Many of the religious practices of historical peoples, for example the Huns, Romans, Turks and Mongols derive from much older Asian traditions. The Huns, for example, practised divination through examining the bones of livestock, something which shares many affinities with the Inner Eurasian tradition of interpreting the future through studying the scorch marks on the burnt shoulder blades of sheep. This comparative study of pre-Christian and pre-Muslim religious practices of Central Asia focuses in particular on the role of animals and shamans, as well as different forms of worship and spirituality among various cultural groups: Inner Eurasia, Turks, Mongols, Tunguz and Manchus.
The A to Z of Shamanism has the duel task of exploring the common ground of shamanic traditions and evaluating the diversity of both traditional indigenous communities and individual Western seekers. This is done in an introduction, a bibliography, a chronology, and hundreds of cross-referenced dictionary entries, which explore the consistent features of a variety of shamans, the purposes shamanism serves, the function and activities of the shaman, and the cultural contexts in which they make sense.
This comprehensive volume focuses on the world's religions and the changes they have undergone as they become more global and diverse in form. It explores the religions of the world not only in the regions with which they have been historically associated, but also looks at the new cultural and religious contexts in which they are developing. It considers the role of migration in the spread of religions by examining the issues raised for modern societies by the increasing interaction of different religions. The volume also addresses such central questions as the dynamics of religious innovation which is evidenced in the rise and impact of new religious and new spirituality movements in every continent.
In this timely collection, Neil Price provides a general introduction to the archaeology of shamanism by bringing together recent archaeological thought on the subject. Blending theoretical discussion with detailed case studies, the issues addressed include shamanic material culture, responses to dying and the dead, shamanic soundscapes, the use of ritual architecture and shamanism in the context of other belief systems such as totemism. Following an intial orientation reviewing shamanism as an anthropological construct, the volume focuses on the Northern hemisphere with case studies from Greenland to Nepal, Siberia to Kazakhstan. The papers span a chronological range from Upper Palaeolithic to the present and explore such cross-cutting themes as gender and the body, identity, landscape, architecture, as well as shamanic interpretations of rock art and shamanism in the heritage and cultural identity of indigenous peoples. The volume also addresses the interpretation of shamanic beliefs in terms of cognitive neuroscience and the modern public perception of prehistoric shamanism.
"This important study provides a critical introduction to the social anthropology of religion, focusing on more recent classical ethnographies. Comprehensive, free of scholastic jargon, engaging, and comparative in approach, it covers all the major religious traditions that have been studied concretely by anthropologists: Shamanism, Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, Christianity and its relation to African and Melanesian religions, and contemporary Neo-Paganism"--P.  of cover.
The book makes out a case for the introduction of a new genre of tale, the shamanic story, which has either been based on or inspired by a shamanic journey, or contains a number of the elements that are typical of such a journey. The stories featured are the Book of Jonah from the Old Testament, two traditional stories from the Republic of Georgia–The Earth will take its Own and Davit, a contemporary German tale Bundles, and the Korean story of Shimchong, the Blindman’s Daughter. By making use of textual material from a number of different cultures and times, the intention is to highlight the pervasive influence shamanism has had and to show how the “new” genre being proposed is a universal one. The research questions addressed include 1) defining what shamanism is, deciding whether it should be classified as a religion, a methodology or a way of life 2) considering whether a case can be made out for the introduction of a new genre of tale and, if so, what its characteristics are. It is hoped the book will be of interest not only to those involved in the study of shamanism but also to those whose interest is in the study of literary texts. Since the old bearers of shamanic traditions quite often were, and even today are, illiterate, the study of their folklore–epic songs, laments, narratives–undoubtedly provides a rich source for research.
The Decline and Fall of Practically Everyone is a concise history of humanity. It is written from the point of view of someone whose outlook on life has been transformed by primal therapy and who has become a lifelong primal person. No other history has been written from this unique perspective. The Decline and Fall of Practically Everyone offers to each one who is ready for it a fresh glimpse into his own history and into a sound understanding of the course all human history has taken toward the devolution of original human consciousness into unconscious self-awareness. In Part I, the author defines consciousness, unconscious self-awareness, primal pain, primaling and what living a primal life involves. He pictures the primal life as putting ones feet on the path toward greater consciousness. The authors stated purpose is to wake us up to our condition of unconscious self-awareness. He feels that, unless we are awakened, humanity will continue to careen toward destroying itself and the life-sustaining nurture of Earth. The authors approach to the necessary awakening is historical. If one can see history through primal eyes, one will not only see the devolution of consciousness into unconscious self-awareness down through the millennia, one will sense it in ones own life and do something about it. Then in Part II, he explores various attributes of unconscious self-awareness that are relevant to a primal understanding of history. These subjects include the basic split, the point at which unconscious self-awareness completely suppresses consciousness; the location and upward movement of unconscious self-awareness in the body; the experience of time and space; the changing nature of the supreme deity and the four motifs of religion. In Part III, the author begins to explore the historical devolution of original consciousness into unconscious self-awareness. Subjects revealing the devolution include beliefs regarding the origin of the cosmos and of humanity; the destiny of the dead; shamanism; the several millennia-long invasions by Warrior God societies of Mother Goddess cultures and the revolutionary religions of Buddhism and Christianity. In the authors view, everything that has happened since the 1st millennium B.C.E. is but a footnote to it, and he therefore skips to the Americas in the 15th century. In Part IV, the author concentrates on greed and lust for power as the chief characteristics of unconscious self-awareness in the modern period. He begins with Columbus and the euphemistically named Age of Exploration to illustrate how greed and the lust for power dominated the Western European Colonial powers. Next, he shows how the Age of Enlightenment and its major philosophers and economists provided the basis for our Founding Fathers to craft a constitution that enshrined themselves as a rich and powerful, elite ruling class. To illustrate the greed and lust for power of unconscious self-awareness in the rest of U.S. history, he discusses economics, individualism, class and class struggle, differences among people and between men and women in the degree of unconscious self-awareness, family parenting models, unilateralism as the national expression of individualism and the U.S. as a nation dominated by greed, by a lust for power, by a quest for world domination and by the willingness to use violence and terror to achieve these ends. In the final chapter, the author reiterates his purpose of awakening his readers from the state of unconscious self-awareness. In contrast to a strictly psychological approach to fulfill his purpose, the author has adopted, in addition, a perspective that encompasses the whole sweep of human history. He ends by offering a cautious optimism for the future.