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Foundation of the Sacred Stream
A Quarterly Newsletter from the Foundation of the Sacred Stream ISSUE 17 | JANUARY 2010
Creating Pathways to wholeness

Note from General Mgr


Spotlight: Mesa Verde

Featured Practitioner

Journey On It...

Art as a Transformative Dialogue


Calendar & Community News


Intro to the Shamanic Journey

Buddhist Psychology Studies

Tracking Spirit in the Birth Environment

Integrated Energy Medicine

Moon Lodge

Initiations of the Sacred Masculine



Ethnobotany of Mesa Verde

Note from the General Manager

tower and tree, mesa verdeThanks for reading our first newsletter of 2010. We are looking forward to an exciting year and it begins with the launch of our Certificate Programs. Certificates will be offered in thirteen fields. Classes begin in January with the Introduction to the Shamanic Journey, a Dreams Teleclass, Buddhist Psychology Studies and a Journey Supervisory class (for those who would like to deepen their journey practice). We will also be offering, for the first time, a Depth Hypnosis Supervised Practice and Homework class to help

students seeking certification develop their skills and meet the requirements for certification. We will be offering two remarkable Destination Studies courses, one in Mesa Verde and the other in Hawaii. See our Spotlight section below for more information on Mesa Verde.

This issue of the newsletter contains an article by, Evan Bissel, Art as a Transformative Dialogue, about his project with children who have a parent in jail and using art as creative dialogue to facilitate transformation individually and societally. Also in this issue you’ll find a client case study using the shamanic journey, Ask Isa (on the nature of initiation) and our Featured Practitioner, Grace Furst. Also, don’t miss our monthly podcast. January’s podcast is on Dreams - download it for free or stream it live in our store.

Wishing you well,

Laura Chandler, CHT
General Manager
Foundation of the Sacred Stream

view from lodge, mesa verde
Announcements: Certificate Programs

We now offer certificates in thirteen fields of study, including certification in hypnotherapy and Depth Hypnosis Practitioner Certification. Additional fields of study include Integrated Energy Modalities, Buddhist Psychology, Relational Counseling, Transition Facilitation, Applied Shamanic Practice, and Huna.

The Certificate Programs are designed to inspire personal growth and augment professional growth as students move into deeper understanding of themselves and the environment in which human experience takes place. These programs are designed to foster students' active engagement and provide meaningful application to their lives.

Spotlight: Kachinas and the Ethnobotany of Mesa Verde

"Mesa Verde completely changed my life. The class profoundly deepened my connection with nature the earth, and myself. I highly recommend this class to everyone." James K., LAc

Inside Dark Kiva, Mesa Verde, COMesa Verde is a mysterious place. It is a beautiful land high above the plains of southwestern Colorado. The Ancestral Puebloans who lived here over a thousand years ago left striking evidence of their life and culture, from complex water systems and terraced farming, to the remarkable dwellings carved into the cliffs, some of which housed several hundred people. Little is known of these people, except that they were able to thrive in an arid and often drought-like environment and that they appear to have had an advanced calendar system and understanding of the movements of the sun, moon, planets, and stars.

In this Destination Studies Retreat, Kachinas and the Ethnobotany of Mesa Verde, participants stay at beautiful Far View Lodge (the only lodging atop the Mesa) where they study the relationship of the Ancestral Puebloans to the land and sky. Students learn about the intelligence and adaptability of plants and explore their own relationship to the plants of this high desert region, learning about the function and ways of preparing these plants for nutritional and medicinal use. Some hiking is involved, though not strenuous, and many archeological sites will be visited. For more information, please go to our website or join our free teleclass on January 18.  The following is an excerpt from one of the teachings of the class:

The Ancestral Puebloans tuned themselves to the land, and tuned themselves to the way the plants that grow on the mesa adapt to the land, in order to survive. They had to understand the plants’ priorities and requirements for surviving in such a harsh environment. In this way, the Ancestral Puebloans lives were formed, shaped, and directed by the intelligence of the plants they cultivated. The Kachinas are known as the “life-givers” and are associated with the wind, sun, soil, and weather. The Ancestral Puebloans worked with the Kachinas, which were an important part of the process of attuning humans to the seasons and the soil with which the plants are in a never-ending dance.

