Guest Speakers

Tony Allicino

I have been a stu­dent and prac­ti­tion­er of shaman­ism since 1997 and have taught work­shops at LaGuardia Com­mu­ni­ty College/CUNY, The Open Cen­ter, Shanti­gar, Jour­neys to the Soul, Spir­it Hol­low, Kirkridge Retreat Cen­ter, Eas­t­on Moun­tain, Men­la House, Dawn Manor, and Soul Haven NYC.

I have stud­ied shaman­ic tra­di­tions with Michael Harn­er, San­dra Inger­man, Tom Cow­an, Christi­na Pratt, Nan Moss and David Corbin, Uncle Angaan­gao, Ailo Gaup, indige­nous shamans of North and South Amer­i­ca, and Nepal; ecsta­t­ic dances and move­ment with Gabrielle Roth, Emi­lie Con­rad and Alessan­dra Bel­loni; and tai chi, qigong and Tao­ism with Sharon Smith, Juan Li and Man­tak Chia.

I am a par­tic­i­pant of indige­nous Sacred Dances through­out the Unit­ed States; a Grail Rei­ki Mas­ter; grad­u­ate of San­dra Ingerman’s Teacher Train­ing Pro­gram and assist­ed her 2018–2020 teacher train­ing; a mem­ber of the Foun­da­tion for Shaman­ic Stud­ies, Soci­ety of Shaman­ic Prac­tices (SSP),, and a SSP Shaman­ism With­out Bor­ders Com­mu­ni­ty Leader. In 2014, I walked the Camino de San­ti­a­go de Com­postela across north­ern Spain to mark my tran­si­tion to retire­ment. In 2019, I joined Alli­son Sco­la, owner/curator Expe­ri­ence Sici­ly to co-host the “Myths & Mys­ter­ies of Sici­ly: As Above, So Below” tour. I live in down­town Man­hat­tan and since 2007 host month­ly Shaman­ic Drum Cir­cles, con­duct class­es, and see clients.

Elaine Egidio

Elaine Egidio

Rev. Elaine M. Egidio, a mul­ti­fac­eted ther­a­pist and edu­ca­tor, directs Danc­ing Winds Ther­a­py in Atlantic High­lands, New Jer­sey. As a Board Cer­ti­fied Dance Move­ment Ther­a­pist, NJ Men­tal Health Coun­selor, and Shaman­ic Prac­ti­tion­er, she brings a rich blend of exper­tise to her role. Elaine is an inte­gral part of the Foun­da­tion for Shaman­ic Stud­ies, where she instructs advanced week­end pro­grams and assists in longer cours­es. Her diverse back­ground includes com­plet­ing Tom Cow­an’s two-year pro­gram in Celtic Vision­ary and Heal­ing Arts, and she is a min­is­ter in the Cir­cle of the Sacred Earth, a church that embraces shaman­ic prin­ci­ples. Elaine, a found­ing mem­ber of the Soci­ety for Shaman­ic Prac­ti­tion­ers and a for­mer Vice Pres­i­dent of the New Jer­sey Chap­ter of the Amer­i­can Dance Ther­a­py Asso­ci­a­tion, con­tributes her insights on shaman­ism as a colum­nist for the NJ Holis­tic Mag­a­zine.

Elaine’s aca­d­e­m­ic jour­ney began with a BA in Dance from Glass­boro Col­lege (now Rowan Uni­ver­si­ty) and a Mas­ter’s in Cre­ative Arts Ther­a­py Dance/Movement from Hah­ne­mann Uni­ver­si­ty, fol­lowed by post-grad­u­ate stud­ies at the Dance Ther­a­py Insti­tu­tion of Prince­ton. Her exten­sive expe­ri­ence spans over 20 years in var­i­ous psy­chi­atric and addic­tion set­tings, includ­ing found­ing a Wom­en’s trau­ma track at Prince­ton House. She has applied her skills in numer­ous envi­ron­ments, from com­mu­ni­ty coun­sel­ing cen­ters to pri­vate schools, and has taught dance in diverse loca­tions like Vir­ginia, Rota, Spain, and New Jer­sey. At her pri­vate prac­tice, Danc­ing Winds Ther­a­py, Elaine inte­grates Dance Ther­a­py and coun­sel­ing, along­side Shaman­ic Heal­ing, offer­ing ser­vices to both chil­dren and adults. Addi­tion­al­ly, she man­ages The Tansey House, a heal­ing space for com­mu­ni­ty events like drum­ming and heal­ing dance cir­cles, and shaman­ic and dance ther­a­py train­ings, often host­ing renowned Shaman­ic edu­ca­tors.

