Essay about Shamanism

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Shamanism

To truly understand the meaning of shamanism one must uncover the original definition. The word shaman comes from the language of the Evenk, a small Tungus-speaking group of hunters and reindeer herders from Siberia. It was first used only to designate a religious specialist from this region. By the beginning of the 20th century it was already being applied to a variety of North America and South American practices from the present and the past. Today people have gone as far as defining the word shaman as any human that acknowledges that he/she has had contact with spiritual entities. Well at least the term still refers to human beings.

The Siberian shaman's soul is said to be able to leave the body and travel to other
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The fact is that well philosophers can speculate, even by the vaguest definition of shamanism they can not prove that these individuals were taking part in these trance-like states without written or physical proof.

Due to the theory of shamanism being introduced into the Mesoamerican culture because of the writings of Eliade and Furst, it seems only fair to look carefully at the relevance to their interpretations. Eliade had originally acknowledged the oddity concerning the concept of shamanism and, in turn, took it into his own hands to create a version this concept himself. (Klein, pg. 388) I can not reasonable enter into the idea of this model that he has created. He clearly explains the existence of shamanism in Siberia and inner Asia, in which there has been, documented proof. The idea that because this is happening there does not prove that it was happening over 2000 years ago across the world. He fails to connect the two areas, in time and place, feasible. It is extremely interesting that only Eliade’s point of view is found in the Encyclopedia of Religion. (Eliade 201-208)

Despite Furst’s attempt to redefine shamanism in terms of specific American religious beliefs and practices, the new criteria he provided have proved to be as unreliable as Eliade’s. It repeatedly insists that the concepts of the universe divided horizontally into an upper world, a terrestrial middle world, and an underworld in the sense that

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