Using sacred tools and treatment by touch, connection and cures through spirits in flight and ritual extraction of sickness, the traditional healers of central Australia explain their extraordinary skills and how they deal with contemporary issues and Western medicine.
Historically a roadless fishing port with little development nor electricity, Puerto Lempira has transformed into a boom-town, host to drug traffickers, nearby military bases, and oil and gas development. In an effort to overcome this adversity, we participated in a blessing for the people and their land and culture in transition, directed by a local Miskitu sukya, or healer, and members of the community.
Every day, more and more tourists arrive in Iquitos, Peru, seeking spiritual enlightenment or a psychedelic experience first made popular by William Burroughs and the Beatniks in the 1960s. Unfortunately, some well-paid “shamans” lack the experience or understanding of the powerful and sacred botanical brews used for thousands of years for healing and divination. And the gringos-on-holiday often get over their heads in the wilds of the Amazon.
Matthew Pallamary, Dorchester native and author of several fiction and non-fiction books on the South American indigenous perspective, examines healing from the collective shadow exemplified by the Boston Marathon bombings and managing the spirit of the “wolves within.”
The California Condor Recovery Program has defied the odds to rescue from oblivion the last of the prehistorics and icon of Native Californian cosmology. Threats such as lead ammunition, microtrash, and sprawling land development threaten these impressive gains of an endangered species. The film “The Condor’s Shadow” documents this struggle.
Matthew Pallamary’s acclaimed novel “Land Without Evil,” recently performed as an aerial acrobatic stage show, narrates the true story of a young shaman of the Guaraní people of South America facing European conquest and conversion to Catholicism in the 1700s.
In Siberia, shamans combine a distinctive imagery of reindeer and of bird-flight. Their costumes sometimes include imitation reindeer antlers, occasionally tipped with wings or feathers, placed on the headdress. Like the participants in the Eveny (Evenki) midsummer ritual, shamans may ride to the sky on a bird or a reindeer.