As I prepared to move some boxes of books recently, I found the book “Where the Spirits Ride the Wind” by Felicitas D. Goodman . A note card, written maybe 10 years ago, fell out. In my own writing I read,
”Right Hand above Left, standing.
A sea of ants was coming toward me, surrounded me. I knew that feminine energy works well as a group, like ants. Then they began crawling all over me. Massage like. Felt tickly yet nurturing. Then I was lying down and they all came to me and picked me up. COMBINED STRENGTH!
Then I saw a decaying woman- I heard “The soul of woman is dying to change.” “
I have hosted two “Postures of Flight” circles in the last decade, and I felt called again to host a shamanic journeying circle that explored the ecstatic body postures described in Goodman’s work. There is much fascinating history and information about this area of research/study. The following is from the website http://www.cuyamungueinstitute.com/ “Ritual body postures found in prehistoric cave paintings and indigenous effigies have their origins with the hunter-gatherer tribes. The oldest posture discovered to date is believed to be approximately 32,000 years old. It was in the horticulturalist societies that followed, however, that the practice of these postures flourished.
Our body is a “universal tool” for insight into the manifold realities we live in and for a direct experience into the living “information network” of consciousness.”
Six journeyers (both experienced and beginners) gathered on Saturday to feel the drumbeat and divine our poses. We changed our circle procedure so that instead of sharing after each of the two journeys, we wrote our experiences and shared at the end, thereby allowing our inner experiences to be untainted by hearing other’s experiences with the same pose.
We stood, we sat, we lay flat on the ground. We journeyed together, choosing from the same 6 postures chosen for this circle, yet we traveled on different waves of energy. After experiencing both journeys, we shared. For the sake of privacy I will not share the details of the journey experiences, yet I will say that people who held the same posture did have significant consistencies with each other. It happened to the degree that as one person shared excitedly, their sharing prompted another person to share their exploration of the same pose. Each person noticed how one small change in hand or mouth position, redirected the energy into a whole new experience, bringing more energy, a different direction, or more calm. Two people consistently heard a rattle, even though we were traveling to my single drum.
It felt so fruitful that I decided to use the postures as our focus for the Sunday Circle as well. For that circle 5 experienced journeyers explored the postures chosen. The words “vibration, relaxed/safe, protection, recognition, remembering, honoring, burying, dancing, and unfolding” were shared over the weekend’s circles. All had meaningful journeys that held needed guidance for our personal lives.
At the end of Sunday Circle, I asked for a statement that could be shared with you, those reading about these circles, something that wanted to come through. Here is what was shared from our experiences…
”Dropping from mind, into body, letting movement rise, loosening to allow GREATER MIND to flow- images come, images go, swaying body, help me know.”
”Birthing and Metamorphosis- These postures illuminated aspects of my journey experience that were completely new to me…both a birth and a metamorphosis in this work. Thank you.”
“Let yourself float calmly upon the waters of life.
Accept the gifts of the abyss.”
”The body is an instrument that can and will attune energy, facilitate amazing journeys and show us where we need to go.”
“Beyond right and wrong, there is an ocean. I will meet you there.” Rumi
As I think about this enlivening experience, I think about the power of our minds with intention and rhythm, and that our body is truly our sacred vehicle. As I have come to believe, “Let your mind wander, you never know what it might bring back.”
Images from “Where the Spirits Ride the Wind” by Felicitas Goodman.
Quynn Elizabeth Red Mountain is a shamanic practitioner and founder of ISA (Institute for the Shamanic Arts) in Tucson, Arizona. Her website is www.quynn.com .