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with Alexandre Tannous

Guests: Dr. Dennis McKenna, Dr. Luis Eduardo Luna, John Lamb Lash, Dr. Erik Davis

5 Sessions • Starts Wednesday, May 17th

 

Discover how ancient Gnosticism can deepen your experience of contemporary shamanism.

 

Gain a deeper understanding of shamanism, consciousness, and the nature of reality by exploring the teachings of Gnosticism with some of the world's leading visionary thinkers – and learn how to distinguish between dogmatic and authentic teachings in the new consciousness movement.

In this live, interactive video course, you will explore the varied, rich and sometimes contrasting models of shamanic beliefs and practices. And in an effort to highlight the greater context of shamanic belief systems, we will explore the gnostic approach to the spiritual realm and the value of the pursuit of self-knowledge.

You will discover new tools to deepen your own connection to the unseen and to fortify a greater, more accurate context for understanding the shamanic method.

Alexandre Tannous is renowned for his unique understanding of how sound affects consciousness, and for his innovative use of shamanic techniques in sound meditations. Alexandre credits his study of Gnosticism for the effectiveness of his approach, and is producing this course so more people can experience the benefits he has personally felt thanks to Gnostic insights.

For this course, he has gathered four exciting thought leaders, each of whom has a strong personal connection to Gnosticism:

  •   Dennis McKenna - Pioneering ethnopharmacologist, author of Brotherhood of the Screaming Abyss, and co-author of The Invisible Landscape with this brother, Terence McKenna.

  •   Luis Eduardo Luna - Anthropologist and leading expert on Amazonian shamanism, co-author of Inner Paths to Outer Space, and co-editor of The Ayahuasca Reader.

  •   John Lamb Lash - Author of Not in His Image: Gnostic Vision, Sacred Ecology, and the Future of Belief.

  •   Erik Davis - Author of TechGnosis, and The Visionary State.

You will be part of the discussion, able to ask your questions on camera, just like a Skype call. If you happen to miss a live session, you can view a video recording at any time.

In our transformational era, interest in consciousness is growing. As shamanism experiences a revival in the West, the risk emerges of taking indigenous beliefs and practices out of context, and then falling prey to dogma or dogmatic approaches.

Gnosticism – a practice based on seeking gnosis, or "self-knowledge" – offers a powerful way to understand the contexts and traditions of all altered state practices, including shamanism. Using similar methods as shamanism, Gnosticism comes from an ancient Magian Order (from around 6000 BC) which employed practices to alter consciousness in order to understand what was really happening on Earth, the nature of human consciousness, and of faith and God. As part of their practice, Gnostics used methods such as meditation, sleep deprivation, psychedelics, breathing exercises, fasting, dieting, focused sexual energy, dancing, singing, and more.

Approaching shamanism through Gnosticism will give you the tools to parse the authentic from the dogmatic. This course will broaden and deepen your experience of shamanic ritual, embolden your expertise, and provide you with an illuminating context by braiding together the insights of shamanism and Gnosticism.

In this course you will:  

  • Deepen your understanding of altered states of consciousness

  • Explore the histories of shamanism and Gnosticism

  • Acquire greater insight into the elusive mysteries of consciousness

  • Encounter Gnostic teachings that can alter your current experience

  • Learn how sound can profoundly shape consciousness

  • Gain crucial insight into how to support your own journeys and experiences

Don’t miss this rare opportunity to explore the mysteries of Gnosticism with this extraordinary group of teachers!

 

SCHEDULE 

Wednesday, May 17th – Gnosticism and Shamanism: An Historical Approach

Guest: Erik Davis, Ph.D.

8:00 pm New York • 5:00 pm San Francisco

Why is it important for seekers to understand Gnosticism? We will tackle this question directly in our first session, giving participants a foundational and historical picture of what Gnosticism is, and why we should understand its history, belief system and practices in relation to shamanism.

