13 Numbers 1 & 2 (Spring/Autumn 2005)
MIHÁLY HOPPÁL (Budapest): Ake Hultkrantz Is Eighty-Five
Hans Mebius (Östersund): Ake Hultkrantz and the Study
This article is a brief survey-mainly
of a descriptive character-of the extensive research
during five decades
of Ake Hultkrantz in the field of shamanism. The following
pages can hopefully serve as an introductory guide
to this research. The attention is concentrated to
four principally important questions, first of all
the geographical and definitional aspects of the concepts
shamanism and trance. The religio-ecological approach
to religion and shamanism is presented and further
the interpretation of the indigenous Saami shamanism.
Finally attention is paid to Ake Hultkrantz's view
of contemporary urban shamanism.
LOUISE BÄCKMAN (Stockholm): The Noaidi and his Worldview:
A Study of Saami Shamanism from An Historical Point
The article considers the changing
status of the noaidi, or Saami shaman, over historical
time. It is obvious
that, at the beginning of the historical period, the
noaidi was the religious specialist among the Saami.
This means that he (all sources see the noaidi as a
man) was familiar with "the realm of the divine" through
his experiences of the spiritual world. Although the
Saami had contacts with neighboring peoples, including
non-Saami Scandinavians, that influenced their view
of the noaidi, their religion as a whole did not change
and the noaidi remained the specialist in religious
matters during this early period. At the end of the
12th century, however, a new factor threatened the
noaidi's authority-Christianity. The Christian missionaries
worked to convince the Saami that they, not the noaidi,
were the bearers of divine truth, but it was 600 years
before their efforts achieved complete success. During
this time the noaidi gradually lost his role as the
religious specialist and his status was degraded to
that of a wizard and juggler.
PER-ARNE BERGLIE (Stockholm): Shamanic Buddhism in
Although Burmese spirit mediumship is flourishing,
developing and changing, it has not received much scholarly
attention. The ceremonies, the nat pwes, are performances
by Buddhists for Buddhists in which music, singing,
dancing and acting are important and necessary elements.
In Burmese religion there are not only monks and mediums,
but also weikzas and bodaws, i.e. wizards, magicians,
alchemists and wise men. The most venerated weikzas,
although believed to have already entered an invisible
world, may be present at nat pwes, inspiring and even
possessing participants, and charismatic bodaws may
act as mediums and dancers. In Burma there is thus
a close interaction between the shamanic, the occult
and the normative Buddhism.
MIHÁLY HOPPÁL (Budapest): Trance and Sacrifice in a
Daur Shamanic Healing Rite
After decades of fieldwork, the author is certain
that sacrificial ritual plays an important role in
the practice of shamans. It can be said that the sacrifice
makes the whole ritual event sacred. The other focus
of the present article is the problem of trance, the
reality of which has been called into question recently.
The article presents an eyewitness account of shamanic
trance which indicates that it is a necessary part
of the whole ritual, at least among the Daurs of Inner
Mongolia, Northeast China. In 2003 we filmed a healing
ritual in a small village where a Daur and an Evenki
shamaness, working together, went into trance several
times. Trance is necessary to communicate with the
spirits. Furthermore, the trance indicates to participants
that the spirit helpers have indeed appeared and that
there is hope of recovery for the patient. At this
point the gates are open to spiritual experience.
ALEXANDRA A. MALONEY (Anchorage, AK): Shaman Dolls:
On North American–Siberian Cultural Typology
Focus here is on one of the most interesting
ceremonial objects used by Siberian and North American
shaman dolls. Although names for this phenomenon differ
among particular cultures, intriguing resemblances
are found among Navajo, North Athabaskan and Ket wooden
figurines in physical image, symbolism, and function.
Their generalized function could be characterized as
established for the Navajo figurines "communicative
offerings with the power of exorcism" (Kelly et al.
1972: 14). The tradition of the shaman doll as guardian,
helper, and healer is realized in different forms that
could be linked together as cultural typology of the
North, or even possibly as an ancient universal feature.
