Travels in this and Other Worlds

by Sara Martin

In June I took a humungous two-week road trip with my daughter and mother. We drove from North Carolina to Santa Fe, then to Denver, then to Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota.

The original reason for my trip was to take a workshop at a place called Cuyamungue Institute near Santa Fe, New Mexico. Cuyamungue was founded by anthropologist Felicitas Goodman in 1978 to research altered states of consciousness and the spiritual practices of ancient humans. I participated in the introductory workshop in June- during the Summer Solstice- which taught us how to access Alternate Reality through ritual body postures. What are ritual body postures? They are found in totem poles, pottery, cave paintings and other forms of ancient art the world over. But they are more than simply art. They are “instructions” on how to access expanded consciousness. This practice is available to all humans and doesn’t require any preset religious beliefs or dogma. These postures date back 35,000 years to the horticultural period of human prehistory and were presumably used by shamans or medicine people for various purposes, from healing to discovering where were the best locations to plant that season.

All of the trance sessions were held in the kiva at Cuyamungue, a magical place of ritual and ceremony. The connections shared with the other participants as we described our journeys made me feel truly part of something special and very unique. The workshop was facilitated by Cuyamungue Institute president Paul Robear and his wife Laura Lee. I felt genuinely supported as they led us through the portal to meet the spirits. Their shared wisdom proved invaluable and I emerged with new insights and information to use in my daily life. It was very much a singular, out-of-the-box experience for me and I feel the expansion throughout my being. Ritual postures literally open up a whole new world right before your inner eye.

Following a quick visit to my brother and his family in Denver (to meet my new niece!) we headed to Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, home to the Oglala Lakota (Sioux) people. Pine Ridge is one of the poorest reservations in the country, with 90% of the population living below the federal poverty level, high youth suicide rate (over 3 1/2 times higher than the national average) and low life expectancy (45-52, the shortest in the Western Hemisphere except for Haiti). But enough of the bad stuff. The purpose of my visit there was to finally meet the elder lady I’ve sponsored for two years. We speak on the phone once or twice a month, but I’ve always wanted to meet her in person. Finally I got my wish! We spent almost three hours with her, her daughter and great-granddaughter. They were kind enough to feed us lunch. Gifts were exchanged and we all enjoyed getting to know each other. The land on Pine Ridge possesses unparalleled beauty. I was lucky to be there in summer when all was green and very lush. During our three-day stay we also visited the Wounded Knee massacre site. Walking over that land and up to the mass grave on the hill was nearly overwhelming and brought some tears. But I wasn’t at all ready to come home. My heart was heavy as we left the rez and I know part of it remains there. I’ll go back someday. –

About the Author
Sara Martin “I’m a metalsmith/jewelry designer, homeschooling mom, bellydancer and perennial spiritual seeker and student of all things relating to the evolution of one’s soul and journey here on Mother Earth and beyond.” Sara’s website is

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