Christine VanPool, Professor of Anthropology at University of Missouri, talks about her career and deep dive into the shamanic cultures of Mesoamerica, and the breakthrough contributions of Cuyamungue Institute’s founder, cultural anthropologist Dr Felicitas Goodman.
Welcome to the Cuyamungue Institutes Q&A, Conversation4Exploration we are your h osts L aura L ee and Paul, Robear
Hello, and welcome to the Cuyamungue Institute and our Q&A conversation for exploration series. I'm Paul Robear, the executive director and president of the Institute. And along with my wife, Laura Lee, the director of research, education, and outreach, we want to thank you for joining us today. In case you're not that familiar with the Cuyamungue Institute and who we are, Let me share with you a little bit about our mission. The Cuyamungue Institute is an independent nonprofit organization committed to expanding consciousness through the ancient practice of ecstatic trans postures. Our mission at the Institute is to introduce, sustain, and support the practice and research a trance States, which we believe will widely used and enjoyed by indigenous ancestors worldwide. It was the insightful work of anthropologist , Dr. Felicitas Goodman, the founder of this Institute who found the clues and revived the practice. She searched for the oldest evidence available, which she discovered in the world's collection of prehistory and indigenous art and decoded selected artifacts as ritual instructions. And as part of our mission of the Institute, it's to expand our own experiential research with a multidisciplinary understanding that's available to us today, Dr. Goodman provided a roadmap of how someone with an academic approach can delve into the world of direct experience. As an educational Institute, we recognize that the thrive, we must take an open approach. So we invite scholars of parallel research and related fields to help broaden the scope of our own work and exploration on the Sunday sessions. For the last many months, we've included a full spectrum of topics, including neuroscience, mysticism, trans States, anthropology, art history, archeology , uh , Archeo astronomy, shamanism, wisdom, traditions, and mythology, and much, much more. And of course the many aspects of our own work from the origin story to the indicators of being deep in trance and how this whole activity works to now 50 years later, where we're going and how we're growing. And we invite you to visit our website to find YouTube and podcasts recordings of this growing selection of past talks on today's talk. We have a one-on-one conversation with Laura Lee interviewing Dr. Christine VanPool, Professor of Anthropology from the University of Missouri. They're going to be looking at the of shamanism, Altered States of consciousness and the contributions of the founder of the Cuyamungue Institute, Dr. Felicitas Goodman .
Thank you, Laura, for having me ,
Um, as an anthropological archeologist, take us back to the origin point of your career when you first decided, ah , this is the field that I want to dive into. And then why of all the many flavors of archeology , the anthropological and a global call to you.
Let me back up just a little bit. I was raised in Ruidoso, New Mexico and in the 1970s, when I was an elementary school , um, there are a lot of different cultures, different people in the town. I grew up in a lot of Hispanic population, had a patchy children going to school. And I was just kind of looking around and watching . I also love being an outdoors. That was something really important to me as a young person. And so my father and mom, I don't know, I joke they let us be feral . My sister and I, we were allowed to run the mountains. And my dad from a very young age taught me how to climb trees. He told me if you're tired or stress , just hang out in a tree, just, just always have that as your safety. So I learned from a young age to climb trees and think and contemplate and trees. So I knew I loved the outdoors a lot. My senior year in high school , uh, the school offered a class in anthropology, which was really unusual in 1986. And so I took this degree in anthropology. I thought, wow, anthropology is really fascinating. I love the four sub fields. So it's biological anthropology, cultural anthropology, archeology, and linguistics. Now my high school class was geared more toward , um, biological and cultural anthropology, but I never planned on going to college. It wasn't something on my radar. Um, actually I was learning to Sable growing up. I have death in my left ear and lots of speech problems cause of hearing loss anyway. So no college on my horizon. Um, I'm working for my father. I'm doing all kinds of various jobs in Ruidoso and my best friend says, let's go to college. I'm like, I'm not going to college. No, come on. And a friend of the family overhears and says, you probably will qualify for a Pell grant. Why don't you go to college, at least fill out the paperwork. So I was like, okay, fine. So I filed the paperwork with my family friend. His name is Roy C . We fill out the paperwork. And sometimes later I get this Pell grant to go to Eastern New Mexico university. And I thought, Whoa, I guess since I've got this money to go out to go to college. So my dad in his wisdom says, you need to be a business major so you can make some money and have a great career. And I'm like, okay, another thing that happened. And I know we don't talk about things now in modern politics, but it's just who I am. I was touring Eastern New Mexico university and they had an Roe , R O T N C AA rifle team. And I was kind of interesting in doing that. And I ended up being on the rifle team and it paid my tuition and room and board. So also I have my college paid for by a rifle team. Plus my Pell grant, which was work study on the rifle team. It was a no brainer. I was getting paid to go to college and I thought this is a gift. So every semester I thought with one more semester, I'll go one more semester. I'll go. Well, I started off at business. I got great grades, but I hated it. It was not where my heart was. And I was looking around and there were several people on the rifle team that I knew and one was Todd van pool and another couple of guys and they were all anthropology majors. And I thought, wow, that sounds really cool. And it's already knew by anthropology . So I went and call , I went over to the anthropology department or professor. He said , um, what are you interested in? I said, I think archeology of all the anthropology archeology sounds really great because I love being outside. I love playing in the dirt. I've always been in bud or in trees. I'm either in the earth, aren't up in a tree. I thought that's perfect for me. And he said, women really shouldn't be archeologists. And I'm like, what? And he goes, you can't have your blow dryer. Your crown iron are your makeup in the field. It's not a job for women. I said, Hey, that sounds great. Let's go. And um, I took a very advanced archeology class with this professor. I think he set it up for me to fail, but I looked at the sky. I knew from Eastern New Mexico university rifle team, Todd van pool. And I said, you're going to help me study. Right. And he says , uh , okay. So we set up a study guide. So we started studying together fast forward. We will end up dating and then we'll get married. And we've been married 28 years. So that all started my first. Love's always been anthropology, the four sub fields. So anthropologists study of humans, I find humans fascinating and all of our many facets , many flavors , um, I just chose archeology to be outside. So I did contract archeology after my four year degree. And one day my boss, David Phillips just looked at me and he goes pickers . That's what you call me, Pecos Pecos. You're a top of the field that you can be with a bachelors . You got to go back and get a master's and I'm like a masters . Okay. So I talked, my husband was already in grad school for PhD. He knew he wanted to do a PhD. Me not so much. I just want to be in the dirt. So I wouldn't talk to his advisor. Bob Leonard and Bob linner says UNM, university of New Mexico tends not to accept just masters. Only students. We really like PhD students. And I was like, okay. So just say, you're