Anthropological Roots

Felicitas Goodman’s greatest contribution to anthropology was recognizing that images on pottery and in ancient artworks were ritual instructions. “If one adopts such a posture, one will have such an experience.” These images are not secret knowledge, but rather have been displayed abundantly in museum exhibits, volumes of art history, and even in popular jewelry. However, no one thought about their significance as anything other than the random creations of indigenous artists until she began to explore their uses in a ritual context.

By developing a prescribed method by which ordinary individuals are able to enter the religious altered state of consciousness, she made technical inquiry into this state both from a phenomenological as well as a physiological perspective. One advantage with this method is that the subject is stationary, allowing neurophysiological research to be conducted. In addition, subjects are able to describe their experiences in terms that are understandable to the investigator.

During her career as an anthropologist, Dr. Goodman published 12 books and numerous articles published in professional journals, including:

  • Speaking in Tongues: A Cross-Cultural Study of Glossolalia, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1972.
  • Disturbances in the Apostolic Church: A Trance-Based Upheaval in Yucatán, In Trance, Healing, and Hallucination: Three Field Studies in Religious Experience, by Felicitas D. Goodman, Jeannette H. Henney, and Esther Pressel, Wiley Interscience, New York, 1974.
  • The Exorcism of Anneliese Michel, Doubleday, New York, 1981 (translated into German and French)
  • How About Demons? Possession and Exorcism in the Modern World, Indiana University Press, Bloomington and Indianapolis, 1988. (translated into German)
  • Ecstasy, Ritual, and Alternate Reality: Religion in a Pluralistic World, 1988 (translated into German)
  • Where the Spirits Ride the Wind: Spirit Journeys and Other Ecstatic Experiences, Indiana University Press, Bloomington, 1990. (translated into German)
  • Trance Der uralte Weg zum religioesen Erleben, Gütersloher Verlagshaus, Gerd Mohn, 1992. (translated into Dutch, Hungarian, and Spanish)
  • My Last Forty Days: A Visionary Journey among the Pueblo Spirits, 1997.
  • Maya Apocolypse: Seventeen Years with the Women of a Yucatan Village Indiana University Press, Bloomington and Indianapolis, 2001.
  • Possible Physiological Mechanisms for Some Cases of Faith Healing, Medikon 3(6/7):39-41, 1974.
  • States of Consciousness: A Study of Soundtracks. Journal of Mind and Behavior 2:209-219, 1981.
  • Body Posture and the Religious Altered State of Consciousness: An Experimental Investigation, Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 26:81-118, 1986.
  • Speaking in Tongues: A Cross-Cultural Study of Glossolalia, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1972.
  • A Trance Dance with Masks, The Drama Review, 34(1):102-113, 1990.
  • Ritual Body Postures and Ecstatic Trance: Implicit Myths and Healing, Yearbook of Cross-Cultural Medicine and Psychotherapy, 1998/99: 43-50.
  • Ritual Body Postures, Channeling, and the Ecstatic Trance, Anthropology of Consciousness 10 (1): 54-59.