Kay Cordell Whitaker is the author of
The Reluctant Shaman, 1991,
and Sacred Link, 2005. In 1974 she began
a highly unorthodox and somewhat ‘reluctant’ apprenticeship with two
native shaman from the central eastern Andes, elders Chea and Domano
Hetaka. Their teachings included their traditional psychology,
storytelling, shamanic medical training and spiritual practices of these
indigenous peoples of eastern Peru.
Through the next 13 years she studied with them to become a ‘kala keh
nah seh,’ or ‘teller of medicine stories,’ a seer, healer, and a ‘Thrower
of the Bones,’ one of the world’s oldest methods of divination and
talking with the spirits passed on through the women in eastern Peru.
Domano and Chea always encouraged Kay to study as much as she could
about different ways of being in the world, and to learn through direct
experience rather than through her intellect alone. So, in addition to
training with the Hetakas, Kay spent five intense years studying with a
lineage carrier of the mysteries of the Berber Tribes of Africa,
knowledge descending from the ancient temples of Isis and Osiris of
Egypt; she learned the healing techniques of the Kahuna traditions and
lived for a number of years with and among many different Northern
American Indians, primarily those following the Lakota Sundance
tradition, learning much about their ways of praying and thinking. The
Hetakas saw this training as another way of fulfilling their tribe’s
ancient prophecies about bringing all of the many diverse knowledge and
traditions together so that we "might come to see the bigger picture that
they make – a picture so grand that we can’t even imagine it right now."
In 1987 the Hetakas asked her to write about what she had learned and
experienced with them and to heal and teach those who asked.
Kay now spends her time writing, producing, training apprentices,
conducting traditional healings, Throwing the Bones, lecturing, and
leading intensive workshops. Kay’s workshop series, “Setting The World In
Balance,” focuses on healing ourselves and our planet, and finding
equitable solutions to daily problems. Healing begins in a ceremony with
experiencing our own being, or “Song”, our own unique individual piece
of Creator. By looking at the patterns, or “masks”, we hide behind and
releasing them, the truth about who we really are, what we are and why
we are here, becomes accessible and abilities of consciousness begin to
expand beyond imagination.
Kay has produced five CDs
that help listeners experience some of these major ceremonies of this
tradition which are generally offered to the public as part of the
workshops – Amazon Drumming To Journey By,
Song Magic, The Dance Of The
Earth Fire Serpent, Power Animal Journey,
Drumming To Journey By.
She is a graduate of the University of California at Santa Cruz and the
University of Oregon where she taught sculpture and drawing for three
years. She currently resides in New Mexico.