Shamans & Siddhas (Embodied Philosophy)


This course focuses on the explorers of the subtle realms of dream, death, and altered states of consciousness known as “shamans” in indigenous traditions and as “Siddha Adepts” in Buddhist and Hindu Tantra traditions. In this course, Isa Gucciardi, creator of Depth Hypnosis, a spiritual counseling model that combines shamanic and Buddhist principles of healing, will review the historic encounters between the two traditions in the Himalayan region. We will learn how the two traditions have informed one another from time immemorial, examining the ways in which they have engaged and defined spiritual inquiry and how they have translated that inquiry into the social contexts in which they have arisen. We will also contrast and compare the two traditions, identifying the ways in which their practices are similar and demonstrating where their paths diverge.

We will explore the role of ritual and ceremony in both contexts and learn what role ritual and ceremony provide in bringing forward the insights of deep inner exploration. We will look at the role of spiritual initiation in the two contexts and show how this process highlights the path toward development of skill sets for both shamans and siddhas. We will also spend time discussing the relevance of both traditions in the modern context – and demonstrate how the wisdom of these two traditions can support current spiritual inquiry. The class is experiential in nature. We will explore the various methods of going inward drawn from both traditions including the shamanic journey and Tibetan Deity Meditation.

Module 1: Paths to Inner Vision
What is a shaman? This module will explore the nature of earth-based wisdom traditions. It will provide an overview of shamanic practice from around the world, with a focus on shamanic practice in the Himalayas. What is a siddha? This module will also explore the diverse methods of cultivating spiritual attainment in siddhic practice within several schools of thought found in the Himalaya.

Module 2: Initiation as Path to Knowledge
We will compare and contrast the shamanic and siddhic traditions: what are the similarities and what are the differences?

Module 3: Where the Two Paths Meet
Through experiential practice we will explore methods for inner exploration and transcendence in shamanic practice. Special focus will be on the use of psychotropic plants and the shamanic journey.

Module 4: Where the Two Paths Diverge
Through experiential practice we will explore methods for inner exploration and transcendence in siddhic practice. Special focus will be on meditation techniques, including deity meditation.

Q&A with Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.
Isa is the creator of Depth Hypnosis, a groundbreaking therapeutic model that incorporates shamanic healing practices with hypnotherapy, Buddhist and Transpersonal psychology, and energy medicine. She is also the creator of the shamanic counseling process, Applied Shamanic Counseling and the certificate programs in Applied Shamanic Practice and Plant Medicine Insight Integration. She has trained hundreds of students and practitioners in these models as the primary teacher at the Sacred Stream. Isa teaches and speaks nationally and internationally, and has published numerous articles, podcast episodes, videos, and the books, Coming to Peace and The New Return to the Great Mother.

Students who take this course will:
• Learn what shamanism is and how siddhic practice works.
• Gain an understanding of the altered state and the role of the ‘psychonaut’ in developing inner wisdom.
• Understand the role of initiation in spiritual development.
• Understand the role of ritual and ceremony in directing and maintaining spiritual practice.
• Learn how to do the shamanic journey and the basics of several forms of meditation.