April 2014

Letter from the President – April 2014

by Paul Robear
Why are we so fascinated by cave paintings?  I believe they are one of the most direct ways of touching our ancestors. Cave paintings document a transitional moment in human evolution when we began using symbols and images to represent our experiences and record cultural knowledge and activities.

Among the most famous of the art found in the painted Paleolithic caves of France is the Shaman of Trois Freres (pictured at left). With its bearded face of an old man and various animal parts, it dances across the cave wall, and across time, revealing the costume, activities and the first representation of the Shaman.

Cave art also reflects methods shamans use to achieve altered states of consciousness,  the experiences of trance with visions, geometric shapes, and spirit animals and beings. It makes sense that these images depicted on cave walls are the perfect setting for a journey to the spirit world.

I am thankful the Cuyamungue Method gives us access to share that experience with the ancient ancestors. Art and Spirit is CI’s new forum to celebrate and continue this deep and long-standing intersection of art and our spiritual practices.


Paul Robear
President / Executive Director

We are happy to share the following news and articles.

In this issue:

  • Excerpt: Original Research into the Ritual Posture Effects on the Physiology by Felicitas D. Goodman Ph.D.
  • Article: The Religious Trance: Difference in Approach East vs. West by Jitka Cirklová Ph.D.
  • Article: Artists & Spirit Series – Working with Collage by Belinda Gore Ph.D.
  • Article: Artists & Spirit Series – Warrior Medusa by Ileen Root Ph.D.
  • Article:  A Shamanic Community’s Response to the Tragic Landslide in Washington State
  • Article: Earthquakes in Chile – Message from Our Extended Family by Belinda Gore
  • Workshops and Events: Note updates, additions, and changes to our Schedule.

SCROLL DOWN for Articles and Links

Original Research into the Ritual Posture Effects on the Physiology by Felicitas D. Goodman Ph.D.
NOTE: The following is the original research into the physiological effects during the practice of ritual postures.   Here is an excerpt from  ”Where the Spirits Ride the Wind” by Dr. Felicitas Goodman, the founder of the Cuyamungue Institute.

I did follow up on my early interest in exactly what happens in the body during the religious trance. The first opportunity for doing the medical research needed arose in 1983, at the Department of Psychiatric Neurophysiology at the Psychiatric Clinic and Pol­i-clinic of the University of Munich,5 under consultation with the head of the department, Professor Johann Kugler. Working with the most modern equipment, we tested four volunteers during the religious trance. The findings were the first comprehensive scientifically obtained body of laboratory data anyone had ever discovered about this type of trance. Other researchers, e.g., Neher (1961 and 1962), concentrated exclusively on processes in the brain. Continue to the full article

The Religious Trance: Difference in the Approach of Eastern, Western Societies and in the Academic Perspective by Jitka Cirklová Ph.D. – Charles University / Prague, Czech Republic

The state of trance is commonly understood as some sort of spiritual or mystical experience. The subject of mystical/trance experience viewed by Greek philosopher Plotinus as a strong encounter with something followed by the unification with something. His definition neutralizes the spiritual flavor that accompanies the widespread outlook on the issue of trance. In the same light trance is generally seen by modern psychologists who characterize trance as a form of sleep, or dreamlike awareness or a kind of altered state of consciousness. Trance has long been associated with hypnotic states, addictions, religions and work.  Continue to full article

Artists & Spirit Series – The Artists & Spirit program is an opportunity to explore, expand, and document our ritual posture experience with sketching, painting, sculpting and other visual art mediums. 

Art sits at the center of our work at the Cuyamungue Institute. It is through the artwork of the ancients that Ritual Postures have been preserved and communicated through the centuries. Ritual Postures activate our creative center, and stir the dialogue with the Soul. Taking the the imagery encountered during our spirit journey experiences with the Cuyamungue Method as inspiration for artistic expression is a rewarding exercise on many levels. Artists are finding new layers of meaning in their experiences, as you will hear in their reports. You are invited to submit your art and your story. 

We have two new submissions this month:

Warrior Medusa by Ileen Root Ph.D.
The Cuyamungue Grandmothers had gathered for council, and I was so honored to be welcomed among them for the first time. I also felt honored to be asked by our group coordinator, Sue Birch-Bannister, to lead us in the “Warrior Medusa” posture.

This is a new posture unknown by many in our community. I’d discovered her while researching the “Death Goddess” archetype, noticing that many ancient full body statues of Gorgon Medusa showed her in a very stylized posture, reminiscent of the yoga warrior pose. Continue to full article

Working with Collage by Belinda Gore Ph.D.
Last summer I attended my first SoulCollage workshop at the C.G.Jung Association of Central Ohio.  The method was developed by Seena Frost, a psychotherapist in California, and my workshop facilitators were certified by her.  I found that I did not want to explore archetypes as suggested but preferred to just let my own deeper nature find and cut images from magazines and calendars, then put them together on the 5″x8″ cardboard in whatever way I felt drawn to do.  It was easy to work on three or four cards at the same time, working intuitively instead of with an idea in mind. Continue to full article

A Shamanic Community’s response to the tragic landslide in Washington State by Rick Gossett

On an uneventful Tuesday morning in March, a slab of earth ½ mile wide broke loose and cascaded a wall of mud and debris 40 feet deep, down the slope and into 40 unsuspecting homes of a small rural community called Oso just 20 miles from my home. The slide instantly buried 28 folks – some of whose bodies may never to be recovered.

Indeed because of the suffering and the possible lack of closure the larger community worldwide responded with heartfelt attention and help. Our spiritual community, the Svaha Spirit Lodge, immediately felt the impact in the spirit world and gathered to do Psychopomp work as we have done in the past with other portentous, sudden events. Continue to full article

Earthquakes in Chile by Belinda Gore
There have been earthquakes in northern Chile and our friend Yasmin in Iquique just sent this email saying that there have been two earthquakes and a month of tremors leaving people stressed and panicked. They do not have light or water and now are having problems getting food since there are landslides and huge cracks in the one highway providing access. She says that the experts are telling them that more problems could be expected because all the energy beneath the earth has not yet been released.  Our local group will do postures sending them support and I am writing to ask you to also include them in your rituals and ceremonies. Continue to full article 

We need your support! The Cuyamungue Institute is an independent 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization. Like most non-profit organizations, CI has limited resources. Each one of us can make a difference in our own way; some have the resources to provide financial support, while others have talents which they can share as a committed volunteers. We must always ask the question, “How can I make a difference?” Once we know that answer, we need to act. We are proud of the scope of work we have already accomplished, but this is just the beginning, and there is much more to do! Here’s how you can participate:

  • Be a Volunteer. Ask about existing, on-going projects you can help with. Or suggest projects that you can work on, fund, or both!
  • Attend workshops at the Institute. Bless yourself and CI. Workshop fees directly support maintenance of the land and buildings.
  • Personal Donations. 100% of your donations and gifts go directly to the Institute, and are tax deductible.
  • Corporate Donations. Your company can have a tremendous impact. Ask us how we can bring our work to your visionaries and leaders!

Also consider making a donation by clicking here. Ongoing research and new applications of this work is only possible with donations made by people like you. Laura Lee, our Director of Outreach and Development, is available to answer your questions. Contact her at lauralee@cuyamungueinstitute.com Thanks for reading! Please forward this to your friends and acquaintances who will enjoy learning more about us, and please let me hear from you! I am most happy answer any and all questions about the Institute or the Cuyamungue Method. We welcome all correspondence.

Email me directly at paulrobear@cuyamungueinstitute.com .
Paul Robear
President / Executive Director
Cuyamungue – The Felicitas D. Goodman Institute
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