The intelligence of plants is interwoven into the lives of all living organisms. They produce the chemistries all life needs to live and they nurture and heal other living organisms that are in need. It takes intelligence, skill, and subtlety to tune into the world of plants and to really understand who they are and what role they play in enhancing and maintaining life on earth and in healing other beings. The intelligence of plants is a demonstration of the profound intelligence of the Earth. And it is this intelligence that sustains all life on earth. Through the plants, we are offered a key to this understanding.

              (Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D., Mesa Verde, June 2008)

Featured Practitioner: Grace Furst

Grace Furst

I am proud to be a Depth Hypnosis Practitioner and an Ordained Minister with the Foundation of the Sacred Stream. I have always been drawn to a healing path, and that path has taken me many places.

I was a junior high school teacher in the New York City Public School system for many years. When I came to San Francisco, over 20 years ago, I fell into teaching for a short while, but I realized that was a career that had run its course. I was encouraged by my husband and some new found friends to pursue my passions, which were mostly alternative in nature - alternative medicine, alternative healing, alternative reality. Those passions had been so buried within me it took some work to get back in touch with them again.

I learned about chakras, and I took different workshops in healing with crystals and energy, which was a great source of humor for my relatives in New York. I realized I had a natural gift for working with stones and healing and I enrolled in a doctoral program in clinical parapsychology. I also took a 300-hour elective course in hypnotherapy and studied past-life regression with Brian Weiss. I combined energy work with my hypnotherapy practice, but was somewhat unsure of myself until the path led me to Depth Hypnosis - and every other class at the Sacred Stream.

I have been a certified hypnotherapist for almost 15 years and I have been using Depth Hypnosis within that practice for five of those years. I am fortunate to have an active Depth Hypnosis practice and I enjoy working with clients on all kinds of issues.  Whatever the issue, be it physical, emotional, psychological, or spiritual, the client has the opportunity to transform their suffering through their willingness to look more deeply into themselves. Depth Hypnosis offers a method of self-exploration that is effective and empowering for the client.

I am grateful for having stayed on the path and to have experienced my own transformation and deepening of my personal power with Depth Hypnosis. It is an honor to be able to offer these tools to others.

Journey On It..." 'No Journey' Can Be the Perfect Journey"

By Kristin Nemzer, MFT, CH

The shamanic journey is a method of working in an altered state and is achieved by using sound, such as a repetitive drum beat. It is called "shamanic" because working in an altered state in this way is found in most indigenous cultures.  However, it is not limited to shamanism. The journey can be described as an active form of meditation and is very useful in exploring the psyche and enhancing personal growth. Our purpose in offering this column is to create a forum, where people engaged in a shamanic journey practice may deepen their work with the journey, and their understanding of the journey as a tool for healing. Please feel free to send us a journey for publication to info@sacredstream.org.

The journey for this newsletter is a client case study submitted by Depth Hypnosis Practitioner Kristin Nemzer, MFT. Working with the shamanic journey in this way is part of the innovative methodology of Depth Hypnosis.

Kristin NemzerI have worked with many clients over the last 11 years who have wanted to learn tools that could help them find meaning and solutions to the issues they struggle with in their lives. One tool I have used for the last ten years in my personal and professional life is the shamanic journey. The following is a case study demonstrating how the journey can be used in working with clients. In this particular case, it was the experience of not being able to journey, at first, which led the client to a deeper understanding of her issues and eventually led to a breakthrough in her healing. The client’s name and many details have been changed in order to maintain confidentiality.

Sherry was lost. She had just found out that her husband of over twenty years was having an affair and before she knew it she was divorced and living alone. She had always assumed that he would be there to support her and she had never had much self confidence. Her children had been her life’s focus but once they grew up and moved away she felt directionless. Sherry felt such a deep void within her that I thought she might benefit from learning the shamanic journey. 

After I taught her the basics of journeying, Sherry was ready for her first journey. She started her journey and all she saw was blackness. She felt like she was moving but she didn’t see anything other than black.  She went through a range of emotions – frustration, fear, sadness, despair. She started to blame herself for not being able to do anything. She expressed that how she felt during the journey was exactly how she has felt since her husband left and she was coming to therapy to get away from that feeling. She was lost. 

