This article concerns the space through which shamans journey (its relationship to physical space as well as to the person), and how it is represented in indigenous Nanai discourse. From the perspective of traditional Nanai shamans, spiritual and physical spaces are interconnected. Events having spiritual significance saturate physical space and thereby open up an additional spiritual dimension. Shamanists believe that by appearing simultaneously on different sides of the border between the spiritual and physical worlds, they are able to observe one another and, having met in the spiritual world, they can enter into lasting relations with one another, continuing them in the physical world. These and other analogous emic ideas permit the conclusion that, for practicing traditional shamans, spiritual space is objective and in relation to the person is externally situated.
A Nanai Case Study
Tatiana D. Bulgakova
A Masters Level Course
Peter Collins and Yulia Egorova
I (Peter) remember sitting in a departmental meeting, doodling, preoccupied with the image of a hospital chapel. I had recently been involved in a research project seeking to document and explain the construction of religious/spiritual space in National Health Service (NHS) acute-care hospitals in the north of England. What was becoming more and more obvious was the growing tension between the distinction that staff and patients were making between ‘religion’ and ‘spirituality’. Admittedly, this tension was not especially surprising; indeed, it can be understood, in principle, as a reflection of the ambient climate of religiosity in the UK, as in many other Western countries (Flanagan and Jupp 2007; Heelas 2008; Heelas et al. 2004).
for that spirit [in order to be prepared for the tomorrow’s ritual] … I was walking (in the spiritual space) being accompanied with my spirits[-helpers] … Then a group of some incomprehensible people stopped us, actually they were not real people, but