Initiated into the mysteries of shamanism at the age of 17, Kum-hwa became a Korean celebrity when she won a national folklore competition with a personal interpretation of a gut (shamanic ritual) in honor of North Korean generals. Named Korea's 82nd National Treasure in 1984, this pioneer of modern female shamans and advocate of reunification travels the world as a cultural ambassador but is best known at home as the star of a spectacular annual ritual, performed to assure the safety and prosperity of fishermen, that is broadcast on national television to millions of Korean households. It is this ceremony, Daedong Gut, that Kum-hwa will perform for the Festival and that holds the key to understanding the ongoing influence of shamanism in Korean arts.
The recent resurgence of interest in Korea's earliest religious tradition is hard won after centuries of domination by both Buddhist and Confucian belief systems which relegated shamans to society's lowest ranks.
“Only by melting the ice in the heart of Man does Man have a chance to change and begin using his knowledge wisely.”
A shaman, healer, storyteller and carrier of the Qilaut (winddrum), is an Eskimo-Kalaallit Elder whose family belongs to the traditional healers of the Far North from Kalaallit Nunaat, Greenland. Angaangaq, who’s name means ‘The Man Who Looks Like His Uncle’ is an internationally respected Elder for the native communities of the Circumpolar Arctic Angaangaq conducts healing circles, intensives, and sweat lodges. His teachings are deeply rooted in the wisdom of the oral healing traditions of his people.
Angaangaq was called by his people to bring home the Sacred Fire to Greenland. In July 2009 Elders from Siberia to Amazonia, from Nepal to Zimbabwe made their way to an ancient sacred site on the Top of the World, fulfilling a prophecy so old – no one knows the time. Angaangaq is a keynote speaker at international conferences on climate change, environmental and indigenous issues, and he participates in peace and spiritual vigils with the United Nations, and serves on the special advisory council to the Jane Goodall Institute. Angaangaq’s work is acclaimed in promoting interracial and intercultural harmony.
Ñaupany Puma Guaman grew up in the high planes of Ecuador. He is a descendant the Inca and one of the remaining guardians of the wisdom of this high culture, a wisdom that was almost completely extinguished.
Since 1996 Ñaupany has been supporting Indio children in Ecuador and Peru. In the beginning of 2007 he founded the non-profit organization "Pan y Sol e.V.". It is a strong desire for Ñaupany to strengthen the identity and the voice of his people and his culture and to bring back into their consciousness the knowledge of their ancestors.
Wilbert Alix has earned international recognition as a contemporary healer and teacher of progressive psychology and shamanic studies. Wilbert pioneered the professional application of TranceDance, Soul Hunting, and other neo-shamanic techniques as legitimate therapeutic and healing tools.
Eliot is the founder of the the Blue Deer Center and is a member of the Council of Elders for the Temple of Sacred Fire Healing. As a provider at the Blue Deer Center, Eliot Cowan offers Plant Spirit MedicineSM practitioner training courses, continuing education for PSM practitioners, healing camps based on traditional Huichol shamanic healing, and animal totem courses.
Eliot Cowan is the author of Plant Spirit Medicine, and a fully initiated Tsaurirrikame (shaman) in the Huichol Indian tradition. He began the study and practice of herbalism in the 1960’s and completed a Master of Acupuncture degree with J.R. Worsley in England in the 1970’s. Eliot subsequently apprenticed with Don Guadalupe Gonzalez Rios, an eminent Huichol Indian Shaman. On the occasion of Don Guadalupe’s retirement in 2000, he ritually recognized Eliot as a guide to shamanic apprentices in the Huichol tradition. This was an unprecedented honor for a person of our culture.