March 2016

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Letter from the Cuyamungue Institute’s President
by Paul Robear

In this issue, we add to our understanding of altered states of consciousness (ASC) with new research from western science.  Understanding the nature of consciousness has long been our quest, from our long-ago beginnings with direct experience and long cultural traditions of ritual, to today’s modern science applying new tools.  What can these two different approaches learn from each other? Can modern science ever hope to crack open, and fully explain this phenomenon?

Cultures from all over the world have developed different views of nature throughout human history. Rooted in traditional systems of rituals, indigenous people understand and interpret their experience. Experiencing ASC is a normal part of their lives both historically and culturally.

In this issue we look to at current research in Neuroscience, the biology of the mind and the relationship between mind and brain. This article focuses on a recent study in which fifteen experienced shamanic practitioners from Germany and Austria participated in experiments using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). Imaging was captured while the shamanic practitioners listened to drumming, while going into and out of trance states. We thank Gary Boas for his article, “The Neuroscience of Trance”.  While scientist continues to look for ways to document the biological aspect to shamanic journeying, I personal find the language of the ancients a very satisfying explanation for my own ASC experience. Having both modern day science and the wisdom traditions of indigenous peoples together provide a fascinating understanding and validation of the ASC experience.

Also Featured is the is the third in a series of articles about Tribal Paths. “Path of the Sacred Shaman”  by Peggy Andreas is a insightful look at how our physical body is the foundation for the growth of Spirit in our lives.

….. Scroll down for links to articles

Our workshop season is fast approaching starting with the summer solstice “Initiatory Training.”   Take a look at our full schedule of workshops and find the right one for you. For our 38-year history we’ve been nurturing this deeper understanding how we achieve a physiologically based, innate and natural shift of consciousness through Ritual Posture. This research is at the foundation of the Cuyamungue Institute. Our experience continues to confirm this profound area of transforming consciousness through the safe, effective technique of Ritual Postures. We invite you to join us for a workshop at Cuyamungue in 2016!

As always, I’d like to hear about your experiences. We continue to collect stories from both beginners and advanced practitioners. From time to time we share them here in this newsletter and on our website . Email us with your experiences at  More questions? Get in touch with me.


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

The Neuroscience Of Trance
by Gary Boas

Trance states. Spirit worlds. Inner journeys—often accompanied by immersive drumming—leading to deep knowledge, clarity and insights.

Shamanic rituals involving each of these have been with us for millennia. They are among the oldest and most widespread forms of healing known to humanity, cutting across cultures and spreading to the four corners of the Earth.

This universality suggests a biological basis for achieving a trance state. But for all the history of shamanism, for all its significance to the human experience, we actually know very little about the neural underpinnings of altered consciousness in the trance state.

Now, in collaboration with researchers from the Max Planck Institute and elsewhere, investigators with the MGH Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging have for the first time explored this phenomenon. ———–> Full Article

Path of the Sacred Shaman
by Peggy Andreas

This is the third in a series of articles about Tribal Paths. The first is Path of the Sacred Warrior and the second is Path of the Sacred Clown. Both were recently published in this newsletter.

The Path of the Sacred Warrior heals the Spirit. The Path of the Sacred Clown heals the Soul. And the Path of the Shaman heals the Body. The Body? Haven’t most of us been conditioned to believe that the Body is somehow inferior to the Spirit, to the Soul?

America’s Elders—the Native Americans—have always taught that the Body, our personal connection of substance and spirit, is sacred.A Shaman’s Path begins with her/his own Body and involves the generation, control, storage, channeling, exchange, and release of energy. Principles recently “discovered” by modern scientists have been known to Shamans since ancient times. ————–> Full Article

2016 Workshops, Events and Training at Cuyamungue:

Each workshop contains a specifically designed series of ritual postures to provide the context for a journey of self-discovery. We go deep within utilizing the Cuyamungue Method – which includes a established ritual journey method. Introductory workshops are are prerequisites for advanced classes.

Here is the workshops and events for 2016 at the Cuyamungue Institute, so you can get the jump-start on making your plans to join us this season. future. Feel free to ask questions.

April 23rd – 29th – Volunteer Week at CIIf interested, ask us for details
April 30th / May 1stMaypole Celebration
May 26 – 29 – Board of Directors Meeting
June 17th – 21stInitiatory Training
July 27th – 31stInitiatory Training
August 3 – 7 Initiatory TrainingAdvanced Course
August 16 – 21 Instructor Training – Contact us
August 23 – 28 Men’s Conclave Contact us
September 21st – 25th – Masked Trance Dance – Contact us

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We Need your Support!

The Cuyamungue Institute, like many non-profit organizations, has limited resources. We are proud of the scope of work we have already accomplished. However, there is much more to do, and we depend upon your support. We always use our all resources with great care. Our focus and key priority to continue to ensure the financial stability of CI for the future.

There are several ways to participate:

  • Attend workshops at the Institute – Bless yourself and the Institute! Workshop fees directly support the land and buildings.
  • Be a Volunteer – Ask about existing, on-going projects you can help with. Or suggest projects that you can work on, fund, or both!
  • 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. Also ask us how we can bring our work to your company!
  • Planned Giving – Including the Cuyamungue Institute in your estate plans can help you accomplish a charitable goal while realizing potential significant tax savings and supporting the future of the Cuyamungue Institute. More Information

Please consider making a donation by clicking here. Ongoing research and new applications of this work with Ritual Postures is only possible because of donations made by people like you. Laura Lee, our Director of Outreach and Development, is available to answer your questions and to provide more information. Contact her at

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

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. Not already subscribed? Subscribe Here.

Email me directly at .

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

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