BMAC presents documentary on Mongolian shamanism

BRATTLEBORO — The Brattleboro Museum & Art Center (BMAC) presents a screening of the documentary film, Ceremony, followed by a discussion with filmmaker Sas Carey, on Thursday, Jan. 14, at 7 p.m. Admission is $5 at the door, free for BMAC members and children under 18.

A project 10 years in the making, Ceremony sheds light on the mysterious spiritual life of shamans in northern Mongolia, specifically focusing on one particular ceremony that few outsiders have ever witnessed, let alone filmed.

Carey, a nurse from Middlebury, spent more than a decade with the shamans and nomads in the Mongolian steppe. After many years, the shamans allowed her to film their ceremony, during which a shaman slips into a trance and takes on a spirit being. The shaman and others provide voiceover commentary, in order to help viewers comprehend what they are seeing.

“Their system is thousands and thousands of years old,” said Carey. “It's very powerful. They just allow their souls to leave their bodies. They're just like shells that are accepting their ancestors' spirits, and they start acting like something else. In the film, a shaman named Nergui starts howling like a wolf. It's like the energy of the wolf is in his body.”

Ceremony grew out of Carey's work with the nonprofit organization Nomadicare, a group that provides medical care to the people of the Mongolian steppe. Audience members wishing to learn more about Nomadicare or to make a donation to support its ongoing work will have the opportunity to do so at BMAC on Jan. 14.

For more information, call 802-257-0124 or visit

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