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The Ecstatic Experience

Healing Postures for Spirit Journeys

Published by Bear & Company
Distributed by Simon & Schuster



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About The Book

Trance-inducing postures for shamanic journeying, initiation, healing, divination, and transformation of the soul

• Provides practices from Mayan, Egyptian, African, Native American, Sumerian, and other ancient and indigenous traditions

• Shows how these practices can detoxify the energy body

• Includes 60-minute CD of trance rhythms to accompany the shamanic journeying exercises

The human need for ecstasy--the ability to be free of the limitations of ordinary consciousness--is as imperative as the need for food. Renowned anthropologist Felicitas Goodman claimed that being deprived of ecstasy was the fundamental cause of all forms of addiction. Indigenous cultures and the civilizations of antiquity were aware of this and developed specific rituals to induce and channel trance energies to detoxify and nourish the subtle body in order to experience the ecstatic reality that gives life to matter.

The body postures seen in ancient art from Mayan, Egyptian, African, Native American, Sumerian, and other ancient and indigenous traditions are a doorway to inducing this kind of ecstatic trance. People who assume these postures in a ritual context are able to experience expanded and transformative states of consciousness.

Following up on the groundbreaking introduction of this practice in her first book, Ecstatic Body Postures, Belinda Gore provides a new series of 20 sacred postures and exercises that allow for a deeper understanding and utilization of these shamanic practices. She shows how to use the energy awakened by these practices for healing, shapeshifting, initiations into the mysteries of death and rebirth, divination, spirit journeying, and restoring balance to the cosmic patterns disrupted by destructive human activity. To help reach these deep, ecstatic trance states, the author also provides a 60-minute CD of shamanic trance rhythms to accompany the journeys.


Divination Postures

is a term we in this society do not often use. More frequently people write about or describe visiting a fortune-teller, a psychic, an astrologer, or “a reader.” In every case, someone is using a method that allows him or her to see and report on what cannot be easily accessed through ordinary perception, usually regarding what is hidden about a current situation or about what lies ahead in the always mysterious future. The beauty of using divinatory postures is that people can ask questions for themselves; though they may receive help in interpreting the ecstatic trance experience, they nevertheless receive the results from their own experience, rather than getting answers from someone else. . . .

Divination can cover a lot of territory, personal, global, and in the service of group efforts. As you sample the divination postures in this chapter, you will discover that different poses “specialize” in various types of questions. The Egyptian Diviner is a regal presence who gives guidance about issues related to the welfare of the group as well as individual advice for personal development and how best to serve. The Horned Man of Colima Posture addresses individual needs for physical and emotional healing, as well as other personal problems. The Mayan Oracle Posture seems to connect us to a loving but unsentimental Presence who offers wise, simple, and practical advice. Finally, with the Tala Diviner Posture there is a recurrence of the theme of balancing the heat with coolness, as well as balancing right and left, and masculine and feminine energies. Indeed, the essence of divination is to become fully conscious of all polarities and to integrate them into an understanding of the whole.

The Tala Diviner Posture

There is something about the intense focus on the face of this figure that suggested it might be a divining posture. The eyes are wide open and there is a hole pierced into the ear, perhaps indicating seeing and hearing. The mouth is open too, but with the right hand held in front of it. Formed from terra-cotta, this hollow little man sits thirty-three centimeters tall. He was found in the state of Jalisco in western Mexico, and he is identified as being from the Tala culture, from about 200 BCE. The date places this figure a few centuries later than the Early Formative Period in western Mexico, usually identified as 1500–500 BCE. The religion in the villages in this part of Mexico at that time was a classic cult of the dead.
Back in 1994, the small group of us who were researching its use for the first time began with a question: What, as a group, do we need to do or learn together? I found myself sitting on dry, hot, barren earth that was scorched and blistered by the sun. I could see a few pine trees atop the next hill and a wind was blowing from the left. That was all.
Then a voice spoke, saying, “Wait.”
For what, I wondered. “To see a vision.”
“Will you show it to me?” I asked. And the voice said, “Yes.”
For a long time I was just sitting, then I heard a drum, like a calm but persistent knocking on a wooden door. The drum grew louder, sounding throughout an African valley, summoning people to gather for a journey. Then all was quiet. I felt an odd duality in my body: on the left, I was cool and dark, even chilled, while on my right side, I was hot and dry, and there was brightness throughout that side of me. I wrote in my journal, “I knew I was in touch with the deepest truth of the trance, being present with both.”
The heat of my first experience with the Tala Diviner has recurred repeatedly. Once my face was so hot that I thought I was sunburned from sitting outside earlier that day, and later in the trance I burst into flames. Tonia also was consumed by fire, and her smoke was pulled into the sun, clearing her with subtle heat and deeper levels. Judy said that she was going down and became very, very hot.
Finally, there is a recurrence of the theme of balancing the heat with coolness, as well as balancing right and left. Jackie reported, “A lightning bolt set the lake on fire, but we were flying like hawks and dove into the lake where we sizzled to coolness and emerged brownish and wiser. We were treated as leaders, maybe treated as being wiser than we felt.” Perhaps her experience clarifies the Tala Diviner’s purpose. As we experience the great heat of the sun, of consciousness, of Apollo and the masculine archetype, we dive deep into the cool, dark waters of the feminine, spiritual, unconscious worlds and emerge with the wisdom of the polarities in balance. This is divining at its best, going deep in order to become fully conscious and to be able to fly. It is the essence of the mystery teachings of the cult of the dead.

