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Unbroken Chain Podcast

Conversations along the journey: ancestral medicines, ordinary magic, and the wisdom within us all. Hosted by Maura James McNamara.

Weekly hand curated podcast episodes for learning

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Ep 26: Reconnecting to Spirit After Trauma w Jennifer Patterson

Jennifer Patterson is a grief worker who uses plants, breath, and words to explore survivorhood, body(ies), and healing.  As a queer and trans affirming herbalist and breathwork facilitator, Jennifer has built an inclusive, sliding scale one-on-one practice called Corpus Ritual, and she also holds group workshops at healing spaces, LGBTQ centers, a needle exchange and harm reduction clinic, veterans hospitals, on college campuses, and online. She is the editor of "Queering Sexual Violence: Radical Voices from Within the Anti- Violence Movement" (2016) and the creative nonfiction editor of Hematopoiesis Press.  In this beautifully transparent conversation, Jennifer discusses her surrender to the psychedelic healing process after years of destructive patterns rooted in past trauma. She talks about her experience with iboga, mother of all entheogens, the somatic imprint of trauma, the dark magic of alcohol, the predation of the “healing industrial complex,” the legacy of free and sliding scale work, and how to grow the parts of ourselves that are ok despite all our wounds. “For those of us who have lost faith in the world, in a god, these are ways that we can gain some faith back, and they’re body-based. It’s in ourselves. We get to connect to our own spirit. And spirit at large, too.” Find Jennifer’s beautiful writing and her herb shop at www.corpusritual.com and hematopoiesispress.com and on instagram @corpusritual. More podcasts available where podcasts are found and at www.maurajames.com. [“Healing Song 1” - Verdell Primeaux]

1hr 15mins

17 Apr 2019

Rank #1

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Ep 5: Divine Offerings w Ra Ma Kaur

Ra Ma Kaur holds spiritual sanctuary for women in Asheville, NC, by blending the practices of Kundalini yoga, Daoist stone medicine, soundscapes, ancestral healing and astrology. We discussed her path of self-invention out of corporate America, her love of academia in spiritual work, and our ancestral past and future. Find her at RaMaKaur.com ["Somewhere Over the Rainbow" - Israel Kamakawiwo'ole]

1hr 18mins

26 Sep 2018

Rank #2

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Ep 48: The Dharma of Abolition w Dr. Shanté Paradigm Smalls

Shanté Paradigm Smalls is a scholar, artist, and writer focusing on Black popular culture in music, film, and the arts. Dr. Smalls’ first scholarly manuscript “Hip Hop Heresies: Queer Aesthetics in New York City” is forthcoming, as well as a podcast called Fantastic Blackness! In addition to teaching at St. John University, Dr. Smalls has been a meditation instructor since 2015 in the Shambala tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. In this generous offering, Dr. Smalls makes a wide and deep contemplation of suffering and transformation, exploring the historic and contemporary pain of slavery, war, and police brutality alongside the entwinement of dharma and capitalism. Step into the rehabilitation of the human heart. More from Dr. Smalls at shanteparadigm.com. More podcasts where podcasts are found and maurajames.com. [“Children Hold On (To Your Dreams)” - William WeeGee Howard]

1hr 53mins

25 Oct 2019

Rank #3

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Ep 46: Sacred Pleasure w Vanessa Cuccia

Vanessa Cuccia is a pioneer in the sex toy industry. She is the founder of Chakrubs, the original crystal sex toy company and author of “Crystal Healing and Sacred Pleasure." As a certified crystal healer and reiki practitioner, Vanessa integrates her knowledge of crystals and metaphysical modes of healing to help those who have experienced sexual trauma or simply wish to deepen pleasure and connection to self, spirit, and others. She is an advocate for sex positivity, self-love, and personal awareness by bridging the gap between sensuality and spirituality. We talk about relearning to experience pleasure after trauma, navigating boundaries, remaining open to wonderment, and her current interest in “anti-mindfulness." You can connect with Vanessa on instagram @vanessa_cuccia and at www.chakrubs.com. More podcasts where podcasts are found and MauraJames.com. [“Alegría” - Elia y Elizabeth]

1hr 2mins

12 Oct 2019

Rank #4

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Ep 27: Walking Persephone’s Path w Kathryn Solie

