Ritual Postures, Ritual body Postures, Ancient Ritual Postures

Welcome to our Video Library! Here Laura Lee and Paul Robear host wide-ranging conversations with leading-edge researchers spanning the arts and sciences from our current Conversation4Exploration Zoom interviews. “With every conversation, with every ‘aha moment’ a piece of the Grand Puzzle of Life comes into focus,” says Laura, “as those age-old questions beckon: who are we, where did we come from, where are we going? We go exploring from the microcosm to the macrocosm, from the personal to the collective, and we find the edges of our worldview, ready to be stretched a bit, particularly rich turf.

Ritual, Trance and Yin-Yang Balance

Guest: Thomas Riccio. Professor Visual & Performing Arts, University of Texas, Dallas.  Continuing our exploration of the shamanic origins and transcendent power of live theatre, Thomas Riccio returns with a report on his work with the Miao’s shamanic rites in the mountains of southern China, his recent projects in Prague and Zeus Island, Greece, and how he uses ritual trance postures to explore and work up a performance expression. Thomas writes:

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.

Sound Induction, Trance States and the Power of Rhythm

Guest: Lawson Malnory. Lawson who has a illustrated, in-depth, report on the results of his online survey of the efficacy of monotone beats with a range of instruments for induction of ASC. Paul contributed four sound files from the drum and rattle collection we use for Ecstatic Trance / Ritual Body Postures — we’ll see how those rated! This report brings up the many questions around the role of sound in ASC, and featured in Lawson’s Thesis for his MA in ethnomusicology, and he credits his participation and time with the CI events and community for key insights and questions.
This is just the beginning of his study of the specific and nuanced characteristics — the beat, rhythm, pitch, frequency, timbre and more — of ritual’s sonic driving.

Humankind discovered, utilized, and ritualized the power of sound so very, very early in our history. And I wonder, is it through trial and error? Did we adapt to the sound, or did we adapt the sonic driving to us, to tune in and amplify something deep within? Are we culturally habituated to the first ASC inducing sounds we hear, within the proper ceremony? Or is it an individual thing, wherever one’s pre-set physiology lands us on the bell-curve of efficacy?

It was that bell curve, found through trial and error, that CI’s founder, anthropologist Felicitas Goodman, clued into early on, to determine the optimal beat of the sonic driving we use in her revival of the ancient tradition at the heart of our work at CI.

Connecting with Coincidence. Bernard Beitman

Guest: Bernard Beitman. The Science of Synchronicity and Serendipity in your life. As the “veil thins” this time of year, are you finding more synchronicity in your life? Might the coincidences lining up in our life be one of the many ways the Universe ’speaks’ with us? What serendipitous moments do you have to share?

Bernie Beitman’s Coincidence Project is a repository of real life, self-reported incidents, and we’ll want to hear yours, and he defines coincidence, synchronicity and serendipity, and cites the range of their hallmarks, messages, frequency, circumstances, and more. Bernie’s book is “Connecting with Coincidence: The New Science for Using Synchronicity and Serendipity in Your Life” How do we explain this occurrences? One perspective is Synchronicities are meaningful coincidences.. Some cite the “red car” phenomenon — the likelihood of noting the other red cars when driving down the road in one — and some cite quantum theories of time more two-directions and fluid. Everything in the universe is in sync with everything, without which the activity happening across the creation can’t sustain. The energy and the nothingness together are holding everything in the world – like a canvas holds the painting.

TRACKING: Life Lessons from an Ancient Oral Tradition

Guest: Alex Van Den Heever – Tracker Academy, South Africa  “There are only four or five authentic, genuine Bushman trackers left,” says our guest, tracker Alex Van Den Heever, who seeks to revive “the indigenous knowledge that was once a part of our landscape”. It’s a most ancient oral tradition, and those keeping it alive are tracking animals through the bush for research and for ecotourists to shoot, with cameras. And documenting it lest it disappear. I’ve long been curious about the range of the knowledge, skills and senses employed to pick up the often minute, barely-there clues trackers read, and the concentration, powers of observation, intuition, and endurance it takes to decipher the habits, movements, and location of their quarry.