ANTONIA MILLS, CONNIE MATCHATIS and GEORGINA HILL:
Ake Hultkrantz’s Contributions to the Under-standing
of Souls, Their Return and Their Place in Shamanism
Confirmed by Contemporary Cases
This paper explores the multiple aspects of soul that
Hultkrantz has depicted, using the example of a Gitxsan
Elder who is noted as returned multiply while also
helping her relatives from her spiritual abode; and
it also presents compelling examples of contemporary
rebirth from the Chipewyn peoples (by Connie Matchatis);
and from the Kitkatla Tsimshian (by Georgina Hill).
The Chipewyn examples include shamanistic healing.
The Tsimshian example relates to the inverse of the
Orpheus tradition; rather than being unable to bring
back a deceased wife from the under or netherworld,
the Elder plans his future parents before expiring
and being reborn.
EDITH TURNER (University of Virginia): Shamanic Power
and the Collective Unconscious: An Exploration of
This paper describes the phenomena by which shamanic
power can be recognized, and something of the nature
of the world in which the power makes play. It acts
as actual connectivity, as an extension between people,
which we feel as a second way of being social, like
Victor Turner’s communitas. We are collectively conscious
of it in a dim way. It is the collective psyche, which
appears to be operating at every turn, just as both
sides of our brain operate at every turn. It seems
to be an endowment with which we were born. And as
such, it is very much the subject for serious ethnographic
VILMOS VOIGT (Budapest): "Foreign" or "Interregional"
Elements in Siberian and Central Asian Shamanism
If we wish to study the "original"
or, conversely, the "artificial" expressions of shamanism-as
(2003) has suggested-we in fact find ourselves dealing
frequently with "foreign" or, more formally, "interregional"
elements. In my paper I stress the fact that the absorption
of foreign elements is a very common phenomenon in
all religions. I list first some cases of interpretatio
externa concerning shamanism, and then of the use of
foreign terms in shamanism. Drums and flying can be
explained not only in shamanism, but also, for example,
in medieval high music in Europe inspired by the Crusades
by reference to Karl May’s enthusiasm for the Zeppelin
balloon as a means of ecstatic flying. Early Central
Asian sources (see Sukhareva 1940) show a wide variety
of "foreign" terms in folk beliefs, which have been
interpreted (e.g. Snesarev 1969) as "relics of shamanism."
Without presenting an exhaustive catalogue of such
elements, the task of my paper is to call the attention
of future scholars to the need to apply the methods
of comparative religion to such phenomena in shamanism
just as they are in other subject areas.
MARILYN WALKER (Sackville. N.B., Canada):
An "Enic" Perspective on the Music of the Manchu–Tunguz
As with Indigenous Peoples everywhere,
Siberians define their future in terms of their traditions.
Peoples of Russia identify music as central to their
identities as distinct nations and ethnic minorities
within the new Russian Federation. Music asserts their
collective identity as Native Peoples in relation to
the dominant Russian ideology and culture and as minority
peoples in the global context. The expression, preservation,
and revitalization of a diverse but unifying musical
heritage are seen as key to sustainable cultural, economic
and political development in Sakha today. The traditional
circle dance of the Manchu–Tunguz Peoples of Sakha
as well as Sakha’s High Music School and Jew’s Harp
Museum are discussed in relation to these themes. The
theoretical and methodological implications are explored
through definition of the concept "enic" to suggest
new ways of researching indigenous music which can
inform the social sciences generally.
DÁVID SOMFAI KARA and JÓZSEF TORMA (Budapest): The
Last Kazakh Baksi to Play the Kobiz
Representing Tuurngait. Edited by Frédéric Laugrand,
Jarich Oosten and François Trudel and participating
elders and students. Memory and History in Nunavut.
News and Notes
Minutes of the General Assembly of the 7th Conference
of the International Society for Shamanistic Research
(R. Paul Firnhaber)
The 8th Conference of the International Society for
Shamanistic Research (ISSR), Budapest, Hungary, 2006