Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Arctic with Bruce Parry

From riding reindeer and sucking their antlers, to bring cleansed with horse hair, 'Arctic with Bruce Parry', broadcast this Sunday evening, saw Bruce Parry embark on the first of five Arctic adventures.

In the new series, Arctic with Bruce Parry will see the former marine immerse himself in the cultures and environments of indigenous peoples living within the Arctic Circle. The BBC2 series examines man’s relationship with the natural world but Bruce admits that he is also on a personal quest to further explore his fascination with spiritualists, or ‘shamans’.

In Sunday's adventure, Bruce journeyed to Arctic Siberia, forming a close bond with the Shaman who hosted him, experiencing Siberia’s moving summer solstice, alongside a set of spiritual practices which allowed Bruce to have his aura cleansed with a horse hair brush and be spiritually charged by the vibrations of the traditional mouth harp – a music instrument previously banned during Soviet rule in the Arctic.

Bruce then travelled further north to live with the Sakha horse people. Here, he not only revealed how the collapse of the Soviet Union has allowed economic ventures such as horse breeding to flourish and liberate indigenous populations but also how education and deep respect for family forms an integral part of everyday life here.

Moving deeper into the Arctic Circle to live with Eveny reindeer herders in the Verkhoyansk Mountains, the most northerly populated region of the Arctic, Bruce sensitively uncovers the challenges and opportunities presented to semi-nomadic people in post-Soviet Arctic. His slow-blossoming friendship with the father of a family of herders is deeply moving, growing from a guarded demeanour and sharp denial of a belief in ancient beliefs, to deep friendship and a sharing of spiritual teachings of the ghosts of the ancestral heartland, as well as an honest account of personal failings and resolutions.

Portraying what appears to be a candid view of everyday life, Bruce looks close to retching when instructed to suck the broken antler of a reindeer and cringes as his World War II tank bulldozes through the sacred landscape, obliterating saplings and grasses in his path – a sharp juxtaposition to the careful respect paid to other natural features they pass on their journey.

But what emerges from Bruce’s time in one of the planet’s great wildernesses, and the underlying message in teh programme, is an equilibrium between people, nature and economy, a trinity bound by spirituality, understanding and respect.

The next episode, in which Bruce visits Innuit hunters in Greenland, can be viewed on BBC2 next Sunday at 21:00 or click here, to view on BBC iPlayer. If you missed part one, watch back on BBC iPlayer.

Image taken from arcticwithbruceparry.com

This article was also published by Responsible Travel News

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