Sacred Enactment as Spiritual Funny

Flaming Rainbow Spiritual Healer at the Fringe Festival

Flaming Rainbow Spiritual Healer at the Fringe Festival

Performance can be Ritual. Enactment can be Ceremony. Theater can be Spirituality.  This sacred form of enactment educates and entertains.
Enactment=process of enacting: the act or process of enacting something
Synonyms: performing, acting out, portrayal, representation, presentation, acting, depiction, play-acting, performance

Two friends of ISA have been acting out in the theatrical realm, to play with spiritual stereotypes, and educate about spirituality at the same time. What fun!

Last October (2012) The Institute for the Shamanic Arts hosted a Shamanically inspired performance called The Plasmic Portal. For it, Alison Torba, musician, actress/comedian and independent paralegal, came up with a hilarious and ‘over the top’ character named Flaming Rainbow Lightsurfer Unicorn.  Her 15 minute stand up comedy routine hit on many popular spiritual issues,  such as having a bad childhood, what it takes to be a sha-man, yoga, raw food, magical feathers, permanent sweat lodges, her ‘relationship’ with her ‘Guru’, and receiving messages from the future, cause she is so spiritually special.  Her routine offered something for everyone to laugh at. It was brilliant!

Shamanic Seer

Shamanic Seer

For the same show, Elisabeth Black, shamanic intuitive, Director of the Institute for the Shamanic Arts, and Waldorf kindergarten teacher, wanted to share her psychic talents with the audience, so she presented The Shamanic Seer.  She recruited questions from the audience, and in a live and beautiful format, consulted her Spirit Guides regarding the answers to offer each questioner.  It was brilliant!

Their segments, and the whole show, was a success!

When the application process came around for the 2013 Tucson Fringe Festival, Alison signed up for Flaming Rainbow to participate.  Elisabeth had the idea “what if these two characters have a reason to get together on stage? What in the world would happen?”  They met, threw around some in-character improv, and wham! FLAMING RAINBOW SPIRITUAL HEALER was born!

Flaming Rainbow

Flaming Rainbow

The show happened on March 3rd at the Club Congress in downtown Tucson. These two talented, and brave, women, created a one hour show. The first segment was Flaming Rainbow’s comedy routine.  Then The Shamanic Seer came on stage.  She read all the questions written out before this show, drummed for guidance, and then told a beautiful story that spoke to the questions of all.

Then we found out how they were to meet.  Each were invited (for different reasons) to participate in a reality tv show audition.  What happened when they met was funny, and educational.  They shared, in an entertaining and very lighthearted way, many important messages that spirituality shares, such as how to use energy, how our childhoods can affect us as adults, the concept of ‘soul retrieval’, how we each have our own power, and the use of spiritual tools.  People laughed, people learned, and we all saw a bit of ourselves in these characters.

Spiritual Funny!

Spiritual Funny!

Theater, performance, play acting and enactments have always helped humans work out problems, understand concepts, laugh at ourselves, and learn new things.  This performance was brilliantly lighthearted, which allowed many important messages to come through, without people even realizing it.  It takes a lot to get up in front of an audience.

Congratulations to Alison and Elisabeth for being bold enough to share this with our community! ISA is proud to have supported, and offered a reason, for this show to be born.  We can’t wait to see what Flaming Rainbow and the Shamanic Seer will do next!!!


Shaman Images, Symbols, and Metaphors


The Evocative & Healing Power of Imagery was offered by ISA, (Institute for the Shamanic Arts), facilitator Eileen Ashby ( on Sunday, Feb. 24.

The shamanic realm has messages for us that are often delivered through images, symbols and metaphors. By tapping into images that might be present through plants, animals, literature, music, and film, we are able to reconnect to the what is sacred, what has been lost, or what has been hidden.

Eileen explained that images are direct links to the soul.

Through several thought provoking exercises, we were able to suspend our judgements and become curious about what images are being presented to each of us.

This is so vital, because in shamanic journeys, we work with images all the time!

Great job Eileen and we look forward to more evocative workshops from you.

