Shamans & Siddhas: Meeting at the Crossroads of Shamanism & Tantra

October 03 - October 06, 2019

Isa Gucciardi Ph.D.

Robert A.F. Thurman

This retreat focuses on the traditions of the “psychonauts,” explorers of the subtle realms of dream, death, and all “between” states. Such people are known as “shamans” in indigenous traditions and as “siddhas” or “adepts” in Buddhist and Hindu Tantric traditions. Isa Gucciardi Ph.D. joins Robert A.F. Thurman in exploring the deep and vast dimensions of these traditions, focusing on our planetary welcoming of various forms that consciousness takes in this time of global crisis. Shamans and siddha-adepts provide us with resources from long-developed, time-tested positive sciences and arts that help us celebrate the blessings of reality and live meaningfully in the midst of the ups and downs of our daily lives ever more realistically and happily.In this retreat, we will review the historic encounters between these two spiritual traditions from world indigenous and Indic regions and learn how they have informed one another over the centuries. While steeped in philosophy and psychology, this retreat is also highly experiential in nature. We will explore methods of going inward drawn from both traditions including the Shamanic Journey and Indo-Tibetan Deity Meditation. The Shamanic Journey is an ancient and time-tested method that shamans around the world have used to develop a deep relationship with the powers of the Earth and Cosmos. Deity Meditation is a form of meditation that brings the meditator into an intimate understanding of the fields of wisdom, sensitivity, and power held by the deities of the Tibetan Buddhist pantheon. We will explore the role of ritual and ceremony in both contexts and learn what role ritual and ceremony provide in bringing forward the realizations, sensitivities, and powers that are the fruits of these deep forms of inner exploration.We will not only learn the basics of the shaman’s journey but also meditate, dialogue together, and create and perform ceremonies in order to align ourselves with the power that these two traditions have provided humanity for millennia. Daily yoga will also be offered. This program is appropriate for health care professionals as well as the general public. Health care professionals will be able to incorporate the tools and practices offered in this program in ways beneficial to clients or patients.Suggested reading materials:The Holy Teaching of Vimalakirti: A Mahayana Scripture Translated by Robert A.F. ThurmanReturn to the Great Mother by Isa Gucciardi Ph.D.Transcendent Wisdom SutraFlower Ornament SutraThe Power of Myth by Joseph CampbellHero of a Thousand Faces by Joseph CampbellThe Shaman’s Way by Michael HarnerSoul Retrieval by Sandra IngermanTo learn more about related topics via Distance Learning please click here.Continuing Education Credits (14) are available for this program:
  • CE credits for psychologists are provided by the Spiritual Competency Resource Center (SCRC) which is co-sponsoring this program. The Spiritual Competency Resource Center is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. The Spiritual Competency Resource Center maintains responsibility for this program and its content.
  • The California Board of Behavioral Sciences accepts CE credits for LCSW, LPCC, LEP, and LMFT license renewal for programs offered by approved sponsors of CE by the American Psychological Association.
  • LCSWs and MFTs from states other than California need to check with their state licensing board for approval.]
  • SCRC is approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing (BRN Provider CEP16887) for licensed nurses in California.
  • For questions about receiving your Certificate of Attendance at the end of the program, contact issis@menla.org. For questions about CE, visit www.spiritualcompetency.com or contact David Lukoff, PhD at CE@spiritualcompetency.com.
  • The filing fee for CEs for this program is $65, payable to Menla either at registration or by the time you check in.
Learning Objectives--at the end of the program, you will be better able to:
  • List two practices of shamanic practitioners related to psychotherapy
  • List two goals of tantric deity meditation related to psychological wellbeing
  • List two goals of shamanic practitioners related to psychotherapy
  • List two goals of Hindu/Buddhist practitioners related to psychotherapy
  • Dist two practices of Hindu/Buddhist practitioners related to psychotherapy
  • Describe the nature of initiation in Hindu/Buddhist contexts related to psychotherapy
  • Describe the nature of initiation in shamanic contexts related to psychotherapy
  • Describe two uses of ritual in shamanic practice related to psychotherapy
  • Describe two uses of ritual in Hindu/Buddhist practice related to psychotherapy
  • Describe two differences between the nature of ritual in shamanic contexts and the nature of ritual in Hindu/Buddhist contexts
What students are saying about Shamans & Siddhas:"It is neither cliche nor hyperbole to say that the pairing of these teachers, Isa Gucciardi and Robert Thurman, is a tour de force of the twin jewels of wisdom and compassion. The experience of this workshop was a great homecoming for me--through its combination of profound esoteric practices and wisdom teachings, I felt I was finally empowered to begin to reclaim my relationship with the world." Ingrid Miller, Retreat ParticipantAdditional Resources:Applied Shamanism Audio LibraryApplied Shamanism ArticlesSacred Stream Videoshttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yNm-xTvL_W8&t=87s


Thursday, October 3rd
  • 3 - 8 pm Check-in
  • 6 - 7 pm Dinner
  • 7:30 pm Welcoming Program with Isa
Friday, October 4th
  • 7 - 8 am Shambhala Kundalini yoga
  • 8 - 9 am Breakfast
  • 9:15 am Morning Program with Isa & Bob
  • 12 - 1 pm Lunch
  • 1 - 4 pm Free time for Spa, Sauna & Steam
  • 4 - 6 pm Afternoon Program with Isa & Bob
  • 6 - 7 pm Dinner
  • 7:30 pm Evening Program with Bob
Saturday, October 5th
  • 7 - 8 am Shambhala Kundalini yoga
  • 8 - 9 am Breakfast
  • 9:15 am - 12pm Morning Program with Bob
  • 12 - 1 pm Lunch
  • 1 - 4 pm Free time for Spa, Sauna & Steam
  • 4 - 6 pm Afternoon Program with Bob
  • 6 - 7 pm Dinner
  • 7:30 pm Evening Program with Isa
Sunday, October 6th
  • 7 - 8 am Shambhala Kundalini yoga
  • 8 - 9 am Breakfast
  • 9:15 am - 12pm Closing Program with Isa
  • 12 - 1 pm Checkout & Lunch
Note: Schedule is subject to change at anytime   


Isa Gucciardi Ph.D.

Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D., holds degrees and certificates in trans-personal psychology, cultural and linguistic anthropology, comparative religion, hypnotherapy, and transformational healing. She has spent over 30 years studying spiritual, therapeutic, and meditative techniques from a...

Robert A.F. Thurman

Robert Thurman is Professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies at Columbia University as well as co-founder and President of Tibet House US and it's Menla Retreat & Spa in service of HH Dalai Lama & the people of Tibet. A close friend of the Dalai Lama’s for over 50 years, he is...


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