Read On
Art as a Transformative Dialogue

By Evan Bissell

Evan BissellCalifornia is 46th in the country on spending on schools and first on prisons, which in money means we are spending $115,000 per year per juvenile inmate and $8,000 for a student in a public school. But funding is only one part of the issue, a symptom rather than the root. There is an uncomfortably close relationship between the schools that are failing young poor people of color and the rapidly expanding prison system. If you look just a bit deeper you would see that in this country, 11% of black men ages 25-34 are incarcerated, you would see more than seven million children who have a parent under the supervision of the criminal justice system, you would see the clause in the constitution that outlines prison as a legal form of slavery.

And because of the hand in glove relationship of schools and prisons, I began to think more deeply about the culture of authority, of punishment, of the absence of healing in education. I began to question why I was not equipped, as a teacher, to begin where my students were, to begin from their places of imperfection, while also being able to share my own. I began to question why I, as the teacher, must project an air of perfection in order for someone to listen to me, or trust me, or learn with me. Because we have all wronged people or made mistakes. Most of us have cut class at least once, but the question is this: what then? There are no blank slates to begin from.

Read On
ASK ISA: This Month's Q & A Addresses "The Power within Vulnerability"

You have said that there is power in the vulnerability inherent in major life transitions but I have a hard time understanding how that is possible. Would you explain this more?

Isa GucciardiI think most of us do not really understand the true nature of vulnerability. Most of us think that avoiding being vulnerable is the right course of action and we feel justified in doing whatever we need to do to keep ourselves from feeling vulnerable. Naturally, there are situations where we should take any action necessary to keep ourselves from being hurt – such as when we are actually physically attacked. But, most of the time we are engaged in social interactions where our definitions of vulnerability are less dramatic than in situations where our physical safety is at stake.

In such interactions, being vulnerable often involves feeling defenseless against actions others might take toward us. Those actions might involve another person determining whether or not we get a job we want or whether we get to go out on a date with the person we are attracted to. We fear others will keep us from having what we want. Then, we start feeling vulnerable and we start defending against anything that might keep us from getting what we want or keeping what we want. Under these conditions, vulnerability becomes defined as the uncertainty of being able to have or achieve what we want.

Read On

Do you have a question you'd like to ASK ISA?

Email info@sacredstream.org with ASK ISA in the subject line and we will select one question each month to include in this column.

Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D., is the Founding Director of the Foundation of the Sacred Stream and the primary teacher for the Foundation's programs in Depth Hypnosis, Applied Shamanism, Buddhist Psychology, Integrated Energy Medicine, Transpersonal Studies, and Destination Studies.

Winter/Early Spring 2010 Calendar

San Francisco Bay Area Events: 

Annual Depth Hypnosis Practitioner Meeting and Minister Ordination Ceremony
Sunday, January 17
Meeting: 1:00pm to 3:30pm
Ceremony: 5:00pm to 7:30pm
Berkeley, CA

Spring Equinox Drumming Circle
Sunday, March 21; 6:30pm
Sacred Stream Center
Berkeley, CA
Please RSVP to info@sacredstream.org

Free Teleclasses: 

Teleclasses are interactive distance learning courses similar to a conference call, and taught by Isa Gucciardi, PhD. Each participant can just listen and absorb, or engage in the discussion. You do not need a computer to participate in a teleclass. All you need is a telephone and you can call from anywhere!

What is the Shamanic Journey
Wednesday, January 20; 6pm PST, 9pm EST

What is Buddhist Psychology
Thursday, February 4; 6pm PST, 9pm EST

Energy Medicine: Medicine of the Spirit
Wednesday, February 17; 6pm PST, 9pm EST

Ethnobotany and the Kachinas of Mesa Verde
Thursday, February 18; 6pm PST, 9pm EST

What is Depth Hypnosis
Wednesday, April 7; 6pm PST, 9pm EST

To register, contact info@sacredstream.org or 415-333-1434.

