Powerful, traditional medicine men and women still exist in the cultural landscape of the Americas. Though often struggling from the effects of intergenerational trauma or the current abuses of modern civilization, many have retained the holistic wisdom necessary for preserving their natural religions.
In 2009 experiential filmmaker Salvatore Consalvi interviewed one such Ceremonial Chief on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. Years later he began describing the ancestral teachings of Medicine Man, Sidney Hasnohorses, as a meshwork of prayers, rituals and grueling ceremonies that coalesce to convert ordinary landscape to sacred space. The Sweat Lodge, Vision Quest, Yuwipi, Sun and Ghost Dances, he learned, are all capable of inducing mystical experiences that challenge many common perceptions of consciousness and reality.
Upon first witnessing the flesh-offerings at the Sundance he knew that profoundly authentic and ancient qualities ran through the rituals and ceremonies. As he watched warriors pierced, hung from the ceremonial cottonwood, or pulling trains of heavy buffalo skulls from the incisions in their back or chest, he decided there was a feature length documentary in the man, his ceremonies, and his harsh, often sordid, life on the reservation.
In 2012, the filmmaker offered to pay the Ancestors back for his education. In the summer of 2015 he completed a four-year ceremonial cycle and began assembling the post-production team that will present this “slow-motion collision between ancient and modern minds.”
Ultimately the two narratives; one of mind and quantum-consciousness; and another of cultural identity and spirituality will intertwine revealing an ancient indigenous religion surviving the modern age.