In the movie “The Horse Boy,” a little boy was diagnosed with Autism and his parents want to find a way to help cure his illness. The boy has multiple tantrums a day and he has outbreaks that are unbearable for his parents. The only kind of peace he seemed to be able to find was when interacting with animals. In search to find a cure, his parents take him horseback riding through Mongolia traveling to different shamans. A shaman, is a person who performs a ritual to contact the spirits in order to heal a sick person. A shaman is very much respected amongst his community as they are said to have once had mental disorders but are now healed. They begin by talking about the symptoms and then performed rituals which included dancing and banging on drums. One of the shamans held the boy and waved his hand over the boy’s body as if he was washing him clean. In this culture, they believed that this illness came from a bad spirit that was lingering around. They believed that the boys grandmother, who was mentally depressed, was holding onto the boy and causing him to be mentally ill. This ritual seemed to have worked a bit, seeing as the boy was interacting with others with no tantrums in the end.
The shamans lay somewhere between the folk sector and the popular sector. The share the cultural values of society and although they are not necessarily viewed as sacred, they are important individuals to the community. They seemed to be very welcoming to this family which came all the way from Texas, which tells me that they are willing to help all that seeks them out. I think that these rituals help because the shamans are in tune with the patients bodies and what it needs.