What new insight can this lend to our earliest ancestors, their traditional knowledge, their deep attunement to their environment? What is that experience like? Are some parts of our eyes, ears and brain picking up clues beyond our conscious awareness? What skills might we apply to our own journey through the ‘wilderness’ of modern life? Alex shares all this and more, drawing from his years in the bush as a ranger at Southern Africa’s Londolozi game reserve and co-founding the Tracker Academy with fellow tracker Renias Mhlongo, offering an ind-depth, year-long course. Alex is the author of Tracker Manual: A Practical Guide to Animal Tracking in Southern Africa and Changing a Leopard’s Spots. 

The life lessons that this skill set imparts hits home for all of us. “Every human is born to track,” says Alex. It’s in our DNA, well honed from our days as hunting and gathering, “humanity’s first and most successful strategy. Today we track what is important to us… our health, wealth and happiness. Knowing what to track, who to track with and how to get back on track represent the most important decisions of our lives.”
Oktoberfest’s Hidden Rituals

Guest: Brigitte Veiz, psychologist, Gestalttherapist, Dramatist   What happens when a psychologist analyzes Munich’s favorite beer festival? Brigitte Veiz put two years of research and decades of self-experience on the Oktoberfest and Germany’s many Volksfests into the socio-psychological diploma thesis for her PhD. She details the hidden mythos behind the fun, the songs, the symbols, the beverage, why the traditional costumes, the Dirndl dress and Lederhosen, are ritual garments, why Oktoberfest begins in September, and the mythic ties of Dionysus the God of Ecstasy and Trance, to the “Bavaria” statue, the Goddess of the festival.

The hidden psychology behind the mass rituals help explain its enduring popularity, with over 6 Million people attending each year, filling 12 big beer tents that each accommodate 10,000 revelers at a time. Though cancelled this year, we can celebrate, online, the 211th anniversary of the festival’s origin date, October 17, 1810, it’s enduring popularity and deeper meaning. We will note, too, the very early history of beer & bread-making, and the long history of community-wide celebrations and feasts, such as ancient Egypt’s annual beer fest in honor of the goddess Sekhmet.

Evidence of Intelligent Life Beyond Earth?

Guest: Avi Loeb Prpfessor of Astronomy Harvard University  “It would be arrogant to think we’re alone in the Universe,” says Harvard Professor Avi Loeb, theoretical astrophysicist. His conjecture on the anomalous, shiny, elongated space object (dubbed “Oumuamua”, Hawaiian for “scout”) that wandered through our inner solar system in 2017 fit the evidence, yet stirred up quite the controversy. It looked and behaved not like an asteroid or cement, but a solar light sail, just as we’d design for a space probe. He details why in his book, Extraterrestrial: The First Sign of Intelligent Life Beyond Earth. “We should not rule out technology from an advanced, extraterrestrial civilization just because the notion is unpopular among the academic community,” he argues. This did lead to private funding for Avi’s “Galileo Project” named for that other daring astronomer. We talk about new strategies to detect life in the Cosmos, the goals and hopes for his project, the role and limits of science, what we know and don’t know, his philosophy of life, tackling the big questions, the impact on society’s advancement, the filmmakers interested in his work, and more. Three astronomers in the audience pose their questions and comments, including one who worked on the Hubble Telescope.

Art & Iconography of NW Coast Native Culture

Guests: Lee Brooks, Gallery Curator / Rande Cook, Native Artist  The power and spirit of the indigenous people of the Pacific Northwest has a long, deep history, and continues today. Tribes in British Columbia, Alaska, Washington and Oregon each have their own history, culture and religious traditions, represented in their art, stories, songs and dances. Lee Brooks, curator of Arctic Raven Gallery has long championed Native art and artists, and brings Rande Cook to share the iconography and deep meaning and history of his art and culture. We’ll see a dazzling array of carvings and sculpture of wood, stone, bone, shell from many native artists, and more and learn the deeper meaning.

