Applied Shamanism

The Sacred Land of Menla: A Season of Ceremony

By Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.

The fall season is upon us and I am reminded how, for many people, now and in times past, this is a time for gathering together to mark the change of light and to give thanks. The act of ceremony brings us into deeper communion with ourselves, with others, and the natural world around us. To mark this season of the fall equinox, I gathered with a group of students for a drum circle in the sanctuary of the Sacred Stream Center. When the drumming began, the late afternoon light filled the wooden rafters that arched over us. It streamed in through the century-old stained glass, dimming bit by bit in much the same way the days will shorten and the light will continue to dim until we meet again at the winter solstice drum circle, when the cycle will reverse and the days will grow longer once more.

The Journey: Buddhism and Shamanism at the Crossroads

By Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.

We live in a time of paradox. On the one hand, wars and conflicts of all sorts rage all around us. The Earth is buckling under the effect of them. We also live in a time where there are opportunities for innovative solutions to our situation. We could focus on different types of innovations – technology, new ways of doing business, and more. But here, I would like to focus on the new spiritual and healing possibilities that are emerging to address this crisis. These approaches to addressing the difficulties of the current time can help us explore consciousness in ways that might not be accessible in less tumultuous times.

Huna: Aka-Mana Patterns

By Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.

The idea of Aka and Mana is drawn from Huna, a tradition of knowledge that has been stored in Hawaii for the last thousand years or so. According to its oral history, it was brought to Hawaii for conservation in times of darkness. You can trace the progression of Huna from northern Africa all the way to India and throughout Melanesia. This system of knowledge has become incorporated into certain native practices of Hawaiian Shamanism.

Boundaries: A Case Study

By Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.

When people come into my office with relationship problems, they do not always realize they’re dealing with boundary issues. Many people think if they’re being treated badly in relationship, they must be doing something wrong. This is generally due to a lack of understanding about boundaries, and this lack of understanding usually stems from a place of unworthiness. The person being mistreated believes they’re flawed in some way, and makes compromises to stay in relationships where they are suffering. Boundary issues almost always arise when a person doesn’t feel lovable, and consequently, they’re willing to do almost anything to get another person’s approval. Because they don’t love themselves, they are dependent on others to be sources of love and validation.

Discover Your Shamanic Superpowers

What lies beyond the world we can see with our eyes?

The answer is a lot more than you might think!

There is a language hidden in the world of things seen, that can help us to understand what is really going on in the world around us.

Shamanism is one of the ways we can see through and integrate the physical and spiritual planes of existence.

It is one of the oldest wisdom traditions known to man and having fallen temporarily onto the fringe of popular culture, it is now becoming popular again amongst a generation of people keen to learn indigenous wisdom and reconnect with spirit.

By Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.

As we move deeper into fall, we are reaping the harvest of our busy spring and summer here at Sacred Stream. We’ve been collaborating with colleagues to create new platforms for carrying out our mission, and they’re changing the way we work to fulfill our mission. Our mission statement says, “We understand that there is a common source of wisdom that underlies all authentic spiritual, cultural and artistic traditions that informs and enlivens them. And while each tradition may take a different form, like plants along a riverbank, each is sustained by the same source. Each workshop we create, each artist or guest teacher we host, and each resource we post is offered to you with the intention of illuminating another way to deepen your own connection to this source, attain a broader perspective, and receive inspiration from it.” These collaborations will multiply our offerings, allowing more people to receive the inspiration and the perspective-altering wisdom of the classes we teach through the Sacred Stream.

By Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.

When the Space Clearing Society doesn’t have any requests for services, we offer healing ceremonies for events that happened in the distant past in places around the globe.

Shamanic healing as a practice is complex. Many of the practices that shamans have engaged with for millennia can seem foreign to modern people, yet at the same time, oddly familiar. One practice has to do with conceiving of time and space in a different way. No shamanic practice is dependent on time or space, and shamans can perform an effective healing on someone who is miles away. They can even offer healing to situations that have already occurred. This is because shamans work “outside of time.”

Many of us do “work outside of time” as we daydream about the future and mull over the past, and that is why this work seems familiar. But when we engage in this way, it is also unfamiliar to think about having a powerful effect on events that lie outside our present experience.

Restoring the Health of the Planet

By Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.

Fires in California, chemical and oil spills, deadly heatwaves in India, floods in Japan, the extinction of species after species…

People are often uncertain of how they can protect the wellbeing of the planet in these calamitous times. While it can be overwhelming, it’s important to realize we can create change by engaging in social activism, and by individually and collectively aligning ourselves with the forces of nature, just as shamans have done since time immemorial. With the Circles for the Earth, shamanic practitioners gather to create positive change by focusing on a common intention.

The Shamanic Practices of Space Clearing: Part One

By Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.

It was a foggy summer day in 2003, and as I was trying to ascertain if the fog had any intention of clearing, the phone rang. I answered it and the voice at the other end spoke in a hushed tone, “Look, you are going to think I am crazy, but I think we have ghosts. Someone said you might know what to do about that.”

The woman calling was one of the administrative managers at a non-profit foundation that had taken up residence in the Presidio, a former military installation that had been turned over to the National Park Service several years before. When I assured her that I didn’t think she was crazy and that there might be something I could do to help, she opened up.

She said, “Well, we have a whole section of our offices that people are just refusing to work in. Some say they feel chills when they go there, others say they see shadows in the ladies’ room mirrors, and we often hear the doors open and close when no one is near them. The electrical system has shorted out for no apparent reason at least four times in the last three months. We really don’t know what to do. We are paying rent for that part of the building, and we need to be able to use it.”

As it turns out, they were housed in a building that had been a military hospital from 1898 until it closed in 1994. Many wounded soldiers spent time recovering in that building. There was also a psychiatric ward, and many people who had experienced a great deal of trauma passed through the building for nearly one hundred years.

Finding Myself on the Path

By Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.

In the summer of 2013 Thupten Jinpa, His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s principle English language interpreter, asked me if the Foundation of the Sacred Stream would be willing to host a group of Tibetan Buddhist monks from the Gaden Shartse Dokhang. His former monastic house had fallen on difficult times, and he felt a year-long cross-cultural exchange tour in the United States would help them out of those difficulties. I had no idea what it would entail to host such a tour, but if Jinpa asked me to create a bridge to the far side of the moon, I would figure out a way to do it. I was honored to be asked, and there was no question in my mind that I would help him.

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