going to do a PhD and just get your master's on the way. And then you can just go about your life. I'm like , okay. So I put in a proposal, I applied to grad school, long story short, I get in grad school. And then I fall into my dissertation research. And so , um, there was beautiful pottery in Chihuahua and into Southern New Mexico. So Chihuahua in Mexico, up into the United States border lands, I'm in Arizona, Chihuahua and Sonora and this beautiful pottery Nita , some would look at the iconography and I kept having people say, why are you looking at the iconography? I'm like, okay. So I go home and I'm already friends with David Phillips who told me I needed to go to grad school and I'd come home with a report. How much I love this pottery? I think I should study it . People are suggesting I shouldn't go, Oh, I started a project on that. And he hands me a box full of photographs of Casa scrotus polychrome from the Smithsonian and the museum of New Mexico and said, here are some of my notes. Good, go run with it. So I get this gift. And so I started, so I'm doing my dissertation research and unfortunately my mom's in the hospital cancer. So I have a lot of time to think while she's in the hospital. I don't know. I just kind of had this moment of clarity that something I saw on the effigies look like shamans. And I don't even know exactly how I came up with that in my head. But then I go running to my advisor as fast as I can. And his name is Garth Bodden . And I was like, Garth, I think I have Shawn's on my pottery. He goes, yeah, I think you probably do. But you have to stick to your original dissertation project. You can only write one chapter on shamans . You can write an entire book on shamans , but in the meantime, go and learn about Peruvian. Shawm is what they do. So I took his reading lists on Peruvian shamanism. And the more I read about pervious shamanism, the more the pottery looks shamonic to me. And the more that it explained it, and the more I learned about the pottery, the more the shamanism made sense. I worked back and forth. I finished my dissertation and um, about 2001, I had one or two chapters left, but then I got pregnant and had my oldest child. And it was a race between the baby coming, are the dissertation coming, the baby one. But then shortly after my son was born, I finished my dissertation. So then Todd and I, and Bazell my oldest. We moved to Missouri. Todd gets a one year temporary job in Missouri at the university of Missouri. So I stop and I pause and I don't have a job and I have a toddler at this time. So I sit down and write the book signs of the cost score on Sharman . So I finally got around to writing the book. Oh , we were so poor, but that's okay. Um, I wrote that book and I kept getting drawn back into shamanism and I, I love ethnographies. I love personal accounts. So I kept reading and reading. And you would think after writing a book, I'd be done, but no, instead I've just kept absorbing. And then I decided it was time to teach a class at Mizzou called the anthropology of shamanism. And it's mostly a cultural class. So I've been on the path of shamanism studies for almost well over 20 years now
On step one door open to go through that door. The next door opened and just the sequence of events that call to the friend who , who , uh , teaches to hear journey, right? The hero journey in, in your own life, you were the hero of your own journey. And she says , sometimes you have to look back and realize that there's something larger that has covered writing your story with you. I think you sent us the , I do in your story. So how did you end up here with us? And , uh, w how did you find,
Oh, that's a fun story too. I do believe that there is higher power and things that guide us, even when I kind of put down my fuel sometime , and I've been many time , like no more shamanism, I've done enough, let's stop, but then it keeps seeping in. So a couple of things that happen was with shamanism. We learn about a lot about spirits that , um , some definitions of ShawMan is there the mouthpiece of spirits as one definition. And it's not one that I normally use in my writings, but something else I was teaching class. I learned. So Roy, my youngest child in about 2014, it's really hot in Missouri. And it's hot and sticky here. I do better in dry heat. I'm like , I'm used to dry heat as a desert rat from New Mexico, but we go into the TV room and M are watching , um, a show from the animal planet with animals, sensing spirits. And as we're unfolding in the summer, we'd go. And during the heat of the day, then we'd go back outside. But during the heat of the day, Roy and I would watch these shows about animals , perceptions of spirits, but also people perceiving spirits. And he would ask these questions like mom, how come the house wants to hurt that person? How is the house a part of it? And I said , well, and other cultures, people think a house is a sentient being and it's alive. And it has to be cared for just like you would your grandpa or your grandma. And this is a very common issue. So the more I talk with, be with Roy, then my oldest son was very much in a scientific mode saying, this can't be rule . This is all fake. And I'm saying, well, hold on, buddy. That may be true. It may not. We don't know, but at least let's explore this. So I was sitting there talking to these , um, young men about anthropology and shock , or rather to the anthropology and spirits. And then sometimes a medicine man would show up and do a cleansing for the property or the house. And I'd explain how that works. Cause I was already teaching anthropology of shamanism. And the more we talked, I realized some of these to do a book on spirits because nobody's really doing it the way us anthropology would do this for the public. So I started a book on the anthropology of shamans or souls ghosts, these type of what we in common language called paranormal. Um, as part of that book, I was looking at spirit possession. And so, and so I've been doing shamanism for almost 20 years when I find this book on spirit possession by felicitous Goodman. I'm like, Holy smokes. And I'm reading this piece. How about demons or something like that? How about demons? 1988? I like this is pretty good. And then I'm reading. So I get like all good scientists. I tell my students not to do I go to Google. Right. And I see the Wikipedia page. Oh, I told my students Wikipedia is a great place to go, but look at the links and then find the academic stuff. So up comes , uh , the Quia Munga Institute, which I didn't even know existed. So I looked into that and I thought, wow, I should learn more about that. So that's one line getting me to the path of felicitous Goodman. Going back about 10 years ago, line two was, I was really thinking that maybe it was time to try trans States and I kind of explored Michael Harner's , um , Institute. And they had a workshop in St. Louis, but it was a lot of money. I had two young kids. I didn't really feel like I could take the time to go to St . Louis and do training. So I tabled it. I'm still not sure if I'll go that far, but when I saw , um, felicitous Dr. Goodmans , um, among gay , I thought that is a way that I would like to explore trans or a static trans because I do believe, and I've always believed that these ethnography shows , there are lots of ways to have ultra States of consciousness from drumming to rattling just what Felicitas found. Also, Michael Winkelman talks about this a lot and I'd read a lot of Michael Winckelmans were so already understood as much as we can understand. There's so many hypothesis so much, we don't know, but it really does look, and I know I'm preaching to the choir here, but that it looks like the trans States can be reached just with Sonic driving our music. So I was really thrilled to find you guys through her foundation. And as you know, I wanted to do a workshop in Santa Fe with you last summer. So summer 2020. And of course that was canceled because of COVID. Um, so I'm very thankful you guys started doing this on zoom and it's been a wonderful blessing, but that those are two lines. So I already knew I kind of want to do it for my own research purposes, but now also because of souls and spirits. So her work intertwined both of them nicely.
