baird. It’s long been a sacred site, where hunting and gathering groups and semi-nomadic farmers left their mark, with hogans and sweat lodge still used by local tribes. Brantley and god-daughter Tori also offer access to archeologists and to the public of on-site tours of the canyon’s rock art, the pots and artifacts he found on the land, and pioneer relics, as well as to us with their photos and stories.
While the wide spectrum of ASC and the ecstatic trance state of our own work has a 50,000 year track record, over time our culture lost both the practice and the language around it. Is the common meaning of the term “ecstatic trance” and “religious trance”, used by the previous generations of anthropologists from our own Dr. Felicitas Goodman to Mircea Eliade, in transition as more and more of us are adopting and adapting practices to engage in these states? Are we ‘hardwired’ to seek such states? What can we learn from the 1960’s survey of the beneficial attributes of visionary states funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (to which Dr. Goodman contributed by translating many of the ethnographies studied) and why did the West divorce itself from these practices? Why were shamanic states ever viewed as a pathology? How are ecstatic states being revived and enjoyed today? What will bring ASC back into the mainstream? We are joined by Todd and Christine VanPool, Dept of Anthropology, University of Missouri
Myth and story is one way our ancestors kept wisdom traditions alive and intact. “Story is the operating system of human consciousness,” says Richard Schwab. He has worked with prisoners to uncover the mythical threads in their own lives. For the Joseph Campbell Foundation and Center for Symbolic Studies he has studied mythology and folklore motifs as applied to our lives and ‘rites of passage’ journeys. His TEDx talk was on the use of story in today’s world. Today he is designing online means for empowering a better understanding of our own story, to bring our passions and gifts into the world.
“Magic is a natural aspect of reality, and what was called magic two thousand years ago is turning out to be scientific fact today” says Dean, chief scientist, Institute of Noetic Sciences. His book include The Conscious Universe, Entangled Minds, Supernormal and Real Magic: Ancient Wisdom, Modern Science, and a Guide to the Secret Power of the Universe, and 100-plus academic articles appear in peer-reviewed journals. A widely recognized and trusted authority on consciousness studies, Dean’s work is helping to expand the current paradigm and gain wider acceptance for work such as ours. Radin has spent the last forty years conducting controlled experiments that demonstrate thoughts are things, we can sense others’ emotions and intentions from a distance, and intuition is more powerful than we know.
Brenda worked alongside Robert Jahn at the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research Lab (PEAR) where they co-wrote three major textbooks on consciousness-related anomalies and conducted mind-over-matter experiments, notably on low-level psychokinetic effects on electronic random event generators.
Today as head of the International Consciousness Research Laboratories (ICRL) Brenda joins over 80 scientists exploring the role of consciousness in the formation of physical reality.
Sunday July 25:
Anthropology of Gender:
Gender in Ancient Societies
Steve Thomas is also an Emmy Award-winning TV Host of This Old House, Renovation Nation, and Save Our History. Builder, family man, skier, sailor, adventurer, navigator, dog lover, and oyster wholesaler
Gregory Shushan, Ph.D
A lively conversation on Jeff’s four decades carrying forward the art and science of making visible, the invisible hidden patterns of Nature. As publisher of the seminal works, Dr. Hans Jenny’s groundbreaking books Cymatics, Vols. I & II as well as video documentaries, Jeff broadens our understanding of how audible sound can create harmonic, geometric patterns as found in intricate life forms, and in the art and architecture of the world’s wisdom traditions. He also makes clear its relevance to our lives, and how it expands our notion of what exists around and within us. Time to stretch our concept of the Cosmos and our place in it!
One group of prehistoric farming people of Central Arizona have been identified by archaeologists as the Sinagua. They occupied the area from about A.D. 600 to 1400. It has been shown that the Hopi of northeastern Arizona are culturally affiliated with the prehistoric Sinagua culture. The sunwatching techniques by the Hopi have been well documented, so similar associations were likely present in Sinagua society. This study is the result of several years of visiting various ancient Sinagua sites to identify and document evidence of sunwatching practices.
The V Bar V Heritage Site is the largest known petroglyph site in the Verde Valley of central Arizona, and one of the best-preserved. The rock art site consists of 1,032 petroglyphs in 13 panels.