Rande says “Growing up, I observed and discussed the traditional art forms with my grandfather. Through my grandparents, I learned about the values of life and culture, responsibilities of being a chief, and the importance of being a strong leader for my people. In addition, I am passionate about being a father, a partner, and being involved in the well-being of my community and Mother Earth. 


Female Shamans: Spirituality & Healing Practices in Peru

Guest: Bonnie Glass-Coffin, Professor of Anthropology /Affiliate Professor of Religious Studies at USU.  Bonnie shares her deep look into the female shamans of Peru and their spirituality and healing practices, past and present. She also leads an initiative to find common ground among the different faiths and spiritual paths, and this include non-human consciousness! She also has insight on tackling life’s big questions. Male shamans, she concludes, rally forth into the spirit world to do individual combat with the sources of spiritual illness, whereas female shamans try to involve their patients more directly in their own healing

Bonnie Glass-Coffin, PhD, is a visionary and a bridge builder who believes that educating the whole person (head and heart) should be at the core of a liberal arts education. She has been inspired to build these bridges because of the transformative experiences that she has had while studying with Peruvian shamans for more than 30 years. 

ART: The Metaphysical Message of Geometry & Perspective

Guest: Kurt Wenner, Renaissance Artist. To find sacred aspects within Western art, we turn to Kurt Wenner, a self-taught artist who learned classical drawing directly from the Renaissance masters by studying and drawing Greek and Roman sculptures in the Vatican Museums. Decoding the secrets of perspective, he is celebrated worldwide for his innovative 3D illusions. He has revived the skill sets and inside secrets of not only the Renaissance masters, but the Greeks. His classically inspired figures and architecture also carry deeper meaning: “Classical tradition is not a style, so much as a Language of Form based on a profound knowledge and appreciation of our physical universe,” he says, outlining the creative principles within geometric design as unity, duality, polarity, equilibrium, and proportion. Kurt has worked with the National Gallery of Art, the Smithsonian, Disney Studios, Warner Brother Studios, and holds a Kennedy Center Medallion for outstanding work in arts education. His book is “Asphalt Rennaissance”

Says Host Laura Lee: We’ve been celebrating the revival of lost “languages” and bodies of knowledge, to gain a peripheral but appreciative sense of the various ways of navigating our world, developed over the long arc of our human journey: the tradition of star navigation across the Pacific, watching the waves, bird, and constellations. Decoding the petroglyphs and ‘sun daggers’ of the ancient Skywatchers who left solar calendars across the American Southwest. What expert trackers read in the subtlest clues left by an animal’s passage. I add Kurt Wenner’s work to this list, in his revival of a lost ‘language of form’ shared by the artists of old so we may better understand how they did what they did. I also appreciate its evolution as Kurt take those skills and deep understanding into our modern vernacular to create art that bridges then and now.”


Footsteps of Ancients at Rock Art Ranch

GUESTS; Brantley Baird, Tori Baird. 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.

What is Ecstatic Trance?
ASC: Reviving the Practice and the Language

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

Art of Storytelling; The Power of our Personal Story

GUEST: Richard Schwab, Mythologist.  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.

Real Magic: From Ancient Wisdom to Modern Science

GUEST: Dean Radin, Chief Scientist at the Institute of Noetic Science “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, after forty years conducting controlled experiments that demonstrate the surprising power of our thoughts and intuition. He defines magic and the influence of our thoughts, intention, and intuition in our everyday life, citing the results of hundreds of experiments with Extra Sensory Perception, and a genetic test with surprising results that hints at how widespread and natural these abilities are. Dean’s books include The Conscious Universe, Entangled Minds, and Real Magic: Ancient Wisdom, Modern Science, and a Guide to the Secret Power of the Universe. Dean’s research and his 100-plus academic articles in peer-reviewed journals is helping to expand the current paradigm and gain wider acceptance for work such as ours.