Distance Learning Classes:

Depth Hypnosis Supervisory Teleclass
Tuesdays, January 26, February 23, March 23, & April 27
6:00pm to 8:00pm PST (9:00pm to 11:00pm EST)
$225; Early Registration: $200 by December 26

Working With Dreams Teleclass
Tuesdays, February 9, 16, 23, & March 2
4:30pm to 5:45pm PST (7:30pm to 8:45pm EST)
$145; Early Registration: $135 by January 9

Relationships I Teleclass
Mondays, March 8, 15, 22, & 29
4:00pm to 6:30pm PST (7:00pm to 9:30pm EST)
$295; Early Registration: $275 by February 8
Special Discount: $525 for Relationships I and II by February 8

Relationships II Teleclass
Mondays, April 12, 19, 26, & May 3
4:00pm to 6:30pm PST (7:00pm to 9:30pm EST)
$295; Early Registration: $275 by March 12

petroglyphsDestination Studies:

The Ethnobotany of Mesa Verde
June 9 - 13
Mesa Verde, CO
$1345; Early Registration: $1250 by April 9

Huna I: The Spirits of Hawaii
August 9 -15
The Big Island, HI
$2150; Early Registration: $1995 by May 7

Huna II: Manifesting the Spirits of Hawaii
August 17 -23
The Big Island, HI
$2150; Early Registration: $1995 by May 17

San Francisco Bay Area Training Programs and Workshops:

Introduction to the Shamanic Journey
January 30 & 31
10am to 4pm
Sacred Stream Center
Berkeley, CA
$250; Early Registration: $225 by December 30
This course is a prerequisite to many of our workshops!

Buddhist Psychology Studies I

Thursdays, February 18, February 25, March 4, & March 11
7:30pm to 10pm
Sacred Stream Center
Berkeley, CA
$295; Early Registration: $275 by January 18
Special Discount: $525 for Buddhist Psychology Studies I & II by January 18

Shamanic Journey Supervisory Group

Mondays, February 22, March 1, March 8, & March 15
7:30pm to 9:30pm
Sacred Stream Center
Berkeley, CA

Tracking Spirit in the Birth Environment
Saturday, February 27
9am to 9pm
Sacred Stream Center
Berkeley, CA
$295; Early Registration: $275 by January 27

Integrated Energy Medicine
March 12 - 14
Friday: 6pm to 10pm
Saturday & Sunday: 10am to 7pm
Sacred Stream Center
Berkeley, CA
$595; Early Registration: $560 by February 12

Psychology Studies II
Thursdays, March 18, March 25, April 1, & April 8
7:30pm to 10pm
Sacred Stream Center
Berkeley, CA
$295; Early Registration: $275 by February 18

Working With Dreams
Sunday, March 21
1pm to 6pm
Sacred Stream Center
Berkeley, CA
$145; Early Registration: $135 by February 21

Moon Lodge: Initiations of the Sacred Feminine
Saturday, March 27
9am to 9pm
Sacred Stream Center
Berkeley, CA
$295; Early Registration: $275 by February 27

Initiations of the Sacred Masculine
Saturday, April 3
9am to 9pm
Sacred Stream Center
Berkeley, CA
$295; Early Registration: $275 by March 3

To register, contact info@sacredstream.org or 415-333-1434.

Yucca BudNew England Classes and Events:

Spring Equinox Drumming Circle
Sunday, March 21; 6pm
TBA, Rhode Island
For details, please contact Katharine Rossi

Summer Solstice Drumming Circle
Sunday, June 20; 6pm
For details, please contact Katharine Rossi

Free Talk: Healing Techniques in Shamanism at All That Matters
Thursday, July 8; 6pm
315 Main St., Wakefield, RI 02879 

Introduction to the Shamanic Journey at All That Matters
Thursday, July 8; 7:30pm to 10pm
Friday, July 9; 10am to 6pm
315 Main St., Wakefield, RI 02879
Register at info@allthatmatters.com or 401-782-2126

Applied Shamanism Immersion Workshop at All That Matters
Saturday & Sunday, July 10 & 11; 9am to 9pm
315 Main St., Wakefield, RI 02879
*Prerequisite: Introduction to the Shamanic Journey or equivalent
Register at info@allthatmatters.com or 401-782-2126

Integrated Energy Medicine Immersion Workshop at All That Matters
Saturday & Sunday, July 17 & 18; 9am to 9pm
315 Main St., Wakefield, RI 02879
*Prerequisite: Introduction to the Shamanic Journey or equivalent
Register at info@allthatmatters.com or 401-782-2126

For more information on upcoming classes, please visit our calendar page.

Please visit our websites for more information:


Many thanks to Deborah Hall for her photographs of Mesa Verde, Colorado (Tower and Tree, View from Cliff House, Inside Dark Kiva, Petroglyphs, and Yucca Bud). To see more of her work, please visit her online at A Woman's Eye Gallery: http://www.awegallery.com/