In Pursuit of the Siberian Shaman

2009-07-30 11:22:49

By Anya Bernstein

In Pursuit of the Siberian Shaman by Anya BernsteinLong suppressed by missionaries and then by Soviet anti-religious campaigns, Siberian shamanism has experienced an unprecedented revival following the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the number of shamans continues to rise. But who are these new shamans? Are they tricksters, magicians, businessmen, or cultural activists? This film takes a behind-the-scenes look at a Buryat shaman living on an island in the Lake Baikal as he moves between intimate shamanic rituals performed for local clientele and shows performed at various resorts for Western tourists in search of "primitive" cultures. The film captures cross-cultural miscommunication as the shaman and tourists misunderstand one another, usually comically, sometimes disturbingly, made all the more poignant by the conflict between the dominant Russian Orthodox Church and the local shamanic tradition. Juxtaposing 1920s archival footage of a shamanic performance with its contemporary counterparts, the film grapples with the long-standing tension between the "indigenous" and the "cosmopolitan" in a rapidly transnational world.


2009-06-30 09:37:13

By Keith Aronowitz

METAMORPHOSIS by Keith AronowitzAyahuasca has been used by shamans all over the Amazon for thousands of years, yet Westerners are soon discovering its incredible ability to heal. “Metamorphosis is a powerful, moving, and superbly photographed documentary that follows Westerners through Ayahuasca ceremonies and the inherent gamut of emotions they experience—from utter fear, to outright ecstasy, as well the physical, and spiritual transformations.
We also learn about Hamilton Souther, a man who had no belief of and in spirit. Yet after experiencing a spiritual awaking, Hamilton is led to the Amazon where he apprentices as an Ayahuascero, or person who practices medicine with Ayahuasca. Hamilton and Maestro Don Alberto take us through the ceremonies as well as explain the meaning behind them.

The Split Horn

2009-06-02 15:40:47

By Taggart Siegel

The Split Horn by Taggart SiegelThe Split Horn is the sweeping story of a Hmong shaman and his family living in Appleton, Wisconsin. Documenting the journey of Paja Thao and his family from the mountains of Laos to the heartland of America, this poignant film shows a shaman's struggle to maintain his ancient traditions as his children embrace American culture. America has become the testing ground for the enduring strength of Hmong culture. The evocative narrative captures the daily struggle to Paja Thao's family caught between two worlds.

Mirror of Heaven, Embodiment of Earth

2009-04-28 13:05:22

By Oscar Miro-Quesada

Mirror of Heaven, Embodiment of Earth by Oscar Miro-QuesadaThis beautifully crafted DVD tutorial provides the viewer with a step-by-step apprenticeship of the Pachakuti Mesa tradition of cross-cultural shamanism. Stunning images of sacred mountain landscapes, avant-garde urban environments, evocative earth-honoring ceremonies, and concise teachings on the contemporary relevance of this ancestral healing practice are all gracefully woven together to illumine an inspiring spiritual destiny for humankind.


2009-03-31 07:29:57

By Kim Kindersley

whaledreamers by Kim KindersleyStarring: Julian Lennon, John Hurt

This visually stunning film offers an incredible glimpse into a rarely seen and scarcely understood tribal culture whose entire story of creation revolves around whales and has endured for centuries. The film passionately explores the connection between the subtle elegance of these mothers of the sea and ancient civilizations around the world whose culture and very existence is based on whales.