The Quantum Concept of Consciousness

GUEST: Brenda Dunne, International Consciousness Research Laboratories. When will science offer theories that fully contain and explain all our experiences and the questions that arise — Is there life after death? How does my mind affect my experience, and the physical world reflect my expectations? Are seeming coincidences in life random, or purposeful on some level? Where do spirit and matter meet? Brenda has spent decades tackling these questions and more. She worked alongside Robert Jahn at the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research Lab (PEAR) where they co-wrote three textbooks on consciousness-related anomalies and conducted mind-over-matter experiments, and today heads the ICRL with over 80 scientists exploring the role of consciousness in the formation of physical reality.

Sustainability: Past and Present. Our Eco-spirituality Series

GUEST: Morgan Brown, Green Consultant to Business & Government & Communities
Our Eco-Spirituality Series continues to look at our relation to our planet Our ancestors practiced sustainability as a survival and longevity strategy, inherent in a worldview in which the web of life was revered. How did we get so far off track? Environmental sustainability is one of the most urgent  issues of our time. Is our current trajectory inevitable? With all the science, technology, and tools we now have to correct course, why aren’t we further along? What does a sustainable future look like? What sweeping changes will it bring? We see from history that a civilization’s resiliency and longevity depends on striking a balance with nature. Morgan examines the complexities of the technology, politics, economics, philosophical and worldview barriers to making the changes we must, sharing insights and examples from his extensive work with solar, sustainable water systems, public transport, sustainable living and renewable energy systems. 

Anthropology of Gender and the Two-Spirits Tradition

GUEST: Mikaela Deimeke, Cultural Anthropology Graduate Student at University of Missouri. 

We’re undergoing a cultural revolution, with gender playing a key role. Women reclaiming power roles at all levels of society. Gender fluidity with new pronouns. “Two Spirits” embodying both genders. Anthropology reveals gender’s many roles in history, from “access to resources, clothing and appearance, identity and personality, status and power, and social roles in different communities” says our guest. She is studying ‘Two-Spirits’ who embody both masculine and feminine spirits. “Traditionally, they participated in both male and female gender roles, which makes these individuals liminal beings that have the ability to mediate between this world and the spirit world, with high status. Many individuals Two-Spirit identity begins with the spiritual world, being called through some sort of supernatural sanction (i.e a vision or dream) while others show a proclivity for both male and female tasks early on in life. Two-Spirits held a prestigious role in their communities prior to extensive influence from outside cultures. They held roles as mediators, healers, helpers, and many other things.” Mikaela is joined by her anthropology professors Todd and Christine VanPool.

Science of Sound & Nature’s Poetic Patterns

GUEST: Jeff Volk, Cymatics

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!

Besides being an author, producer and publisher, Jeff Volk is also an evocative poet. Jeff’s 1992 documentary, Of Sound Mind and Body: Music and Vibrational Healing, won the Hartley Film Award through the Institute of Noetic Sciences. It quickly became IONS’ most popular membership premium, which encouraged him to begin producing the first “sound” conferences, exploring the manifold effects of music and sound on consciousness and healing. He continued to produce The International Sound Colloquium annually throughout the 90’s, and then re-directed his focus to the business of publishing, which he continues doing to this day. To explore books and videos related to Cymatics and sound therapies published and produced by Jeff Volk, visit: www.cymaticsource.com

Subtle Energies & The Fourth Phase of Water

GUEST: Dr. Gerald Pollack, University of Washington
Dr. Pollack, author of 
The Fourth Phase of Water: Beyond Solid, Liquid, and Vapor, will share revolutionary secrets on the nature of water that have profound implications for our health, the origin of life and cell biology, and speaks to the seeming miraculous design of our life-supporting Universe. And, satisfactorily explains how capillary action manages to raise water up a 100 foot tree! He describes how water transforms itself from H2O to H3O2 when in contact with living tissue, as water molecules line themselves up in layers with a gel-like consistency, and dramatically different properties. As an electromagnetic charge builds, the water structures an “exclusion zone” the repels impurities and where light activates our cells as a kind of battery. 

