March 2015

In this issue we continue our program of featuring researchers around the planet who are doing independent investigation into fields of consciousness and trance states.

When we speak of Native American Healing we understand that it includes the ritual methods and practices of hundreds of tribes of North America. It is a combination of spiritual beliefs, rituals, herbal medicine for treating both medical and emotional conditions.  One facet of this practice is the use of sound to induce a trance state. Along with long periods of dancing, most Native Americans us a rhythmic drumming and/or rattles that induce an altered state. Certain types of beats are said to carry special healing powers into the human body and it is believed that a sick person’s psychological and physiological states can be altered by the rhythmic drumbeats and accompanying song.

The Role of Altered States of Consciousness in Native American Healing. Our first article this month comes from Timothy C. Thomason is an Associate Professor in the Department of Educational Psychology at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona.

“Shamanic and Native American healers have utilized methods to produce altered states of consciousness in themselves and their patients for thousands of years. These methods include sonic driving, photic driving, and other means of changing consciousness. Recent research on non-drug methods to produce altered states has revealed that they probably work by changing the brainwaves of the subjects, so that they enter an alpha state and become more susceptible to suggestion. A reasonable conclusion is that since ancient times Native American healers have developed reliable methods to, in effect, hypnotize their patients so they are more susceptible to suggestions that will help them feel better. This puts Native American healing for psychological disorders on a continuum with modern psychotherapy”

My desire is to provide research that adds a greater context for Dr. Goodman’s finding that, when performed in conjunction with the proper rhythmic percussive sound, such as a rattle or drum, each ritual posture leads into an alternate reality, an expanded field of consciousness.

Jaguar Spirit. Also this issue features an excellent example of a sculpture representing the visionary experience of transforming into one’s animal self during ritual trance states. This early Mayan incense burner “Sun God – Jaguar Spirit of the Underworld” is from the Michael C. Carlos Museum at Emory University.

Remembering Dr. Felicitas D. Goodman (January 30, 1914–March 30, 2005). Belinda Gore reminded me that it was this month, ten years ago Felicitas passed away at age 91. Those of us that had the gift of spending time with her will not forget her delight at sharing this knowledge. She was a pioneer and an inspiration for me and so many of us. Felicitas lived her life to the fullest. She had a gift for communicating and sharing her keen intellect and far reaching vision.  Thank you Felicitas!

Have questions or comments or research of your own to share? Reach me directly at We welcome all correspondence.


Paul Robear
President / Executive Director
Cuyamungue: The Felicitas D. Goodman Institute

I am happy to share the following news and articles.

In this issue:

  • Article: Altered States in Native American Healing by Timothy C. Thomason
  • Article: Sun God – Jaguar Spirit of the UnderworldMichael C. Carlos Museum
  • Article: Artists & Spirit Series – Bird Man of Veracruz Posture by Mark Gilliland
  • Workshops and Events at the Institute.

SCROLL DOWN for Articles and Links


The Role of Altered States of Consciousness in Native American Healing
by Timothy C. Thomason

Traditional Native American Healing Traditional healing in tribal societies is often described as shamanism, which is a family of traditions whose practitioners voluntarily enter altered states of consciousness to interact with spiritual entities to heal people who are ill or distressed (Eliade, 1964). Shamanism may be 25,000 years old (Walsh, 1990), and “fully 90% of the world’s cultures make use of one or more institutionalized altered states of consciousness, and in traditional societies these are, almost without exception, sacred states” (Walsh, 1996, p. 101). Practices that induce altered states of consciousness are often considered spiritual healing practices, since they are based on spiritual and supernatural beliefs in tribal societies. However, they can also be seen as psychological healing practices, or even psychotherapies in some cases…   ———————> Complete Article

Sun God – Jaguar Spirit of the Underworld
Michael C. Carlos Museum, Emory University

Ancient American peoples almost universally believed in the existence of an “animal spirit companion” for every human being. Shamanic spirituality includes the visionary experience of transforming into one’s animal self during ritual trance states.

This belief in the equivalence of human and animal is portrayed with unusual literalness in this early Maya ceramic incense burner. On one side of the lid is an elderly Sun God in human form and on the other a jaguar, representing the Jaguar God of the Underworld.  —————-> Complete 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.

Bird Man of Veracruz by Mark Gilliland

2015 Upcoming Workshops, Events and Training at Cuyamungue:

June 17th – 21st – Initiatory Training
……………………………………..Phase I – introductory course.

July 2nd – 5th  Trance and Travel To New Mexico

July 19th Cuyamungue Explorers Club

July 22nd – July 26th, 2015 – Initiatory Training
………………………….………….Phase II – advanced course.

August 11 – August 16, 2015: Instructor Training

August 18 – August 23, 2015: Masked Trance Dance

August 25 – August 31, 2015: Research Journey to New Mexico

How to Submit an Article: As part of expanding our Cuyamungue Institute community, you are invited and encouraged to participate. Share how you use the Cuyamungue Method in your chosen field. We are also open to other topics, with the emphasis on the posture work, and research and or experience. More information

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:

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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 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 .


Paul Robear

President / Executive Director

Cuyamungue – The Felicitas D. Goodman Institute

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