2020 was quite a year! With the world in great need of healing, we too may have lost our balance.
We may be feeling battered from the losses we have endured in the past twelve months. And while some positive changes are happening, the world can still seem to be coming apart. Public health is in tatters from the COVID pandemic. Climate change continues to gather force like a storm ready to pummel us. We feel the bone deep bruising of systemic racism and inequity. The economy is torn and needs mending. Iron-on patches won’t do for these problems. We need to weave new cloth to clothe a world that has changed in enormous ways over the past year.
How can we contribute to the healing?
The words healing, whole and holy all have the same root in Old English. Healing, then, implies becoming whole. And the feeling of wholeness brings a deep sense of well-being. We become more holy, more spiritually sound, as we engage in the ongoing process of healing.
Ancient Ritual Postures and Healing
We can use Ancient Ritual Postures to learn about and facilitate spiritual healing. This comes from our direct experiences connecting with the spirits who are available to help and guide us. Though we are calling it Spiritual healing, it includes aspects of physical, emotional, and mental healing.
First, let’s be clear that healing is not the same as curing. Curing means making the symptoms go away, and hopefully not come back. To heal means to get to the root causes. That takes longer. And there might be more pain to endure before recuperation sets in.
When we consider healing at a physical level it is useful to recognize that our bodies are made of the elements of the Earth. The traditional function of healers is to translate the power of the earth into the life force for humans. The power of plants comes from the power of the earth. Plants support healing – through teas, poultices, essential oils, and nutrition – by restoring earth-based elements that have been lost. Hands-on healing techniques bring the flow of the life force back where energy channels have been blocked.
In using Ancient Ritual Postures for healing, we find that during the ritual many people experience flows of energy in various parts of their bodies. Old injuries may hurt again, briefly, and neglected physical problems may become the focus of attention.
Wisdom of the Bear Spirit and Healing
The Bear Spirit is known to many as Grandfather Bear, with all the affection and respect this name implies. Often people in workshops feel Grandfather Bear’s deep love even when his actions as a healer may seem brutal. It has been common for me to feel the Bear’s claws scoring my skin to release impurities even while others describe having an ointment applied to soothe places of physical or spiritual pain. Shamans around the world describe being torn asunder or dismembered to be restored to a new configuration of themselves.
It seems to me that our world is in just such a condition.
Can we view our country’s disarray as a necessary step in becoming reconstituted in a way that heals old wounds of inequity and privilege? Can the pain of our times awaken us to the real changes that are needed? Not just to be “good for the economy” but good for our collective souls?
Ancient Ritual Postures and Soul Healing
Soul healing is practical – with changes at the physical and behavioral levels – and it also includes shifts in subtle energy. In working with Ancient Ritual Postures for the past 37 years I have developed ways to engage multiple posture rituals over a designated time for the purpose of soul healing.
Healing requires that we are open to deep change. So I like to start a complex healing ritual with the posture we call the Ecuadorian Woman.
The open stance of this position is an expression of the qualities we tend to experience in using this posture. With the shoulders back and arms at the side, the upper chest is undefended, leaving the heart available for contact. It is a wonderful preparation.
Her hands instruct us to allow that heart energy to flow outward.
The next step might be later in the same day or even a week later. To clarify the nature of what it is that needs to be mended or brought into better balance, I turn to Divination Postures. Any of them can be useful but I am inclined to call upon the Adena Pipe Posture.
Adena Pipe Posture
From the Adena Mound- builder culture, this figure stands in a squat position, shoulders squared and with his mouth open.
The disks on his earlobes remind us to pay attention to verbal explanations or instructions during the ritual.
It may be necessary to raise some energy to activate the balancing and healing process. That includes vitality for the healer as well as the one receiving the healing.
Is there enough energy in patient and healer? A favorite helper for this purpose is the Empowerment posture.
This figure is a wood carving that remarkably survived the heat and humidity of the tropical lowlands of Central American, home of the ancient Maya. It appears that he is a priest or warrior. He is preparing to participate in the ritual ball game played on courts that we see in most Mayan ruins. Large protective wooden yokes, worn on the waist, were used, along with hips and shoulders, to pass a heavy rubber ball through a stone ring set high on the sides of the court.
At the conclusion of the game, one of the players was sacrificed. Rather than being a punishment for losing the game, it was an honor to be sacrificed. Being chosen to travel straight to the gods, taking the prayers of his people, was reserved for the winner.
In this posture we experience strength and nobility of purpose.
In the process of healing, we may need to make a Spirit Journey to find and reclaim aspects of ourselves or our community that have been lost. Some teachers, like Sandra Ingerman and Nicholas Brink, call this Soul Retrieval.
One of my favorite Ritual Postures to support healing is the Tsimshian Shamaness from the Tsimshian tribe in the Pacific Northwest.
She wears a Raven on her headdress and in the rituals with this posture people often are greeted by birds of every variety.
While many people journey to the Sky World with the help of birds, one participant was told, “she can take you anywhere you want to go.”
After our first journey with the Tsimshian Shamaness, Ancient Ritual Postures pioneer Felicitas Goodman wrote, “This is the world where the shaman is descending to look for friends or helpers.”
Calling the Spirits
The birds are spirit helpers. It may be useful for the one receiving healing to find an ally or spirit friend to support the deep changes that are needed.