Dr. Pollack, is a world-renowned scientist and professor of bioengineering and head of the Pollack Laboratory at the University of Washington. His fundamental discoveries have inspired several new technologies and a spinoff company, 4th-Phase, Inc. to bring them to fruition. His award-winning books also include Muscles and Molecules: Uncovering the Principles of Biological Motion and Cells, Gels and the Engines of Life. With water making up 90% of our bodies, let’s celebrate the Water of Life, in all its guises

Skywatchers: Ancient Solar Calendar

GUEST: Ken Zoll, Executive Director at Verde Valley Archaeology Center.
Methods of timekeeping are as old as the hills, which were often employed as solar calendars marking the passage of the year with the Solstices and Equinoxes. Just outside Sedona, Arizona, on a long vertical rock face with over a thousand petrolgyphs, Ken Zoll decoded an ancient solar calendar. It was left by the Sinagua, ancestors to the Hopi, who too charted the sun’s annual trek across the sky with a calendar marking when to celebrate, when to plant, when to harvest. They symbolically tied this sacred ceremonial site to their sacred mountains, by knapping a vertical rock edge to cast a shadow in its outline.

Ken takes us on his personal journey of gathering the clues to identify and document the story of the Sun Watchers of a thousand years ago. His books include Heart of the Sky: Ancient Skywatchers of Central Arizona, Understanding the Rock Art of Sedona, and Sinagua Sunwatchers: An Archaeoastronomy Survey of the V Bar V Heritage Site and the Sacred Mountain Basin

Symbol, Art and Altered States

GUESTS: Fredrick Smith, Professor of Religious Studies, Sanskrit & Classical Indian Religions
Christine VanPool, Professor of Anthropology
Fred and Christine joined us and together we examined sound, symbol and art, in the widest sense, as carriers of cultural identity, layers of information, and cues to the physiological shifts supporting trance states. We compared ritual and the deep power of art for transcendence as used by ancient cultures around the world. While our work is in the field of Ecstatic Trance, Fred offered an example of fascinating example of a possession trance states. We are also joined by Lawson Malnory, Ethnomusicology MA student at Arizona State University who is conducting a study on sound inducement in trance and other altered-state experiences which involves a survey wherein participants will listen to and then rate a series of potential sound induction samples.

Mississippian Culture: Solar Calendar of Mound Builder

Guest: C. Hunter McConnell. Cam McConnell decodes a 1500 year old disc from the Spiro Mound part of the vast Mississippian network of villages and trade routes as a celestial calendar. The iconography of symbols and animals depicted on the disc. Cam has deciphered the meaning of the intricate disc suggesting that it used as an advanced astronomical clock. Anthropologist Christine VanPool joins the discussion and adds her research as well to the this presentation.
How Do Mystical Experiences Shape our Worldview?
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 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? 

A lively discussion looking at the the significance of integrating the mystical to develop and restore ourselves and embrace the world of a mythic life.

Life After Life. The Near Death Experience.
Dr. Raymond Moody & Lisa Smartt.  We will explore the evidence for life after life, and the last spoken words of many about to cross over. Dr. Moody is the leading authority on the ‘near-death
experience’—a phrase he coined in the late seventies. Dr. Moody’s research into the phenomenon of near-death experience had its start in the 1960’s. The New York Times calls him “the father of the near-death experience.” 

Lisa Smartt, MA, is the author of  “Words at the Threshold: What We Say as We’re Nearing Death”  and has worked closely with Raymond Moody, guided by his research into language, particularly unintelligible speech. They have co-facilitated presentations about language and consciousness at
universities, hospices and conferences.

The Ancient Language of Sacred Sound 
The connections between the Earth’s resonant frequencies, Sacred Sites & Human Consciousness
Guest: David Elkington.  The Earth resonates at an extremely low frequency. Known as “the Schumann Resonance,” this natural rhythm of the Earth precisely corresponds with the human brain’s alpha wave frequencies–the frequency at which we enter into and come out of sleep as well as the frequency of deep meditation, inspiration, and problem solving. Sound experiments reveal that sacred sites and structures like stupas, pyramids, and cathedrals also resonate at these special frequencies when activated by chanting and singing. Did our ancestors build their sacred sites according to the rhythms of the Earth?

