This is a film about Mama Irene, a remarkable 84-year-old woman Shaman (healer) from Peru who draws upon indigenous knowledge and traditions in danger of being lost forever. Yet her craft is based primarily on her own intuition: “Spirits have told me in my dreams how to proceed.”
The documentary follows Mama Irene in her everyday life, 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 had 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 84.