What do they have in common? And what are their differences? Alexandre Tannous will speak with scholar and writer Erik Davis about the real histories of Gnosticism and shamanism – and tell the story behind the creation of this course. For anyone who is a seeker, a foundational understanding of Gnosticism is crucial.

Erik Davis was born during the Summer of Love within a stone’s throw of San Francisco. He grew up in North County, Southern California, and spent a decade on the East Coast, where he studied literature and philosophy at Yale and spent six years in the freelance trenches of Brooklyn and Manhattan before moving to San Francisco, where he currently resides. He is the author of four books: Nomad Codes: Adventures in Modern Esoterica (Yeti, 2010), The Visionary State: A Journey through California’s Spiritual Landscape(Chronicle, 2006), with photographs by Michael Rauner, and the 33 1/3 volume Led Zeppelin IV (Continuum, 2005). His first and best-known book remains TechGnosis: Myth, Magic, and Mysticism in the Age of Information (Crown, 1998), a cult classic of visionary media studies that has been translated into five languages and recently republished by North Atlantic Press.

Davis has contributed articles and essays to a variety of periodicals, including Bookforum, Arthur, Artforum, Slate, Salon, Gnosis, Rolling Stone, the LA Weekly, Spin, Wired and the Village Voice. He has taught seminars at the UC Berkeley, UC Davis, the California Institute of Integral Studies, and Rice University, as well as workshops at the New York Open Center and Esalen. He wrote the libretto for and performed in “How to Survive the Apocalypse,” a Burning Man-inspired rock opera. He has hosted the podcast Expanding Mind on the Progressive Radio Network since 2010, and earned his PhD in Religious Studies from Rice University in 2015.

 

Wednesday, May 24th – Telestic Shamanism : The Method of the Mysteries

Guest: John Lamb Lash

8:00 pm New York • 5:00 pm San Francisco

Expert scholars cannot agree on a standard definition of gnosis, although it is understood in a popular sense to be some kind of quest for self-knowledge, and possibly culminating in self-deification or realization of "the divine within."  G.R.S. Mead pointed out in 1901 that the surviving gnostic writings best preserve the message and practices of the Mysteries. Few have followed up on this insight, and almost nothing is known about what happened in the initiation rites of the Mysteries, due to a vow of silence observed by participants. Some vital cues do survive, however. They indicate the experience of a mysterious light.

Mircea Eliade subtitled his book on shamanism "archaic techniques of ecstasy." Is gnosis in some way the paramount form of such techniques? Gnostics -- who called themselves telestai -- "those who are aimed” -- were experts in the practice of cognitive ecstasy, but with a particular method, consistent with a specific aim. Recovering the telestic method today elevates shamanism to a unique status and places it in the avant-garde of experimental mysticism of our time. We will unpack all of these details, histories and controversies in this session as a means to best understand what we have to glean from the Gnostics.

John Lash (b. 1945, New York City) has been called the true successor of Mircea Eliade and the rightful heir of Joseph Campbell. Unlike those two world-class academics, John is a self-educated freelance scholar who combines studies and experimental mysticism to teach directive mythology: that is, the application of myth to life, rather than its mere interpretation. He is a leading exponent of the power of myth to direct individual experience and drive historical events over the long term. An expert on sidereal mythology, naked-eye astronomy, precession, and the World Ages, he also teaches the critique of belief-systems. On metahistory.org, he presents a radical revision of Gnosticism, with original commentaries on the Nag Hammadi codices. He also presents the only complete restoration by any scholar of the Sophianic myth of the Pagan Mysteries, the sacred story of Gaia-Sophia, recounting the origin of the earth and the human species from the galactic core. John is the author of four books, The Seeker’s Handbook, Twins and the Double, The Hero - Manhood and Power, Quest for the Zodiac, Not in His Image: Gnostic Vision, Sacred Ecology, and the Future of Belief.



Wednesday, May 31st– We Live In An Hallucination

Guest: Dennis McKenna, Ph.D.