Exploring the acoustic connections between the Earth, the human brain, and sacred spaces, David Elkington shows how humanity maintained a direct line of communication with Mother Earth and the Divine through the construction of sacred sites, such as Stonehenge, Newgrange, Machu Picchu, Chartres Cathedral, and the pyramids of both Egypt and Mexico. He reveals how human writing in its original hieroglyphic form was a direct response to the divine sound patterns of sacred sites, showing how, for example, recognizable hieroglyphs appear in sand patterns when the sacred frequencies of the Great Pyramid are activated.
Looking at ancient hero legends–those about the bringers of important knowledge or language–Elkington explains how these myths form the source of ancient religion and have a unique mythological resonance, as do the sites associated with them. The author then reveals how religion, including Christianity, is an ancient language of acoustic science given expression by the world’s sacred sites and shows that power places played a profound role in the development of human civilization.
Faery Realm – The Hidden Ones. Origins, Mythology & Communication
GUESTS: John & Caitlin Matthews.  While fairies have been relegated to folklore, or considered fantasy, some researchers now consider the origins to be religious/spiritual experiences, spirit journeys, and transformations. A fresh perspective appears looking from the context of the anthropology of religion, animism, mysticism, and consciousness. The history of faery mythology can be traced to pre-Christian, pre-Celtic, and pre-Iron Age in origin. The association of the daoine sìth with the síd mounds of the gods and ancestors is well-documented, and a tell-tale sign of their antiquity.
Husband-wife mythologist team John & Caitlin (pronounced “Kathleen”) share their deep research into the Faery Realm, with fresh insight from new translations of early stories and our current eco-crisis. We’ll also look at the Celtic “Wisdom of the Sidhe’ (Sith, Sí, Shee, Sighe) those who see through the veil/vale.
What we see preserved in this lore can tell us not just about the gods, with whom the fairies, or daoine sìth, can be said to have become conflated with, but also how they were – and are – worshipped and honoured, and approached or communicated with (or avoided as the case may be).

THE Lorian Press (For the Sidhe Titles)
Books by John & Caitlin Matthews (Uk & Europe only – unless you want to pay huge postal charges!) 
The man who makes Sidhe Portals is Ron Hays.

Guest: Thomas Riccio. With work spanning the contemporary and the shamanic indigenous roots of Theatre, Thomas will recounts his work with indigenous cultures in Alaska, Africa, Russia, China, exploring their ritual traditions through theatre and performance. Here we are exploring the memory and knowledge of Shamanism through theatre. We will discover that the language of theatre that crosses all barriers, and reaches deep into our collective past, while singing to us today, prompting is to ask, is this too the language of the Spirits? From generation to generation indigenous performance stories, songs, dances, acting, props, costumes and mask traditions were passed on with adjustments and evolution taking place over time. Thomas finds his way to the roots of a culture’s myths revealing the power and origins of a culture’s expression. Bio: Thomas Riccio is a performance creator, writer, and director is Professor of Visual and Performing Arts at the University of Texas at Dallas and Artistic Director of Dead White Zombies. Riccio works in the area of ritual and indigenous performance, creating performances and conducting research in South Africa, Zambia, Kenya, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Russia, Alaska, Korea, India, Nepal, with the !Xuu Bushmen and the Miao of China. The Republic of Sakha (Siberia) declared him a “Cultural Hero.” Published internationally, most notably by TDR. Since 2005 he has worked with Hanson Robotics as Lead Character writer and Creative Director.

Animism In a Living Universe.   Guest:Christine VanPool, Anthropologist, University of Missouri
What is animism? Broadly defined, animism is the belief that everything has a spirit: trees, birds, rainstorms, rocks. Animism encompasses the beliefs that all elements of the material world have life. It is a foundational aspect of the sacred traditions of indigenous peoples worldwide. Most of the world is made up of an­i­mists. Al­most all of Af­ri­ca, South­east Asia, ru­ral China, Ti­bet, Ja­pan, ru­ral Central and South America, indig­e­nous Pa­cif­ic Islands–pret­ty much ev­ery­where embraces an­i­mis­tic be­liefs–ex­cept West­ern Eu­rope, the Middle East, and North America.

