Photographs from De long en large Ladakh by Jean Mansion - Édition Findakly. Copyright Lise Mansion

Le ciel et la marmitte

The sky and the pot
With the women shamans of Central Asia

We are on the borders of Uzbekistan, at the height of winter. In the distance, the snowy peaks of the Turkestan mountains. A dry river, which serves as a track. At the edge, a farm, the last one before Tajikistan. There lives Mayram, a renowned shaman, whose life Sylvie Lasserre has shared. A few years later, on the other side of the border, the author befriends Mavlyuda, another renowned shaman.

In this remote region of Central Asia where shamanism has a strong pre-Islamic background, Mayram and Mavlyuda heal women in rituals called ko'ch' during which strange phenomena occur.

Through these rituals that she deciphers, the author shares with us emotions and life stories for an in-depth journey into the fascinating universe of this shamanic ritual. With the passing of the pages, the initial incredulity fades away, while another vision of a world questioning in hollow the faults of our modern societies is revealed.

Born in Morocco, doctor in physics, Sylvie Lasserre left a career as an engineer to start writing, photography and reporting. She has been traveling through Central Asia since 2004. She graduated from the EPHE in social anthropology and is a member of the Asian Society.