Mora File

Mora is a Shaman­ic Prac­ti­tion­er and fac­ul­ty mem­ber with the Foun­da­tion for Shaman­ic Stud­ies. She has been a heal­er for 38 years and facil­i­tates work­shops and heal­ing cir­cles to sup­port indi­vid­u­als on their per­son­al jour­neys of trans­for­ma­tion. Inte­grat­ing var­i­ous modal­i­ties she is pas­sion­ate about cre­at­ing rit­u­al and cer­e­mo­ny to hon­or the nat­ur­al world and embrac­ing the sacred through our per­son­al cycles and sea­sons of change. She has two chil­dren and works with her eight grand­chil­dren to hon­or the nat­ur­al world and to remem­ber and hold sacred the lin­eage of their ances­tors.

Jen Frey

Jen Frey

Jen Frey is a heal­er, men­tor, and advo­cate for the earth, with a unique voice in plant com­mu­ni­ca­tion. As the founder of Heart Springs Sanc­tu­ary, she enrich­es peo­ple’s lives by deep­en­ing their bond with nature through plant com­mu­ni­ca­tion. With two decades of expe­ri­ence in plant essences, ener­gy work, and herbal prac­tices, Jen offers trans­for­ma­tive con­sul­ta­tions and plant-based solu­tions for emo­tion­al tran­si­tions, health crises, and chron­ic con­di­tions.

Inspired by her grand­par­ents’ teach­ings on nature’s mag­ic and the impor­tance of engag­ing with plants, Jen’s child­hood fas­ci­na­tion evolved into a life­long com­mit­ment to plant work. Her adven­tures, from sur­viv­ing quick­sand in the Ama­zon to kayak­ing with bio­lu­mi­nes­cent plank­ton, fuel her mis­sion to help oth­ers dis­cov­er their love for plants and fos­ter a deep­er con­nec­tion with the earth.

Jen offers appren­tice­ships, cer­e­monies, retreats, and work­shops for those eager to explore their rela­tion­ship with plants and them­selves fur­ther. She is the author of “Com­mu­ni­cat­ing with Plants: Heart-Based Prac­tices for Con­nect­ing with Plant Spir­its,” a guide to unlock­ing the heal­ing and wis­dom of plants.

Kathy Gleason, Podcast host of As I Live and Grieve.

Kathy Gleason

My life’s tra­jec­to­ry, seem­ing­ly straight­for­ward until 25, took unex­pect­ed turns until sta­bi­liz­ing around 55, chal­leng­ing the typ­i­cal pro­gres­sion from school to career. This jour­ney has been a con­stant learn­ing expe­ri­ence, every year, every day, adding to my knowl­edge and shap­ing who I am today. This rich tapes­try of life expe­ri­ences, par­tic­u­lar­ly my trans­for­ma­tion from some­one who shied away from dis­cus­sions of death and dying to a grief advo­cate, forms the foun­da­tion of our pod­cast. In our first episode, I delve into this shift, high­light­ing my once over­whelm­ing fear of los­ing loved ones. Yet, here I am, com­mit­ted to sup­port­ing the griev­ing, a mis­sion I believe is cru­cial. Grief, often a lone­ly path marked by a com­plex array of emo­tions, is fre­quent­ly mis­un­der­stood as a sign of men­tal insta­bil­i­ty. Through our pod­cast, I aim to offer bet­ter sup­port and under­stand­ing to those nav­i­gat­ing grief.

Con­trary to what one might assume, I am not a men­tal health coun­sel­lor, ther­a­pist, or any form of cer­ti­fied clin­i­cian. My insight into grief comes from my per­son­al expe­ri­ences and my involve­ment in hos­pice and pal­lia­tive care as a vol­un­teer. Hav­ing lost four sig­nif­i­cant peo­ple in my life, each loss teach­ing me some­thing new, I’ve come to view grief as a life­long com­pan­ion. We learn to live along­side our grief, and this jour­ney of con­tin­u­ous adap­ta­tion and growth is what our pod­cast, “As I Live and Grieve,” seeks to explore and share with our lis­ten­ers.

