Welcome to the Spiritual Sexual Shamanic Podcast. Exploring sacred sexuality, activating Life Force, and empowered transformation, these intimate conversations take you 'under the sheets' with Faculty from ISTA, the International School of Temple Arts.
Community, Cults & Cancel Culture: Jen Howk
In this episode, Ria talks with Dr. Jen Howk about the collision of science and mysticism in the field of evolutionary psychology. With her feet planted firmly in both worlds, Dr. Jen delves into the how and why of our psychological quirks, revealing some of the mysteries of our development as a species.
In particular, she tackles the intriguing phenomenon of cancel culture. In doing so, she explores the historical roots of our collective drive to create ‘in’-groups and ‘out’-groups, explaining that it was a crucial strategy in ancient communities for protecting against threats.
Conformity, she argues, often stems from a deep-seated fear of being relegated to one of these 'out'-groups—a survival instinct that persists, even when it may no longer be necessary.
It turns out that there are many unhelpful characteristics of contemporary culture which derive from our instinct to survive and reproduce. According to Dr. Jen, we can feel a sense of freedom, and find compassion for ourselves and others, when we understand that it might be these instincts pushing us towards behaving in one way or another.
We can feel similar feelings when we acknowledge our ability to choose alternatives.
In this conversation, Ria and Jen also cover:
Coercion as a defining mark of cultsThe ‘Big Five’ personality characteristicsHow our behaviour can often be explained by what evolutionary goals we are trying to achieveThe problems with ‘blank slate’ thinkingThe importance of connecting with nature
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And if you want to learn more about ISTA’s retreats and workshops, check out our website, ista.life
Go follow us on social media @ista.community
Unravelling Life Through Existential Kink: Carolyn Elliot
Do you ever feel like you’re being held back in life by events and circumstances that are out of your control? Maybe you find yourself in uncomfortable, even terrible, circumstances thinking to yourself: how did I even get here? And, how do I get out?
These are questions that arrived powerfully in the life of Carolyn Elliot, transformational guide and author of the book, Existential Kink. We won’t give too much away, but as she explains in this episode, she was really in a bind. And then, almost by accident, she had the realisation that ‘having is evidence of wanting.’
Elliot had to come to terms with the idea that some part of her had wanted to be in the difficult, unpleasant situation she was in. Maybe not on the surface, but deeper down.
Her journey was then about being able to unravel what she has come to call her ‘existential kink,’ which she defines as a desire for something that others might think too edgy, or outright bad. It’s ‘existential’ because the kink is about life, not just sexy stuff.
For her, the key is to bring consciousness to what we enjoy in even the ‘bad’ parts of our lives. This can help release their hold over us.
Stay tuned all the way to the end of this lively and fascinating conversation to be guided through the existential kink practice that Elliot details in her runaway classic book of the same name!
To learn more about Carolyn, please visit her website and join her email list:
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Awakening Shamanic Principles in Leadership
In this, his third episode with the Spiritual, Sexual, Shamanic Podcast, ISTA Lead Facilitator and member of ISTA’s governing council, Raffaello Manacorda, speaks about shamanic leadership.
What is shamanic leadership? Raffa explains that it’s an essential component of taking responsibility within groups of people. Instead of competing for powerful positions within organizations and then ruling through domination and manipulation, he says, what we can do is understand the role of the leader as similar to that of the shaman.
A shamanic leader has the capacity to sense and respond to the subtle energy moving within a group, and to make decisions based on a felt sense of what needs to occur. This, Raffa says, is only possible when those called into leadership are able to bring the power in their own bodies along for the ride.
Shamanic leadership is also based on a fundamentally different leadership culture than many of us are used to. Raffa paints the picture of a ‘cloud’ roving over a group of people, a cloud which will stop above the head of the person who is being called into leadership and strike them with shamanic lightning. An investment of great power indeed, and often only for a temporary period of time...
If you're a practitioner, facilitator, or entrepreneur who's leading a group of people (or sees a future in it), this is especially for you.
Join us for this deep and enlightening conversation, where Simon and Raffa explore the benefits and inevitable dangers of this kind of leadership.
If you love this episode, please rate it and share it with others who need to hear it!
And if you want to learn more about ISTA, visit our website: ista.life
Or follow us on social media: @ista.community
Fatherhood as Transformational Path: Nimai Sun Ra
ISTA Facilitator Nimai Sun Ra grew up without a father. As a result, he has felt, perhaps more urgently than most, the need to become his own father figure. To provide himself stability, guidance, and the strength that a biological father might often provide.