Well, since you brought up the topic , um , let's define a possession trance, and let's define an ecstatic tress from academic terms, from an anthropologist viewpoint. How do you see the difference between the two?
Um, that's a great question. And I would probably have to fall back on Dr. Goodman's discussion. Spirit possession is really interesting. It can be by intentionality. So we have mediums and schamas that set up a ritual and call for the spirits to inhabit them. So you have voluntary spirit possession. You also have influences . Goodman was an expert on this involuntary possession. Well, where people have to have exorcism and these sorts of things to get rid of that, that spirit, spirit, possession of self can also have a static trance . Sometimes the spirits bless ones and give them a really good feeling. And it's a joyful experience. Yeah. And then, so a static trans is more of the pleasant aspect of this. We might call spirit possession is as some ways, it doesn't have to be spirit possession. And that's, again, that's a really problematic thing to find . Some people assume any type of altered States of consciousness are spirit, possession are seeing spirits, or even if you see momentarily a ghost , there are those professionals in anthropology, but also in religious study to say, Oh, Chris saw ghost right here. She must've been an altered States of consciousness. Um, it's not that simple. And I think Phyllis is Goodman. If we were to talk to her, if she was still alive, I suspect you say, yeah, consciousness is so broad and so flowing that you don't have to be in a full-blown trance state to see spirit our , how spirit perception. But if you want to come closer to those experiences, you probably need to go into, into trance. So , um, again, the fine, there's a fine line between just normal transit and the static trans , I guess it would say, do you feel euphoria would be how one might talk about a static trans,
Are you conscious during the trans or not conscious? So, yeah , Casey, that was a possession trance. Um , and he was not conscious during that . You would have to wake up afterwards and then it was spontaneous, almost involuntary. So he allowed it to happen, but it just came on and he called it like a dream state . Um, but he would wake up and go what happened? And they did the conversations. Um, and also it's interesting to me that she points out that there's a protocol between the spirit world and the human world. And they , there are tried and true avenues between the two. So there , and that's what ritual is all about is , um, opening the door, closing the door, allowing the transference, not allowing it. And so in her book, what about demons? She , um, do you want to summarize that from an anthropological, I'd like to hear how you interpret that? Um, she basically said there are ways of dealing with that, that societies have known for time and Memorial to cure , um, that
Right. Absolutely. And one of the things I liked about that is she talks about spirit door or the doorway or the past spear store, but also spirit key show . She talks about there's a door that door to the other realm, but we can have a key. And that key is ritual. And when we do the correct protocol with that key, we unlock or we open that spirit door so that we can have that experience with the other realm. And so in my own classes, that's one of the things that I have a PowerPoint where I outline it with her spirit door and spirit key. One of the things she talks about in that same book that you mentioned, Laura, that I really like is she like , and spirit possession to drive in a car sometimes, you know, your body's your car, you're , you're driving along. You're really conscious. Other times you let another spirit in the driver's seat. Now she also sets it up where you can be fully conscious in the back seat of the car, why spirit drives it , or you might be asleep in the back seat where the spirit striving and that can both be, both can be present with spirit, possession are with trans . So I think that's really telling that she had both phases of that and a 1988 books. So you can be conscious or unconscious. And there are so many different mediums tend to tend to either a lot of mediums today, especially in Brazil, tend to be unconscious of it and then have to be informed what they said, others within, throughout the world are conscious. And again, even in Brazil find really good practitioners are in the backseat , watching it. They know what's happening as the spirit drives their proverbial car, their body. And
In exciting trans we're fully aware we're awake. We are in control, but it's we having a journey in an alternate reality. Um, and that's, that's really so kin to what shamans have all describe , right? How do you see an alternate reality?
And then I go back and add one thing to the, if we were to think about Goodmans , definition of spirit, possession, and spirit control her translate, she sets it up. I thought about this. Um , I think one of the ways we might think about that is it's like, driver's ed, you have the Novelis drive in the car, but you have a coach right beside you. And then that coach has the brakes and are , is controlling. You is almost like for me to static transits , at least when I started, it's like, yeah, kind of in control of my car, but I've got a coach right there and he can hit the brakes if need to be, but I'm still in control. I'm still navigating it. So I think maybe driver's ed model might be a good way of thinking about this static translate . Uh, we do with the Goodman foundation,
Right. And people ask us, why do you never get Stary spirits? Why are the always the healing spirits, the spirits to show you things , um, and , and all of that. How did she manage to close the door to other spirits we've been at ACEP ? And why is it the, is it the door that we dial up? Is it the spirits that we're calling when we're doing the ritual? Um, how do you, how do you perceive that ?