Kathryn Solie has dedicated her life to the study and practice of non-duality and inner work. She works one on one with people looking to remember their authentic selves through the use of tarot readings, dream interpretation, herbal medicine, intuition building, shamanic journeying, creative expression, and meditation. Today she takes us on journey into the transformative medicine of poison plants. We go deep into the underworld of datura, hellebore, henbane, belladonna, and amanita muscaria, and explore the myths that help unlock their wisdom. She talks about the pagan origins of Christmas traditions, the loss of our European shamanic lineage, wrathful goddesses, and the intersection of buddhism and plant medicine. Find Kathryn on instagram @persephonespath and at www.KathrynSolie.com. More conversations at www.maurajames.com and wherever podcasts are found. [“Sunrise of Forever” - Layne Redmond]

1hr 8mins

24 Apr 2019

Rank #5

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Ep 65: Entering the Age of Aquarius w Juliana McCarthy

Astrologer and author Juliana McCarthy returns to the podcast (find her on Episode 2)! We talk from our offices in bed, quarantined 2,000 miles apart. I called Juliana to get some context and grounding for our current situation: to understand more about 2020, an unprecedented year of transformation, and the new age of individual liberation. And she gives us a massive download on Saturn, lord of karma, Chiron, the Wounded Healer, and the new Age of Aquarius. We talk about loneliness and aloneness, retreat mentality, looking our demons in the eyes, making our healers our heroes, and building peaceful Queendom. This is a time of potent and desperately needed change, and there are new paradigms afoot. You can find Juliana’s offerings online at EtherealCulture.com and patreon.com/astrologer and on IG @etherealculture. Her book, The Stars Within You, is available everywhere. More podcasts at MauraJames.com and on IG @maurajames. [“There’s A Rugged Road” - Judee Sill]

1hr 23mins

31 Mar 2020

Rank #6

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Ep 13: Courageous Embodied Beingness w Dr. Lisa Apramian

Dr. Lisa Apramian is a shamanic educator and guide, licensed psychologist, and coach of spiral awakening pathways. She is also the writer, director, and producer of the 1995 documentary Not Bad for a Girl about female artists of the 90s grunge and Riot Grrrl scenes. In this conversation, she shares her wisdom as a teacher and healer, discussing touch as meditation, tantra as a form of consciousness, and forgiveness alchemy as the key to liberation from the tyranny of our egos. Find Dr. Lisa online at www.spiralawakening.com and more podcasts at www.maurajames.com [“Dreams (Acoustic)” - The Cranberries]

1hr 3mins

4 Dec 2018

Rank #7

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Ep 55: Self Awareness in Creativity w Duquette Johnston

Duquette Johnston is a musician and creator based in Birmingham, Alabama. This winter, in addition to new music, he is releasing a reissue of “Etowah,” an album born from a challenging period of his life 13 years ago, which began with an arrest for felony possession of cocaine. In this conversation, Duquette tells the intimate story of that intense time of growth and shares revelations from his transformation from a “young brat” into a loving human, partner, artist and father. This is an intimate offering from the journey of one artist navigating the war on drugs and the undying need to make music. Find him online at duquettejohnston.com and on IG @rebelking and @clubduquette. More podcasts where podcasts are found and at maurajames.com. [“Don’t Go Back to Etowah” - Duquette Johnston]

1hr 42mins

16 Dec 2019

Rank #8

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Ep 58: MDMA Trauma Therapy w Dr. Hannah McLane

Dr. Hannah McLane is a physician, psychotherapist, and founder of the SoundMind Project in Philadelphia, PA. This nonprofit mental health center is poised to become one of the country’s first FDA-approved MDMA therapy clinics and will soon offer safe, legal, clinician-supported MDMA treatment for PTSD to the general public. MDMA is showing “incredible efficacy” at tackling treatment-resistant PTSD in Phase 3 trials at MAPS (Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies), with the majority of patients no longer meeting the diagnosis of PTSD and never going back on pharmaceuticals after the completion of the therapy. In this conversation, Hannah talks about what these sessions look like, how the brain deals with trauma, and her mission to provide these revolutionary therapies to the most marginalized communities with the highest rates of PTSD. Join her mission at SoundMindProject.org. More podcasts where podcasts are found and on MauraJames.com. [“Behind That Locked Door (George Harrison cover)” - Jim James]

1hr 10mins

15 Jan 2020

Rank #9

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Ep 40: The Death Bardo w Caroline Yongue

Caroline Yongue is a lay Buddhist minister in the Soto Zen tradition and director of both the Carolina Memorial Sanctuary, a “green” burial ground in Asheville, NC, and the Center for End of Life Transitions. Much of her work involves helping people prepare for the dying process, assisting with home funerals, and holding space for grief. She has transparent conversation about dying in a death-denying culture that has effectively privatized death. In this deeply heart-opening conversation, Caroline talks about the grace of death as a spiritual community event, buddhist understandings of our transition to and from life, and the practices that help her stay present to what is, even in the presence of death. You can learn more about Caroline's conservation burial ground at carolinamemorialsanctuary.org and deep dive her offerings on home funerals and death midwifery at ceolt.org. More podcasts where podcasts are found, at maurajames.com and on instagram @maurajames. [“Eventual Surrender” - William Tyler]