Ken Zoll is the Executive Director of the Verde Valley Archaeology Center in Camp Verde, and a site steward with the Arizona State Historic Preservation Office, charged with the monitoring of several prehistoric sites in the Verde Valley. Ken is also a volunteer docent at the cultural heritage sites in the Coconino National Forest. His archaeology specialty is ancient astronomy practices and he has conducted many studies within the Coconino National Forest and for the City of Springerville Arizona. He is a certified instructor in ancient astronomical practices with the Arizona Archaeological Society and is a Director of the Society for Cultural Astronomy in the American Southwest.
Fredrick M. Smith, Professor of Religious Studies, Sanskrit and Classical Indian Religions
Lawson Malnory Ethnomusicology MA student at Arizona State University.
Lawson has been attending Cuyamungue Institute events and working with Laura, Paul, and others in the CI family since October of 2020. Lawson is conducting a study on sound inducement in trance and other altered-state experiences which involves a short (10-15 minute) survey wherein participants will listen to and then rate a series of sound samples. The study results will be featured in Lawson’s Master’s Thesis and will help to better understand how sound supports our experiences of ecstatic trance and other phenomena. Lawson will also join the panel discussion on June 13th. You are invited to take the survey at the link below. No personal details are collected and your participation remains anonymous.
Participate in Lawson’s survey at https://asu.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_9LlsRl25nOmF4Vg
Sunday June 6: How Do Mystical Experiences Shape our Worldview?
Paul Robear & Laura Lee
We view our experiences with Altered States of Consciousness (ASC) as a means to temporarily ‘drop the blinders’ to glimpse the larger Universe. We’re able to put our focus on our shared, consensus reality on pause, and view an Alternate Reality. What do we find there? What are your experiences telling you, be it with Ecstatic Trance Postures spontaneous mystical moments, or with the various ASC and consciousness raising techniques in your repertoire? What does it tell us about what’s missing from our conventional, shred worldview, and where it needs to expand? When might we as a society get there? What will it share with our early ancestors? How will this new view, this new story, read? Will a better world come about once we do so? Let’s hear your personal stories and insights, and we share ours.
Sunday May 16: Parallels between Hypnosis and Trance States
Sinziana Paduroiu, Cosmologist and Hypnotherapist
We will explore the shared space between hypnosis and trance states we experience with the Ecstatic Trance Postures. With hypnosis, we bypass the critical mind so that the suggestions delve into the subconscious where automatic behavioral patterns live. The trance is induced with a specific goal in mind, e.g. healing, discovery, stress relief or reprogramming some automatic behaviors and/or beliefs. Hypnotherapeutic techniques, and “shamanic journeying” trance techniques run parallel with a spectrum of healing that is entered through the altered state.
Shamans use trance to obtain information, which they then use to help and to heal community members. Nearly all societies are known to engage in practices that lead to altered states of consciousness. However, the methods, functions, and cultural context vary widely between societies. Since contemporary hypnosis may very well go back to prehistory and have its origin in shamanism, we will compare the induction steps shamanic rituals typically consist of with those employed in most forms of contemporary hypnotic modalities. Also, we will discuss the physiological/mental changes observed in both ecstatic trance and hypnosis, looking at the results from biofeedback, neurofeedback, and personal experience, attempting to integrate all this with the current proposed models for consciousness
Sunday April 25:
The Ancient Language of Sacred Sound
The connections between the Earth’s resonant frequencies, Sacred Sites & Human Consciousness
GUEST: David Elkington
Sunday May 2nd, 2021:
The well trodden path of self-actualization, Realization, Collective Wisdom & Inspiration
Paul Robear & Laura Lee
CI’s Ritual as Art Exhibit & Performance: “An award-winning modern artist, Mel O’Callahan, invited us to collaborate on her upcoming exhibit after reading Goodman’s books on ritual. We advised, long-distance, on our ritual objects, their use and representation, so that upon arrival in February 2017, we could effectively adapt CI’s ritual’s choreography to the exhibit, which also served as altar and stage for the performance. From our own first couple week’s performance, to teaching a one-day workshop to 100 Parson Art students, to working with volunteers, to meeting with the press and participating in a panel discussion, we worked with the student volunteers who would take our place for the duration of the three-month exhibit. We found that ritual is a universal language, known deep in our souls, be you witness or participant.”
Call of the Wild: The Human-Animal Bond throughout Time
The Mystical Origins and Leading Edge of Science
Animism In a Living Universe
CI’s founder, anthropologist Felicitas Goodman, incorporated animism into the ritual of Ecstatic Trance Postures — she invited the spirits to participate in our rituals for without their help, we cannot enter the Alternate Reality. Goodman “activated” rattle and spirit masks by “feeding” them blue cornmeal and blessing them. Christine will elucidate the long tradition and global practices of animism, and the worldview where all is animate and alive and sacred in an intelligent Universe.