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.

Call of the Wild: The Human-Animal Bond throughout Time.
Guest: James Tyrrell, Safari Ranger/Photographer/Blogger, Londolozi Game Reserve, Skukuza, South Africa
We once lived among the wild animals, knew their stories and habits, enjoyed a respectful and perhaps mystical relationship with them. Africa’s Safari rangers, guides and trackers are those now who know them best. What might a close up look and stories of encounters with these beautiful beings stir up from our ancestral memory banks? James Tyrrell has stunning photos and fascinating stories to share of living among South Africa’s wild lions, leopards, elephants, white rhinos, hyenas, hippos and more. (Note that lions, rhinos, elephants and camels once roamed North America, too)
James earned an honors degree in Zoology, snowboarded and climbed Colorado’s mountains, surfed Australian and Indonesian waters, and wandered across Africa, his home country, before settling down at the Game Reserve Londolozi, Zulu for “Protector of all living things” in the heart of the Sabi Sand Game Reserve within the Greater Kruger National Park. If an African Safari is on your bucket list, consider this a preview visit, and chance to appreciate our fellow members of the Web of Life.

Voices in Balance – Authentic Communication… Inspiration by Shakespeare
Guest: Ellie Nichols. 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?”

And there are those who say the work of Shakespeare speaks of shamanism. Shakespeare is a visionary artist who utilized the pageantry of theatre to offer a glimpse into the unconscious. The American writer and mythologist Joseph Campbell, believed that artists have taken up the role of the shaman. Both art and shamanism use the realm of metaphor where feeling is expressed and where healing happens.

Ecstatic Trance / ASC connection to Past Shamanic Cultures.
Guest: Christine VanPool – Professor Anthropology University of Missouri
Comparing the current experience of Ecstatic Trance – ASC (Altered States of Consciousness) with that of ancient shamanic cultures. Shamanism, an ancient spiritual practice of indigenous cultures throughout the world, has been used for physical, psychological, and spiritual healing since the Paleolithic era. We will look at its universality in ancient civilizations and the connection to the increasing popularity and acceptance in the present day. Assisting us in putting into perspective the direct experience of ASC visions, emotional healing and spirit journeys in our Ecstatic Trance Posture Experiences.

Acoustical Experiment in a Templar Chapel: Activating Sacred Sites.  Guest: David Elkington.
Exploring the acoustic connections between the Earth, the human brain, and sacred spaces, David shows how humanity maintained a direct line of communication with Mother Earth and the Divine through the construction of sacred sites. We’ll revisit the St Catherine’s Chapel Cymatics Experiment that we participated in with David, and go deeper into his research of how ancient cultures the world over knowingly, cleverly set up temples to better tune into Earth’s resonance, via the natural tuning of our brain waves. COMPLETE Article on the St Catherine’s Chapel Cymatics Experiment: https://www.cuyamungueinstitute.com/articles-and-news/sacred-soundscape-a-12th-century-chapel-reveals-its-sonic-secrets-and-a-new-theory-of-art/

Trance States in Ancient India. Frederick M. Smith – Professor, Sanskrit & Classical Indian Religions.
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.

Energy Medicine & Trance. Our Ecstatic Trance Posture 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.

Chaco Canyon: Mysteries & Magic with GB Cornucopia and Cherilynn Morrow. 
Guest Speakers GB Cornucopia and Cherilynn Morrow. GB was the Principle Interpretive Ranger at Chaco Culture National Historic Park for 33 years. Cherilynn Morrow is an astronomer, solar astrophysicist, and former NASA Educator.

