A documentary film and discussion
Ceremony witnesses the spiritual journey and practice of a shaman in northern Mongolia. The documentary revolves around a specific ceremony by Steppe dwellers of Darhad ethnicity and taiga-dwelling Dukha reindeer herders, both of whom continue shamanic traditions. Elder shamans share their wisdom and discuss their lineage as bearers of the “shaman disease,” including their initial resistance to assuming this powerful role and the dangers of not accepting the call. While connected to the ancestor’s spirit, the shamans fill the role of doctor, spiritual adviser, and healers in a land where the nearest doctor can be eight hours away by reindeer and horse.
Sas Carey, the film’s director, is an energy healer, nurse, and spiritual adviser. She has spent time in Mongola annually for the past twenty-two years following the nomadic practice of Dukha people and documenting their lore and heart songs. She has explored traditional Mongolian medicine, served as a health educator for the United Nations Development Programme (1997), and founded and directs Nomadicare a nonprofit supporting sustainability and cultural survival of nomadic people.
A trailer for Ceremony can be found at https://vimeo.com/114941631. Other works by Sas Carey include the film Gobi Women’s Song (2005), the book Reindeer Herders in My Heart (2012), and the documentary Migration (2016).