I think with the way that she set up the ritual was before you open that door, you're, you're purifying and cleansing around the door, if you will. So I think that the smudging, the , uh , Monday Institute normally does, I think the smudging there's something about that. We don't understand how that works, but smudging was Sage or even tobacco tends to ward off evil or malicious spirits. Many people believe that so tobacco or why Sage or whatever can be done. Other ways that people do it throughout time as water clear, water, salt, these types of things, but the ritual sets up the cleansing to ward off the malevolent spirits. And then when you put everything into place into the key, and I think the key is, is asking from the spirits for help and guidance. But also then the spirit key is opening. If you will, a clearer , um , cleaner doorway into the spirit role . And then with her practice that you guys do so well, is that after the ritual is closing it down saying, thank you spirits goodbye till next time. Thank you. And I think as also closing it too. And so it's the open-close aspect of, of the ritual that really helps in , I don't know how to test this or how to think about it in my social science realm , but I think some of the ha maybe doing with the time, the time that is allotted, the 15 minutes may also be , um, more conducive to good spirits. Maybe if you stay there a long time, that might , um , cause more malevolent things to come in. Another possibility is that we're not eating or ingesting any type of spirits . So in a tobacco, if you were ingesting it, I mean like fully eating and not smoking it, but something of that nature or potentially payoti or something else are yeah . Mushrooms. When one takes those ethno gins are plant medicines, you don't know exactly what you're going to get, cause it will have its own spirit in us attached spirit . So that may also be a portal for something I'm middle , a little more malevolent to come in. So again, I don't know how you test that, but you know, it could be all these little things. And I think the breathing exercise clearing yourself of the cortisol, the bad things in your being are that's associated with your being, I think is really important. And I think you said this Laura, that, you know, it gets the brain hype to do it, but I'll also kind of lets the daily stress of your life , uh , melt off you. A lot of native Americans go through incredible cleansing ceremonies to ward off and get rid of the bad spirits around them are attached to them before they'll do trans because you don't want to bring in the bad stuff. And I've read more than one time that a lot of shamans are medicine. Man say you got to be in the right space. You gotta be in the right place. If you're not in the right space, the right place, bad things can happen. So I think that goodness set it up so that we're in a better place. And I would also suggest to young people, you know, make sure in a good place don't, don't launch this. If you're under stress or having a lot of bad stuff in your life , um, if you're going to do it, make sure you cleanse it and you pray. Are you fast? Are you think clearly are you release ? Whatever's bothering you before you try to go to the static. Trance would be my recommendation.
And as you said , um, takes a healthy nervous system to do this. What she did was she looked at dozens and dozens of ethnography keys and she was pulling, what do they all have in common steps was set aside as sacred space. So you're cleansing not only yourself, you're cleansing that space and then you expect good things to happen. And so you're setting up intentionality almost like a , a circle around yourself , uh , can happen. And then you're calling the spirits. And the spirits to me are saying to the universe, Hey, you're intelligent, you're loving, you're benevolent. You're conscious you are the creator. Uh , I want to engage on that level. So I think that part of it too , um, and maybe it has to do with the frequency of the drum beat, even it has. I mean, all those cues, people are always talking about in the trance state and you know , I'm a transmitter on the receiver I'm on downloading I'm , um , part of the synergy from the conduit. So maybe we're just styling at a certain frequency.
Absolutely. And that's some of the , uh, Dr. Winckelmans work with neuroscience on is styling it up in the brainwaves and that's Goodman too. She did a lot of work with EGS in Germany. And so that the drama or the rattle out certain beat definitely , um , changes our brainwave patterns. And if you take the idea of the brain being like a television receiver, yeah. Your brainwaves with the rattle are the drum makes that wave at a certain level, a certain speed that we're more likely to perceive things. Um, if you believe in a spirit world, then yeah, you're opening up yourself as a receiver to get information from spirits.
I'm always interested in how we , um, and, and she, she would say, this is what they were doing 40,000 years ago, all over the world, probably further back. This is a time and well-traveled Avenue to the alternate reality. And so it's interesting how often we see , um, either humans and really ancient looking, going animal spirits , um, an ancient landscape. We really see an ancient thing and ancestors show up. And so maybe my thought was maybe this just is a well-traveled pathway right here in this frequency and all of the millennia, all of the various spiritual journeys of all of the ancestors all over the globe have left their infant. There are still accessing that. And so it's, it's not a new path. It's a very ancient path. That's this has been well-traveled and we are just the latest participants in a , in a very long chain. So , um, they're definitely, definitely there. What's so interesting to me is that when you look at ancient cultures and their belief systems, their , the topography that they describe of these realms , um , their own worldview, we tend to partake about too . That is so fascinating. It is fascinating. The lessons that are, that are there and you go, Oh, okay, this has been a well-traveled path. And it's an enduring one and it will last beyond us. Um, so does that give you as a scientist, as an academic confidence that this is a realm that really does exist, that changes maybe what science might say about the nature of reality, which seems to be softening that it's not just made up and a symbolism that has been invented for humanity or pattern recognition gives us some depth and breadth and reality to this. What does it say to you or how you position us because you were in a tougher position than Paul and I are , um, you, you answer to the academic colleagues and realm and, and all of that,
Right. And right now in American science and in American colleges, there's still the thought this bare term real, there's not a spirit world in anthropology is full of a lot of atheists that don't believe in a God. And there are a lot of people that think these older traditions are, if you will, not me, but a lot of people that they're baloney . And so that's really hard call because the, it , I've had a couple of conversations where I've tried to push on some of my peers with spirits, and they're not willing to even begin to entertain that. So it's really a hard thing to say that people are still closed minded to the idea of spirits, of any form. Um, so for me, it is telling, and the , the question we get within science and in the social sciences, because it's something that people may be doing 40,000 years ago, is it just our physiology and our neurology? Um, there are some of my peer peers to say, we have the hyper agency , um, hyper agency. Yeah. Hyper agency, meaning it's better to believe there is a spirit out there when there's really not because it protects us. So the thought is that our , um , ancient humans that you can see out into the forest in you sense there's a cat out there. You could either go into the forest thinking there's a cat and get eaten by the cat. Or you can just go back to camp and be safe. And that people that perceived it and live evolutionarily
Wise, that's why they didn't, you know, why we believe these things is cause us evolutionary. Avid is evolutionarily advantageous to believe in spirits because it keeps you safe. That's one of the old arguments and evolutionary science. I'm not so sure about that. And, but that's what we're, we're facing are these types of principles. That's a really hard question. Um, from, from science, myself, having mystical experiences, all my life, growing up in New Mexico, that there's something there that defies my science and I don't know. And so, yeah, for me, I think that the fact that I can feel like I've turned into a bird or a bear. That's what we're seeing in iconography all over the world. People from the earliest , um, upper paleolithic iconography, we have a, a Birdman , um, it looks like he's doing something with the big bison whose intestines are running out, something was going on and that sort of feeling, and it's a Birdman. That's something that in trance you might feel if you're you're traveling, you feel like you met a more into the Birdman. Um , people tend to do that a lot. They can do it with tobacco quite frequently, or you can do it through this type of static trans postures that among gay does. So to me, that's, it's telling that we can repeat the same scenario , um, is a physiological, is the spirit, is it some hybrid between the two? My more rational person says something between the two, as both our physiology as Goodman. And you guys say is that we are physiologically neurologically in our nervous system designed to trance , and we all can do it now. Why and how that works is, is really curious.
