Ritual Postures, Ritual body Postures, Ancient Ritual Postures

Board Members

Paul Robear

President &
Executive Director

Paul Robear is the President and Executive Director of the Cuyamungue Institute(CI) .  Paul became involved with the CI in the early 1990′s. In 2011, Paul joined the Board of Directors of the CI and was elected President a short time later. Reporting to the Board of Directors, as President, Paul has overall strategic and operational responsibility for the institute programs, facilities, and execution of its mission. 

A life-long study of the ancient wisdom traditions, along with his entrepreneurial skills prepared Paul for his leadership role at CI. Driven with intensity, focus and passion to facilitate greater awareness of these “age old” technologies, Paul considers it a blessing to help facilitate the work of CI, and feels the time has come to recognize the need to bridge cross-cultural wisdom traditions with the needs of today’s world. That spiritual insight born of direct experience can provide practical solutions for the challenges ahead, keeps this work compelling and relevant. 

“I see this work in the larger context,” Paul says, “from Experience, along with Education, and the ongoing Exploration in the field of consciousness studies. By exploring our own direct experience in the context of ritual, we are tapping into the realm of human imagination and creative processes, for richer experience of life.

Paul’s core passion is facilitating the Ecstatic Trance Ritual Body Posture events, both in person at the headquarters of the Cuyamungue Institute in Santa Fe NM, and now worldwide via ZOOM. He draws on his real life experience, which correlates to the ground-breaking research of CI’s founder,  anthropologist Dr. Felicitas Goodman and other key researchers in the field of trance and consciousness studies. A ceremonialist and ritual artist, Paul considers the experiential sessions he leads as his “inner office hours.”

Paul and Laura were asked to translate the work of the Cuyamunge Institute as an art installation in 2017 for the Palais de Tokyo in Paris. Working in collaboration with Australian artist Mel O’Callahan,  he choreographed the performance piece, and they advised on the look, sound, function, and symbolic meaning of CI’s ritual tools. In addition, they taught a workshop for 100 art students at Parsons Paris School of Design in preparation to participate in the exhibit’s daily performances

Paul’s professional skills range from management, multi-media distribution, sales, marketing, publishing. The mission of the media company he created around wife Laura Lee’s nationally syndicated terrestrial radio talk show is self-discovery. The publishing and retail arm had international distribution and sold over 200,000 books, videos, and audio books. To steer CI into the future, Paul brings all this and more to CI, with weekly live, interactive webcasts of experiential sessions of Ecstatic Trance Ritual Body Postures for an international community, and with Conversation4Exploration interviews every Sunday, with a wide range of guests from the arts and sciences. Paul adds and oversees new weekly content to CI’s YouTube, Facebook, and Podcast channels. 

Laura Lee

Director of Research & Outreach

Laura Lee and Paul have put in their 10,000 hours with this work, a few times over, with a personal practice in CI of nearly three decades, two of those teaching this around the world, the last decade also co-directing CI. 
Laura contributes articles for CI’s website, newsletter, outreach, social media, and is researching and writing several books. She writes and narrates short videos on CI, and by invitation, is designing an exhibit for US art museums. Her research inspires her guest selection for the interview series she co-hosts with Paul. They also give interviews on this work, and create and facilitate CI workshops and events, from the conversational to the experiential.
“For me, it’s always been about the story we tell ourselves, of the world and our place in it. It’s about the adventure, the conversations to expand our worldview, the direct experience of dancing with the mysteries. It’s about calling forth our best self, individually and collectively, to engage fully. To pull forward, from our past, the perennial wisdom that’s long guided us to take better aim for the future. 

My worldview was challenged early on, in childhood, by spontaneous mystical experiences. This sent me on a quest that led to my radio career as a talk show host, where I could explore, with an audience and a wide range of guests, those age-old questions: who are we, where did we come from, where are we going? What is our place in the grand scheme of things, and how do we optimize this moment in our long history? When asked why I left a successful radio career, I have to say it’s to follow where that quest has led me. Now, with our Conversation4Exploration Sunday interviews, is to also serve CI’s research mission, we continue to explore via the medium of conversations, the larger context of what this work means, and brings to us. Additionally, there’s the work itself, the direct experience of ‘expanding our bandwidth’ via ‘embodied spirituality’ which brings its own benefits, rewards, and surprises. This work opens up so many questions, tantalizes us with so many profound implications. It’s endlessly fascinating and surprising, beckoning us ever deeper on our quest. This is the story I want to tell.”

Jackie Haworth Hoy


Jackie has served as a member of the Cuyamungue Board of Directors for many years and is currently the secretary. She became involved in the Ecstatic Trance work in the 1980’s after attending an introductory workshop by Dr. Goodman. Since that time she has participated in and led weekly trance groups, introductory workshops, and numerous Masked Trance Dances. Jackie plans to be retiring in the near future from her career as a teacher and counselor, and plans to expand her work as an instructor for Cuyamungue Institute.

Jackie Haworth Hoy
2115 Eastgate Rd.
Toledo OH 43614

Cynthia Devlin, LPC


Cynthia began a “sabbatical” in the SW with CI’s Hero’s Journey workshop more than five years ago and has served on the Board since then, currently as Treasurer. She recently relocated to New Mexico and continues to offer a holistic individual and couple counseling practice with a strong commitment to cultivating emotional wellness.  www.devlincounseling.com  Cynthia has a passion for integrating ancient and evolving spiritual practices in her personal and professional life. She has enjoyed leading participants at CI workshops in creating unique mandalas for integration and healing.

Cynthia Devlin
Santa Fe, NM. 87508

Stephanie Stephens

Board member Stephanie Stephens lives in Columbus, Ohio, which is where she became involved with the Cuyamungue Institute. Her first experience with trance work was at a workshop lead by Belinda Gore. Stephanie graduated from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, with a Bachelor of Music degree and has an M.A. in Music Education from The Ohio State University. She presently teaches vocal music to middle and high school students, but is fast approaching retirement, this being her 31st year of service. She is very involved in theatre, working regularly as a music director in and around Columbus. She lives in a quiet neighborhood on the west side of Ohio’s capital city with her partner Bruce and their two dogs Waldo, a boxer, and Zoe, a French Bulldog

Stephanie Stephens 
3014 Olive Ave
Columbus, OH 43204

Julie Strider Nichol

Julie was initially trained as an architect and spent 15 years as an associate with a firm in Sussex before deciding to become completely freelance as a surveyor. Julie was first introduced to ecstatic body postures during a year-long Shamanic course in 2003. Although The Bear Posture and the Nupe Mallum were just two of the dozens of Shamanic rituals that she undertook that weekend, she was drawn to spend the next five years studying and practicing the postures alone, until, in 2008, she finally tripped over to the Cuyamungue Institute! She is delighted to be a certified teacher, holds workshops in Sussex, England, and attends summer festivals where she can introduce people to the wonders of the postures. Recently, Julie has been appointed as the Adult Education teacher in Shamanism for West Sussex County Council! Her work with Labyrinths started about 5 years ago as she would make temporary labyrinths from ribbon and rope on various landscapes to celebrate the seasons, and have also run one day long workshops on the labyrinth. It was her inspiration and contributing effort that brought a permanent 40 ft diameter labyrinth to the Cuyamungue Institute.

Julie Strider Nichol
218, High Street
West Sussex, England
TN22 1RE