Category: Applied Shamanism
By Clementine Moss
I understand metaphor. I have been blissfully falling into the written word since See Spot Run or something similar. When I learned to read, I remember the rising images from the page, pictures becoming alive because of what the words were spelling out.
When I learned to journey, I began to understand the symbols of my inner world.When we recognize that our stories are not our full identity, then we can release them from ruling us, along with the patterns and behaviors that weight them. I found Eastern meditation practices and discovered my identity beneath stories. I found Shamanism and learned to sneak up behind the stories, unravel them in a way that allows me to clear my perception and experience life, each moment, more fully.
By Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.
To enter the world of Tantra is to enter a world beyond the ordinary. Through a series of catalytic processes, the spiritual seeker is drawn along a path that promises nothing less than the revelation of the nature of reality. This is a promise that also lies at the heart of shamanic practice. Yet the ‘reality’ that reveals itself when the shamanic initiate steps beyond the threshold of ordinary awareness is conceived of differently than that of Tantra.
The reality that is the focus of Tantra lies in the understanding of the human mind. The reality that is understood through shamanic practice emerges through an intimate interface with the unseen powers of the natural world. These two realities are not exclusive from one another, but the thrust and focus of these two practices are at least initially different.
Both systems provide stages of development to educate the initiate as they deepen their understanding about the nature of reality. These stages of development constitute the heart of the practices. Let’s explore these wisdom traditions further and deepen our understanding of how these two paths cross and separate in the process of providing an education about the nature of reality.
On this episode, Laura Chandler highlights an excerpt of a talk given by Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D. called Shamanic Paths to Inner Experience. Traditional shamanic cultures have long held an understanding of nature, spirit, and non-ordinary realms of being that contemporary cultures have lost touch with in the larger mainstream of experience. In this fascinating talk, Isa Gucciardi explores some of the ways healers from indigenous traditions have accessed larger aspects of consciousness and the realm of the unseen, for guidance, healing, and insight and speaks about their relevance for us today.
By Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.
As the nights have been growing longer as we approach the winter solstice, I have been reflecting on the relationship between light and darkness from a new perspective. We often think of light and dark as being opposite of one another. In some cases that is true. From one point of view, the light of day is the opposite of the dark of night. But from another vantage point, dark and light are moments of the same cycle of change. That cycle of change determines our experience of reality in utterly fundamental ways. The sun rising and setting is basic to our experience on earth. Yet, we don’t often think about the fact that the sun rising and setting dictates when and how we do almost everything we do. We may not often think about how our lives might be structured without this baseline rhythm the play of light and dark creates.
The shamanic journey is an ancient method of altering consciousness using a repetitive sound such as a drum beat in order for the shaman to connect with their helping spirits. In contemporary times, people are turning to the shamanic journey to assist them with healing the earth and its inhabitants. In this talk, Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D. discusses the shamanic journey and the guidance that is available in the complex inner cosmography of the shamanic initiate. Isa is the author of three books, creator of the therapeutic model Depth Hypnosis, and the Founding Director of the Foundation of the Sacred Stream.
From Tibetan oracle traditions to Christian mysticism, mediumship has long been part of the esoteric teachings of mystery schools. In many shamanic cultures, the phenomenon of medium-ship was an import role played by the shaman who would act as a bridge between the spirit world and the mundane. In this talk, Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D. discusses the phenomenon of mediumship and explores the requirements of the shamanic initiate to be able to act as a medium. Isa is the author of three books, creator of the therapeutic model Depth Hypnosis, and the Founding Director of the Foundation of the Sacred Stream.
Plant medicines like ayahuasca, peyote, and iboga have made their way into popular culture as more and more people seek transitory experiences to find healing and direction in their lives. However, the use of plant medicine dates back to ancient Egypt and even earlier and is an important part of many shamanic practices and indigenous cultures. In this talk, Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D. discusses how the ingestion of psychotropic plants provides valuable education in the shamanic initiate’s development. Isa is the author of three books, creator of the therapeutic model Depth Hypnosis, and the Founding Director of the Foundation of the Sacred Stream.
By Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.
Around the fall equinox of 2018, as I was doing the fall garden clean up, I realized that a small California Live Oak had planted itself in the center of the garden at the Sacred Stream Center. I was very excited to have the oak choose our garden, but everyone else was worried that the oak would get too big and block out the other plants. I knew there was no way I would interfere with the oak’s plans, as we are visitors to its habitat – not the other way around.