Catherine Hughes

As some­one who has jug­gled roles from attend­ing par­ent coun­cil meet­ings to enjoy­ing the local ski slopes, my life took a sig­nif­i­cant turn fol­low­ing a pro­found per­son­al jour­ney. With a back­ground in the arts, hold­ing degrees in Fine Arts and Edu­ca­tion, my career spanned roles as an Art Edu­ca­tor in var­i­ous edu­ca­tion­al set­tings and muse­ums in Nova Sco­tia and Ottawa. How­ev­er, a severe ill­ness in 2010 marked the start of an unex­pect­ed path towards shaman­ic prac­tice, a jour­ney ini­tial­ly fueled by a need for per­son­al heal­ing and spir­i­tu­al explo­ration. My train­ing with the Foun­da­tion for Shaman­ic Stud­ies was trans­for­ma­tive, not just for me but also in under­stand­ing and sup­port­ing my three chil­dren, includ­ing one who is devel­op­men­tal­ly delayed, autis­tic, and non-ver­bal.

Embrac­ing shaman­ism pro­found­ly impact­ed how I con­nect with my fam­i­ly, hon­or­ing each per­son­’s indi­vid­u­al­i­ty and inde­pen­dence. As my exper­tise and appre­ci­a­tion for this prac­tice deep­ened, I felt com­pelled to extend this knowl­edge to oth­ers. Thus, I began teach­ing shaman­ic work­shops, find­ing ful­fill­ment in shar­ing this work’s won­der­ful yet prac­ti­cal nature. My com­mit­ment to help­ing oth­ers achieve a more bal­anced, sat­is­fy­ing, and joy­ful life through shaman­ic prin­ci­ples is a tes­ta­ment to my belief in its pro­found impact on well-being and per­son­al growth. I am a shaman­ic prac­ti­tion­er with a busy heal­ing prac­tise while also serv­ing as a guest fac­ul­ty mem­ber for the Foun­da­tion for Shaman­ic Stud­ies.

Bob Martin

Bob Mar­tin has trans­formed from a crim­i­nal tri­al lawyer, advo­cat­ing for those affect­ed by men­tal ill­ness, anger, and addic­tion, to a Mind­ful­ness Coor­di­na­tor at Elon Uni­ver­si­ty, where he pro­motes men­tal free­dom and inner peace. With over four decades of legal expe­ri­ence, he now also teach­es med­i­ta­tion, merg­ing neu­ro­science with East­ern and West­ern psy­chol­o­gy to guide indi­vid­u­als toward resilience and clar­i­ty.

As a Pro­fes­sor of Busi­ness Law, Bob instills eth­i­cal lead­er­ship in future busi­ness lead­ers, empha­siz­ing integri­ty over greed. His jour­ney to spir­i­tu­al awak­en­ing began under the guid­ance of a 72nd-gen­er­a­tion Taoist Mas­ter, rad­i­cal­ly shift­ing his per­spec­tive and life direc­tion dur­ing Miami’s Cocaine Cow­boy era.

Today, Bob con­tin­ues to inspire as an author of a Taoist/Christian devo­tion­al book, aim­ing to bridge spir­i­tu­al tra­di­tions and fos­ter uni­ty. At 74, he val­ues the sup­port of his sec­ond wife and blend­ed fam­i­ly, deeply com­mit­ted to serv­ing and uplift­ing his com­mu­ni­ty through his teach­ings and per­son­al sto­ry of redemp­tion and resilience.

Brenda Martin

Bren­da Mar­tin is the dri­ving force behind Soul­ful Gath­er­ings, a sanc­tu­ary ded­i­cat­ed to embrac­ing all aspects of life’s jour­ney. Bren­da, with her Bach­e­lor of Arts in Psy­chol­o­gy and exten­sive expe­ri­ence in the car­ing pro­fes­sions, has a pro­found con­nec­tion to the human sto­ry. Her work is deeply root­ed in a blend of spir­i­tu­al growth, holis­tic health, and well­ness. Her exper­tise is broad and diverse, includ­ing cer­ti­fi­ca­tions in Aro­mather­a­py, Rei­ki Ther­a­py, Myers-Brig­gs™, and as a Bardic Mem­ber of the Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids, all enriched by her stud­ies in Celtic Con­scious­ness.

Brenda’s role as an ANFT Cer­ti­fied Nature and For­est Ther­a­py Guide™ stands out, reflect­ing her com­mit­ment to inte­grat­ing nature’s heal­ing pow­er into her prac­tice. She’s also a Tarot Pro­fes­sion­al and a grad­u­ate of the Ontario Jubilee Pro­gram in Spir­i­tu­al Direc­tion, demon­strat­ing her ded­i­ca­tion to guid­ing oth­ers on their spir­i­tu­al paths. Bren­da is active­ly involved with Spir­i­tu­al Direc­tors Inter­na­tion­al and Spir­i­tu­al Nia­gara, fur­ther show­cas­ing her engage­ment in spir­i­tu­al com­mu­ni­ties.

