Shamanism II

In the second part of the series, I am going to cover up some crucial themes of the nowadays use of the term and as well about the first use of the term.


Main Character Yo Asakura and his spirit partner Amidamaru

As we have seen in the first part of this series, the term shamanism is in use nowadays in various contexts. As you can see from the picture it even is a general term of an anime from Japan. Shaman King is an Anime of the Artist Hiroyuki Takei which was first published as a manga from 1998-2004 and was animated 2001 and 2002. Since 2014 there is a second part drawn from this series as well, called Shaman King Flowers. In this manga/anime, the shamans are able to communicate with spirits and gain their attributes and abilities through merging with their respective ghosts. What’s more, there are a lot of connections made with Shinto, which is nowadays seen as the oldest Japanese religious system. [I will give that depiction about Shinto a critical research on a later article]

The term ”šaman” was first used and derived from the discovery of the Tuva people in the Siberian area between the 12-14th century. This age is defined through many encounters with the “other”, in other words, European discoverer, merchants, and diplomats were encountering with various different unknown cultures at that time.


Present-day shaman from Tuva, Siberia.

The term “šaman” became an umbrella term for all the different unknown religious experts and practices. In fact, every other than the europian religious system was termed as some variation of the depicted shaman found in the Siberian area. In this time travel logs have been the most crucial factor in distributing knowledge about shamans in general.

With the establishment of the Anthropologies as Universitaire disciplines in the late 19th century, the term even became more distributed and established as real phenomena describing human experiences. The anthropologists of this era didn’t go out on their own doing fieldwork, they used the kilometers of literature, travel logs and descriptions made from untrained observers to establish theories about people the researchers have never seen. These scholars are merely known as “armchair-anthropologists”.

In line with this outdated approach to foreign cultures stands Mircea Eliade. Eliade is a wide known fiction author and also was a professor of the history of religion. quote-in-imitating-the-exemplary-acts-of-a-god-or-of-a-mythic-hero-or-simply-by-recounting-mircea-eliade-70-55-37I will approach Mircea Eliade and the phenomenology and once again Micheal Harner and his “Foundation for Shamanic Studies” next week Thursday in the third part of this series.

I also updated a lot on the last episode, so maybe you give it another shot and see what’s new there. As well I recently uploaded an article about Foucault, that might as well be important for the discussion about shamanism. I am preparing a lot of new content and will give a special holiday article over Christmas, so stay tuned.






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