1hr 5mins

15 Aug 2019

Rank #10

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Ep 39: Spiritual Surgery w Chris Rushing

Chris Rushing is the leader of the Oklevueha Native American Church of Inner Light in rural Alabama. Alongside his wife Janice, and his two sons, he shares sacramental plant medicine ceremonies with those who come seeking healing, reconnection, and prayer. He is also a painter who channels his visionary experiences onto canvas. In this deeply generous conversation recorded the morning after we joined him for ceremony, Chris talks about how plant medicine has deepened his relationship to Creator, radically changing his understanding of the Christian religion, and returned him to Christ’s pure message of love. We talk about meeting god, telling the truth, free will, the darkness that masquerades as light, heaven and hell within our minds, “knowledge-squashing” culture, and the nature of death. More podcasts where podcasts are found and at www.MauraJames.com. [“See What Love Can Do” - Jerry Garcia Band]

1hr 25mins

6 Aug 2019

Rank #11

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Ep 16: Death Is Safe w Tina “Kat” Courtney

Tina “Kat” Courtney is an AfterLife coach who has sat in over 1000 plant medicine ceremonies and spent 11 years apprenticing with maestros in the Amazon and United States. She credits ayahuasca with saving her life and has devoted herself to helping others prepare for psychedelic experiences and integrate the sometimes intense, challenging Dark Nights of the Soul back into their lives afterward. In this beautiful offering full of practical wisdom, Kat shares her own journey into healing and talks about “bad trips,” making friends with fear, going “unsane,” purging, Shipibo cosmology, and what it means for westerners to participate in indigenous traditions, among much more. Find Kat’s wealth of resources online at www.afterlife.coach and more podcasts at maurajames.com. [“Sæglópur” - Sigur Ros]

1hr 14mins

14 Jan 2019

Rank #12

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Ep 47: F*ck Plastic w Arielle Crawford

Arielle Crawford (Ep 3!) returns to the podcast, this time to talk sustainability, consumerism, and revolution in the streets. Arielle is the founder of ARIELLE, a conscious womenswear collective focused on sustainable textiles, domestic manufacturing, and fair-trade practices. She runs it single-handedly from design and sourcing to production and sales. She also created “Plastic Free in NYC: a Guide to Living Less Trashy,” which is available digitally for free. In this conversation, Arielle shares the impact of her first year as a plastic-free citizen on her kitchen, bathroom, and closet, and shares insights about how she has reconsidered her legacy and recalibrated her joy. Find her at www.shop-arielle.com and on instagram @shop_arielle. More podcasts where podcasts are found and www.maurajames.com. [“Nostalgia” - Piero Umiliani]

1hr 8mins

18 Oct 2019

Rank #13

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Ep 38: How to Be Human w Tepahteh “Oso” Hutze

Tepahteh Hutze, aka Oso, is a medicine man from a lineage of curanderos who carries the wisdom of the Nahuatlakas and the Lakota. Life is a ceremony, he says, and everything we do is prayer. He holds regular sweat lodge and medicine ceremonies for his community, and offers the opportunity for all he meets to return to their earth-based roots and claim the medicine that is our birthright as humans. In this conversation, I share some of my recent experiences in ceremony with him, and he talks about our place in creation, the disconnection that has created abusive relationships with our environment, and how we can cleanse ourselves naturally with the four elements. “Treat people with your heart, and you’ll never be wrong.” Learn more about Oso’s offerings at www.tepahtehhutze.com and reach out to him on instagram @tepahtehhutze. More podcasts and art at www.maurajames.com and @maurajames. [“Peyote Healing” - Robbie Robertson and Verdell Primeaux]


29 Jul 2019

Rank #14

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Ep 32: Radical Dharma w Dr. Jasmine Syedullah

Dr. Jasmine Syedullah is a feminist political theorist of abolition and co-author of “Radical Dharma: Talking Race, Love, and Liberation.” Deeply inspired by the 19th century writings of antislavery abolitionist Harriet Jacobs, Jasmine’s current work explores how women's defense against the surveillance, policing, detention, criminalization, and punishment of everyday practices of self-making pose challenges to the bonds of racial capitalism. In our lively and potent conversation, Jasmine discussed the current landscape of carceral logic, our tendency to protect ideas over people, how we choose to engage with the inevitable trauma of change, and the practices that help us attune to our internal wisdom in order to transform our relationships to institutions, our neighbors, families, and selves. “You can inhabit oppressive systems in unconventional ways.” More podcasts at maurajames.com and all podcasting platforms. [“Brand New Day” - Esther Phillips]

