Synopsis: Dance of the Medicine Bag


Dance of the Medicine Bag

What happens when the world’s youngest and the world’s oldest medical system decide to work side by side?

The ‘Dance of the Medicine Bag’ is an intelligent, thought provoking and visually engaging documentary which weaves together the ancient practice of Shamanism, modern Western Medicine, and the exciting new developments in quantum physics and epigenetics. We journey to the heart of Australia and meet the descendants of one of the oldest cultures on the planet. Australian Aboriginals have been practicing the ancient art of Shamanism, or ‘Ngangkari’, for at least 40 thousand years. We follow traditional Ngangkari healers as they travel to the Alice Springs hospital to witness the unlikely collaboration between practitioners of this ancient spiritually based healing tradition and practitioners of the conservative science based Medical System.


Our journey starts in the Central Desert lands of South Australia where we meet up with a group of Ngangkari traditional healers and learn about the ‘Dreaming’, the unique and complex Aboriginal concept which relates everyone to the land and their ancestral spirits.  Discover why Healing and Art, which are both intimately connected, are inseparable from the Dreaming.  Learn about the true role of the pharmaceutical companies, and what Loui Pasteur, the father of the germ theory, admitted on his death bed. Then take a peek into the new world of quantum physics and epigenetics, which are slowly changing the way we look at genes, the mind-body connection, and Shamanism.

When was the last time our medical system had a check-up?

Despite all the new technology and money pumped into medical research, more and more people are moving away from Western medicine as the system is simply no longer able to provide for quality care.  Technology is progressively taking the place of compassion, and the doctor has become a slave to the pharmaceutical industry, which is creating more and more addiction forming drugs to cater for the ever-increasing ‘new syndromes’ which seem to pop out of nowhere.  Maybe it’s time for a change.  We look at ways how both medical systems can contribute to a new medical paradigm, more holistic and balanced than the one we currently have, which is seen by some as dangerously out of touch.

Most importantly, we look at how these two systems, one spiritually based, the other scientifically based, are able to find common ground in a wider and more universal setting.  How can collaboration between the sacred and the scientific lead to a more compassionate medical system where the patient feels truly valued? Is it possible for the two systems to form a relationship of mutual respect with a deeper understanding of the true cause of disease and healing?  And ultimately how can we move towards a more meaningful medical practice of the 21Century which honors the whole person in a more integrated and balanced way which includes mind, body and spirit.

Director’s Notes

As an Anthropology graduate, artist, naturopath and film maker I have had a long time interest in Shamanism, medicine and art.  After 25 years as a practicing naturopathic physician I have witnessed first-hand what I would call ‘problematic practices’ of the Western medical system, and its often tragic results. In 2004 I graduated with a second degree, a Bachelor of Anthropology from the University of Queensland, and over the last 10 years my focus has been on film making and art. ‘Dance of the Medicine Bag’ is the culmination of three diverse aspects of my life; my Naturopathic career, my studies in Anthropology and my life as an artist.  The film making is both an extension of my art practice, as well as the glue which binds all three passions together. Initial filming for the ‘Dance of the Medicine Bag’ began in 2011 when I visited Peru and Mexico. However the idea has been fermenting for a long time, and I’m very excited to say, ‘it’s time has now come’.


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