Shamanism and the Indigenous Peoples of Siberia Essays

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Shamanism and the Indigenous Peoples of Siberia Shamanism plays a role within most tribal communities of the indigenous peoples of Siberia. Within the community the shaman has many roles; one of his[1][1] main roles is that of a healer. The function of the shaman is closely related to the spirit world (Eliade 71). A shaman uses ecstatic trance to communicate with spirits. Spirits are integral to a shaman’s ability to heal within his community. “Shamanic activity is generally a public function” (Grim 11-12). Shamans are highly respected members of the community. “Shamans are of the ‘elect’;” recognition of a shaman can only be bestowed by the entire community (Eliade 7, 17). Without the community, a shaman is not a shaman…show more content…
The gods created man, and he lived happily until the time when the evils spirits spread sickness and death over the earth. The gods decided to give mankind a shaman to combat disease and death, and they sent the eagle. (Eliade 69) Many tribes, other than the Buryat, consider the eagle, sent by the Supreme Being, to be the creator of the ‘first shaman’. These peoples include the Yakut of Turkhansk, Yenisei Ostyak, the Teleut, and the Orochon. Therefore according to this legend, the shaman’s initial purpose was to exterminate the evil spirits of sickness and death that plagued the people; in other words, one of the shaman’s first purposes was to heal (Eliade 69-71). As a healer, the shaman puts energy into the community. “The shaman dramatizes and makes visible the incomprehensible mystery of all existence. . . . The shaman’s ritual assures the flow of such vital energy into the community . . . [with the idea that] ‘no man can succeed in life alone, and he cannot get the help he needs from men’” (Vilmos Dioszegi qtd. in Grim 13). An individual needs this assistance from the higher powers of the sacred and the profane in the spirit world; this assistance can only be achieved with the guidance of the shaman. The shaman allows the community to perceive holiness of higher powers by experiencing and absorbing ‘sustaining, healing power’ and communicating this power to his community. This power has a ‘transformative’ quality to it that is

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