Recent Topics and Guests
Voices in Balance – Authentic Communication… Inspiration by Shakespeare
The Bard endures for the many attributes of his genius, one of which is his memorable, daring female characters, which Ellie will elucidate through performance and discussion. Shakespeare’s representation of women, and the ways in which his female roles are interpreted and enacted, have become topics of scholarly interest. Strong, attractive, intelligent, and humane women come to life in Shakespeare’s plays. They not only have a clear sense of themselves as individuals, but they challenge accepted patterns for women’s behavior. Ellie says “My work revolves around gendered communication and how the patriarchy can challenge authentic relationship. As a performer, I the work through Shakespeare’s plays, with a deep dive into the text to reveal what the bard can teach us about female voices, male vices and authentic communication—how do things shift when we say what we mean, and we mean what we say?”
Role of Spirituality for Social Cohesion
The Physiology Correlates of the Shamanic State of Consciousness
Recent Topics and Guests
Ecstatic Trance / ASC experiences connection to Past Shamanic Cultures
GUEST: Christine VanPool
Tracing the Mother Goddess through History
GUESTS: Clive Prince & Lynn Picknett
Consciousness, Brain Science and Mythology
GUESTS: Burt Webb – Science researcher, writer and blogger
We will explore the connecting points between the Science of Consciousness and Spirituality, and neuroscience and altered states of consciousness. Burt draws from astronomy, biology, computer science, nanotechnology, physics, psychology, parapsychology, consciousness studies, psychedelics, sci-fi and social issues. He starred in the award-winning short film, Eat the Sun about a high-tech religion, edited and published fifteen volumes on sociology, and wrote a novel, Rare Earths and a non-fiction book, Mindfields about cognitive biases. He also blogs on nuclear power at nucleotidings.com, and the space industry at spacereport.com.
Celtic Mythology: Shamanic Roots of Western Spirituality
GUESTS: John & Caitlín Matthews
John & Caitlín Matthews are respected researchers and authors in the Shamanic, Celtic and Arthurian traditions and have opened many doors to a re-appreciation of the mythic heritage of the Western World. We will explore the continuation of early shamanic traditions that still shape and inform Western mysticism and spirituality.
Beyond the Information Age
Journalist Brian Jennings shares insights born of a long career programming news and talk for radio networks. He has stories and observations on the evolution of the media and the role it plays in our lives, the role storytelling, finding one’s voice, lessons growing up on a farm, why he describes himself as a “born-again Druid” and why he finds the topics we cover compelling and worthwhile.
December 13, 2020
Entoptic Phenomenon: Patterns from Brain to Trance to Eye to Rock Art
“Entoptic” derives from the Greek for ‘within vision’ and indicates that “the images come from anywhere within the optic system, between the eye itself and the neural cortex where signals from the optic nerve are interpreted. Since it originates within the visual system, entoptic imagery can only be seen by the observer.” We’ll cover its earliest 1845 observation that people in a wide range of altered states report seeing entoptics, to South African rock art researcher David Lewis-Williams’ 1980’s conjecture that the geometric patterns in rock art and on cave walls are entoptic forms. We’ll compare those “notes of the trance journeys of our ancestors” writ on stone to what our ETP participants currently and over the years have reported.
Solstice / Mythology / Celebrations
We’ll begin with a visit with the Program Director who opened the door for Laura’s radio talk show career, and celebrate the Solstice and the Holidays with astrophysicist Tony Hull’s photo essay of our star’s complete annual journey across a spectacular New Mexico horizon, with the 4th installment. Continuing our search for the hidden patterns that shape us, we’ll examine how stargazing lies at the core of the world’s mythologies, still present in our daily life, such as the names of days of the week and the months. We have Celtic mythologist John Matthew’s report on how the long tradition of Solstice celebrations of the return of the light morphed into Christmas. Also the rare Saturn/Jupiter alignment and Barbara Hand Clow’s message of hope. What do we most want for Christmas? world peace! So come celebrate with us this Sunday — Happy Holidays!
When exactly is the Solstice? At the same moment for all of us, everywhere on Earth. It can range from the 20th to the 23rd, and 2020’s December Solstice falls on Monday the 21st at 2:02 AM PST / 5:02 AM EST / 10:02 Universal Time (UTC). Imagine the sun as a pendulum, swinging slowly on our sky’s dome to the farthest southward point for the year, pausing momentarily before heading back the other way. In the Northern Hemisphere this is the year’s shortest day and longest night.
