Ecstatic Body postures are a standard part of my shamanic practice. I was first introduced to them in 1997. Belinda Gore was mentored by Dr. Felicitas Goodman. Dr. Goodman, held degrees in linguistics and anthropology, and had conducted research into altered states of consciousness relative to ritual posture beginning in 1977. She published numerous books and articles, including Where the Spirits Ride the Wind and Ecstacy, Ritual and Alternate Reality. Belinda Gore continues her work, making her findings available through books and workshops.
Ecstatic Body postures, according to the author, have been practiced, some of them, for thousands of years. They have been found in statuettes, and other forms, left behind by our ancestors. The first two chapters of the book take the reader through the discovery and the practice of ecstatic trance. If the reader is unfamiliar with trance postures, it will provide an anthropological and spiritual basis for the practice.
As a practioner, the description of each of the postures includes how the trance was discovered. In what form the relic was in, a statuette, a picture on an urn, and any other number of means of transcribing the posture from practice, to visual aid. The description generally includes, as well, the energy required and produced by holding the trance. Descriptions of the experiences, are shared by students of the Cuyamungye Institute in New Mexico. All of the postures have sketches, and clear instructions, on how to hold the body, to achieve the altered state, invoked by the posture. Further, the postures are divided, into different categories, such as Healing, Divination, Spirit Journeys and Living Myths.
This book is useful to the sole practioner, as well as for group ceremonies and circles. It is clear, when reading the book, the students of the institute have varied and interesting experiences. The descriptions of the poses, and the experiences, help to create a curiosity, leading to a self exploration of the postures. Ecstatic Body Postures, offers a unique way to practice achieving different states of altered consciousness. There are many ways to reach for the Divine. There are many ways to affect, and alter, our states of awareness. Trance postures cue the appropriate physiological responses, offering the experiencor, the ability to shift their perceptions, allowing them to witness and participate in the spirit world.
I have personally, referred to the postures in this book, for many different circles and ceremonies. Grandfather Bear posture has become a deep, and powerful way for my shamanic community to connect with the Spirit of Bear during our Annual Spring Equinox Waking the Bear Ceremony. Calling the Spirits posture comes from the Olmec people, but is not exclusive to the Olmec people. It is a personal favorite of mine to use, when I am traveling to a new park for hiking, or a new country for traveling. I introduce myself to the Spirits of the Place and seek permission and, perhaps they provide me with information, about the nature spirits of the Place. Shamanism is a practice of relating to the natural world around them. It is important to me, to be respectful, wherever I go.
For any pracitioner with a penchant for alternative ways to travel to and through the Spirit World, I would recommend this book. Get the book here