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.  Paul became involved with the Cuyamungue Institute in the early 1990′s. In 2011, Paul joined the Board of Directors of the Cuyamungue Institute 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 Cuyamungue Institute programs, facilities, and execution of its mission. 

The identification of a global phenomenon of Ecstatic Trance Postures and a scientific exploration of the effect of their use, in a ritual context, is the heart of the work of the Cuyamungue Institute. Founded by Anthropologist Dr. Felicitas Goodman, who’s research revived a tradition—at least 36,000 years old—that uses the capacity of the human nervous system to enter expanded or non-ordinary states of consciousness. Using a collection these postures from the artwork of hunter-gatherer and horticultural people as a doorway to a state known as ecstatic trance is achieved through a relatively simple, safe, and teachable method. The Cuyamungue Institute has its home on 472 acres of mountain desert at the northern outskirts of Santa Fe, New Mexico, adjoining the reservation land of the Pojoaque Pueblo.

Paul has developed a life long appreciation of the teachings of wisdom traditions and following the common threads from traditions from around the world led him to his role at the Cuyamungue Institute. Paul is driven with intensity, focus and passion to facilitate greater awareness of these “age old” technologies and considers it a blessing to help facilitate the work of CI. Paul feels that the time has come to recognize the need to bridge these cross-cultural wisdom traditions with the needs in today’s world. It is with the direct experience triggering spiritual insight, that we can provide practical solutions for modern cultures and technologies.

Instructor / Facilitator
Asside from the responsiblities of directing the institute, Paul real passion is for facilitating the Ecstatic Trance Postures events both at the headquarters of the Cuyamungue Institute in Santa Fe NM and worldwide via ZOOM.  Paul draws on his real life experiences along with the research conducted by founder of the Cuyamungue Institute, anthropologist Dr. Felicitas Goodman and other key researchers in the field of trance and consciousness studies

Paul Robear grew up in Maine, among a large extended family.  By their very nature people from Maine are fiercely independent thinkers. It has been observed that Maine is the only foreign country in the United States. There is no question that Maine is definitely unique and the people are not afraid to  challenge the status quo. Paul was more interested in spiritual affairs, and by his late teenage years he joined a group researching a cross-cultural study of spirituality. This began a lifelong interest in development and quality of well being — physically, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually. He became a meditator and vegetarian at age 18, and toured Switzerland, France, and across the US as part of this journey. This began a life long “call to adventure”

Professional Background
Paul’s professional background ranges from management, multi-media distribution, sales, marketing, publishing. Paul created a media company which included a talk show hosted by his wife Laura Lee devoted to self-discovery and featured interviews with leading researchers in the fields of wisdom traditions, ancient mysteries, holistic health, and consciousness studies. They syndicated the program on radio nationwide and on the web. In addition, Paul also was the founder of a publishing company with international distribution that sold over 200,000 books, videos, and audio books.

PaulRobear.com His contact info is: paulrobear@cuyamungueinstitute.com

Laura Lee

V.P. Media Relations &
Director of Research & Outreach

It was on Laura Lee’s nationally syndicated radio talk show that she first met anthropologist Dr. Felicitas Goodman, over the phone, for an interview that spanned three hours with call-ins.
Laura Lee recalls: “I was immediately taken with the idea of ‘psychological archeology’ as Dr. Goodman put it, and experiencing the worldview of our ancestors from the inside out. This was not a human construct or dogma or belief system, all of which I held suspect. Rather, here was the rediscovery of what our collective ancestors, masters of brain-mind navigation had found — the innate ability to throw open the doors of perception on the level of the physiology, something the body/mind already knew how to do and needed only activation of the ‘ON’ switch through a simple ritual, no outside agents needed. And in the universality of what she found lay the opportunity to find my own indigenous roots, tracing the clues back to the painted caves of Europe. I value the purity and self-empowerment of that. 
“In follow up, she sent me a booklet that explained how to do this on my own. I had an experience that demonstrated without question that this was real, that here was a way to continue, safely, easily, and ‘on demand’, the spontaneous mystical experiences I’d had since childhood. Soon my husband Paul and I were heading to Santa Fe for the first workshop of many at the Cuyamungue Institute (CI), and many more interviews and conversations. The surprise is that these experiences are an easy, natural part of who we are. We both felt we’d come home! And so Paul and I have been ‘paying it forward. We were so fortunate to have worked with Felicitas for the decade before her passing. 
Of the quarter-century we’ve been practicing Ecstatic Trance Postures, we’ve been teaching for twenty and serving as co-directors of CI for the last ten. We’ve been adding to the extensive Institute Archives, expanding the research, and working on new publications. It’s endlessly fascinating, utterly mysterious, and has opened the door to international invitations to travel and teach, and to collaborate on an exciting art museum exhibit and performance piece. And it gave us new eyes to view museum collections, and the earliest artifacts left by those ancestors. So, yes, I’d call this work life-changing!”

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