Woman Shaman: The Ancients (educational)

  • Directed by: Max Dashu
  • Production by: Max Dashu
Released: 2013 
Running Time: 178 min (2 disc set)
Languge: English   
Educational Subjects:LGBT & Gender Studies,Women's Studies  

Secondary Subjects: Religious Studies


This visually stunning exploration of female shamans in archaeology overthrows the presumption that archaic shamanism was a masculine preserve. Director Max Dashu retrieves archaeological images from obscurity to reveal an unimaginably rich female past. Women do ceremony in rock art of the Sahara, southern Africa, Azerbaijan, Spain, and Baja California. They dance with tigers on Indus seals, with serpents on Iranian ones, and in ecstatic ceremonies on Aztec codices, Chinese bronzes, and Cretan seals. Female shape-shifters manifest walrus tusks in Nunavut and horns in Libya; ceramic sculptures in Ecuador, Peru, Nicaragua, show them becoming snakes, owls, deer. The two disc documentary includes chapters on invocation, sacred dance, drums, entheogens, shamanic flight; serpents, animal spirits, and goddesses with shamanic aspects; ritual staffs, rattles, fans and mirrors. Ancient representations of divination, laying-on of hands, staff dancers, regalia, deified shamans, paleolithic shamans-- all augmented by an evocative musical underscore.

Endorsements / Reviews:

"I just finished watching Max Dashu's DVD Woman Shaman. It is life-changing to see so many images of women shamans, priestesses, and spiritual leaders across time and culture. The images Dashu has collected present a totally different picture of the world and of women than is available in most of our culture. I highly recommend this work: it will change your view of spiritual practice forever."  --Rabbi Jill Hammer, PhD, co-founder of Kohenet Institute, Director of Spiritual Education at the Academy for Jewish Religion.

“How I wish this video had existed when I was both studying and then teaching.  This is a huge contribution. Bravo and thank you for your amazing discoveries.”  --Gloria Orenstein, Professor Emerita of Comparative Literature and Gender Studies, University of Southern California


"I am in awe of the amount of research put into this body of work. The images, art, myths, and music are woven together in an exquisite and evocative tapestry. I know I will be watching again and again...there is so much to behold!" -- Jenna Farr Ludwig

“Max is one of the most knowledgeable and dedicated researchers, artists, teachers I know. She has been addressing cultural kinship with great respect, sensitivity, and generosity.” --Luisah Teish, Iyanifa and Olori, Ilé Orunmila Oshun