If you would like to find out more about Eileen, please see her webpage at:

If you would like to find out more about ISA offerings please see our meetup at:



A Sacred Evening with Medicine Singers

“What an amazing experience. I’m happy to have attended. Thanks to Phil, Alyce, Ron for sharing themselves with us in such a way.”

On January 5th, 2013, people gathered for an evening of sacred traditional songs, dances and ceremonial speeches shared by Phillip Cash Cash, his wife Alyce, and Phil’s Medicine Singing Brother Ron, in Tucson, AZ.   ISA was honored to host this ceremony.

I was taken by every attentive detail by all involved near and far, in having this ceremony and containing the healing for all! So much love and concern was maintained from the beginning to the end.The Phil, Ron, Alyce, Quynn, Elisabeth, Alyson, Coyote soup makers and blessers and pourers, all the Spirits of Mother Nature, here and beyond, everyone present, Thankyou. It was my honour to be able to receive the blessed Spirits and Singing and Salmon and Water and Fir Burroughs and Cedar and Coyote Soup!

A link to images of the gathering of the Fir boughs from the top of Mt. Lemmon before the ceremony.

What a blessed ceremony! Thank you Phil, Alyce, and Ron for the beauty, and for the soulfulness, and for the generosity of spirit. I feel a happy, bubbling heart happiness from it all. <3! Thank you Salmon, thank you Eagle, thank you Water. And, Elisabeth, thank you for delicious Coyote Soup buffet! 🙂 Thank you mountain Trees. You were very kind!

“Thank you for sharing your healing songs, dance and laughter. The love, light, joy and energy that filled the space was heart warming/expanding… Phil, Alyce and Ron please keep up the Good works for it is much needed as well as appreciated. This night is now a memory for me to be cherished with a smile.”

Phillip and Ron, the singing was magnificent. Alyce, your beautiful light was shining. The room was filled with kind and loving hearts. The spirits were awesome. Thank you Coyote for sharing your soup. I enjoyed the laughing, dancing, singing and soaring. 🙂


The day after the releasing and healing ceremony, the singers took the Fir boughs (which absorbed sickness and sadness from people who stood upon them) back up the mountain, to give to the Spirits.

Greetings, a very precious, sacred feeling accompanied us as we released all the fir boughs and other materials used in our medicine singing. This happened at top of the hour of 2 pm today. Our mother earth and the many earthly spirits will take care of our heart’s prayer and open a clear path. Alyce, Ron, and I are all very grateful to share our songs. Many thanks to all who had a hand in preparations on making this event happen. Life and healing always, Phil

Shamanic Soup’s On!

resizesouppotjpgFor the last journey circle of 2012,  Institute for the Shamanic Arts (ISA) gathered to explore the tradition of soup making.

This was during our Shamanic Soup workshop.

Each individual brought a soup ingredient that they felt was an important soup addition.

While the soup simmered away full of spinach, kale, mushrooms, garlic, ginger, yams, sweet potatoes, spices, onion, and of course, love, we all journeyed to the beat of the shamanic drum.

We contemplated the thought of a caterpillar inside of its chrysalis in a soup state with all of its DNA present to make a butterfly.

We laughed at a coyote tale about coyote always being ready with his hidden spoon.

We expressed gratitude and realized that we are always in a state of gratitude.

We even recognized that, “It’s all perfect.” Each given moment is perfect.

We shared stories, laughed, listened to the rain fall, kept warm, ate homemade tortillas (thank you!) and enjoyed deeply nourishing soup.

As a final touch, we each went into our journeys and fetched what we thought would be the perfect ingredient for an ISA Shamanic Soup.

This special ISA Shamanic Soup sounds amazing and you are invited to partake in all of ISA’s nourishment for the year 2013!

See you then!



Journeys to Reindeer and Angels

On December 23, 2012, a group of shamanic journeyers traveled down the stairs, into the underworld Grotto in downtown Tucson, to gather for community, and introspection, in the first few days of the returning light after winter solstice.