I think what it all means, this is really interesting. Well, so Goodman would say, and I'm going to quote from ecstasy ritual and alternate reality, religion and realistic world, her 1988 book. Um , so she would say that the argument in favor that the alternate reality is real and not just a supernatural or out of our reach is because we do experience it. If it were supernatural, not part of nature, then humans who are also part of nature would be unable to perceive it. So she says, instead, we , um, we will assume that the alternate reality is another part or dimension of reality as a whole, as the cultures previous did that. It's not just a dream state. It's not just a figment of our imagination, not just hallucination because we share such a common ground of experience to that. Why is it so consistently? So in so many cultures through time across the world and described as such or our ability to go there, what do you think of that argument?
I like it, but then I'm a fan of , um , Dr. Goodman. So that makes sense to me. So yeah, it's not a lot I can add to that. Um, at least from her arguments, but I find it, I always am impressed with , um , native practitioners to tell us that our waking eyes are our consciousness blinds us to the real reality. So in many ways, Sean's the medicine, men flip it on their head and that we're kind of blinded in our normal consciousness. We're not seeing everything. And they would say, yeah, we're the ones deluding ourselves. If we don't think it's there. So they really do push us in other ways. So, and we know that there are a lot more than five senses. We know that there's a lot more colors that we can't see. There's lots of stuff that we really are blind to. And who's to say that some of these other energies or other frequencies, aren't something we experienced in trance state as we get our brainwaves slowing down and being able to perceive things different. So that's some of the ways that scientists think about if it's real, then what's going on. Yes.
Even Plato was talking about the cave of shadows. I mean, the state, the shadows for the reality is just , uh , uh , limited , um, to, to that degree. So here's another interesting thought of Goodman. So she would describe glossolalia or speaking in tongues as falling into a trance state during those , uh , types of , of celebrations, religious celebrations, falling into a trance state that temporarily overtook your speech center. And so that you, people who dropped into this trance state, particular trans state would start uttering in a certain cadence and a certain pitch and a certain , uh, the hallmarks of true glossolalia it, which is so recumbent. It wasn't about the words, it's about the cadence of the speech and , and the tonality and , and all of that. Um, so I sort of think of it also as in ecstatic trance state. And I don't know about the full spectrum of trans States cause they haven't done that. I can always speak to this month, but it would appear that it temporarily overtakes a couple of centers, our visual center, so that we're receiving , uh, visuals to process through our visual vision center from some other source. It's not through our eyes, which are closed. And sometimes we hear sounds over the rattles . So would overtake our auditory sense. Cause we're not hearing sounds in the room, we're hearing something else and it would overtake temperature because sometimes we heat up dramatically respiring um, profusely , um, or cold. Sometimes when you feel cold, sometimes that your kinetic sense you can feel wind across your face. Um, so it's generally overtaking these other senses, but you started the set of inner senses as well. So it's flipping on what your energy body vehicle is, is inhabiting to navigate through this alternate reality. So it's really, really , uh , really interesting. I know that you would love to go back to the lab and look at this. What would you hope to see in a laboratory setting? If somebody just said , here's the grant ? What do you want to do?
I would like to look at the bison stations , looking at skin temperature, heart rate, blood pressure. I like to look at brainwaves . I would. I know it sounds crazy, but Goodmans research is based on scientifically speaking, very few numbers. Um, I would like to look at all aspects of that. Another thing I'd like to do if I had the money and , um , a research team that we were all working together, I would like to look at brain scans , um, look at blood flow. What's going on. There's a lot of tantalizing evidence for nuns, monks and other mystics that there's increased blood flow to the frontal lobes. There's something going on the right parietal lobe as well with space and understanding , um, organization with how you get out of the door. That looks like that is lighting up with some nuns and monks. That's an Andrew Newberg, his work. So I'd like to see that our trans States are doing similar things. What's also curious is the mediums that channel and right. So they go and call the ancestors are recently dead person they're channeling that. And then they're doing auto writing. Those areas are not lighting up in scans. And it looks like promote. We consult pharma , some of the EEG where it gets a surface map, something different is going on. There's been some hypothesis by other that the language center should light up because you're doing writing, but it doesn't somehow they're able to write very persuasive, beautiful things, lots of information download, but it looks like the brain is not doing it so yet they're writing, but the brain is not doing to it. And that's really curious too. So we're beginning to see science is beginning to paint a picture, at least with these small numbers of case studies that different trans experiences are , are altered States, cautious , wherever you want to call that is eliciting different brain functions and different blood flow. So I think that if I had the money, I'd want to look at all that. One of the things I'm most curious about is the Paris sympathetic system as well, but also both systems, you know, so what's causing the body sensations and how do we, there must be something with these ritual postures that sends a cue through spirit, our through physiology that makes these slightly different , um, realities, if you will, I don't know what to call it, but there's something going on. So I lost would like to look at if could wire the body as well with the head looking at what's going on with the body to the head and try to figure out and map that out would be really interesting too. I've had times where I feel like there's so much energy going on in my hands. Our last time I was like you Laura, where I felt like energy was flowing through a portal in a ring. I was just so much flow. It really felt like there was real energy buzzing through that thing. Was that just because I'm holding something around and my brain goes, wow, it's frown . It should be a portal. Or was it really a portal? I don't know. So is it , uh , a brain hack or is it a spirit hack or is it something between the two?
Are we just solving boundaries and then somehow energetic field is extremely large plugging your finger into a socket quite often. You know, what's interesting to me also is that some hard , the body often heats up your hands or your feet or your whole body or your torso or one specific spot. It'd be interesting to have sensors just to see if it's a skin thing. Is this is the actual physical parts heating up to some degree. Oh my gosh. Um , Oh yeah. And the energy, the energy aspect of it. Okay. So here's another study that adult quote often, and the conclusion of the study was that , um, not enough data to make a , a call on this, but there was some interesting insights. And this was about gamma rays. So Goodman was involved in a gallery study with Linda bore and they did this at the university of , uh, Ohio, Ohio state university, rather , uh , with an actual nuclear engineer , uh , monitoring the equipment, somebody who really knew this with cameras, they weren't, they weren't emitting using a device to admit galleries . They were just measuring the cameras, which are naturally going through , uh , all of us, our tissue, the, you know, the world randomly. But they, one of the actual was that the group that was most clearly adhering to the actual practice as we practice it. And they knew that they could tell that by your describing your journeys. So if you were projecting or you were doing some other technique, which a couple of them were doing, weren't getting much of a response in this test, the people who were doing the , the protocol , um, w we're getting some interesting results. And they found that in the room that they tested the baseline measure of Cammeray , then they tested people at so many intervals , uh, during the trance process. And then afterwards, the amount of Camry in the room for days after was less that it changed the reading in the room. So there was an effect in the room, and they also compared this to other techniques where they have also found gamery differentials like Reiki , um, they found, and so the thought is what's happening there, that you actually changing the cosmic radiation background and absorbing it, are you opening a portal, is something happening. So people have often thought maybe that accounts for some of the energy, because we were appealing to the universe, that alarm for the free energy for life force, for whatever, is it responding? Can we actually measure a field shift?