1hr 25mins

30 May 2019

Rank #15

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Ep 36: Cannabis and Childhood Cancer w Danielle "Yin" Dwyer

When Yin’s six-month old baby Wally was diagnosed with a rare form of childhood eye cancer, she was plunged from the bliss of new motherhood into chemotherapy world. The side effects of the chemicals being pumped into Wally, who had only consumed breastmilk at that point, made him violently ill, so Yin and her husband Brian began looking for any and all resources to help him. This lead them to cannabis oil, and the results were immediate and stunning. This is the story of Wally's healing, and the medicines that saved his life. It is a story that shatters the taboos around children and cannabis that keep untold numbers of families from access to transformative healing. A documentary made from footage Brian filmed during Wally’s treatment called “Waldo on Weed” (2019) premiered at Tribeca Film Festival this summer and is currently making festival rounds. More podcasts and stories wherever podcasts are found and at maurajames.com. [“All To Myself” - Amber Coffman]

1hr 7mins

6 Jul 2019

Rank #16

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Ep 19: Ritual Pain w Yin Q

Yin Q. is a BDSM educator, sex work activist, former professional dominatrix, and writer and creator of the series “Mercy Mistress.” In this generous conversation, she makes a deeply personal reflection on the transcendent element of BDSM practices and how these rituals can help transform the shame and fear accumulated by trauma into agency and self-compassion. She talks about what consent, transparency, and feminism really mean in the context of sex work and makes, among many things, an enthusiastic call for embracing male nipple play. Throughout, she emanates a strong belief that when we decriminalize and uplift the most vulnerable and marginalized communities, we assure the safety of all. Watch “Mercy Mistress” at www.youtube.com/mercymistress, and find her writing, advocacy, and professional offerings from rope bondage to couples kink guidance at www.yinq.net and @yinq13 on instagram. More podcasts at www.maurajames.com. [“House of Metal” - Chelsea Wolfe]

1hr 8mins

7 Feb 2019

Rank #17

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Ep 62: Psychedelic Addiction Treatment w Dr. Peter Hendricks

Dr. Peter Hendricks is a clinical psychologist and associate professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham currently conducting a study on psilocybin facilitated psychotherapy for cocaine dependence. He talks about the nature of addiction, the benefits and challenges of the scientific approach, the history of psychedelic research and its suppression, and the proliferation of psychedelic culture at large. The conversation opened up beautifully to explore the search for meaning in our modern times, creativity, unconditional love, Hildegard von Bingen, Viking invaders, and much more. More podcasts where podcasts are found and MauraJames.com or IG: @maurajames. [“Mam Yinnie Wa” - Alogte Oho & His Sounds of Joy]

1hr 49mins

23 Feb 2020

Rank #18

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Ep 50: Walking Between Worlds w Grandmother Red Hawk

Patricia Hurley, also known as Grandmother Red Hawk, is a Pipe Carrier in the Bear Tribe tradition and a Water Pourer for the Stone Peoples Lodge. She also offers Elemental Divinations and Rituals from the Dagara People of West Africa, as well as Plant Spirit Healing, a modality based upon two ancient healing traditions of Classical Chinese Medicine and Shamanism. In the Shamanic tradition, Patricia teaches how to journey to the Upper and Lower Worlds to meet with animal, plant, and spirit guides. In this intimate conversation, she shares her magical journey into healing and truth, the rituals and initiations that have opened her connection to deep knowing, and the struggle to “trust the process” amidst wild loss and grief. You can find her at patricia9hawk.com or call her directly: 828-551-0840. More podcasts where podcasts are found and maurajames.com. [“The Secret Kissing of the Sun and Moon” - Hang Massive]

1hr 24mins

13 Nov 2019

Rank #19

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Ep 6: Herbal Allies w Bernadette Torres

Bernadette Torres is a medicine woman, herbalist, teacher, and grandmother based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Together with her partner Ashéninka Mino, she runs an outdoor garden school and provides healing sessions that treat the roots of trauma. We talk about our ancient relationship to the plant world, her personal journey to healing, and the personalities of her favorite plant spirits. Find Bernadette online at www.shabeta.com and more podcasts at www.maurajames.com [“Love Song” - Lani Hall]

1hr 15mins

5 Oct 2018

Rank #20