In addi­tion to her ther­a­peu­tic work, Bren­da thrives as a Life Event Cel­e­brant and Wed­ding Offi­ciant, cre­at­ing bespoke cer­e­monies that tru­ly reflect each indi­vid­u­al’s jour­ney. Her work as an inde­pen­dent cel­e­brant is unre­strict­ed by tra­di­tion­al norms, allow­ing for deeply per­son­al and mean­ing­ful cer­e­monies. Licensed by the Gov­ern­ment of Ontario and a Min­is­ter with the Ban­croft Cen­tre for Awak­en­ing Spir­i­tu­al Growth Meta­phys­i­cal Min­istry, Bren­da offers her ser­vices for a vari­ety of sig­nif­i­cant life events, from wed­dings to funer­als, across Ontario.”


Diane Puchbauer, PhD

Diane Puch­bauer is a sea­soned ther­a­pist with over twen­ty years of expe­ri­ence in tra­di­tion­al and ancient heal­ing tech­niques. 

She co-found­ed Peak Expe­ri­ence Train­ing, devel­op­ing pro­grams for wilder­ness guides that incor­po­rate ther­a­peu­tic skills essen­tial for out­door set­tings. She authored Adven­ture Ther­a­py for Ado­les­cents: A Skills Train­ing Man­u­al for Adven­ture Coun­selors, a crit­i­cal­ly acclaimed hand­book cen­tral to her Clin­i­cal First Respon­der™ train­ing pro­grams, cov­er­ing ado­les­cent devel­op­ment, psy­chopathol­o­gy, addic­tion treat­ment, and moti­va­tion­al ther­a­py.

Since 2010, Diane has been active in the eques­tri­an world as a com­pet­i­tive show jumper and dres­sage stu­dent. She uti­lizes her skills in equine-assist­ed ther­a­py, pro­mot­ing emo­tion­al and psy­cho­log­i­cal heal­ing through horse inter­ac­tions.

Hold­ing a bachelor’s degree in cul­tur­al anthro­pol­o­gy, Diane’s stud­ies in spir­i­tu­al and ancient wis­dom tra­di­tions deeply influ­ence her ener­gy work. She focus­es on the vital life force con­nect­ing all life forms, employ­ing tech­niques to cor­rect dis­rup­tions in ener­gy fields. Her prac­tice includes ancient heal­ing meth­ods learned from elders and spir­i­tu­al prac­ti­tion­ers, effec­tive­ly engag­ing with the spir­i­tu­al and ener­getic dimen­sions of heal­ing.

Diane’s holis­tic approach not only address­es psy­cho­log­i­cal and phys­i­cal ail­ments but also aims to restore over­all well-being and spir­i­tu­al health. She helps indi­vid­u­als realign with their inner selves, their com­mu­ni­ties, and the nat­ur­al world. Her work, root­ed in the inter­con­nect­ed­ness of all beings, is guid­ed by ancient prin­ci­ples that seek to restore bal­ance and har­mo­ny.

Bio photo of Carl Rabke

Carl Rabke

Carl Rabke is a Somat­ic Nat­u­ral­ist, Embod­i­ment teacher, and a ten­der of soul and liv­ing cul­ture. For the last 25 years he has prac­ticed and taught where the streams of somat­ics, soul-work, and a deep love of this liv­ing Earth meet. He is a Feldenkrais and Struc­tur­al Inte­gra­tion prac­ti­tion­er and loves to sup­port peo­ple in return­ing to, and remem­ber­ing our nat­ur­al, inher­ent intel­li­gence in move­ment, med­i­ta­tion, rit­u­al, song, rhythm and com­mu­ni­ty. He also hosts the Embod­i­ment Mat­ters Pod­cast with his beloved wife, Erin. You can learn more about Carl and his work at

Ashmeeta headshot

Ashmeeta Ramamadhov

Ash­mee­ta Rama­mad­hov is a resilience and grief sup­port advo­cate, edu­ca­tor, entre­pre­neur, author, and a com­mit­ted life­long learn­er who has faced numer­ous life-alter­ing expe­ri­ences since her ear­ly twen­ties. Her jour­ney through mis­car­riage, rejec­tion, and the pro­found loss­es of her par­ents and hus­band has deeply acquaint­ed her with the depths of grief. These chal­lenges pro­pelled her onto a path of self-dis­cov­ery, lead­ing her to val­ue per­son­al growth and rec­og­nize the pro­found impact thoughts have on shap­ing real­i­ty.