Yeah, I would love to see that , um, university of Missouri has a nuclear research reactor here at Mizzou, and I'm involved in boy Scouts of America. I sat in on a nuclear merit badge, and one of the things that they were showing, the young Scouts, both males and females is how certain things like bananas have more radioactive waves coming off of them. Yeah. And so , um, take a Geiger counter and Fiesta orange where , so the real true Fiesta where some of that is really radioactive. You really don't want to be drinking off of it. It's and they'll show the young people in the, in the lab , um, the Geiger counter going off. So we really funny or fun. This is a dual one of our postures with a banana and see if we could decrease the radioactive stuff out of the banana. What happens with the banana? We be able to do a before and after measure of the banana.
Interesting. The same as radioactivity . No .
So I am not a nuclear science and scientists, and I sat on that. So I'd have to do a little bit of research. I'd have to go back in and look at that. But I think that the radioactive waves you can measure with bananas. So, but it feels to work, but I would have to go back and check
Time . You eat a banana. Oh my gosh. So here you are teaching a group of the next generation of archeologists that will go out there. And I kind of wonder what this, each generation that's coming up is going to do to turn over. Maybe some of those artificial barriers that are out there in the field in terms of our entrenched thinking as a society. I wonder because it seems to me, the, the young people coming up are much more open to , uh , new interpretations of the world. They're more akin to having explored alternate reality and , uh, and more versed in that. Um, it seems to me that we're going , uh , approaching a sea change across the board in our society. Um, I think it has a lot to do with women , uh, retaining or reclaiming our rightful place in the world , uh, across the board. Um, I think it has to do with evidence. That's just accumulating, for example, this old idea of it's only the land bridge where humans populated the new world. No, no, no. It's many migrations by see , the evidence is showing so many sites of human occupation prior to where the land bridge , uh , could have answered that. So I wonder where you think archeology is going and what, what will be, what envelope the, the new, the generation that you were teaching that is in your classroom , uh, over your career will be , uh, pushing against and , and breaking up various. They were overcome in their thinking.
That's a really interesting question, and I'm not sure right now where we're going in archeology , there is a move in American archeology that is true. All the archeology in North America, we study is native American and indigenous populations in the new world from at least minimally Clovis time forward. So there's been a big push of not doing archeology, not doing research. The only people that should be digging sites are doing the research should be , um, in tribal people. Um, and so there's been a real slowdown in archeology , at least at the academic level , uh, out of respect for indigenous populations , um , tribal people, but other hand, we have contract archeology and anytime there's federal money or state money available for land grants or big buildings or highway , something like that, archeologists have to go in and do compliance work to make sure that sites are easily able to be protected, are avoided or done correctly. So there's a lot that goes on with that type of research. Right now that's entrenched in a scientific archeology and that's good. It collects data, it consults with tribal people. There's a middle road to do that. So right now practicing archeology is kind of at that at the federal and state level for compliance work, theoretically, we're in a little bit of a stagnant time. If you will, we have some theoretical music, but very few archeologists right now are pushing that, that envelope. There are some , uh, Chris Carr out of Arizona state university. He's retired now, but he's been pushing , um , native American beliefs with animism animistic style thought as I have been doing. So I don't know how many grad students will come with me and push that envelope our with Dr. Carr , but we have some people pushing that, but right now it's , um, we're also in COVID. So COVID for public institutions like Mizzou, we can go out and do research. So right now we're in a really weird moment if you will, that I see just kind of, we're on pause. We're on pause for COVID we're on pause theoretically, because of native issues. So right now it's almost like we're on pause. So I'm excited what the future's going to hold. I also think that many of my peers and other countries are also looking at the Americas and looking at indigenous populations, looking at some of our ethnographies because they realized there's a deep humanity that, you know , humanity across the globe, probably 30,000 years ago, we're kind of doing similar things. And during the pale Indian occupation , um, paleo Indians probably poor doing things similar to those in Europe. Um, this was Sonya and has an excellent video on a man and a woman, maybe a teenager from horns shelter in Texas. And this guy looks like his bone structure Paleoindian has really thick arm buildup and has interesting tools with them. And they're think he's a drummer. They think he's a showman and they link this to all worldwide practices. And so we think that there were sham is during that 13,000 to 10,000 years ago, when we can start to see some of the stuff they're doing and what is rhythmic drumming. So I think, again, we're looking at across humanity that this ancient humanistic way of understanding your role in interacting with it is through percussion drumming and probably rattles as well.
