Wednesday, 21. February 2007
Journey to Other Worlds
|This is a journey through over 200 objects of material culture and a magnificent collection of archival photographs, the late-19th- and early-20th-century lifeways of fourteen ethnographic groups distributed across Siberia. |
Peoples of the Far North have retained many elements of spiritual culture: ideas about the surrounding world and the place of humans, rituals, feasts associated with reindeer (the main source of their existence in the past), objects of cult practices, and the early form of religion shamanism. Two forms of shamanism existed in that region: family and tribal/
professional. Family shamanism was typical of peoples of northeastern Siberia, whereas tribal or professional shamanism was widespread among peoples of eastern and western Siberia.
The majority of people inhabiting Siberia believed that the universe comprised three worlds: the upper world, the middle world, and the lower world. The upper world was located above the heavens; the lower, beneath the earth.
Some believed that in the time before shamans, anyone could pass from one world to another and travel through those levels, though the passage was not easy, and the way was fairly long. Because a newcomer from earth could not be seen or understood by the inhabitants of the upper and the lower worlds, and contact with him or her was thought to cause disease, the inhabitants tried to send the newcomer back to earth. With the development of shamanism, the general populace was believed to have lost the ability to travel to the other worlds. Only shamans could make a journey to the other worlds.
Journey to Other Worlds
|Shamans played an important role in the lives of their tribal members and were protectors and intermediaries between humans and spirits. The training and development of future shamans required several years. |
As soon as the clan acknowledged a candidate for shaman and the candidate's right to be a shaman, the ritual of consecration occurred. Ritual actions were also obligatory when the shaman received each special object.
The baton was one of the major shamanic ritual artifacts for the Evenks, Sel'kups, Nenets, and Kets, and it had many symbolic functions. It was used as a striking instrument, and it also represented a special spirit helper of the shaman for the Evenks and Kets.
by the Russian Museum of Ethnography.
Shamanism Among the Peoples of Western and Eastern Siberia.
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