8:00 pm New York • 5:00 pm San Francisco

Conversations about consciousness and altered states are difficult because we bring to them a set of unexamined assumptions about the nature of reality that do not clarify understanding, but rather more often, obscure it.  We say, for example, that a drug-induced hallucination is not ‘real,’ while another perception that is not drug-induced is more ‘real’ and therefore by definition more valid. The fact is, everything we experience – everything, whether we call it "normal waking consciousness," "deep sleep," "meditation," or "drug-induced perceptions" – is a reflection of a neurochemical brain state.

Our brains create a model reality that is built partly on apprehension of information from the "unknowable" real world, which we never perceive directly but through our sensory/neural interfaces, our organs of perception. Our bodies are regulated by internal signal-transducing molecules: hormones, neurotransmitters, enzymes. These choreograph the dynamic biochemical dance that we experience as our subjective state of being, whether ‘ordinary’ or not. That is the state we are in, and it is every bit as much of a drug state as when we have ingested some mind-altering chemical. This fact makes discussions of reality and its nature very difficult and often confusing. In this talk we will unpack some of these questions, and attempt to find ways to grapple with these concepts and the ways we think about them in a more constructive manner that remains cognizant of the linguistic and epistemological minefields that we are forced to tiptoe through in such discussions.

Dennis McKenna's research has focused on the interdisciplinary study of Amazonian ethnopharmacology and plant hallucinogens. He has conducted ethnobotanical fieldwork in the Peruvian, Colombian, and Brasilian Amazon. His doctoral research (University of British Columbia,1984) focused on the ethnopharmacology of ayahuasca and oo-koo-he, two tryptamine-based hallucinogens used by indigenous peoples in the Northwest Amazon. He is a founding board member of the Heffter Research Institute, and was a key organizer and participant in the Hoasca Project, the first biomedical investigation of ayahuasca used by the UDV, a Brazilian religious group. He is the younger brother of Terence McKenna. He is currently Assistant Professor in the Center for Spirituality and Healing at the University of Minnesota.

 

Wednesday, June 7th – A Multidisciplinary Understanding of Archaic Methods

Host: Alexandre Tannous

8:00 pm New York • 5:00 pm San Francisco

In recent years we have witnessed a critical and increasing shift in human consciousness. More and more people seek methods of healing, self-discovery, and inner-transformation – with a strong focus on spiritual practices and shamanic rituals. What people are not aware of, however, is the fact that almost all of these practices are taken out of context. While the interest in these practices is genuine, many are not aware of what is being lost. Understanding and expanding human consciousness is an important but challenging process. Alexandre has always taken a multidisciplinary approach, and encourages others to do the same, as a way to seek gnosis – self-knowledge.

In this session, Alexandre will address the various ways people have used sound as a powerful and effective method to go inward for healing, for revelation, and to merge with the divine. Alexandre will also discuss the nature of the inherent power that sound has for effecting consciousness, and how to make best use of it.

Alexandre Tannous is as a musician, educator, composer, and an ethnomusicologist. He holds a Bachelor of Music in Theory and Composition, and a Master of Arts degree in Music Education from Columbia University Teachers College. As a recipient of the Mellon Fellowship he also earned a Master of Arts and a Master of Philosophy degrees in Ethnomusicology from Columbia University where he was enrolled in the PH.D. program. He has taught at Columbia University and is a frequent guest-lecturer at universities, institutions, and museums. As an ethnomusicologist, he has conducted fieldwork for 17 years in over 40 countries around the world. 

For the past 12 years he has been researching the therapeutic and esoteric properties of sound from three different perspectives - Western scientific, Eastern philosophical, and shamanic societal beliefs - to gain a deeper understanding of how, and to what extent, sound has been used to affect human consciousness. This search has led him to the intersection where art, science, spirituality and philosophy intersect. His ethnomusicological approach entails a social scientific study of sound use in several traditional contexts—religious, spiritual, holistic, and cultural—for various purposes and occasions in entertainment, worship, meditation, and rituals of healing and trance. Consequently, his approach in researching, understanding, experiencing, transmitting, and working with sound has always been based on a multidisciplinary approach. 

