Altered States of Consciousness - A
four part series
Throughout time and across cultures, people have been employing altered
states of consciousness (ASC) to commune with the spiritual world in order to gain
knowledge, favour and an understanding of awareness.
These altered states have been explored via a wide range of methods,
including dancing, drumming, meditation or through the use of psychoactive
substances. Even today, in a modern world, our drive for attaining altered
states remains strong. Whether it is for escapism, recreation or further
spiritual understanding, our methods for attaining altered states are as varied
as our ancestors.
Unfortunately, in a society where objective, rational and reductionist
thought are predominant, our understanding of how to enter into altered states
and why we choose to, has become limited and constrained. This prevents us
from realising what can be fully gained from the experience.
This series of workshops attempts to address these issues, by examining the
practices and spirituality of traditional cultures that still rely heavily on
attaining altered states of consciousness and comparing them to our own.
Is there anything from their wisdom that we can learn and incorporate, in order
to understand our consciousness in modern times better? By doing so,
perhaps we can gain insights into other ways of dealing with the stresses and
ordeals of a modern world.
Altered States of Consciousness Series Workshop Outline
The Altered States of Consciousness series is broken down into 3 x 4-day workshops,
(Friday to Monday)
followed by a journey over 5 Saturdays to different sites around Melbourne for
the 4th workshop.
It is not necessary to attend all four workshops, however as each workshop in the series expands on ideas, concepts and work
undertaken in the previous workshops, all previous workshop in the series must
be completed in order to attend the following workshop in the series.
Therefore, there is no requirement to commit to subsequent workshops, until the
previous ones have been completed.
All workshop days
will commence at 9:30am and complete around 4:30pm.
Dates for each of the workshops are as follows :
||Altered States : A Shamanic Perspective
||Ceres - Brunswick East
||Fri 6th July - Mon 9th July
||Altered States : Tools for the Journey
||Ceres - Brunswick East
||Fri 24th Aug - Mon 27th Aug
||Ancestors, Totemic Beings & Spirit Guides
||Ceres - Brunswick East
||Fri 28th Sept - Mon 1st Oct
||Nature as Medicine & Medicinal Objects
||Ceres & around Melbourne
||5 Saturdays over Nov/Dec
Booking and registration essential.
In order to keep the workshops small and intimate, the maximum amount of
attendees per workshops will be limited to 12-15 people. So please book in early
to ensure a spot in the workshop if it speaks to you.
The course series workshops will cost $475 per workshop. There will also be an additional
cost of $20 per Sweatlodge Ceremony which
will be payable on the day of the ceremony. $375 will be required as a
deposit and the $100 balance will be made payable on the first day of each workshop.
Deposit must be paid 2 weeks before the workshop start date.
To register please download and complete the
registration form. To stay notified on upcoming further
workshops, or any queries, please email
firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss further details.
Altered States of Consciousness Series Workshop Details
of the contents of each of the four workshop in the ASC series is as follows :
The first workshop focuses more on theory and a conceptual investigation that
provides a solid foundation of understanding for various models of altered
states of consciousness, traditional methods for inducing altered states
and differences between contemporary and shamanic journeys. The workshop
is broken up into 4 general sections and will be run over 4 consecutive days.
Notions of Ego, Self and Identity
One's identity of self is transformed considerably during altered
states of consciousness, so this provides an opportunity for investigation of
the transformations that might occur in an altered state.
Psychological models are compared to conventional and shamanic notions of the
self. Religion, mythology and spiritual beliefs or lack thereof are also
investigated to determine how they affect ones sense of identity when undergoing
an altered state of consciousness.
Induction Methods and Traditional use of Entheogens
Various induction methods (triggers for an altered state of consciousness)
are analysed and entheogens (psychoactive substances that induce spiritual
experiences) across various traditional cultures are investigated. Here,
we will separate fact from fiction, dispel romantic notions and attempt an
objective and honest discussion of how and why hallucinogenics (such as peyote,
mushrooms and ayahuasca, iboga etc.) are traditionally used. We will also
discuss the value, complications and dangers of entheogen use within the
framework of a modern
Navigation into an Altered State of Consciousness and the importance of the
Here we will explore views of the shamanic journey into an altered state of
consciousness and compare it to contemporary practices and attempt to map out
themes that might generally be encountered in an altered state journey. While much
focus is usually on the experience of an altered state, we will also discuss the
importance and difficulty of the return from an ASC, grounding and factors to
consider when attempting to integrate the experience within an ordinary world.
Sweatlodge Ceremony (Optional)
A sweatlodge ceremony will be performed to experience a purification ceremony
that induces an altered state of
consciousness. This will assist to investigate and solidify the notions that have been discussed
over the course of the workshop. If you have not experienced a sweatlodge
ceremony previously, please read the linked page on
sweatlodges at SOTEMS to
ensure you are familiar with what to expect and how to prepare.
Whenever one enters an altered state of consciousness, it is best to have the
landscape mapped out in order to know how to navigate and what to
expect within the journey. This workshop aims to introduce the notions of
what to expect and why. We will investigate what is required to navigate
into these landscapes and return in a manner that promotes vitality and
wholesome outcomes, while understanding what causes ego fragmentation and ongoing
problematic separations from reality.