Ash­mee­ta’s ded­i­ca­tion to aid­ing oth­ers and shar­ing her insights cul­mi­nates in her book, “What’s Your Sto­ry?”, where she unfolds her per­son­al nar­ra­tive of grief and self-dis­cov­ery. Her mis­sion is to pro­vide solace, inspire, and guide those endur­ing hard­ships to uncov­er their inner strength and resilience, forg­ing a mean­ing­ful life ahead. She empha­sizes that while expe­ri­enc­ing loss may con­clude a chap­ter in our lives, it also her­alds the start of anoth­er, sig­ni­fy­ing hope rather than despair.

Her ini­tia­tive, Growth Sto­ry­Hub, is a deeply per­son­al endeav­or aimed at fos­ter­ing open dis­cus­sions about death and its impact on our lives. Stem­ming from her own encoun­ters with the lone­li­ness and iso­la­tion that often accom­pa­ny grief—highlighted by the unex­pect­ed loss of her moth­er 15 years ago, her hus­band’s bat­tle with pan­cre­at­ic can­cer, and her father’s sud­den passing—Ashmeeta sought to trans­form her pain into a bea­con of pos­i­tiv­i­ty and learn­ing. Growth Sto­ry­Hub serves as a plat­form and safe space for shar­ing expe­ri­ences and insights on loss, sup­port, and the nor­mal­iza­tion of death dis­cus­sions, pro­mot­ing under­stand­ing, empa­thy, and heal­ing. Through her work, Ash­mee­ta aspires to enhance grief lit­er­a­cy, ensur­ing that no one feels alien­at­ed or exclud­ed in their time of loss.

Alex Solomon.

Alex Solomon

I am a licensed clin­i­cal social work­er with over fif­teen years of expe­ri­ence, spe­cial­iz­ing in diverse ther­a­peu­tic modal­i­ties. My jour­ney began with exten­sive work in cri­sis inter­ven­tion, co-occur­ring dis­or­der treat­ment, and com­mu­ni­ty men­tal health set­tings, focus­ing on indi­vid­u­als nav­i­gat­ing legal involve­ment, sub­stance use, and com­plex trau­ma. Cur­rent­ly, I oper­ate a pri­vate prac­tice, pri­or­i­tiz­ing flex­i­ble, inten­sive treat­ment to best serve my clients.

Tran­si­tion­ing from tra­di­tion­al ther­a­py mod­els, I adopt­ed an inten­sive approach to facil­i­tate deep­er heal­ing expe­ri­ences, free from time con­straints. My ther­a­peu­tic toolk­it includes Moti­va­tion­al Inter­view­ing, EMDR, ego state ther­a­py, DBT, and somat­ic ther­a­py, tai­lored to each clien­t’s needs. Ground­ed in the per­son-in-envi­ron­ment the­o­ry, I rec­og­nize the soci­etal influ­ences shap­ing inter­nal expe­ri­ences.

As a queer, gen­derqueer, Jew­ish, neu­ro­di­ver­gent indi­vid­ual, I bring lived expe­ri­ences into my prac­tice, reject­ing the ther­a­pist-as-blank-slate par­a­digm. This rela­tion­al approach enrich­es my work, fos­ter­ing empa­thy and under­stand­ing across diverse back­grounds.

Beyond clin­i­cal prac­tice, my spir­i­tu­al jour­ney inter­twines with shaman­ic tra­di­tions. Since child­hood, I’ve com­mu­ni­cat­ed with spir­its, forg­ing deep con­nec­tions with nature and the unseen. Train­ing with the Foun­da­tion for Shaman­ic Stud­ies pro­vid­ed struc­ture to my innate expe­ri­ences, lead­ing to pro­found heal­ing and spir­i­tu­al growth.

Extend­ing my stud­ies into Celtic and Mon­go­lian Shaman­ism, I’ve engaged in cul­tur­al exchanges world­wide, inte­grat­ing ances­tral tra­di­tions into my prac­tice. Shaman­ism has expand­ed my world­view, offer­ing mirac­u­lous heal­ing expe­ri­ences and guid­ing oth­ers on their spir­i­tu­al paths.

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descrip­tion and oth­er bio con­tent.