Reiki - Every Steppe of the Way: Steppe One

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Under the Spanish Empire , babaylan were often maligned and falsely accused as witches and "priests of the devil" and were persecuted harshly by the Spanish clergy. The Spanish burned down everything they associated as connected to the native people's indigenous religion including shrines such as the dambana , even forcefully ordering native children to defecate on their own god's idols. Siberia is regarded as the locus classicus of shamanism. Many classical ethnographic sources of "shamanism" were recorded among Siberian peoples.

Manchu Shamanism is one of very few Shamanist traditions which held official status into the modern era, by becoming one of the imperial cults of the Qing dynasty of China alongside Buddhism , Taoism and traditional Heaven worship. The Palace of Earthly Tranquility , one of the principal halls of the Forbidden City in Beijing , was partly dedicated to Shamanistic rituals.

The ritual set-up is still preserved in situ today. Among the Siberian Chukchis peoples, a shaman is interpreted as someone who is possessed by a spirit, who demands that someone assume the shamanic role for their people. Among the Buryat, there is a ritual known as shanar [] whereby a candidate is consecrated as shaman by another, already-established shaman.

Among several Samoyedic peoples , shamanism was a living tradition also in modern times, especially at groups living in isolation, until recent times Nganasans. When the People's Republic of China was formed in and the border with Russian Siberia was formally sealed, many nomadic Tungus groups including the Evenki that practiced shamanism were confined in Manchuria and Inner Mongolia.

In many other cases, shamanism was in decline even at the beginning of the 20th century, for instance, among the Roma. Geographical factors heavily influence the character and development of the religion, myths, rituals and epics of Central Asia. While in other parts of the world, religious rituals are primarily used to promote agricultural prosperity, here they were used to ensure success in hunting and breeding livestock.

Animals are one of the most important elements of indigenous religion in Central Asia because of the role they play in the survival of the nomadic civilizations of the steppes as well as sedentary populations living on land not conducive to agriculture.

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Shamans wore animal skins and feathers and underwent transformations into animals during spiritual journeys. In addition, animals served as humans' guides, rescuers, ancestors, totems and sacrificial victims. Shamanism in Central Asia also places a strong emphasis on the opposition between summer and winter, corresponding to the huge differences in temperature common in the region. The harsh conditions and poverty caused by the extreme temperatures drove Central Asian nomads throughout history to pursue militaristic goals against their sedentary neighbors.

This military background can be seen in the reverence for horses and warriors within many indigenous religions. Central Asian shamans served as sacred intermediaries between the human and spirit world. In this role they took on tasks such as healing, divination, appealing to ancestors, manipulating the elements, leading lost souls and officiating public religious rituals.

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The use of sleight-of-hand tricks, ventriloquism, and hypnosis were common in these rituals but did not explain the more impressive feats and actual cures accomplished by shamans. Shamans perform in a "state of ecstasy" deliberately induced by an effort of will. Reaching this altered state of consciousness required great mental exertion, concentration and strict self-discipline.

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Mental and physical preparation included long periods of silent meditation, fasting, and smoking. In this state, skilled shamans employ capabilities that the human organism cannot accomplish in the ordinary state. Shamans in ecstasy displayed unusual physical strength, the ability to withstand extreme temperatures, the bearing of stabbing and cutting without pain, and the heightened receptivity of the sense organs. Shamans made use of intoxicating substances and hallucinogens, especially mukhomor mushrooms and alcohol, as a means of hastening the attainment of ecstasy.

The use of purification by fire is an important element of the shamanic tradition dating back as early as the 6th century. People and things connected with the dead had to be purified by passing between fires.

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These purifications were complex exorcisms while others simply involved the act of literally walking between two fires while being blessed by the shaman. Shamans in literature and practice were also responsible for using special stones to manipulate weather. Rituals are performed with these stones to attract rain or repel snow, cold or wind. This "rain-stone" was used for many occasions including bringing an end to drought as well as producing hailstorms as a means of warfare. The shamanic ceremony is both a religious ceremony and an artistic performance. The fundamental purpose of the dramatic displays seen during shamanic ceremonies is not to draw attention or to create a spectacle for the audience as many Westerners have come to believe, but to lead the tribe in a solemn ritualistic process.

In general, all performances consist of four elements: dance, music, poetry and dramatic or mimetic action. The use of these elements serves the purpose of outwardly expressing his mystical communion with nature and the spirits for the rest of the tribe. The true shaman can make the journey to the spirit world at any time and any place, but shamanic ceremonies provide a way for the rest of the tribe to share in this religious experience.

The shaman changes his voice mimetically to represent different persons, gods, and animals while his music and dance change to show his progress in the spirit world and his different spiritual interactions.

Many shamans practice ventriloquism and make use of their ability to accurately imitate the sounds of animals, nature, humans and other noises in order to provide the audience with the ambiance of the journey. Elaborate dances and recitations of songs and poetry are used to make the shamans spiritual adventures into a matter of living reality to his audience.

The shaman's attire varies throughout the region but his chief accessories are his coat, cap, and tambourine or drum. The transformation into an animal is an important aspect of the journey into the spirit world undertaken during shamanic rituals so the coat is often decorated with birds feathers and representations of animals, coloured handkerchiefs, bells and metal ornaments. The cap is usually made from the skin of a bird with the feathers and sometimes head, still attached.

The drum or tambourine is the essential means of communicating with spirits and enabling the shaman to reach altered states of consciousness on his journey. The drum, representing the universe in epitome, is often divided into equal halves to represent the earth and lower realms. Symbols and natural objects are added to the drum representing natural forces and heavenly bodies.