Well, good and insight . So many benefits and in our community doing the ecstatic trans postures that , uh, she pulled out from history, revive, this technique find so many benefits of doing this, that why wouldn't humans start to do this? She says, see deprived . And so you're not going to live a full life until you are open to these other realms. It makes it richer, more beautiful, more vibrant, more meaningful , um, ecstatic. We should all be experiencing the ecstatic, joy and union with the , with each other and the universe. Um, so my gosh, I always say it's like the Sherlock Holmes novels. The means the motive, the opportunity you can look at that. Doesn't take a lot of instruments to, to , uh, produce the Sonic driving , um, the motives. Oh yeah. Um, are there any opportunity? My gosh, you've had many thousands and thousands of years. Um, what is the most important lesson that you want to impart to your students? What do you want them? What firearm are you trying to light , uh, within them? Or did they come with a fire and a passion and you just want to fan the flames? And I felt the , my,
I hope they come with their own passions and their own desires. And I'd like to, if you will flame them, but mostly most of all, I want them to , to learn how to be free thinkers. I want them to take in data, think about things critically, come up with their own informed opinion and think on their own. I am concerned in academia and the world in general. I don't want to feed them anything. I'm really cautious. I want again, I just want to learn how to do research, learn how to think and be open to understanding the other, if it's native American religion, or if it's , uh , you know, even Solutrean or something like that, you know, they need to take in the data, think about it and come up with their own informed opinions. And I always tell them , don't trust me, don't trust the guy next door in the next classroom, learn to learn and trust yourself, not, not others. Um, there is a trend in American education right now. I have a lot of young people that want one answer and want the answer, and they're looking for the thing. And I'm like, sorry, that's not me. Um, I don't really subscribe to any one thing. I just try to present as many sides of a problem, our fastest. So when I talk about shamanism, I talk about the debates, the scientific debates, and all the issues, understanding shamanism to the more humanistic aspects and what the shamans are saying. And I don't really try to give them my opinion. Now , when they ask me, I'll give them my opinion by try that, let them come to their own understanding and interpretation, which is a dangerous thing, because sometimes people say she didn't give us a full answer. I'm like, yeah, I gave you three different answers to that question.
Exactly. And I think that's really important. That's just my take is that they be free thinkers.
You mentioned Solutrean. So that's the culture of friends that were making close points.
Well, they're making their own points about 30,000 years ago, and then close is 13,000. So there's a big time gap and a big space gap. But yeah. And so, yeah, I don't know what to do with that, cause there's a big time-space gap. So there's some people that think they're related other people that don't, that's a great debate in archeology right now.
It's been a tradition coming forward through time, the way to make these really big blades with kind of the megafauna.
Yeah. Yeah. And that's a , that's an open debate for sure. One of the things that we have in America that we don't see a solution is the fluting and that's where you drive a flake off the bottom of that point to probably go into a shaft. And I say probably because, you know, these are hypotheses, but we've had a few show up in rock shelters. We're pretty sure how they were hafted. So yeah, those, those are fluted and put in the solutions are not fluted like the Clovis stuff, different technology, a different way of the weapons system. Now that's my husband's a specialty. He does lithic analysis. His dissertation was on weapons systems. And so we went and measured a whole bunch of projectile points from Arizona.
And so , uh, and I guess this brings up the question, how much do we read in the culture by the artifacts that they loved on us? Would it , that's your job? What do you think? What are the challenges involved in that ?
I think from a scientific perspective, yeah. We can really start to understand weapons systems, how they're used, how much force goes behind the analog dart . What, how accurate they are. Slice is really pretty good at that, that stuff. And one of the things I love every year, my husband and I, and RTAs and Mizzou , we're always dragging our students out onto our quad. We have to get special permission from Jesse Hall , but every year we take students out and they're throwing out loud, dark . So the they're called Doris, the things you throw out loud darks . And we , um, we do it in my students, love that. They love that. And a lot of them end up taking up at a lot of throwing as a hobby. And there's an out a lot of world association and they have all kinds of meats and throne . Tom, are your members now? Um , we don't do any competition. My back won't allow me to do competition anymore, but it is the most amazing thing. And we can sense how powerful they are and we can understand how maybe they could take down a mammoth or a masters on. So yes. And so, but what we lack or what was harder to say is, you know, what was the religion of the Paleo-Indian people, the religious aspect, those are the things that are really hard to pull from archeology, at least from the journey now, the science, but yeah, there's so much we can do and read , read the past what people like myself and others that are interested in religion and meaning this really through the iconographic or what we might commonly call the arts, the pictures themselves, things we see that we can start to interpret and maybe come to a sense of understanding.
Well , comments I have, which is , um, uh, yeah, thank you for , uh, Darren is a projectile that goes through the year and lands a Spears . Hold on to while you're hooking it up. Mastodon. Yeah . Well, he's got to come in and tell us more about the intricacies of this because I've read , uh, analysis , uh, like in terms of the physics and the ergonomics and the dynamics and the whatever of the model. And they can put a lot of science to it about why it works and why you get so much more strength added and force added and accuracy and distance and all of this to go into. And I'm thinking, wow, well that, wasn't the terms in which some engineer in the paleolithic times, 20,000 years ago described this thing and they were just doing it over , um, trial and error. They were doing it over what really works. Um, and the fact that it popped up all over the world and just sort of points either. It was one common tool from time and Memorial that spread, or they did have to adapting it, but I'm still the point of it is, is that however, you arrive at such a sophisticated, but simple and universally applicable instrument, let's call them scientists credit to our ancestors who figured this out, and it's still standing on their shoulders. We are standing on their accomplishments. I just want to honor them. No , I completely
Agree. And Todd and I, in 2004 provided to Canada to talk about native American archeology and theory. And one of the things that we and our peers were pushing on that yeah. Uh , native Americans from CLA per foreclose time, if you accept pre-Clovis, but definitely for Clovis, these are incredible scientists. They've always been, if you will trial and error putting together what works, what doesn't work. Um, yeah, we call that inductive science and that's really important in all sciences, inductive, ism , you know, day to day, what works, what doesn't work. You keep the good, you throw off the bad . So yeah, incredible science. And there's a whole sub field . If you will, of indigenous science, that is, that's a building thing, but they definitely were incredible, incredibly knowledgeable people that understood the natural environment and were able to harness and use it effectively. And if you don't believe that looking at agriculture, because by 5,000 years ago, all of our major domesticated crops were in play 5,000 years ago. And that's a form of science for sure. Figuring out what you're going to pick and choose and do. And then having corn going from teosinte to a little Highland grass in Mexico to full-blown corn, you know, that's, that's science in the making. Um, we know as scientists today, they altered the phenotype in the genetics. So yeah, we've had genetic modification going on for 5,000 years.
Maybe the first genetic scientists. Absolutely. You're doing it on nature. So I would also say Chris, that, you know, you talked about looking at the artifacts. I really want to just give a nod to Felicitas looking at certain artifacts and saying, Oh, Richland structions , Oh, let's do this. And maybe that one day, my dream is one day the kind of trans experiences that we get that are consistent, that are profound, that are rich with me that , um, Oh, I , uh, when we are assuming these, even back to the earliest earliest 40,000 or so 17,000 years ago, we have fosters based on artwork about old. Why cannot this be added to the database when we are trying to look and piece together, the worldview, if it's true that these ancestors were , uh , using trance and using postures and memorializing them in the artwork in this way, then certainly this had to either influence or be representative of some worldview out there. And for us, it makes sense. There's a consistency, there's a storyline there's , um, cross-cultural connection, there's a redundancy, Oh my gosh, all the hallmarks of science, one of these days, it will be looked at. I predict.
