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 Post subject: Performatist Shamanism
 Post Posted: Wed Jul 27, 2011 6:30 pm 
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Hey everyone. New here, but I'm jumping right in...

Shamanism was invented in 1925 by Mircea Eliade. Sure, the Tungusic people used the word more specifically, but it was Eliade who noticed the similarities between many indigenous practices.

The entire "native American" branch of new age is not shamanism at all, but post-modern types wish-fulfilling and fantasy engaging due to their white-man's guilt. I'm not slandering them, either, but rather pointing out that few today live lifestyles that would be helped by native american practices. We are mostly all westerners, whether white, black, hispanic or asian. We were raised with the Bible, the Illiad and the Odyssey, Shakespeare and Saturday morning cartoons. Why do we assume that shamanism wouldn't use these languages? These are our spirits, not the coyote. Have most of us even seen a coyote? Other than the one that chases that road-runner?

Authenticity is the trap of post-modernism. Modernism required it, but post-modernism declared it dead, so now you really only have the fragments of other peoples pasts to draw upon: Native American, Celtic, Siberian, or whatever. But postmodernism is dying as well. There is a new authenticity. Look up on wiki and elsewhere the terms "performatist" and "new sincerity." It is time for the authenticity of relevance, not the patchwork of someone elses path.

To those that say that training is the key. Sure enough, but a new thing is to be created first, isn't it? How do you teach the new? Indigenous shamanism has lasted thousands of years, but it wouldn't be wise to believe it has always stayed the same. Shamanism is creative, evolutionary. Those old strands are but seeds for a new thing for a new man.


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 Post subject: Re: Performatist Shamanism
 Post Posted: Thu Jul 28, 2011 4:02 am 
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Hi Sonoffox,


I may not agree with everything you said, but you have made some strong points.

And in particular, "authenticity" - a notion which is often hijacked by conservatives.

You are right about things changing. I've seen arguments about the introduction of shaman centres, group practices springing up in the capital of Tuva after the collapse of the soviet system.

Some people said they weren't "authentic". But it was a response by shamans to changing circumstances. Most Tuvans had given up the nomadic life. There were living in town. Shaman centres made sense.

And shamanism has always changed. A few centuries earlier, when Tibetan-style Buddhism arrived via Mongolia aspects of Buddhism came into Tuvan shamanism.

And it happens in folk music. I remember talking to an Irish musician/scholar who was saying that Irish music was always changing, always adapting. And that people talking about "authentic" Irish music would have difficulty pinning down a period when the music as "pure."

He said guitars were clearly introduced at one time - so they could be seen as inauthentic. Then the tin whistle...the accordion...and even the wooden flute which was introduced to the folk music when baroque music played in the big houses fell out of fashion.

For me, what matters is what's inside an individual...what he or she does.

So, thanks for your perspective.

Mac


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 Post subject: Re: Performatist Shamanism
 Post Posted: Thu Jul 28, 2011 7:21 am 
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Change, indeed the most important aspect of any alive spiritual path. Unfortunately ignored the traditionalists and abused by the neo-whatevers.

If you can't achieve a magikal or spiritual goal with what is provided in the immediate environment (social, emotional or otherwise) then... there is no then.

What I would like to see is people who begin or choose to continue to follow a tradtion to use one that is geographically sensitive. Nothing to do with some racially gifted tendency, but there are a lot of influences to consider. It just doesn't make sense for an australian to follow an egyptian style path or for an englishman do the american indian thing.


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 Post subject: Re: Performatist Shamanism
 Post Posted: Thu Jul 28, 2011 10:37 am 
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@Mackenzie I don't know what in particular you disagreed with, but you summed up my main points very well. I noticed you were in London. I was referring mainly to the US bunch I've been running into, those that wear (not kidding) dream catchers. I suppose I was too harsh on the new age aspect. While many of them, maybe most, are good, intelligent people, there is a vocal contingent that is, well, embarrassing in their embrace of whatever spiritual path is in vogue at the moment.

@Dante "If you can't achieve a magikal or spiritual goal with what is provided in the immediate environment" brilliant!