The material he transmits about sound is based on thorough research over many years: observations he made during his fieldwork, scientific studies, personal experiences, and data collected from thousands of people he has worked with doing sound therapy. This has led him to a deeper understanding of how sound reveals and unlocks hidden powers we have within us to promote profound inner changes and healing. 

Inspired by his findings, he designed a protocol of an integrated experience he calls “Sound Meditation” in which he shares the findings from his research, raising an awareness to how a specifically designed sound can have the ability to help us to disconnect from habitual patterns while judiciously listening to the specific traditional instruments he plays. He employs a phenomenological approach to study the effects of sound, using a method that empowers the participants to engage actively with tools that enhance their experience, using the consciousness-altering properties of sound to heighten self-awareness, to connect to the higher self, to fine-tune self-observation, and to attain self-realization.

He currently works as a sound therapist, teaches this practice, and lectures about sound. www.soundmeditation.com

 

Wednesday, June 14th – Shamanism, Sacred Plants, and Intelligence in Nature

Guest:  Eduardo Luna, Ph.D.

8:00 pm New York • 5:00 pm San Francisco

It is perhaps no coincidence that in this perilous time in history, when human beings have gathered enough power to totally disrupt the biological processes that have taken place on this planet, that an increasing number of people are rediscovering archaic techniques to reconnect with ourselves, with the biosphere, and with the whole of nature. Luis will present ideas based on fieldwork carried out in the Amazon, as well as with many years of collaboration with scientists, artists, therapists and people from many nationalities and walks of life, who have had access to extraordinary states of consciousness through sacred plants and fungi.

What may be the role of these plants and compounds? What we could learn from them? What could be the messages they are trying to convey through this intimate and mysterious relationship with us, higher primates, so complex yet so unaware of the consequences of our actions?

Luis Eduardo Luna has a Ph.D. from the Department of Comparative Religion Stockholm University (1989) and was named 2002 Doctor of Humane Letters by St. Lawrence University, Canton, New York. He retired in 2011 from the Department of Modern Language and Communication at the Hanken School of Economics, Helsinki. He was an Assistant Professor in Anthropology (1994-1998) at the Department of Anthropology of Santa Catarina Federal University (UFSC) in Florianópolis, Brazil. Dr. Luna is the author of Vegetalismo: Shamanism among the Mestizo Population of the Peruvian Amazon (1986), a co-author with Pablo Amaringo of Ayahuasca Visions: The Religious Iconography of a Peruvian Shaman (1991), and co-author with Slawek Wojtowicz, Rick Strassman and Ede Frecska of Inner Paths to Outer Space: Journeys Through Psychedelics and Other Spiritual Technologies (2008). He is also a co-editor with Steven White of Ayahuasca Reader: Encounters with the Amazon’s Sacred Vine (2000, enlarged second edition 2016). Dr. Luna has been a curator of art exhibits in Europe, Latin America, and the United States. He is the Director of Wasiwaska, Research Center for the Study of Psychointegrator Plants, Visionary Art and Consciousness, Florianópolis, Brazil.

 

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By participating in this online course, you will receive:

  • Five 60-minute live video seminars with Alexandre Tannous and his guests on May 17th, May 24rd, May 31st, June 7th, and June 14th

  • 30 minutes of Q&A following each seminar

  • Unlimited online access to recordings of all sessions

Discover how an understanding of Gnosticism can deepen and ground your shamanic experiences.

 

Featured art: "Fractal Stars" by Activedia (Creative Commons Attribution), Unknown Flammarion engraving
$129.00 X
Seeking Gnosis: Understanding Shamanism in Light of Gnosticism

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