Mama Irene, healer in Peruvian Altiplano

Mama Irene, Healer of the Andes - Trailer of a documentary about a medicine woman in the Pervuian altiplano, "highlighting her healing methods and passion to serve each patient who knocks on her door: from local women who travel hours or days by foot through the Andes, to a medical doctor from India seeking a cure for illness that Western medicine failed to help.

"We accompany Mama Irene on ancient spiritual ceremonies such as the Snow Star Festival, where thousands of pilgrims gather in Sinakara Valley high in the Peruvian Andes to honor the local glacier and Lord Quylluritj’i. The film depicts Mama Irene’s secret healing practices, never before filmed. Yet this film is not only a vital document of endangered wisdom; it is also a story about woman empowerment.

"As the film unfolds, we learn about Mama Irene’s personal journey. She discovered her healing gift by chance at three years old, when she intuitively healed a neighbor’s migraines by rubbing her own salvia on his forehead. She became known in the village as El doctor pequeño — the little doctor. She was sold by her father into slavery; beaten by her husband, who was determined to keep her in the role of servile female; gave birth to 15 children, eight of whom died; endured misogyny and rivalry from male shamans.

"Yet Mama Irene never wavered in pursuing her craft. She believed in herself and in the gifts she was born with. This is a story about a woman who overcome tremendous trauma and obstacles, and continues to grow and inspire at age 86." Directed by Bettina Ehrhardt & Elisabeth Möhlmann, from Women Make Movies. Might be available from your library (request it!) or on Kanopy.

Praying to the Apu, mountain spirits.

"For me as a healer the mountains are sacred."

Crushing herbs on a flat stone in her kitchen.

Cleansing diseased energies by passing an egg over the body—a technique used in many places, and a very common practice of Mexican curanderas.

Fire ceremony

In the trailer, a man testifies: “There are not many women healers in our communities. Back in the 60s, 70s, 80s, which is when she was forming her healing path, there was a lot of oppression in the family. Until now, in some communities, if you are a woman, you cannot access certain community rituals, you cannot do offerings for Mother Earth, so she’s one of these few warriors."

Women's ceremony in the mountains.

"Women should do what they want, according to their own ideas."

"They must do everything they want without fear."

Found it on vimeo. You may have to have an account to watch, although they do allow you to log in via Google. FYI I don't accept those offers as a security measure.

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