Our first journey was about, and to, Reindeer.  Christmas is the one time of year that brings Reindeer to mind for many modern people, yet Reindeer, and the people who rely on them, are shamanic peoples (see Reindeer in Siberian shamanism).  The word “Shaman” comes from a group of Reindeer People.

Photograph by Hamid Sardar-Afkhami

Here are some messages shared from the Reindeer journeys-

“I remind you of the interconnectedness of all things. As you have family, I have family. We coexist through a relationship of love, compassion and companionship.”

“Honor the sacred relationship with animals- as food- as companionship.”

“It’s not what I thought I needed,  but it is what I need.  I need to learn about what I need.”

“You too must be stripped and hung to dry so that you can be of use.  Shared among the others of your kind.”

“I am the gift.

I give myself to humans

And guide them in the cold.

Since fewer people need us now, there are more of us in the Spirit world, ready to guide you.”


Our second journey was to ask about Angel energy in each person’s life.  There are many beliefs and theories about what Angels are in each culture, so these journeyers asked their inner worlds for more information regarding their own relationship with “Angels”.

Earth_AngelsHere are some messages that came through the drumbeats-

“Angels are shapeshifters.  We are in all cultures by different names.  We appear to people as they need us to be.”

“It is better to hate the Angels than to pretend they do not exist.”

“Everyday people are angels, sometimes the person you least expect.”

“Angels as messages in dreams- guiding.  Guiding messengers.”

“Let go of expectations and live through the heart.”

“The joy and innocence of your inner child is your “guardian angel”.  Just think of the total love of a child, how powerful a force is that?  Where did we lose the joy a child has in the world around. Pull out that child and others around you will protect that beauty. ”

As 2012 closes, and a New Era begins, the Institute for the Shamanic Arts wishes you a good holiday season, and a warm bed this winter! Our shamanic journey circle happens every Sunday at 10am in Tucson, AZ. To find out more, go to our meetup group. Blessings to all, and to all a good night!

snow angel

The Sacred Calling of Corn

Brought to you by Darcey Blue

maizecobfiguresCorn has always been sacred- as food, medicine, spirit guide- to cultures throughout the Americas. It is only our modern culture which has turned corn into a commodity that has been abused and vilified. Corn asks us to begin to reclaim our sacred reciprocal relationship. I ask you today- what can YOU do today to begin to bring corn back into health and sacredness?

Spirit of Corn Altar

Spirit of Corn Altar

“Recently I was clearly called by the spirit of Corn to offer a community ceremony to begin to reconnect with and heal the relationship we as a culture have with the Corn Plant.  At this community ceremony- offerings of corn, tobacco, handmade stylized corn ocarina, corn husk dolls and prayers were placed on the altar as a on offering to the spirit of corn.  And each member of the circle that night asked the spirit of Corn what they could do as an individual to transform their own awareness and relationship with Corn- as a food and as a being of sacred wisdom- and what comittments they would make to the Corn spirit to bring the awareness of the Sacred medicine and wisdom of Corn back into our culture.”

You can listen to Darcey share about corn during her recent ceremony at the Institute for the Shamanic Arts in Tucson by clicking here.

You can read Darcey’s full post about her sacred journey with Corn here.

“There is much healing to be, there is much work too. I know not where it will take me – what more will be asked- but I know, with every cell of my being, that it will be meaningful, deep and healing- for me as an individual- as a healer- and for the world around me.  And I am in humble gratitude.  To the land- to the Corn-to the Ancestors- and Spirit in All to be here, doing this work – not just by words on a page, or a small circle- but taking this work into the physical world, with my body, with my song, with all of me.”

DO NOT Be afraid- Shamanic Journey Circle for Turkey Wisdom

“Do not be afraid to go where your mind can’t reach. The journey is infinite and you will be prepared for all.”

On the Sunday of the four day Thanksgiving weekend 2012, journeyers gathered for a shamanic journey circle that happens every week in downtown Tucson, Arizona.  On this day there were 13, and the focus of their journeys was Wild Turkey. Many enlightening facts and stories were shared about the Wild Turkey’s strength of flight and sight, their longevity (11 million years!), as well as their sacredness to Peoples of the North America, and then Europe as well.  See Thursday’s blog post about Turkey. Fascinating facts!

