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 ten 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, Vermont, spent over 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 voice over 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.
Founded in 1972, the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center presents rotating exhibits of contemporary art, complemented by lectures, artist talks, film screenings, and other public programs. The museum's exhibits and gift shop are open every day except Tuesday, 11-5. Regular admission is $8 for adults, $6 for seniors, and $4 for students. Members and children 18 and under are admitted free of charge. Located in historic Union Station in downtown Brattleboro, at the intersection of Main Street and Routes 119 and 142, the museum is wheelchair accessible. For more information, call 802-257-0124 or visit www.brattleboromuseum.org.
Major support for BMAC is provided by its members, the Vermont Arts Council, C&S Wholesale Grocers, Sam's Outdoor Outfitters, People's United Bank, Brattleboro Ford Subaru, Whetstone Station Restaurant & Brewery, and Allen Brothers Oil.