Sit on the floor with your right knee raised and your right foot on the floor but with your heel slightly raised so that the pressure is on the ball of your foot. Rest your left leg on the floor and bend it so that your left foot is next to your right foot, with the bottom of your left foot facing your right foot. Place your right elbow on your right knee and bring the back of your right hand to your mouth so that your lips touch the back of your hand. Keep your mouth open. Keep the fingers of your right hand slightly spread. Keep the fingers of your left hand slightly spread and rest your hand lightly on your left knee. Lock your left elbow and extend your arm away from your body. Close your eyes as you face forward.

About The Author

Belinda Gore, who holds a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology, has been teaching workshops on ecstatic trance throughout the world since 1987. She is the president of the Cuyamungue Institute in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where she carries on the lifework of her mentor, Felicitas Goodman. Author of Ecstatic Body Postures: An Alternate Reality Workbook and The Ecstatic Experience, she lives in Columbus, Ohio.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Bear & Company (March 27, 2009)
  • Length: 160 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781591430964

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Raves and Reviews

“In 1977, the anthropologist Felicitas Goodman discovered that our bodies are hard-wired to access certain states of consciousness when we assume specific postures while being stimulated by rattling or drumming. She revived a ritual tradition that has been used for more than 35,000 years. The Ecstatic Experience is the first significant new research on sacred body postures since the death of Goodman in 2005. Belinda Gore has carried on the work of Dr. Goodman by doing continual research on new postures as they’ve been discovered, and now she offers 20 more ritual body postures that give us more ancient secrets that unlock the ancient wisdom hidden right in our own bodies. Long ago, these postures were a form of global communication that predates writing. As a library of humankind’s emergence, they are a direct link to the archaic mind, and working with them could inspire us to create a healthy, imaginative world again. I recommend this book because by studying it and using the CD for rattling and drumming, you can discover the ancient codes of healing and transformation.”

– Barbara Hand Clow, author of The Mayan Code: Time Acceleration and Awakening the World Mind

“Continuing the pioneering research of the late anthropologist Felicitas Goodman, her close friend and fellow researcher Belinda Gore presents twenty sacred postures that induce and facilitate the experience of religious ecstatic trance. Those who long for ecstasy have in this book a rich resource of simple strategies and proven ritual to achieve and satisfy that human craving.”

– John J. Pilch, Ph.D., professor at Georgetown University and International Society for Shamanistic R

“The work of Felicitas Goodman provides the best proof yet of the actual existence of an alternate reality and our hardwiring to connect with it. Belinda Gore continues Goodman’s work, throwing open a door that’s been sealed too long and showing the way back to this earliest of living traditions that was once common practice among ancient peoples.”

– Laura Lee, host of The Laura Lee Show

"Four 15 minute segments of rattling and drumming are designed to accompany you during your ritual postures. In addition to the sound, when I played mine on my PC, I found rhythmic graphics that can be used to further enhance your experience."

– Sonia von Matt Stoddard, Awareness magazine, July 2009

"Whether you are new to metaphysics or an old timer, I think you will find much of value here. There are a number of new angles with which to look at life, ones that will support and motivate you to create the life you truly want."

– New Spirit Journal, Vol. 5, No. 3, July 2009

"I have found this shamanic posture work very exciting with continued validation of Goodman and Gore's work as seen in these experiences. Though, if it is read critically and rationally, much is lost. It is the personal experience of the participants that are important, and because of this personal nature, the experiences cannot be quantified or rationally/objectively examined 'scientifically.'"

– Nicholasl E. Brink, Ph.D., Baywood Reprints, Vol. 29, No. 2, Feb 2010

“Like opening a medicine bundle that has been hidden for thousands of years, reading The Ecstatic Experience gives you direct access to powerful ancient consciousness codes. It is a riveting and concise presentation of 20 new sacred body postures, with simple and easy-to-use methods for accessing nonordinary states of consciousness. Essential reading for those already familiar with the ecstatic body postures, it is also the ideal introduction for beginners.”

– Barbara Hand Clow, author of The Mayan Code: Time Acceleration and Awakening the World Mind

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