Ecstatic Body Postures
with Dr. Analouise Williams
Cost: $25 Pre-registration/payment. $30 at the door.
Dr. Felicitas D. Goodman, anthropologist, found that holding a posture represented by figurines and statues found in archaeological sites from hunters and gathers and horticulturists worldwide, is a method for achieving ecstatic trance and its attendant visionary experience.
Dr. Goodman introduced Dr. Analouise Williams to this ancient mystical tradition. Dr. Williams, a shamanic practitioner, teacher, and researcher, has studied from other gifted shamanic teachers.
However, when she offers the ecstatic body postures, people experience a different — and often profound — mystical experience.
No previous shamanic journey experience is required. Please wear comfortable clothes, and bring a rattle or drum (optional).
About Dr. Williams
Analouise Williams, Ph.D., (physical anthropology) has managed large health policy research projects for over 30 years in developing countries and the U.S. She is a co-investigator on the first National Institutes of Health-funded clinical trial of shamanic healing for women with temporomandibular joint disorders. She began her study of shamanic healing with Felicitas Gooodman, Ph.D., who taught her the ecstatic body postures, she has completed Sandra Ingerman’s soul retrieval and teacher training, and continues to study with shamanic teachers.
About Dr. Goodman
In the late 1950’s, early 1960’s, Felicitas D. Goodman, Ph.D., focused her anthropological study on the varieties of mystical experience. She studied “glossolalia” or “speaking with tongues” in several communities and found parallels in the experience in each culture. These parallels included certain body/posture changes, similar patterns in consonants and vowels and intonation, and the background of a repeated rhythm or music.
Determined to explore this phenomenon, she began by asking volunteers to listen to the beating of a rattle. The volunteers did experience relaxation but did not have mystical experiences.
Dr. Goodman read reports in the anthropological literature about the different quality of meditative experience depending on the mudra, or hand, or body position of the meditator. Using her observation of the postural changes within the trance state of ‘speaking with tongues’, she began to look into the archaeological evidence to see if there were figurines or statues that recurred in various archaeological sites.
Once she asked volunteers to imitate the postures on these figurines, they began to have mystical experiences. And, different postures elicited different varieties of experience. Some postures elicited healing experiences, others, spirit journeys, metamorphosis, death and rebirth, etc.
For nearly three decades, Felicitas Goodman’s research revived a tradition-at least 36,000 years old-that uses the capacity of the human nervous system to alter its functioning very precisely in order to enter expanded or non-ordinary states of consciousness. Using a collection of ritual body postures from the artwork of hunter-gatherer and horticultural people as a doorway to the world of spirit, this state known as ecstatic trance is achieved through a relatively simple, safe, and teachable method. It is evidence of the amazing durability of these sacred postures that groups of urbanized and technologically sophisticated women and men can assume the same body positions shown in the artwork of Paleolithic fishermen or Uzbekistani shamans and find themselves journeying into non-ordinary states of consciousness, presumably in ways similar to these unknown ancestors.
Further research of Dr. Goodman and others confirms the importance of mystical experience for us as humans, and the physiological mechanisms built into our brains and nervous systems that makes this a part of being human.
Dr. Goodman taught linguistics and anthropology at Denison University until her retirement, when she became Director of The Cuyamungue Institute. She is author of numerous articles and has seven books to her credit, including Ecstasy, Ritual, and Alternate Reality: Religion in a Pluralistic World, and Where the Spirits Ride the Wind: Spirit Journeys and Ecstatic Experiences.
- Read More about Dr. Goodman’s History.
- Discover more Books & Related Audio materials.