Yeah, absolutely. That , um, the ritual postures form of inductive realism , that we could take the data from these experience with our inductive science, and then look at the past as archeologists. And you know, how closely does the past iconography look with our modern , um, experiences, look at the commonalities. That's actually a form of inductive science and it can be done and it can be, it can be placed within archeological science or anthological science. So that's something that I hope that , uh , among gay with you and Paul and others and Todd and I can actually work on is that form of inductive science and get it rolling and then take those inductive trends that we identify hypothesized what's happening. And then go into the brain lab with some research questions and start analyzing that. And then trying to think about deductively, the mechanisms at work and postulate, how those work. So really great science can be done even through experiential evidence, because most everything we do as human is still based on experience and how we experience the colonnades out at Mizzou. And we take photos on that. You know, that means something to so many people down the arch, the arch of the gateway to the West and St . Louis and our columns here are the most photographed things in Missouri. And people have an engagement with that or perception, and we can Mark it through number of photographs on the web. Um, you know, why can't we take the trans experience and our art and our perception and analyze and come up with some numbers like we do for the Archer , Charlotte , the Colonnade, we can do that in science.
So you're talking about symbols that really speak to us and ancient cultures over and over. You see the symbols that really speak to them the enough . And this relates back to our conversation on and talk through at the moment those are across the board, meaningful to us and well surprise . We still see them in our trances even today. Um, and David Lewis, Williams and , uh, Dawson back in the eighties,
1988, that was the year. I mean , that's when that occurred anthropology article and free . If you don't know about current anthropology, that's a really tricky thing to get published in. And then , um, people get to respond in, press in , um, tell you what they think about your research . So if you get published there, you're going to have your reviewers writing the critiques. If you will, are the attaboy attagirl are the, not so much moment behind it. And so for them to be published that article in 1988 and current anthropology and have all the critiques and follow-ups behind that article is a really, it's a big kudo, so good for them, but I had to laugh cause that's when Goodman has two books in 1988 and Lewis ,
He is an ecstasy original, an alternate reality. And in a 1990 where the spirits where I have a weird origin story, but I want to say, okay, here's a goal. If , uh, if those guys could get that published back in 1988, basically say, Hey, look at all the geometric shapes that we see, which is totally a third to half of the artwork that is in the ancient most ancient cave, South America or South Africa, sorry. And , um, and Europe. Um, and these looks like they're the notes of Chemonics spirit journeys. And we see those today. So we can put a direct link to what we're doing today. And we could say, well, look , you can do it here now and experience this. And then we can start comparing. I think that they published that current archeology anthropology published that one on our study that we could collaborate on
Broaching it in the right language, the right way. Um , that's the name of the game is just presenting it in the right language. So it goes, and that's the, yeah , I don't see a problem because honestly, with Lewis Williams and Dawson's 1988 piece for many archeologists, myself included, that's a central piece. So I cited all the time in my own work. And when I did my dissertation on my one chapter on shamanism, as on loud, once your chapter. So I, I used that as a front piece. And so today we do it many archeologists worldwide use that piece. Not everyone agrees with it, not everyone accepts it, but a lot of people do.
So it has made inroads because it's so logical and it makes sense and it fits the artwork is just a continuation of that. We can expand further from that. Yeah.
And in some ways there's nuances in the work through , um , among gay. There are nuances that I might quibble respectfully because I'm so thankful for Davis Lewis , Williams and , um , Dawson so thankful for them. But you know, when it's time to revisit some of those ideas, we could quibble a little bit and the world science of sweating want to do you want to honor the past, but also talk about, you know, what about this? Or what about that? So I think that there's some room for
Discussion and we have a discussion coming up that we'll be comparing what you see in the iconography, because you've made this one of your main focuses of study. What does it all mean? These shamans of old ? What were they saying? What were the lessons, what were they seeing at the universe? What were their , um , the tenants of their, of their worldview? Let's compare them with our communities, variances . That's going to be a rich and interesting conversation. So yeah. So, well , what do you want to say by way of conclusion? Um, so I appreciated all the work that you do and what you bring to this community of the cream on the Institute. Uh , Christine . So what do you want to say my way of summing up today?
Be a free thinker. Think about all the data. Um , keep, I
Would suggest that people before they just totally try to discount the work, at least try it three or four times at least be open-minded same thing I tell my students , um, be open-minded. Yeah, I guess that would be my conclusion. Um, for those that believe in the practice, I believe something happens now as a spirit, we can't say for sure, it could be, as you guys are , could be energies. It could be the brain, but at least explore the possibility. So is there something in Tyson going on as something that's poorly understood? I think we're thinking that this is an attribute that you carry within you. It's a legacy of evolution of our DNA, our ancestors of a benevolent universe to equip us with that is something that truly you have within your own physiology, use it independent of belief system, dogma culture time. Um, whenever it's not an ism experience directly for yourself, there's something to be said for that. The second book by Goodman on a static trance , the 1988. She really, I like how she ends that if we were to forget this, and if people gave up on religion, humans would probably reinvent track trance , and they would reinvent very similar experiences because of it because it's so entranced . So I thought that was interesting. She ends on that note that, you know, we, we, we, as human re would reinvent, this is just who we are as humans. So that's the Tyson . So we come back full circle and then wonder, it's found all over the world and through and works, follow the evidence it works. So , um, we will, we will have continuing conversations with Christine . Vanpool , she's such a font of wisdom and insight and research and study and , uh, and wonderful opinions and conversation . So we look forward to more. Christine, thanks so much. Thank you. This has been the queen queen monkey Institute podcast, where we are going out and exploring what this word means and the greatest context that we can find with many, many disciplines. Um, if it is universal, that has impacted insight to be shared across the board. And we enjoy exploring that's one good thing. Humans are, are good at over the years we go exploring and it's actually , we all do. I think every group of people have their explorers and we continue that trend here for the ultimate frontier. Thanks for listening.
It's a big universe out there and lots more to explore. I hope you join us next time. Thanks for listening. I'm Marley .