Volume 11 Numbers 1 & 2 (Spring/Autumn
WALTHER HEISSIG (Rheinböllen): Some Remarks on a Khortsin
Recently published parallel versions of Inner Mongolian
shamanic texts make it possible to tell whether the
shaman is repeating the same formulaic phraseology in
each of his many performances. The study of these texts
shows that the Khortsin shaman uses fixed formulas for
the beginning of certain parts, but to these he adds
other parts born of the moment and of the circumstances
of the performance.
AKE HULTKRANTZ (Stockholm): Thoughts on Drugs in Eurasian
In this article some examples are highlighted in order
to illustrate how common references to drugs are in
the northern shamanism of Europe and Asia.
MERETE DEMANT JAKOBSEN (Oxford): Researcher or Searcher:
Studying Shamanic Behaviour in the New Millenium
The division between the researcher and the researched
in studies of shamanic behaviour is becoming blurred
in the beginning of the new millennium. Western researchers,
who themselves are searching for a new spirituality,
find in the fascinating and "tangible" spirit
world of the traditional shaman an answer to the holistic
and ecological quest of urban dwellers. Whereas in the
past missionaries, explorers and scientists all acknowledged
their own cultures' belief systems, today some Western
researchers are in the words of Nietsche "cramming
themselves with the religions of others" and are
not only undertaking research but becoming apprentices
while performing it.
ULLA JOHANSEN (Köln): Shamanistic Philosophy: Soul
– A Changing Concept in Tyva
The original title of Mihály Hoppál's recent book on
shamanism in Hungarian runs "Shamans: Souls and
Symbols" (Sámánok: Lelkek és jelképek). Here he
not only makes a rhythmic pun but indicates that different
symbols and a concept of what European tradition calls
"soul" are basic for the shamanistic complex.
In his opinions he represents the present state of research
(e.g. Hamayon 1990: 329). I shall dwell on the second
of these two fundamental elements-the belief in souls
in Tyva, a region in which he has carried through fieldwork
in many years. However, neither "soul" nor
"Tyva" are clear-cut scientific concepts.
HYUN-KEY KIM HOGARTH (Canterbury): Inspiration or Instruction?
Shaman-training Institutes in Contemporary Korea
This paper addresses the question of whether anybody
can attain shamanhood. The author seeks an answer in
contemporary Korean society, where shamanism has persisted
despite the recent industrialization and great advancement
in science and technology. In this age of information,
when knowledge can easily be acquired through instruction,
can anyone learn to become a shaman? Her field experiences
suggest that spirit descent, an integral part of Korean
shamanism, is a reflection of the shaman's psyche, and
closely linked to his/her volition. Her findings also
suggest that only those with a certain inherent predisposition
are able to experience it. She therefore concludes that
despite the emergence of shaman-training institutes
in Korea in recent years, inspiration, not instruction,
is of the essence in shamanhood.
GREGORY G. MASKARINEC (Honolulu): Dispelling Dullness
Trance, spirit possession, and soul travel often define
shamans, characteristics that also distinguish the shamans
of Western Nepal, whose ceremonies and oral texts make
frequent and elaborate references to such thoroughly
shamanic aspects of their practice. In contrast, a ceremony
performed to treat yal, a specific form of madness,
is marked, both ritually and textually, by the absence
of such exotic attributes. Yal may be glossed as an
inhibiting disconnectedness from the surrounding everyday
world, of losing sight of the purpose of one's daily
life. For cases of yal, the shaman's cure emphasizes
entirely ordinary activity, the creation and re-creation
of ordinariness. The chief insight that the recital
offers is that "being ordinary" takes work.
One is not ordinary as some innate virtue, not through
an ingenuous normalcy. Being ordinary, no less than
being extraordinary, is the practical consequence of
sustained, consistent, deliberate, and relentless working
at doing "being ordinary."
DANIEL C. NOEL (Carpinteria, CA): Neuroshamanology
in the Ice-Age Caves: A Case of Methodological Promise
and Modern Projection
This essay describes and seeks to assess an approach
to the interpretation of shamanism put forward recently
by cognitive archaeologists who employ neuropsychological
research to infer the shamanic auspices of indigenous
pictographs and, in turn, Upper Paleolithic cave paintings.
My focus is primarily on the work of David Lewis-Williams
and Jean Clottes, drawing on their writing and on their
presentations at a conference in 2001. Their methodology
is found to be a worthwhile adjunct to other approaches,
but one which is, as yet, prone to assorted projections
and claims to exclusivity that require correcting. I
call instead for a methodological pluralism that is
mindful of postmodernist concerns and inclusive of aesthetic
and humanistic as well as scientific considerations.
MICHAEL OPPITZ (Zürich): A Drum in the Min Shan Mountains
This article focuses on a particular shamanic instrument,
the bu drum as used by the faith healers shüpi of the
Qiang, an ancient ethnic group living in the Sino-Tibetan
mountain regions of NW Sichuan. Its functions are described,
its various forms depicted and its origin stories told.
The outstanding morphological feature of the Qiang shaman's
drum is a wooden frame covered only on one side with
a membrane, while the handle is hanging suspended inside
the frame to be grasped from the open side of the hoop.
As such the bu drum of the Qiang connects Siberian and
some Himalayan forms of the shamans' most important
instrument, equally characterized as the one-sided frame
drum. The Qiang drum may thus be called a missing link
between North and South Asian shamanic paraphernalia.
ANNA-LEENA SIIKALA (Helsinki) and OLEG ULYASHEV (Syktyvkar):
Landscape of Spirits: Holy Places and Changing Rituals
of the Northern Khanty
This fieldwork-based article examines religious traditions
of the Khanty in the rapidly changing Northern Ob' area.
In 2001, the authors documented holy places of men and
women in Shuryshkary and recorded several rituals conducted
in them. Alongside private rituals leaning on tradition
there are new forms of public shamanic performances
which-although based on traditional knowledge-are a
part of tendencies to express and strengthen ethnic
culture. This article aims to clarify how the holy places
representing traditional culture mark the Khantys' everyday
environment and how the rituals held in them help to
recreate the Khanty understanding of the world in a
changing cultural situation.
KIRA VAN DEUSEN (Vancouver): Khakassian Mountain Spirit
and Snake Lore
This article examines the central roles mountain spirits
and snakes play in Khakassian legends and shamanic culture.
In both historic and contemporary tales mountain spirits
initiate shamanic artists, give information, accompany
the souls of the dead and give people wealth which is
often problematical. Snakes are more often connected
with images of creation, and with gifts of language.
Ake Hultkrantz. Soul and Native Americans (by Vilmos