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Stephanie Guyer-Stevens – Divine Messengers
Stephanie Guyer-Stevens photo courtesy of the author
Author event: An intimate narrative of female shamans’ spiritual experiences & roles in society
As mystics, healers, and travelers to the netherworld, female shamans continue to impact the spiritual lives of the Bhutanese.
These divine messengers act as mediums for local spirits, cure diseases through prayer, and travel to the realm of the dead. They are sometimes referred to as “sky-goers,” “reincarnations,” or “returners from the beyond,” and their stories are intimately connected with the Buddhist ideas of karma and rebirth.
Journalist Stephanie Guyer-Stevens and anthropologist Françoise Pommaret traveled to the Himalayas to meet seven living Bhutanese female shamans and to help make their stories known. Stephanie and Françoise offer an intimate narrative of these shamans’ spiritual experiences and important roles in society.
This book also provides an overview of the history of this tradition and a translation of an autobiography of the famous eighteenth-century divine messenger, Sangay Choezom.
This insightful and sensitive account is a rare look inside the world of these brave women.
Stephanie Guyer-Stevens is a journalist and author and the founder and executive producer of Outer Voices, a nonprofit media organization dedicated to helping changemakers from around the world share their stories, promoting awareness and inspiring action. Outer Voices has produced audio documentaries throughout Asia, the Pacific Islands, and the Caribbean, with programs having been broadcast on more than 600 radio stations in the United States and internationally. As a journalist, she has contributed stories to National Public Radio, the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, and the Center for Investigative Reporting/Reveal, among other media organizations. She is the co-author (with anthropologist Dr. Françoise Pommaret) of Divine Messengers: The Untold Story of Bhutan’s Female Shamans (Shambhala, 2021) and served as developmental editor on two books by artist Mayumi Oda: Sarasvati’s Gift (Shambhala, 2020) and I Opened the Gate, Laughing (Chronicle Books, 2002).
Kaitlin Quistgaard is a startup executive, former journalist and editor (Time, Wired, Salon), and long-time student of yoga and meditation. She was Editor-In-Chief of Yoga Journal from 2006 to 2013 and subsequently Editor-At-Large for Mindful, a media company promoting the research-backed benefits of mindfulness meditation. In 2020, she led “Meditate In Place,” a free guided meditation via Zoom, every weekday during the pandemic-related shelter-in-place order. Kaitlin currently leads the client-facing team at Boardspan, a software and services company revolutionizing how boards of directors meet their governance needs.
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