ATH 346-01

Siberian cosmology

  • shaman forms a bridge, dialogue between human & spirit world
  • spirits are part of natural world, no clear gap exists
  • is it religion or worldview?

shamanic ritual

  • trance- not possession, shaman in control
  • involves drumming, music & dance
  • during the flight to spirit world

Caroline Humphries

  • hunting shamanism
    • calendrical rites to ensure success of hunting
    • nature spirits of wolf, bear, eagle, plover
    • communicated with animals, spirits in charge of animals
      • create pact to ensure that game allows itself to be caught
    • spirit could be spouse of shaman, often viewed as intimate of erotic
    • often a major advisor of when & where to hunt game
  • herding shamanism
    • cured illness and infertility
    • neglect of ancestors or malevolent spirits
    • protect kin from misfortune
  • misfortune caused by transgression of rules by patrilineal kinfolk
    • incest
    • witchcraft, etc
  • ancestors ensure fertility and well-being of humans and animals

How does one become a shaman?

  • first stimulus: personal illness (call of spirits?)
  • go to experienced shaman
    • identify the offending spirit
    • master the spirit
    • perhaps adopt it as a tutelary spirit
  • get training and paraphernalia from senior shaman
  • often senior or an assistance shaman is main actor
    • guarding the person in trance
    • engaging in dialogue
    • helps onlookers follow along on the journey

is shaman mentally ill?

  • it is often inherited in a specific family line
  • successful shaman must be self-controlled, balanced indiv.
    • in places where major religions are practiced, these practices do onto vanish
    • instead they are pushed to margins
    • often women become major practitioners in matrilineal communities
    • shaman becomes marginal player


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