In Soviet Central Asia, the Soviet government persecuted and denounced shamans as practitioners of fraudulent medicine and perpetuators of outdated religious beliefs in the new age of science and logic. The radical transformations occurring after the October Socialist Revolution led to a sharp decrease in the activity of shamans. Shamans represented an important component in the traditional culture of Central Asians and because of their important role in society, Soviet organizations and campaigns targeted shamans in their attempt to eradicate traditional influences in the lives of the indigenous peoples.

Along with persecution under the tsarist and Soviet regimes, the spread of Christianity and Islam had a role in the disintegration of native faith throughout central Asia. Poverty, political instability and foreign influence are also detrimental to a religion that requires publicity and patronage to flourish. By the s most shamans were discredited in the eyes of their people by Soviet officials and physicians. Shamanism is still widely practiced in the Ryukyu Islands Okinawa , Japan , where shamans are known as 'Noro' all women and 'Yuta'.

Shamanism is also practiced in a few rural areas in Japan proper. It is commonly believed that the Shinto religion is the result of the transformation of a shamanistic tradition into a religion. Forms of practice vary somewhat in the several Ryukyu islands, so that there is, for example, a distinct Miyako shamanism.

Shamanist practices seem to have been preserved in the Catholic religious traditions of aborigines in Taiwan. In Vietnam, shamans conduct rituals in many of the religious traditions that co-mingle in the majority and minority populations.

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In their rituals, music, dance, special garments and offerings are part of the performance that surround the spirit journey. Some of the prehistoric peoples who once lived in Siberia and other parts of Central and Eastern Asia have dispersed and migrated into other regions, bringing aspects of their cultures with them. For example, many Uralic peoples live now outside Siberia; however, the original location of the Proto-Uralic peoples and its extent is debated. Combined phytogeographical and linguistic considerations distribution of various tree species and the presence of their names in various Uralic languages suggest that this area was north of Central Ural Mountains and on lower and middle parts of Ob River.

Shamanism has played an important role in Turko-Mongol mythology : Tengriism —the major ancient belief among Xiongnu , Mongol and Turkic peoples , Magyars and Bulgars —incorporates elements of shamanism. Some historians of the Late Middle Ages and Early Modern period have argued that traces of shamanistic traditions can be seen in the popular folk belief of this period.

go here Eskimo groups inhabit a huge area stretching from eastern Siberia through Alaska and Northern Canada including Labrador Peninsula to Greenland. Shamanistic practice and beliefs have been recorded at several parts of this vast area crosscutting continental borders. When speaking of "shamanism" in various Eskimo groups, we must remember that as mentioned above the term "shamanism" can cover certain characteristics of various different cultures.

Term "shaman" is used in several English-language publications also in relation to Eskimos. The belief system assumes specific links between the living people, the souls of hunted animals, and those of dead people. Unlike the majority of shamans the careers of most Eskimo shamans lack the motivation of force : becoming a shaman is usually seen as a result of deliberate consideration, not a necessity forced by the spirits.

There are similarities in the cultures of the Eskimo groups [] [] [] [] [] together with diversity, far from homogeneity. There may be certain similarities also in Asiatic groups with North American ones. The local cultures showed great diversity. The myths concerning the role of shaman had several variants, and also the name of their protagonists varied from culture to culture. For example, a mythological figure, usually referred to in the literature by the collective term Sea Woman , has factually many local names: Nerrivik "meat dish" among Polar Inuit, Nuliayuk "lubricous" among Netsilingmiut , Sedna "the nether one" among Baffin Land Inuit.

Conceptions of spirits or other beings had also many variants. Native American and First Nations cultures have diverse religious beliefs and there was never one universal Native American religion or spiritual system. Although many Native American cultures have traditional healers, ritualists, singers, mystics , lore-keepers and medicine people , none of them ever used, or use, the term "shaman" to describe these religious leaders.

Rather, like other indigenous cultures the world over, their spiritual functionaries are described by words in their own languages, and in many cases are not taught to outsiders. Many of these indigenous religions have been grossly misrepresented by outside observers and anthropologists, even to the extent of superficial or seriously mistaken anthropological accounts being taken as more authentic than the accounts of actual members of the cultures and religions in question.

Often these accounts suffer from " noble savage "-type romanticism and racism. Some contribute to the fallacy that Native American cultures and religions are something that only existed in the past, and which can be mined for data despite the opinions of Native communities. Not all Indigenous communities have roles for specific individuals who mediate with the spirit world on behalf of the community. Among those that do have this sort of religious structure, spiritual methods and beliefs may have some commonalities, though many of these commonalities are due to some nations being closely related, from the same region, or through post-Colonial governmental policies leading to the combining of formerly independent nations on reservations.

This can sometimes lead to the impression that there is more unity among belief systems than there was in antiquity. With the arrival of European settlers and colonial administration, the practice of Native American traditional beliefs was discouraged and Christianity was imposed [] upon the indigenous people. In most communities, the traditions were not completely eradicated, but rather went underground, and were practiced secretly until the prohibitive laws were repealed.

Up until and during the last hundred years, thousands of Native American and First Nations children from many different communities were sent into the Canadian Indian residential school system , and Indian boarding schools in an effort to destroy tribal languages, cultures and beliefs. Canadian laws enacted in , and henceforth, have attempted to reverse previous attempts at extinguishing Native culture. In the Peruvian Amazon basin and north coastal regions of the country, the healers are known as curanderos.