Friday, May 29, 2009

'Shamans' offer nontraditional aid

Calling upon ancestors can help the present

Express Staff Writer

Chandra Porter and Traci Ireland connect lives, souls and nature through explorative workshops using rituals, sound and shamanism. Photo by Willy Cook

Former Sun Valley residents Chandra Porter and Traci Ireland moved to Kauai, Hawaii, to pursue their desire to live a sustainable life and study what they call shamanism, a wellness practice that calls upon an unseen world of ancestral spirits. They call themselves "weavers," a term for people who blend ancient shaman practices from many locations around the world.

Many people go to Porter and Ireland for illumination and healing. They have training in healing arts of the ancient Americas from the Four Winds Society, an organization that teaches alternative medicine through workshops and lectures. The two returned to Sun Valley last week for the Sun Valley Wellness Festival.

Porter has been trained in the native healing and ceremonial practices of the Americas through studies with Four Winds Society founder Alberto Villoldo and the shamans of the high Andes. She also apprentices with Tito LaRosa, a healer in Peru, and holds certifications in Thai yoga therapy, cranial sacral unwinding, polarity therapy and sound healing.

Ireland is a graduate of Healing the LightBody school, a training program at the Four Winds Society. She studies and works with Porter to "weave" threads of many indigenous cultures to awaken people's spirits.

"Life is a ceremony and sacred engagement," Porter said. "We have fun and explore instinctive nature through Andean cosmology ... and connect through the power of animal retrieval, sound, music, drumming and singing."

Porter and Ireland said their work is to reconnect the soul with its destiny.

"We are changing the dream," said Scott McClain, a Ketchum physician and a participant in Porter and Ireland's workshops and private practice. "Western society has become a nightmare. Shaman culture can heal the world, and we have to change the dream."

Through shaman workshops and fire ceremonies, Porter and Ireland strive to call upon ancestors and reconnect individuals to their bodies. Porter said the process will unleash the immune system's potential to heal, especially for people who are sick.

"I handed a woman a pencil from a ceremony I conducted, and she said she started with art and it was her passion and she needed to return it," Porter said. "We connect people to their indigenous self. My specific calling comes from South America, the Andes and Inca ancient peoples. They were luminous beings."

Ireland said that 99 percent of our bodies are not connected to the soul and require more attention. People consult Porter and Ireland for ailments such as breast cancer, paralysis, emotional stress, migraines and other physical and mental complications. Porter said many people do not need to return for months after consultations and sessions.

"People do know when to let go," Porter said. "They know when they are ready."

Porter is writing a book and the two will lead a trip to Peru Aug. 28-Sept. 17 with shamans in the Andes. Both Porter and Ireland are in Sun Valley through June and are available for private consultation and workshops. For details and appointments, call Chapter One Bookstore in Ketchum at 726-5425.

Sabina Dana Plasse:

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