Only 200 years ago, the land on which the Sacred Stream Center sits was covered in California Live Oak. The hills throughout California were dotted with these majestic trees, which can indeed grow very tall and spread their canopies widely. An oak taking up residence in that patch of ground would have had the flowing water of Strawberry Creek nearby and lots of laurel and bay trees keeping it company.
Vision quests have long been part of the shamanic experience, particularly as initiatory rites of passage. Most involve undertaking a difficult task and take place in nature and often lead to transcendent life-changing experiences. In this talk, Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D. discusses this process of seeking guidance within the world of nature that is found in many different cultures and can be practiced by modern people today. Isa is the author of three books, creator of the therapeutic model Depth Hypnosis, and the Founding Director of the Foundation of the Sacred Stream.
Visionary experiences are found throughout history and in every culture. From the visions of holy men and women in the Christian, Muslim, Hindu, and Buddhist traditions (to name a few) to the prophecies of Nostradamus, Hildegard of Bingen, and Edgar Cayce, visionary experiences are more common than we think. In this talk, Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D. delves into the role of visionary experience in shamanic Earth-based wisdom cultures. Isa is the author of three books, creator of the therapeutic model Depth Hypnosis, and the Founding Director of the Foundation of the Sacred Stream.
Dreams have been a source of fascination for people in cultures the world over. From the advanced Tibetan practice of Lucid Dreaming to the contemporary study of dreams and their meanings, dreams offer a window into deeper states of being. In this talk, Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D. focuses on the shamanic perspective of dreams and the role dreams play in the development of shamanic initiates. Isa is the author of three books, creator of the therapeutic model Depth Hypnosis, and the Founding Director of the Foundation of the Sacred Stream.
By Clementine Moss
North Fork, California is the site of the gorgeous Vipassana meditation center at which I have spent a couple of 10-day retreats. On foggy mornings at my home in San Francisco, I often think of the early morning walk to the meditation hall, and the faces of the single yellow daffodils lining the path up the hill.
In one of the retreats, I became fixated on the manzanita trees, their dark red spindly trunks, the light green color of the leaves, the pink hanging bouquets of flower. It is inevitable that the senses become more vibrant when meditating for ten hours a day. The contrasting colors of the manzanita were almost too much to bear.
I fantasized about having a garden of manzanita one day, how it would be to set out a picnic among such a gorgeous color combination. I wanted to wrap myself in these colors and shapes. I guess, really, I was longing to be a bird.
By Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.
It seems fitting as we approach the longest day of the year that an opening into larger possibilities might be extending toward us. This is particularly true because of another celestial event that is happening in the sky this week. This is the moment in its orbit when the planet Venus is closest to the sun. Venus is the planet of beauty, love and possibility in western astrology, With the potentials of this influence enhanced by its proximity to the sun, we soon may be able to step into a new collective experience, beyond the constrictions of the pandemic.
This new potential has certainly been evident in the sanctuary at the Sacred Stream Center. Thanks to donations from last year’s fund drive, we have been able to begin the restoration of the three stained glass windows that grace the room.
By Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.
As part of Tarka’s “On Death” issue, I have been asked to speak about the approach to death that my tradition, that of shamanic practice, follows. Some of the questions I have been asked to address are: What is death from the perspective of your tradition? What transmigrates, if anything, from the perspective of your tradition? What key text, verse, or poem offers insight or clarity around the experience of death? How has an experience of death in your life informed your teaching? What is a practice that directly addresses our relationship with death? I have tried to address all of these questions in this short exploration of the shamanic worldview regarding death.
In his book about the Australian Aboriginal experience, Voices of the First Day, Robert Lawlor offers a statement regarding Aboriginal views about death which are reflective of a larger, more general shamanic worldview. He says, “Death, in the Aboriginal view, is not a termination or a dislocation from this world to another; rather it is a shift of the center of one’s consciousness to invisible, subjective layers that are substrate to, and involved within, the natural world of mind and matter.”
Have you ever walked into a room and felt a sudden loss of energy? This experience is often difficult to quantify or describe, but anyone who has encountered this problem knows there is something that is creating a difference in their mood. From a shamanic point of view, psychic imprints from events that have occurred in a space can continue to effect events or circumstances there after the original event has occurred. To remedy imbalances caused in this way, shamanic practitioners will clear the space. In this video, Isa Gucciardi describes how to recognize when a space needs clearing, as well as some basic techniques for clearing space. For more information on Applied Shamanism, see sacredstream.org.