A few decades ago, the topic of consciousness had all but disappeared from mainstream literature in psychology and psychiatry. Now there is a plethora of books on the topic, but Nicholas Brink's Ecstatic Trance is unique. Dr. Brink takes his readers on a ride from the rituals of indigenous people to the laboratories of neuroscience researchers. At each stop along the way, he describes the many ways in which one's awareness can be shifted, altered, or transcended to attain ecstasy. This "joy ride" through the human psyche is both illuminating and entertaining.
Stanley Krippner, Ph.D.
Co-author, Extraordinary Dreams
A five star review placed on Amazon:
I had never really thought about postures and the physiology of a shamanic trance before I read this very informative book. But I know through my own experience with bioenergetics that physical movement and postures can release a depth of energy that normally remains hidden. We live in times that call for, no, demand that we become our own shamans and look for answers from within like our ancestors did. This is also a great book for experienced shamans; it brings a lot of new information to the subject of shamanism.
Lotus Guide Magazine
Dr Nick takes us to the Brink! (Sorry for the pun, but it is not often that a serious psychologist presents the value of something as disregarded in the modern world of psychology as Ecstatic Trance. To learn why this is important, thumb through this important book that shows us what William James said a century: "Our ordinary conciousness is but one type of consciousness," while the rest of the universe waits, with bated breath, to be discovered--"behind the filmiest of screens!" A must for contemporary students of consciousness!
Stephen Larsen, Ph.D.
Dr. Brink has brought a true tour de force to bear on the subject of trance experiences in general, and more specifically the remarkable role that concrete body postures can play in helping guide the content that emerges in ecstatic trance practice. We live in a time when there is a longing to find new ways of visioning our lives, ways that emerge from “altered states of consciousness.” Using drumming-based shamanic practice as the setting, Dr. Brink takes us on a journey that is at once a rich theoretical banquet of exploration into the nature of the imaginal psyche, and also a detailed guide to building one’s own trance-based practice, as he delves into the variety of sacred postures portrayed throughout the history of religious art, and details empirical exploration of how each of these postures tends to lead the content of one’s trance experience into a specific realm. Everything one needs to get started is here, and richly illustrated. And the reader cannot help but feel empowered by the realization that the psyche is a far more creative, productive realm than most of us give it credit for being, along with an invitation to enter that realm in a deliberate step by step process weaving imagery, body posture, and trance stimulation into a truly ecstatic dance of personal revelation.
Raymond Hillis, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus, California State University Los Angeles
Dr. Brink’s book takes a big step forward for publications in the field of ecstatic trance postures (also known as sacred ritual postures). The heart of his book is stories of healing produced by the unconscious while in posture. He explains and gives many examples of five types of stories from five types of postures and suggests posture sequences that can even lead to elements of self-actualization. In the paradigm of shamanism these sacred stories are given by the spirit of the posture. Brink uses psychological and dream methods to interpret the metaphors of the stories. The book is accessible and informative to the public and a must for the professionals in the mental health field, people engaged in alternative health practices, and students of shamanism.
Lisa N. Woodside, PhD
Professor of Humanities Emerita, Holy Family University
Certified Teacher of Ecstatic Trance Postures
Nick Brink is a brave guide into the alternate reality of ecstatic trance. From his vantage point as a long-time therapist and teacher, he brings both wisdom and a sense of adventure to the journey to the Spirits. I’ve so enjoyed entering into ecstatic trance with Nick, learning from his deep insight and open heart.
CoIleen Root, PhD -- PhD in Depth Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute
As a psychologist, Nick Brink shows how this work with trance states lends itself so readily, gently, yet powerfully to self-understanding and actualization.
Director of The Visioneering Project of
Cuyamungue: The Felicitas D. Goodman Institute