The Emotional Landscape
This section discusses how and why our emotional content, both conscious and
unconscious affects our inner landscape and thus gets projected within the
altered state of consciousness. We examine emotions such as fear and
anxiety and investigate their impact on a spiritual landscape and how we might
engage, in a more constructive manner, with these aspects when they arise.
Myth and Mythology
also examine the nature of myth and mythology as both a
spiritual belief structure and a tool for navigation of spiritual landscapes. We
will look at common motifs from mythologies across the world, such as creation
stories, the axis mundi, apocalypse stories and death & resurrection (journeys
into the underworld). Is mythology just ancient superstition or does it
provide clues and maps on how to journey, engage and return from journeys into
an altered states of consciousness?
A Map and Compass for the Journey
we will investigate the Spirit of the Earth
Medicine Society Dreaming Wheel as an example of a map and a compass that
can be used to engage with the landscape of an altered state of consciousness.
The Dreaming Wheel can be used as a map to represent physical and spiritual
aspects of both the inner and outer worlds and also provides a compass with
orientate ourselves in spiritual landscapes, especially hostile or overwhelming
Sweatlodge Ceremony (Optional)
Building on our experience and learnings from the first and second module,
another sweatlodge ceremony will be offered to experience a purification ceremony
that induces an altered state of
consciousness. This will further assist in solidifying the notions that
have been discussed over the course of the workshop.
This workshop investigates the nature of those that can inhabit
an altered state or spirit world and how to interact with them. A common
factor across cultures is the adoption of very strict and precise protocols in
engaging with the spirit world, and this workshop aims to address why this is
the case. How do we, as contemporary Australians engage with these
resources, when many of us don't have a strong cultural background which defines
our spiritual behaviour nor provides the necessary guidelines of engagement ?
Ancestors as a Bloodline Spiritual Resource
Across a diverse range of cultures and across time, people have
honoured their ancestors in the belief that they have a continued existence
passed death. Many cultures believe that their ancestors continue to
have a strong influence over the day to day lives of their descendants and
can act as a intermediary to the spirit world, if the proper respect and
protocols are undertaken. This includes offering of prayers, food &
drinks (libation), sacrifice, songs or honouring them through a specific
cultural or ancestral context. We investigate these notions to see
whether this is merely antiquated superstition or whether we can gain
resources for our own lives through the practice of honouring the deceased,
whose bloodline we share. We also ask the questions whether we inherit
more than just our physical makeup from those that came before us ?
Totemic Beings & Spirit Guides
non-diasporic shamanic traditions, the land upon which we reside and
interact with in our daily lives, very strongly determines the nature of the
that we engage with. As we reside on a land which is not necessarily
that of our ancestors, how do we engage with totemic beings of this land as
contemporary Australians ? Is there a way for us to develop a uniquely
Australian spirituality that can speak to modern Australia about our issues
and lives that doesn't encroach on, nor appropriate the aboriginal culture
of this land ?
Building on our experience and learnings from the previous modules,
another sweatlodge ceremony will be offered to experience a purification
ceremony that induces an altered state of consciousness. This sweatlodge
will be specifically themed on honouring and engaging with our ancestors and
some specific totemic beings of this land.
workshop will be very experiential and we will visit various parts of Melbourne
that look very ordinary at first, however using a different lens of perspective,
we will see how we can engage with the spirits of these areas. We will
learn how to use these spaces for solace and further developing resources
for our daily lives. We will also build sacred & personal medicinal
objects that can be used as a powerful source of healing, medicine and anchoring
during altered state journeying.
This workshop will be held over 5 Saturdays. The timing
of this workshop will be based on the collective input of all participants that
have completed the first three workshops and wish to continue with the fourth.
While these workshop will very much be focused
around altered states of consciousness and a certain amount of subject matter
will focus on the use of entheogens in traditional cultures, please note there
will be no illicit use of any psychoactive substances in these workshops
whatsoever. The focus of these workshops is to understand altered states
of consciousness in their entirety. If your aim is to find out about or
promote any illicit activities within an Australian context, then this series of
workshops is probably not for you. Likewise, anyone suspected of being
under the influence or subsiding from effects of illicit substances will be
asked to leave the workshop without reimbursement.
Guy is a traditionally trained and initiated sangoma.
A sangoma is a traditional healer of Southern Africa, effectively a shaman
of the Zulu and related Nguni cultures.
Born and raised in South Africa, he is one of only a handful of
westerners that have undergone the long and intense ordeal of thwasa
(the formal traditional training and initiation process) in order to
become initiated into the traditions of the Southern African traditional
Now working from the Dandenong Ranges in Melbourne, Guy offers a very
unique, but powerful and profound to help deal with the stresses and
ordeals that modern life exerts upon our soul's
journey through life. This modality can be suited
for personal, couples or group work.
Guy is also a Ceremonial Leader and initiated shaman in the
Spirit of the Earth Medicine Society [SOTEMS], a non-profit Australian
organisation which is dedicated to developing new forms of Australian
Spirituality and healing based on traditional healing (shamanic) methods
for contemporary Australians.