Books and CDs
“A stunning work of historical fiction just right for our times!”
Ābtin journeys for a whole year, across deserts and mountains to the sea. The young Zoroastrian hopes to come to terms with his harsh father and his own ambivalence about the art of carpet weaving. He dreams of Mitrā, a Muslim girl who waits for him back home, gathering medicinal plants in the barren lands, struggling with her family’s pressure to marry and a stranger’s accusations of sorcery. Once reunited, Ābtin and Mitrā realize that both of their religions will forbid their marriage. Gossip is rampant and persecution of Zoroastrians is on the rise.
Faraj: A Space of Possibility is set amidst the mud-brick houses, wind towers, and tiled mosques of 17th century Yazd—a crossroads on the Silk Road. We follow Ābtin and Mitrā as they work to reconcile their communities, often at risk to themselves. Together they experience mysticism, danger, and the ups and downs of young love. Gaining confidence in their callings as carpet weaver and healer, Ābtin and Mitrā search for a way to be together.
They yearn for a space of possibility – faraj.
How do shape-shifting shamans, a giant cannibalistic bumblebee, and human marriage with animals speak to Canadian Inuit and Siberian indigenous peoples today? How can artists present ancient legend in live performance and film with sensitivity to the source? Why are long multi-layered stories essential for adults and children in an age of commercial television?
After decades exploring Siberian cultures, Kira Van Deusen turned to the Canadian north to ask many such questions, looking at them through the versions of one of their most respected legends—that of hero/shaman Kiviuq, an Inuit counterpart to Homer's Odysseus—told by forty Inuit elders. The elders' voices engage us directly, inviting us to look at the unique qualities of arctic heroism and its application to present-day concerns. Rich details from each of the elders' families help explain interpersonal challenges to survival in the north and offer both practical and spiritual lessons. Van Deusen also points out intriguing cultural connections across the Bering Strait, past and present.
The first in-depth book on Inuit oral literature to appear in English in nearly a century, Kiviuq is a must-read for those interested in northern cultures, shamanism, oral storytelling, and cultural change.
"Endlessly fascinating, often moving, and a must read for anyone interested in the cultures of Siberia." Adele Barker, Comparative Cultural and Literary Studies, University of Arizona
Storytelling bridges culture, history, and spirituality. In The Flying Tiger Kira Van Deusen takes us into the world of the female shamans of the Amur, presenting over fifty traditional stories she recorded in the 1990s from the people of the taiga forest in the Russian Far East. More than a collection of tales, the reader learns about the lives of the story-tellers and their history, their spiritual traditions, adaptation to the environment, relationships with animals, and sense of humour.
Outsiders to the culture have long focused on the physical artifacts of shamanism—like the costume and drum—and on ritual healing practices, but far less is known about the images shamans and storytellers use to entertain, heal, and educate. Van Deusen describes the lives of the people of the Amur during a period of dramatic transition, as they attempt to find some way to relate ancient traditions to an uncertain future. She emphasizes the contributions of women—often overlooked in the literature on shamanism—in traditional and contemporary society, and their concerns with ecology and the education of children. Their magnificent embroidery, illustrated by the author's photographs, echoes these women's stories.
The Flying Tiger will appeal to anyone interested in shamanism, storytelling and folklore, Russia, indigenous people, women's studies, and spirituality.
For centuries native Chukchi and Yupik elders in Chukotka, the northeastern-most part of Siberia, have spent endless winter nights recounting tales of the trickster Raven and of how people and places came to be created, of evil spirits and sorcerors, or transformation and magic. This collection contains twenty five tales from present-day Chukotka where indigenous people are reclaiming their traditions and identity after years under the assimilative forces of Soviet policy.
These are traditional Khakass tales, prepared by Galina Kazachinova of the Khakass Writer's Union and Kira Van Deusen. They are printed in Khakassian and English. To get a taste, here is the table of contents and an introduction.
Long before the days of Genghis Khan, women warriors were fighting battles on the Asian steppes to protect family and friends. The warrior's spiritual path leads to an opening of the heart, allowing the bold an compassionate heroine to defeat her enemies, restore peace and prosperity to the land, find her life's partner, and bring her father back to life. Tuva is a small republic located at the center of Asia, world-famous for throat-singing and shamanism. Woman of Steel is one of Tuva's best-loved epic tales.
Shyaan Am! With these words a Tuvan storyteller begins tales of magic and adventure! The eight colourful tales in this book come from Tuva, a small republic located at the geographic centre of Asia. Tuvans are traditionally master horsemen, caring for large herds of cattle, sheep, yaks, and camels in the steppes of Central Asia. Their history is long and their culture rich in story and music.
Mountain Journey carries you from the mountain-steppe landscapes of southern Siberia through the pathways of the human heart, inspired by an ancient epic story. Horse-riding rhythms, warm cello melodies and enticing vocal sounds evoke the path through danger, adventure and love to wholeness.
1. Shyaan Am! (4:22)