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Shamanic Battleground

Magic, Sorcery, and Warrior Shamanism in Venezuela

Željko Jokić

In the area of the Upper Orinoco River in Venezuela, Yanomami shapori (shamans) engage in hostile acts against their colleagues and people (especially children) living in distant villages in order to inflict misery and death. These combative magical practices are primarily motivated by retribution for past assaults of a similar kind. While in most cases the shapori perform these activities intentionally, this article argues that the malevolent non-human acts are also driven by the cannibalistic nature of hekura spirits, which demand human souls. In this way, although shapori intentionally engage in bellicose activities, they must sometimes kill in order to appease the ancestral spirits and thus spare the lives of their own kin. This article focuses on the dark side of Yanomami shamanistic practices in order to counterbalance tendencies that emphasize the more positive, therapeutic aspects of shamanism, namely, its socially integrative roles.

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Shamanism in Inner Asia

Two archetypes

T. D. Skrynnikova

The author considers that the term 'shamanism' is inappropriate to designate the phenomenon generally so described. Materials on the shamanism of the peoples of Inner Asia lead to the identification of two separate archetypes, i.e. east-Asian and southwest-Asian. Two traditional cultural codes are discussed - that concerned with the principal 'personages' (the supreme deities), and that with the 'agents' (the performers of the ritual). In the east-Asian archetype, the two principal deities are the Sky and the Earth, and the major socially significant rituals - for example, New Year - are carried out by secular leaders, such as the khan, elders, heads of clans, and others. In the southwest archetype, which developed under the influence of ancient Iranian and Indo-Arian traditions, there was a triad of heavenly beings, of which the major one was the Sun, accompanied by groups of other, lesser deities - those of the 'right' and those of the 'left'. The author concludes that only where the cult of the Sun is observed (later possibly mingled with the Thunder-god) do 'white' shamans perform the sacred functions and rituals.

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An Investigation into the Origin of the Term “Shaman”

Shuyun Guo and Yanjun Liang

The origin and meaning of the term shaman is a fundamental question in shamanic studies. There are conflicting views on this question in academic circles in China and overseas. Based on historical Chinese documents and Manchu-Tungus ethnic linguistic chronicles, this article argues that the term shaman originated from the language spoken by the Jurchen people of ancient northern China and was transmitted through the practices of generations of Jurchen descendants of the Manchu-Tungus peoples. The term shaman, as it is commonly used, is based on the root sar, which means knowing, or understanding, in the Manchu-Tungus linguistic family. The article concludes that shaman means “a wise man who knows everything.”

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The Shaman's Journeys between Emic and Etic

Representations of the Shaman in Neo-Shamanism

Tatiana Bužeková

The author focuses on the term 'shaman' as an analytical category. In academic usage its meaning has come to denote similar tribal beliefs all over the world, while in postmodern discourse the plural 'shamanisms' refers to a range of specific spiritual practices. The diverse movement of neo-shamanism appeared as a product of the interaction of etic and emic categories in anthropological literature, in particular as a result of the shift from the etic to an emic perspective that took place in the last forty or fifty years. The author argues that characterisations of shamans are people's representations rather than objective reality. These representations cannot serve as an explanation of a phenomenon, but themselves need explanation. Research in cognitive psychology could inform understanding of neo-shamanism: it would mean investigation of this social phenomenon as an outcome of the interaction of cognitive processes on the one hand and social inputs on the other.

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A Visitor's Guide to Shamans and Shamanism

The Kunstkamera's Russian and Asian Ethnographic Collections in the Late Imperial Era

Marisa Karyl Franz

on the displays of Siberian and Central Asian ethnography and, in particular, the shamanic materials within these collections. The article traces the changes in the museum that distanced Russia in Asia from Russia in Europe and how shamanism became a

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Social Pressure in the Choice of Individual Religious Practice

Tatiana Bulgakova

predominance of traditional shamanism which persisted in Siberia until mid-1980s ( Kharitonova 2009: 148 ), and which I watched among the Nanai even longer, until mid-1990s. 1 The variety of new religions that appeared beginning in the mid-1990s in Siberia

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Dynamics of Communicative Practices in Siberian Neo-Shamanism

Yana S. Ivashchenko and Andrei A. Ivanov

Neo-shamanism is an eclectic phenomenon; it is based on the idea that traditional shamanic practices can be transfigured in themselves and synthesized with a diversity of today's cultural forms. Neo-shamanism lies at the periphery of the social

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The Ontological Turn

Taking Different Worlds Seriously

Andrew Pickering

the performative idiom we can grasp how it might be: different worlds no longer appear as a contradiction in terms as they do in the representational idiom. Shamanism and Science I now want to leave my home ground of Western science and technology and

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Spiritually Enmeshed, Socially Enmeshed

Shamanism and Belonging in Ulaanbaatar

Saskia Abrahms-Kavunenko

. Shamanic practice in Mongolia incorporates the belief that communicating with deceased relatives is not only possible but a necessary aspect of ensuring one’s material and spiritual well-being. Anthropologists writing about shamanism in Mongolia have noted

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Narratives of the Invisible

Autobiography, Kinship, and Alterity in Native Amazonia

Vanessa Elisa Grotti and Marc Brightman

Before I was born, Sirirumai knew that I would be a shaman. ‘He will be a shaman,’ he said about me to others. ‘He is destined to be a shaman, for there are spirits all around him and within him.’ He said that before I was born. ( Wetaru