Where did the shamans?

“Since the beginning of the twentieth century ethnologists used to not too accurate use of concepts such as shaman, medicine man, magician or a wizard to define some entities, endowed with magical-religious powers and found in all “primitive” society. Since then, this terminology has extended to research in the field of religious history of “civilized” peoples. Say, for example, about Indian, Iranian, German, Chinese, and even Babylonian shamanism, meaning “primitive” elements in the respective religions. If the word “shaman” to indicate every magician, sorcerer, healer or mystic, mentioned in the history of religions and religious Ethnology, we eventually get a very complex and at the same time, an imprecise concept, the benefit of which is questionable because there is already the terms “mage” and “warlock” to refer to concepts as diverse as it is vague, such as magic or primitive mysticism.

Magic and magicians we see are almost all over the world, whereas shamanism is a particular magical “profession”, which we highlight in particular: “the taming of the fire”, a magical flight, etc. For this reason, though the shaman is, among other things, also a magician, not every magician can be defined as a shaman. The same applies to shamanic healings: each witch doctor is a healer, but the shaman has its own special methods. As for simanskiene of ecstasy, they do not exhaust all varieties of ecstatic experiences, recorded in the history of religions and religious Ethnology. Therefore, each ecstatic cannot be considered a shaman: the shaman is a specialist in trance during which his soul, as is commonly believed, leaves the body to ascend to the Sky or descend to Hell.

The shaman is the mediator between the human world and the “world of spirits” that protect the interests of the people.”

Mircea Eliade, University of Chicago, March 1967

In fact, in Castaneda’s books also describes a method of trance, although in clear text what he says, but it is clear because the text is written on behalf of the Castaneda and don Juan, of course, were not warned, when influenced him the method of trance. And that he was exposed to this in his books a lot of references such as “the Actions of don Juan has left me in horror.” or “his speeches he brought me to rabies. “The technique of trance is meant by a mental factor such as the cultivation in ourselves of a certain feeling to an exaggerated size: the hormones that are released, play the role of the drug, which and allows you to fall into a trance.

As suggested by G. Nioradze, the ability to communicate with spirits, subduing them to his will, along with special psychic organization, the main characteristics of the shaman.

I want to add that, in my opinion, the distinguishing characteristic of a shaman from a mage or sorcerer is his journey to other worlds. In the practices of wizards and witches are called entities in our world, and there is contact. Shamans prefer to go to other worlds and through exposure to those worlds to affect this world.

Shamanism is primarily Siberian and Central Asian religious concept. The word came to us from the Tungus “shaman”. Its original meaning can be translated as “to work with heat and fire; to heat or to burn”, as applied to man, can be interpreted as the “energy Converter”. In some dictionaries the word shaman is translated as “wise man” or “one who knows”, but this is a very incomplete definition. A more precise value — “one who has known the ecstasy”, as it is the ecstatic experience of the shaman is distinguished from others. In other languages of Central and North Asia corresponding to the word shaman terms are Yakut Oyun . Mongolian God (in dialects — Bo ) and udagana (there are also Buryat and Yakut udagana as the designation of a woman-shaman), Turkic-Tatar Kam (Altai Kam, gam, Mongolian kami ), etc.

There are many legends about the origin of the first shaman.

According to the Buryat version when the first shaman Hara Gergen showed his unlimited power, God decided to put him to the test. He took the soul of a young girl and kept her in the bottle. To secure that it is not lost, God stopped the bottle with your finger. The shaman ascended into Heaven, sitting on his tambourine, noticed the young woman’s soul and to release it, turned into a yellow spider and bit of God in the face. God took a finger, and the girl’s soul flew out of the bottle. Mad God has limited the power of the Hara Gergen, and after that considerably weakened the magical powers of other shamans.

According to Yakut tradition, the first shaman had a special power and out of pride refused to acknowledge the Supreme God of the Yakuts. The body of the shaman consisted of a mass of snakes. God sent fire to burn him, but from the flames came a toad. It is from this animal has demons . which gave, in turn, distinguished the Yakut shamans and shamans. I Turukhansk Tungus another legend. The first shaman created myself on their own and with the help of the Devil. He flew through the smoke hole in a Yurt and after a while came back with swans.

This class of legends concerning the vanity of the first shaman concerns rather the origin of black shamans . believed to have connections only with the underworld and the devil (the devil and the underworld are viewed Christian terminology).

Another type of legends concerning the divine origin of shamans.

In the beginning there were only Gods (Tengri) to the West and the Evil Spirits in the East. The gods created man, who lived happily until the time when evil spirits have spread on earth the illness and death. The gods decided to give mankind a shaman to combat disease and death, and sent the eagle. But the people did not understand his language, however, they did not trust ordinary bird. The eagle returned to the Gods and asked that they give him a gift of speech or, even better, sent people of the Buryat shaman. The gods had sent him with orders to give the shaman the gift the first person he meets on earth. Back on earth, the eagle saw sleeping under a tree a woman and slept with her. After some time, the woman gave birth to a son, who became the first shaman . According to another variant, the woman as a result of their dealings with the Eagle, saw spirits and herself became a shaman.

That is why in other legends the appearance of the eagle is interpreted as a sign of shamanic calling. Tell that one Buryat girl, seeing the eagle, grabbing sheep, understood the sign and had to become a shaman. Her dedication lasted seven years, and after his death, becoming Sanam ( spirit . idol ), she still guarded children from evil spirits. Later we will consider the theme “animals helper of a shaman” in detail. In the opinion of the Yenisei Ostyaks, Teleuts, Oroch and other Siberian peoples, the shaman first born of the eagle, or at least, he learned his art. I want to add that the Yakuts, the eagle is also associated with the Smiths, have the same origin as that of the shamans.

In some places the Smiths like “was replaced by” shamans, were ascribed to them the power and authority, which is usually endowed themselves shamans. And forges served as a venue for various religious ceremonies.

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