In recent years, he has been on a journey of extending that experience of fatherhood from himself to his own two young sons. As he tells us in this conversation with Usha, the journey of fatherhood has been the best, most important, thing he has ever done. Every initiation he has been through in his life, he says, has been a preparation for the initiation of fatherhood.
And it has been an initiation, with wonderful new realisations mixed in with unavoidable difficulties. In this episode Nimai talks about how his relationship with his beloved, the mother of his children, shifted dramatically, how he could not get through it without the support of other, older brothers, and how he had to deal with failure.
And he reflects deeply on the spiritual journey of fatherhood, on how important a role it is to be able to play in the world, whether it is with your own children, other’s, or in a more symbolic way.
Nimai also covers:
Navigating fatherhood and open relatingThe value of focussing on fatherhood without distractionHow becoming a father can shifts romantic relationshipsThe importance of community when kids come alongThe role of your inner parentDistortions in the role of the fatherHow the father is often the one called on to set boundaries
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You can learn more about ISTA at www.ista.life
And via our social media channels: @ista.community
Unlocking Inner Worlds: Mythology, Imagination, and Soul-Discovery
Growing up in rural Austria, ISTA facilitator Ashisha Arpana’s favorite toy was her imagination. She gleefully played with it, eventually turning what happened in her mind's eye into a career in film and media.
The imagination, she tells us in this deep and exploratory episode, is one of the most important keys for us in letting go of the old, disempowering stories we tell ourselves and getting back into currency with life as it moves through us.
Ashisha explains that we can spark our imagination—our vision of an amazing, vibrant present—through mythology. This is not just a collection of stories from ancient cultures, but living, breathing codes for tapping into the source of our inner worlds. It is where the pulse of life comes from.
And there are some simple things we can do to allow this source of our inner life to pour through us into the world, allowing us to shape-shift and, ultimately, choose how our future will go.
Simon and Ashisha also discuss:
how we often out-source our imagination to Hollywoodhow myths are always evolving. They’re not for copywriting!coming back to the child-like sense of wonder in each of usour bodies as instruments of the soulwhat a soul is and how to communicate with itcollective dreaming and shaping culture from therethe imagination of the heart in the Sufi traditionhow to reclaim your own story, step-by-step, without judgementIf you love this episode, why not leave a review and share it with your friends!
And if you want to learn more about ISTA, follow us on social media: @ista.tribe
Or visit our website: ista.life
Squirting My Way From Church to Freedom: Aya Kamānakai
In this episode, Usha talks with ISTA Facilitator Aya Kamānakai about reclaiming sexuality as a pathway to personal empowerment and spiritual connection.
Growing up in the Christian church, Aya was taught to shut down her sexuality. As she moved into adulthood, she found herself unable to access pleasure in her body and had resigned herself to a life without it. This was until, in desperation, she sought out a sexual healer who guided her into releasing her full, orgasmic potential.
Almost immediately, she was able to allow this release of repressed energy to literally pour out into other areas of her life: her relationships, her business, and her visions for cultural evolution. Sex magic, as she explains in this episode, is possible when we use pleasure as a doorway to whatever wants to be expressed. We can use the power that comes with this deep freedom of expression to bring what we dream into reality.
Some of the topics Aya and Usha discuss are:
The profound significance of Aya’s first time squirtingThe connection between sexual energy and purposeHow self-pleasure works best when we don’t feel like itFinding our easiest access points to pleasureHow you can transform any aspect of your sexuality, even physiological onesHow to access your sexual energy by yourself
And, as a delicious extra, at the end of the episode, Aya leads a beautiful meditation into connecting with life-force (44:00-49:00).
Allured by the wild and the beauty within us, Aya Kamānakai is a passionate advocate for embracing pleasure and reclaiming our sexual energy. With a deep reverence for ancient wisdom and a belief in the intelligence stored inside our bodies, Aya calls upon all beings, but especially women, to reconnect with their innate power and unlock their highest potential.
Loving receptive vision
This, Yes THIS!!,will set you free
Wish the episodes were longer!!
DIVINE Essence of the Temple Arts. I’ve been a student of ISTA for years and I love seeing the inner experience of the faculty! I get deeper and deeper insights into their teachings. So grateful!!
These pioneers jump off the deep end from the jump! There’s nothing fluffy about the topics being covered. It’s super edgy and profound wisdom helps the listener get a felt-sense on navigating the spiritual, sexual and shamanic realms. Such a juicy podcast! 🔥