“Your wild Nature is beautiful and tasty.”

Two drum journeys brought strong vision to the journeyers. At the end of the last drumming, each participant wrote a message of wisdom from their new Turkey allies.  They are shared here.

“You have nothing to be grateful for unless you have gratitude. Ask Turkey to provide you Thanksgiving.”

“The bad guy in the movies dies when he makes assumptions about the “ease” or manageability of the opponent.  If someone underestimates you that is their weakness and danger.  It is ok to be wild and to be able to defend a boundary. I nurture, but this is my space so respect it or beware.”
“Freedom to experience spiritual peace, finding it walking in natural surroundings.  Turkey gives you peace. Go to the tall trees and rock formations.”

“My energy is a gift of seeing into the distance, or beyond the immediate.  My giveaway is love. Know that it is given willingly and always from love.”

“Live close to the Earth.  Follow your curiosity.  Know you are more powerful than people realize.”

Don’t try and hide anything from yourself, but be aware of what you share with others.  It is a gift either way.”

“Peace. Joy. Freedom.”

“Turkey Blessing:  Turkey is generosity of heart in relationship (all kinds of relationships).  Turkey runs fast (and free).  Turkey shares!  Turkey does not get her feathers ruffled.  Turkey is easy-going but focused.  Turkey love is simple, valuable, and not to be underestimated.”

All quotes were written by circle participants.  Thanks to all who joined in.  Thank you Turkey.


Written by Quynn Red Mountain, Shamanic Practitioner and founder of The Institute for the Shamanic Arts.
Quotes are from previous Training participants.
Photos are from previous Training years.

Recently, I hosted an Introduction to ISA’s Healing Practitioner Training.  A group of people felt called to join in the circle and practice their intuitive abilitiesAt the end of the day long session, I asked them to write something they learned while together. This is what they wrote:

“Today I practiced asking for guidance and trusting that I would be shown to a higher perspective.”


 “I learned that I cannot “fail”, that I just make choices, some more effective than others.”

 Today I was shown how “our triggers are what connects us.”

 I have grown to look forward to this time of year because it means that latest Practitioner Training begins soon. I started offering trainings in either 2003 or 2004 ( I cannot remember now). The next 5 part training series begins on Saturday, December 1 and is the first Saturday of the month through April. This series is called “FULL CIRCLE Shamanic Practitioning Techniques Training” and is a little different twist on the series offered last year. 

Every person is so unique. So many people have intuitive/shamanic/psychic/helping abilities that are just waiting to flower more fully.  I have come to see that out of 10 gifted healing arts practitioners, maybe 1 will be a ‘shamanic practitioner’.  However, shamanic techniques of the shamanic journey, communicating with spirit guides, divination and connecting with the different worlds/layers of reality can be beneficial tools for any practitioner/facilitator and healing person.  So, I decided to offer Healing Practitioner Training sessions  where I share my experience of holding sacred space for people, exploring my own personal healing, and unfolding my shamanic tools, and my focus is that each participant can sample, try and experiment with their own abilities and gifts.  This works well.

We work together in a group, and then each session, there is a time for hosting sessions for each other, and later, the community. This series adds another layer, which is to consciously practice the following 8 approaches to Holding Shamanic Space for people (whatever your modality):


1) Soul Healing and Activation for self and others
2) Shamanic Journey skills (traveling the worlds)
3) Sensing in the Dark
4) Divination
5) Nature and Spirit Communication
6) Rhythm/Movement/Trance skills
7) Gathering Allies between Dimensions/Layers of Reality
8) Mythmaker/Storyteller skills

My job is to hold space for you, while you explore your gifts. I create opportunities for you to practice your gifts on others.  I create ways for you to be ‘out’ with your new abilities, in ways that are comfortable for you.  I share what I have learned, and facilitate the group to learn from each other, while each person learns from their Spirit Guides.