Between them, they have put in 50+ years studying the message writ into the design and placement of Chacoan’s structures. With a beautifully illustrated slide-show they present an overview, the advanced stonework, and Solstice and Equinox alignments and well as research into the special acoustical properties of one section of canyon wall. Here we find additional relational alignments perhaps denoting use as a ceremonial space, at the ‘center of the center’. Though this culture did not leave a written record, there are clues to a sophisticated, elegant, and far-reaching cosmology in what they left behind. Naked eye astronomy and the view of the night sky at the few remaining dark-sky locations help us understand the importance of the cosmos to ancient peoples worldwide.

Not yet had the chance to visit New Mexico’s Chaco Canyon? They recommend these two videos. Both offer stunning visuals and a good introduction and overview to this extraordinary site.

“Exploring Chaco Canyon: Mysterious Ancient Site and the Archaeological Wonder of the USA”
A young man and his cell phone delivers a fast-paced and engaging overview of Chaco Canyon (42 mins) https://youtu.be/kpG2wqCMii4

“The Mystery of Chaco Canyon” narrated by Robert Redford. Featuring Native voices, aerial photography, archaeoastronomy and the Sun Dagger. (55 mins) https://youtu.be/IqZwxSu7_tQ

Anthropology & Trance States. Christine VanPool, Professor of Anthropology.  Christine VanPool, Anthropological Archeologist, on the contributions to the field made by Anthropologist Felicitas D. Goodman, founder of the Cuyamungue Institute, and what new insights today’s advances in the field may shed on this work. This Cuyamungue Institute Q&A / Lecture Series with special guest Dr. Van Pool, Professor of Archeology at the University of Missouri, was recorded via Zoom on 09/06/2020. For the entire list of our YouTube and Podcasts visit https://www.cuyamungueinstitute.com/media/

Where Science & Spirituality Meet. Steven Hecht, philosopher joins Sister Margaret O’Rourke, Catholic Nun and a few scientist/mystics to explore the meeting point of science and spirituality. Why having a personal relationship with a higher power need not limit our conceptualization, and how direct personal experience can inform us. Science finds organizing principles underlying universal laws of physics and life, is this a glimpse of a Creator’s handiwork? This Cuyamungue Institute Q&A and Lecture Series was presented via Zoom on 10/04/2020. For more: www.cuyamungueinstitute.com/media and for the extensive list of books and film mentioned: https://www.cuyamungueinstitute.com/articles-and-news/the-case-for-a-creator-reading-list/

Illustrated Tour of A New Story for the Universe. Brian Tucker takes us on a mythopoetic and beautifully illustrated journey of new findings in science prompting an exciting rethink of our place in the Universe, encompassing the underlying patterns of the Universe that evolves with us in exciting new ways. This Cuyamungue Institute Q&A and Lecture Series with special guest Brian Tucker was presented via Zoom on 08/16/2020. For more visit www.cuyamungueinstitute.com/media

Anthropology & Trance States 
Christine Van Pool, 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 anthropological archeologist 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. https://www.cuyamungueinstitute.com/media/

Illustrated Tour of A New Story for the Universe. Brian Tucker takes us on a mythopoetic and beautifully illustrated journey of the new findings in science that demand an exciting new rethink of our place in the Universe.

Solstice Aligments: Tony Hull. Adjunct Professor of Physics and Astronomy at the University of New Mexico. Tony is our featured speaker for this hour in our on-going educational sessions. Enjoy Tony’s lecture, with slides, on the Solstices, the importance to ancient cultures, and the profound yet simple tools our ancestors used to align ceremonial sites to the heavens. Tony will show you how you can build our own Solstice Marker of any size, with a few simple items found easily around the house or your backyard.

SIX MINUTE Introduction to the work of Dr. Felicitas D. Goodman and the Cuyamungue Institute. The Cuyamungue Institute is an independent, not-for-profit educational organization committed to transforming consciousness through the ancient wisdom of Ecstatic Trance Postures. The Institute promotes public awareness and teaches the powerful use and effectiveness of these postures throughout the world. The Institute continues to cultivate new avenues of learning, using a prescribed method by which ordinary individuals are able to enter an expanded state of consciousness, and promote the safe use of this method. We are also dedicated to preserving our 472 acres in Santa Fe, New Mexico as a sacred center and worldwide archival and research headquarters.