Inner Wisdom

Shamanism in Contemporary Culture

Shamanism in contemporary culture in North America reflects the context: people’s personal evolutionary needs are different than they might be in an indigenous culture. Most indigenous cultures have well-defined role structures, where people are born into a particular lineage and perform particular duties as part of that lineage. Some cultures have had more tolerance for people deviating from their assigned role than others. Today in the modern Western world, historical patterns and social roles are not necessarily respected. This situation is a two edged sword, but it does allow people to evolve in terms of their own internal callings, rather than necessarily having to evolve according to the roles prescribed by the external culture.

Understanding Dreams

Dreams serve many different functions in an individual’s psychic life, and many theories have been put forward as to what those functions are. Carl Jung points to their function as a field of transformation of the self. Dreams are at the heart of the processes in the Depth Hypnosis model. When a person comes into counseling in Depth Hypnosis, one of the first things that might be asked of them is that they keep track of their dreams. The dreams will generally give the practitioner information about where the person needs to go or how the person is approaching the work. In this excerpt from a 2009 lecture on dreams, Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D. discusses dream interpretation, with a brief overview of the history of how ancient cultures viewed and worked with dreams.

Notes Towards a New Understanding of Education: Bringing Intuitive and Empirical Learning into Balance

By Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D. and Laura Chandler

As we approach the time of year where we traditionally return to formal education, it is important to consider the role that education plays in our lives. Education is defined in many different ways, and might generally be understood as a process where information regarding the nature of reality is transmitted from one person to another in a group setting.

This idea of reality could be described as a kind of consensus, based on empirical information that has been accumulated and synthesized into a modality that can be passed on through educational systems. The skillset that we develop in order to participate in this process of education requires that each individual must, to some degree, attune to the demands of the group, the desires of the instructor, and work towards the development of a rational intellect that can reproduce what is taught in a socially acceptable way. These are important skills, and necessary for members of any society.

There is, however, another important aspect of learning that is almost completely overlooked in traditional educational environments.

The Use of Altered States in Depth Hypnosis to Break Down Blocks and Resistance

By Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.

One of the most difficult issues a person trying to understand herself comes across is the issue of resistance. Uncovering unconscious blocks to understanding is often surprising and puzzling. On the one hand, we know what is happening in our lives internally or externally is generating pain and would like very much to be relieved of it. On the other hand, we often run into resistance to change even though we suspect that change will relieve of us our suffering.

Using the Shamanic Journey

By Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.

Shamanism is the core spiritual and healing practice of most indigenous cultures. The Shaman serves as the medical, psychological, and spiritual counselor of these cultures. One of the primary responsibilities of the Shaman is to interface between the world of the seen and the unseen. As part of the interface between these two worlds, the shaman uses the shamanic journey. The shamanic journey is a term that is used to describe the primary vehicle that Shamans use to perceive phenomena beyond the conscious mind. It is a method of perceiving the psyche and world of spirit, as well as a means of gaining deeper insight into the world around us.

An interview with Isa Gucciardi

Q. What brought you to this line of work?

A. The beauty of nature has always been an inspiration to me. From the time I was a very young child, I had trouble reconciling the fact that most humans seem to have difficulty appreciating or understanding the sanity and organization of nature that seems so fundamental to my observations. Through all of the subjects I teach – from Integrated Energy Medicine, Depth Hypnosis, Applied Shamanism to Buddhist Psychology – I am always endeavoring to help people move into a place where they can begin to appreciate the beauty of the world which supports us. I think it is the desire to open people to this beauty and to align myself more fully with it that brought me here.

Creating Safety: A Glimpse of the Role of Energy in the Process of Self-Transformation

By Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.

One important aspect of creating safety in the process of opening to the inner world is the development of ways of perceiving information that can be significantly different than the ways in which we gather information in a waking state. One way of perceiving information which is known about, but minimized, in conscious-mind reality, is through what is referred to as “the sixth sense.” This is the sense that you use to gather information without being consciously aware. You may have had the experience of sitting with your back to the door reading or writing or involved in a project. You don’t hear anything, you don’t see anything, but you know someone is standing in the doorway. And you turn around, and, indeed, someone is there.

Hypnosis: The Secular Sacrament

By Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.

I often think of hypnosis as a secular sacrament. At first glance, “secular sacrament” appears to be an oxymoron. How can something sacred, and therefore traditionally a part of the religious community within a society, be the same thing as something secular, and therefore a part of the political and socioeconomic community of a society? This chapter will show how hypnosis functions as a secular sacrament, yet remains outside of the trappings of the larger cultural and social realities.

Opening the Doors to the Self - The Shamanic Journey

By Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.

We understand the breadth and depth of the self in many ways through many types of experiences. Often, we come to understand our experience as human beings by directing or projecting parts of ourselves either outward or inward. The self at a soul level reveals, through the language of images, which parts of ourselves are seeking understanding at ever-deepening levels. In relationships with others, we project these parts outward in the form of images. In dreams, we project these parts inward in the form of images. The reflection we receive back gives us information on which we base our sense of self.

Opening the Doors to the Self - Dreams

By Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.

Widening our definitions of reality to include phenomena which are regularly perceived by the unconscious can help us find the path back to the self at a soul level. This is true even if these phenomena are discounted by the conscious mind. Dreams provide a valuable perspective on this journey and their messages are available to us on a regular basis. In order to decipher those messages, we must allow the defenses of the conscious mind to rest. This allows us to use its acuity to organize the information we are receiving in dreams. By using hypnosis to gain access to dream images generated during sleep, we can perceive that we are actually developing a relationship with profound and utterly personal guidance.

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