Softcover, 170 pages, Boulder 2021, new
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.