Shamanism encompasses the premise that shamans are:
intermediaries or messengers between the human world and the spirit worlds.
A shaman is someone who is regarded as having access to, and influence in, the world of benevolent and malevolent spirits, who typically enters into a trance state during a ritual, and practices divination and healing. The word “shaman” probably originates from the Tungusic Evenki language of North Asia. According to ethnolinguist Juha Janhunen, “the word is attested in all of the Tungusic idioms” such as Negidal, Lamut, Udehe/Orochi, Nanai, Ilcha, Orok, Manchu and Ulcha, and “nothing seems to contradict the assumption that the meaning ‘shaman’ also derives from Proto-Tungusic” and may have roots that extend back in time at least two millennia. The term was introduced to the west after Russian forces conquered the shamanistic Khanate of Kazan in 1552. The term “shamanism” was first applied by Western anthropologists as outside observers of the ancient religion of the Turks and Mongols, as well as those of the neighbouring Tungusic and Samoyedic-speaking peoples. Upon observing more religious traditions across the world, some Western anthropologists began to also use the term in a very broad sense, to describe unrelated magico-religious practices found within the ethnic religions of other parts of Asia, Africa, Australasia and even completely unrelated parts of the Americas, as they believed these practices to be similar to one another. Mircea Eliade writes, “A first definition of this complex phenomenon, and perhaps the least hazardous, will be: shamanism = ‘technique of religious ecstasy‘.” Shamanism encompasses the premise that shamans are intermediaries or messengers between the human world and the spirit worlds. Shamans are said to treat ailments/illness by mending the soul. Alleviating traumas affecting the soul/spirit restores the physical body of the individual to balance and wholeness. The shaman also enters supernatural realms or dimensions to obtain solutions to problems afflicting the community. Shamans may visit other worlds/dimensions to bring guidance to misguided souls and to ameliorate illnesses of the human soul caused by foreign elements. The shaman operates primarily within the spiritual world, which in turn affects the human world. The restoration of balance results in the elimination of the ailment. Beliefs and practices that have been categorised this way as “shamanic” have attracted the interest of scholars from a wide variety of disciplines, including anthropologists, archaeologists, historians, religious studies scholars, philosophers and psychologists. Hundreds of books and academic papers on the subject have been produced, with a peer-reviewed academic journal being devoted to the study of shamanism.
- Hmong shamanism
- Siberia and North Asia
- Central Asia
- Other Asian traditions
- Circumpolar shamanism
- Contemporary Western shamanism
* “shamanist” Believe in spirit-filled life and/or afterlife can be attached to or be expressed in things or objects and these objects can be used by special persons or in special rituals can connect to spirit-filled life and/or afterlife (you are a hidden shamanist/Shamanism: an approximately 30,000-year-old belief system) there is what is believed to be a female shaman burial with a matching carved ivory female head belonging to the Pavlovian culture 29,000 to 25,000 a variant of the Gravettian/(Gravettian culture 33,000 to 22,000 years ago), dated to 29,000 to 25,000-years old Dolní Vestonice, Moravia, Czech Republic. A carved ivory figure in the shape of a female head was discovered near the huts. The left side of the figure’s face was distorted image is believed to be a description of elder female’s burial around 40 years old, she was ritualistically placed beneath a pair of mammoth scapulae, one leaning against the other. Surprisingly, the left side of the skull was disfigured in the same manner as the aforementioned carved ivory figure, indicating that the figure was an intentional depiction of this specific individual. The bones and the earth surrounding the body contained traces of red ocher, a flint spearhead had been placed near the skull, and one hand holding the body of a fox. This evidence suggests that this was the burial site of a shaman. This is the oldest site not only of ceramic figurines and artistic portraiture but also of evidence of early female shamans. Archaeologists usually describe two regional variants: the western Gravettian, known namely from cave sites in France, Spain and Britain, and the eastern Gravettian in Central Europe and Russia. The eastern Gravettians — they include the Pavlovian culture — were specialized mammoth hunters, whose remains are usually found not in caves but in open air sites. The origins of the Gravettian people are not clear, they seem to appear simultaneously all over Europe. Though they carried distinct genetic signatures, the Gravettians and Aurignacians before them were descended from the same ancient founder population. According to genetic data, 37,000 years ago, all Europeans can be traced back to a single ‘founding population’ that made it through the last ice age. Furthermore, the so-called founding fathers were part of the Aurignacian culture which was displaced by another group of early humans members of the Gravettian culture. Between 37,000 years ago and 14,000 years ago, different groups of Europeans were descended from a single founder population. To a greater extent than their Aurignacian predecessors, they are known for their Venus figurines. ref, ref, ref, ref