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Where the Spirits Ride the Wind: Trance Journeys and Other Ecstatic Experiences (A Midland Book)

“The book is clearly written for the general reader and includes many descriptions of trance experiences. It may serve as a good introduction to the nature and appeal of the shamanic revival in modern Western cultures.” —Theological Book Review

“… a case study in experiential anthropology that offers a unique mix of autobiography, mythology, experiential research, and archaeological data to support a challenging thesis—that certain body postures may help induce specific trance states.” —Shaman’s Drum

“This is a spellbinding and exceptionally readable book by an extraordinary woman.” —Yoga Journal

“And suddenly the understanding of my own vision washed over me like a mighty wave… For life or for death, I was committed to that mighty realm of which I was shown a brief reminder, the world where all was forever motion and emergence, that realm where the spirits ride the wind.” —from the Prologue

Goodman reexamines our notions of the nature of reality by studying the ritual postures of native art assumed by her subjects during trance states. For readers desiring to discover this world of ancient myths, she has included a practical guide on how to achieve such ecstatic experiences.

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  1. Joan A. Adamak "Joan Adamak, Author and Book... says

    Rich and Fascinating I was perplexed at the “Publishers Weekly” review of thisbook, citing that “all of the descriptions sound the same”.Whoever wrote that must not have clearly read the book.The experiences people have differ greatly with the TYPE ofposture, and this is clearly explained in this book, as wellas in a book by Belinda Gore (“Ecstatic Body Postures: AnAlternate Reality Workbook). I have personally attended aseminar of this work, and continue to practice it, withothers, and our experiences are not the “same”. They areamazing, rich, deep, and healing – and different for differentpeople.This particular book is a wonderful story of how anthropologistFelicitas Goodman was led to even formulate her thesis in thefirst place- by great trial and error, working with hundredsof people all around the world – a work which has continuedfor over twenty years. She describes in detail the experiencesof many people as they “journey” by assuming the postures, toa specific drumming or rattling beat. She shares how the Cuyamungue Institute was founded over 25 years ago – a combination of practical hard work and magical, inspirationalexperiences. She shares how, over time, certain postures revealedthemselves as “fitting” into various catagories- such as healing,divining, metamorphosis, lower world journey, and so on. In addition to being a wonderful insight into shamanic types ofendeavor, this is a story of the life of a dedicated scholar, led by many insights and observations, to develop a body of workwhich is a scientific research work in progress, as well as being a possible link to the ancient roots of humanity. I recommend it to anyone interested in spirituality, the psyche, somatics, healing, and shamanism.

  2. ROBERT REESE says

    trance, petroglyph symbols Although it is ten years since this book was written and reviewed, I recently came across it again in my library and desire to bring it to light once again. I have been practicing various techniques of metaphysics for forty years and it is interesting to me how this scientist experimenting with her students, could prove that many of the pictographs, petroglyphs and other ancient symbols were instructions on how to induce a self-trance by using certain body positions to effectuate various results. I think this confirms the statement in Ecclesiastes that there is nothing new under the sun and I would recommend this book to anyone who would like to delve further into this subject matter. The book was fascinating to me.

  3. Anonymous says

    Shamans, Witch Doctors, and Medicine Men I can’t say this book was very exciting, but it certainly was thought provoking. Here’s why: Anthropologists now say humans like us have been around for more than 100,000 years (probably much longer). But human history only goes back 5000 years or so. In those 5000 years we’ve gone from mud huts to intercontinental jet travel. What were our early ancestors doing for those other 95,000 (or more) years? Just sitting around in caves, looking into the campfire? For 95,000 years? And if they did have a culture, where are the artifacts? This book may hint at the answer.On the walls of Egyptian tombs there are representations of men floating in the air at about a 50 degree angle–with erect penises. Similiar drawings (thousands of years older) are found in caves throughout Europe and southern Africa. This seems to have been a widespread “art style” that lasted thousands of years. The author tells of combining some of these postures with rhythmic sounds: chants, drum beats, and rattles. It seems as though different body postures determine what sort of “trip” one experiences upon entering an altered state of consciousness.Is it possible that shamans, witch doctors, and medicine men were on to something? Maybe the reason that no sophisticated artificts from early peoples are to be found is that those early people took a different path than us. A path not towards technology, but one that lead to the developement of altered states of consciousness. Could it be that those cave drawings and the author’s reconstructions are all that remain of an sophisticated prehistoric science?

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