Energy Medicine: A Panel Discussion
Christine VanPool, Maria Dolzer, Barbie Maraviov
Our ETP experiential sessions work so beautifully with our community spread around the globe. How does this work at a distance? Is there more to the Universe than Science has recognized? What might we learn from other energy medicine modalities that also work at a distance? What’s the common denominator? What role does the Placebo Effect have? We’ve asked members of our CI Community who practice both ETP and long-distance energy medicine, to discuss their work, Maria Dolzer with Healing Touch and Barbie Maraviov with Reiki. Joseph Goldfedder, acupuncturist, brings in his experience with, and science of, energy meridians and archeologist Christine Van Pool shares insights from historical and neurological studies.
Gratitude’s Gift to Our Brain, Health, and the World
Sacred Song & Trance
Frederick M. Smith – Professor, Sanskrit and Classical Indian Religions University of Iowa.
I asked Fred if the Rishis, the Vedic sages of old, went into an altered state to pull down their wisdom, and he confirmed that in the earliest texts, this is clearly stated. He will read us a few examples, a summary of what they say, compare divination methods, and share stories of his time in India observing various rituals and worldview of the indigenous cultures. We’ll also ask, what was the Golden age, and when? Where are we in the timeline now, and what’s ahead?
The focus of his research is looking at ritual, practice, or text over centuries or millennia. Example of this are his studies in the performance of Vedic ritual in modern times, which utilize several millennia of texts in addition to his own “Vedic fieldwork,” or in the textual history of deity or spirit possession, supplemented by both modern ethnographic writing and his own forays into the field.
The Case for A Creator: We Can’t Say There is & We Can’t Say There Isn’t
Perhaps that’s the only certain thing we can say. (I was reminded some find the word “God” offensive.) So we examine a few arguments on both sides. The conversation begin with two people well read on the historical arguments. Steven Hecht’s wrote a thesis on evolutionary theory, earned an MA in religion, and is currently immersed in the Book of Genesis. Sister Margaret O’Rourke goes deep into, yet well beyond, Catholicism. We have a few surprise guests joining the panel as well, to round out The Case for A Creator.
Guest: G B Cornucopia. Served as Park Ranger at Chaco Culture National Historic Park
G B Cornucopia has been a park ranger at Chaco Culture National Historic Park for three decades. He first came to Chaco as a visitor and seeker of dark skies in 1986. An avid astronomer, he found Chaco an ideal location for both naked eye astronomy and deep sky investigations through telescopes. Encouraged by his fellow visitors’ interest in the night sky he helped develop astronomy programs as a park ranger, leading to the establishment in 1988, of a permanent donated observatory near Chaco’s visitor center.
Guest: Cherilynn Morrow Astronomer, NASA Educator
Award-winning NASA educator in astronomy and climate science has provided archival research and field support for an archaeoastronomy research team in Chaco Culture National Historical Park in northwestern New Mexico. Her posts have been many: At the Institute of Astronomy in Cambridge, England she contributed new insights into our Sun’s rotation and the solar cycle. As a Physics & Astronomy professor at Georgia State University she made physics more accessible to a wider field. She designed and taught space science and mathematics at the Colorado Space Grant College, and served as Visiting Senior Scientist at NASA Headquarters with the goal of engaging the scientists, research facilities, and data resources of the space science community in support of national education. She believes the integration of music and the arts with science education can transform, as well as inform
Guest: Christine vanPool – Professor of Anthropology – University of Missouri
We are thrilled that the work of CI is under investigation by both in theory and in practice by anthropologist Christine Van Pool. We’ll discuss the contributions to the field of CI’s founder, and what new insights today’s advances in the field may shed on this work, and what this work may contribute to new understandings in anthropology.
Christine says, “various shamans, mediums, and mystics around the world believe that our physical eyes hide the “real” world: a spirit world. In other words, we are blinded by our normal senses. Often it is trance states that our senses are open and the veil is lifted. Hundreds of groups around the world believe that spirits are real; they can be helpful, harmful, or indifferent to humans… Many believe that the cosmos has its own spirit breath, which is a common belief among the Eastern Pueblos of New Mexico.” ZOOM Registration
GNOMON: Equinox Sun and Shadow, tool of Measurements