There are several ritual postures that are especially powerful in requesting an ally. Felicitas told an interesting story about discovering the Calling the Spirits posture.
Because she was a visiting lecturer at the School of American Research in Santa Fe, NM, she was given a private tour of their museum. She saw a statue on a pedestal labeled “Calling the Spirits,” and proceeded to make a drawing and introduce it as a ritual posture to her students at the Cuyamungue Institute. The next year when she returned to the School of American Research to acquire a slide of the figure, it was not on the shelf where she had seen it. Moreover, no one recognized her description and she could not locate it in the slides of the museum’s entire collection. It was a mystery!
Later she found this statue in the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City. The elongated head and drooping mouth are characteristic of figures from the Olmec people who lived on the Gulf Coast plain in Mexico about 3,000 years ago. He is our helper in calling for the spirits to come. We invite one of them to befriend us and hopefully the invitation is accepted.
Healing and the Metamorphosis Postures
Once the rebalancing has been effected, a Metamorphosis ritual is recommended to integrate the change. The metamorphosis postures facilitate an experience of literally changing in form.
Sometimes called Shape-Shifting, it is an experience of allowing the energy body to find a different organizing template. At least temporarily we can feel into another physical form.
We can become a sea turtle and dive into the quiet ocean to find fluidity and peace. Or we can stretch into the powerful limbs of a mountain lion to feel strength and confidence. We might find ourselves sailing on the wind currents with the Eagle, finding a sense of perspective on the details of our lives.
In other words, a metamorphosis ritual can help us “fix” the change like a dye that changes the color of a fabric.
Healing and the Initiation Postures
Sometimes the healing process requires dying. Maybe someone is ready to end this Earth journey and make their final transition out of the body. Or perhaps a significant part of one’s life is coming to closure and therefore dying. The healer’s role is to help discern if death is part of the healing. The Initiation postures address Birthing, Dying, and being Reborn.
The Psychopomp takes its name from the classic Greek term for one who guides souls to the realm of the dead. We use this posture when horrific events cause large numbers of people to die at one time. Like earthquakes or airplane accidents. Or pandemics. Times when people die and are lost.
In multiple ways we can lead those who have died through tunnels or across bridges or to small boats to take them through the subtle division between the world of the living and the world beyond. What we have also discovered is that we can support the spirits of people getting ready to die who are afraid of the journey. Or we can help an individual release outworn patterns of behavior or compulsive traits. It’s remarkable really.
Healing and Celebration Rituals
Finally we come to Celebration rituals, when the healing is complete and we are giving thanks.
This posture, the Singing Shaman, looks similar to the Psychopomp but is experientially quite different.
This open mouth is for singing an audible “aaahhhh” until a shift in the nervous system takes us into connection with spirit. Then energy flows through us and makes sounds. Not exactly beyond our control but certainly effortlessly and somewhat unexpectedly.
Usually there is a great feeling of release and exultation. We are singing our gratitude for our place in the universe and for the gifts that make life the adventure that it is.
Healing and Our Connection to the World
Does this relate to the state of the world? It can.
After opening myself through the usual ritual preparation or by doing the Ecuadorian Woman posture, I can ask a Diviner to clarify what aspect of global or local challenges are within my personal ability to affect or change.
I can call on the Empowerment warrior/priest to help me draw up energy and perhaps take a Spirit Journey to reclaim a sense of purpose and direction that may have been lost in my cultural upbringing, or as the result of trauma. As I take the steps made clear to me, I can continue to ask for direction and support. I may identify obstacles that are not mine personally and find ways to help move or release them. What needs to die can be escorted to other realms to be changed into something more useful. And along the way we can all celebrate.
The most important component of healing is to expand into greater wholeness, to live in friendly connection with the multiple worlds and those beings who reside there. We begin to know that we are more than we ever imagined, that we are indeed the ones we have been waiting for.
No matter how desperate things become, we are always part of the larger Reality of Love, Consciousness, and Presence. Knowing that, we rest in well-being and can participate in the healing at hand.
If you would like to learn more about Ancient Ritual Postures used for Healing and have learned the basic Cuyamungue Method, I invite you to participate in a monthly group that will meet for ten sessions to practice The Art of Healing.
The Art of Healing with Ancient Ritual Postures
A monthly LIVE online group for in-depth learning and practice of TEN specific Ancient Ritual Postures used for Healing at the level of subtle energy.
The world is in great need of healing and we, too, may have lost our balance in the past tumultuous year. This LIVE online group is will guide you in deepening your ability to practice spiritual healing based on Ancient Ritual Postures. Each session will include a teaching about some aspect of spiritual healing, an introduction to one of the Ancient Ritual Healing Postures in the Oracle card deck – including its history, the details of holding that posture and how to best use it for spiritual healing – and an experience of the ritual with that posture as well as an opportunity to process what you experienced.
In the month between sessions, practice exercises will help you integrate your experience into a growing capacity for spiritual Healing.
All ten online sessions are held on the third Friday of every month from 3pm 5:00 pm EST beginning February 19 through November 29, 2021.
To register, please go to https://belindagore.com/product/workshop-series-the-art-of-healing-with-ancient-ritual-postures/
PLEASE NOTE: This group is intended for people who have been introduced to the Cuyamungue Method for using Ancient Ritual Postures. If you have any questions about your eligibility for the group, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.