Instead of me going on about what the training might do for you, I would like to share some quotes from some of last year’s training participants-

“It was really beautiful!  I learned a lot about myself and received some wonderful gifts from the spirit world.”

“Thank you, Quynn, for offering practitioner training that is personal to each participant.”

“I prospered from the continuity, the deepening over time. In each all-day “in person” circle, I found support, inspiration, and motivation to practice my healing skills.  Quynn led me through “I’m not ready” to developing a unique form of divination that surprised and delighted me. Her encouragement of each person’s unique gift and acceptance of where each of us is on our journey made this class work for a very diverse group of individuals.”

ISA’s practitioner training with Quynn gave me a tremendous amount of guidance, and many new opportunities have arisen this year because of this experience. Recently, I co-facilitated a three-day retreat in nature. We held sacred space for participants through the entire retreat (including a variety of shamanic journey circles, nature meditations, facilitated discussions, and meditations). While I came to ISA with a background in managing retreats and leading outdoor activities and meditations, holding sacred space for such an extended period of time was a very new experience for me. I feel such a great and happy debt of gratitude to ISA’s practitioner training for my ability now to so confidently guide others with words, drum, and sacred presence.

“I feel that I benefited from the practical aspects and practice opportunities of ISA’s practitioner training, and also from the encouragement—and nudging!—both seen and unseen that was offered (and received). Also, I feel so happy and inspired to continue developing in this work, and I highly recommend ISA’s practitioner training and the work of Quynn to others. May many benefit!”

“I learned much by simply observing and experiencing Quynn’s very skilled shamanic circle facilitation during the training. She demonstrates a certain fearlessness that cuts through, as well as her own deep honesty and presence—all of which makes her highly effective as a facilitator and trainer.” Alyson Greene

“Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.  I feel the movement of my voice.  I have stepped to the other side of fear.  I am so greatful for a circle to focus on what needs to happen.  The five month focus in the background of my life has helped me move through my resistance.” Josephine

Quotes from participants of past trainings

“Thank you for creating the space for me/us to PRACTICE….. I know that I wouldn’t be practicing on people without your encouragement and you having this class.”  Julianne  MPH, CCT, CYT

“Quynn, thanks for you, who you are, what you do and the way in which you are able to help us find the bright parts of ourselves we have hidden and denied for years!” K in Tucson

“Quynn’s unique way, or shall I say, gift, for teaching is like no other. She will guide you through journeys with your ancestors, guides, angels, higher self, and totem animals through her instruction and dynamic drumming. Teachers like Quynn are a rare find.”    Linda Rettinger of

 If you feel ready to practice your skills in a supportive and non-conformist environment, and are interested in learning more about:

*What your Guides want from you

*How to live in the world with your abilities “open” and how to stay protected

*How to create a niche for your services, and how to let people know what you do and what you have to offer


*Ourstory (Past, Present Future of this path)

*Non-Congitive Skills

*Building a Lodge

*Living in this culture as a Shamana

then please consider joining me for these 5 sessions.  I have made them affordable so that people of all walks of life can participate.  Details for this series is listed at our meetup calendar (same listing as the one at :  You can sign up there. You can also contact me through the meetup group if you have questions or issues.

If you are unsure of your readiness for such a training, another option is to take part in Exploring your Spiritual/Sacred Abilities, a 3 hour circle on Monday, November 26.   It will be a good way to get to know me better, and to see if the training is a good fit for you at this time.
Blessings to you on your path!  May our paths meet when it is time.


The Plasmic Portal is Coming!

Some of us at ISA have felt, once again, the call from our Spirits to share ourselves in a theatrical way.  We have been asked to make aspects of the Shamanic path visible through Performance and Ceremony for modern people in our evolving world.  We are doing this on Saturday, October 20 at 7pm in Tucson, Arizona.  We brought you Cracking Open in 2011, now it is time to enter the Portal within.

Six female shamanic performers will share Spirit Guided segments, performances, and offerings to whoever feels called to participate in this interactive ceremonial experience.  Your Spirit is calling! Join us! Find out more at


We hope to see you there!

To Life!