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 Post subject: Re: Performatist Shamanism
 Post Posted: Fri Jul 29, 2011 2:00 pm 
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sonoffox wrote:
Hey everyone. New here, but I'm jumping right in...

Shamanism was invented in 1925 by Mircea Eliade. Sure, the Tungusic people used the word more specifically, but it was Eliade who noticed the similarities between many indigenous practices.
.


So you think shamanism was invented?


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 Post subject: Re: Performatist Shamanism
 Post Posted: Fri Jul 29, 2011 9:58 pm 
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errr. yeah. Or do you think it somehow existed before a person did it?

The thing that comes under the broad description of shamanism existed in the same way the wheel existed before it was stuck on an axle. So invention it is.


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 Post subject: Re: Performatist Shamanism
 Post Posted: Sat Jul 30, 2011 12:36 am 
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From: Online Etymology Dictionary -- http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=shaman

shaman
1690s, "priest of the Ural-Altaic peoples," probably via Ger. Schamane, from Rus. shaman, from Tungus shaman, which is perhaps from Chinese sha men "Buddhist monk," from Prakrit samaya-, from Skt. sramana-s "Buddhist ascetic."

From:Wikipedia -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mircea_Eliade

Mircea Eliade (Romanian pronunciation: [ˈmirt͡ʃe̯a eliˈade]; March 13 [O.S. February 28] 1907 – April 22, 1986)

The word shaman is acknowledged to have entered the English language some two hundred years before Eliade studied it, meaning the term was in scholarly use before the American Revolutionary War. Thus, when David Hume publishes his work, "The Natural History of Religion" in 1757 (predating Sir Edward Tylor's introduction of the word Animism in 1871 or Marett's counter theory of Animatism (mana) in 1899) he discusses the particulars of shamanic and animistic beliefs as evolutionary relevant.

In fact, George Gilmore refuted Marett's theory in his published work, "Animism" in 1919, while Eliade was only 12. A careful study of the works as defined will reveal that the word shaman is nothing more than an office in the greater belief tenet and perspective philosophy that is animism. Eliade not only did not coin the phrase, he didn't do much more than influence the views of Harner PhD. who's area of study was limited to Central and South America. He was, therefore, forced to find supporting views to back up his popular media introduction of "Core Shamanism". However, at the heart of both works is the Ecstatic Trance state, referred to by early researchers Arctic Ecstasy or Arctic Trance, which is not intrinsic to more than a third of contiguous and analogous belief systems around the world.


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 Post subject: Re: Performatist Shamanism
 Post Posted: Sat Jul 30, 2011 12:48 am 
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Dante A. wrote:
errr. yeah. Or do you think it somehow existed before a person did it?

The thing that comes under the broad description of shamanism existed in the same way the wheel existed before it was stuck on an axle. So invention it is.




Animism and thus shamanism, was invented by humanity as much as humanity was invented by animism/shamanism. As I see it, Animism and Shamanism (which are one and the same, inseparable) evolved with man, defining us as much as we defined them, growing organically as an expression of our own developing understanding of the world around us. In that way, we defined it. But as it was also a strong influence in the bonding and cohesiveness of tribal life it defined us as much as we defined it. It could, after all, only develop as a communal system after the advent of language, therefore infecting us with culture and cross infecting different cultures with our viral ideas.

Those ideas were not only influenced by the environment, but would, by necessity, evolve according to changing environment and the needs of the community. Animism defined the rules and perceptions of the tribe, but also limited and encouraged growth according to the interpretations of the will of the spirits, making it a dynamic expression of a living tradition that owed its existence to humanity, but was less invented by us than discovered like fire.


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 Post subject: Re: Performatist Shamanism
 Post Posted: Sat Jul 30, 2011 1:23 am 
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Everything new, becomes old.The ideas of today,will be old tomorrow.
Even our thoughts of tomorrow,already belong to yesterday.Thought is always of the past.That is the nature of thought.
So,you think you know how a shaman should be?Your thoughts are already passe-over!
Our circumstances are ever changing,but our basic nature,our core essence,does not.Shamanism is not a changing fashion that we can reinvent
on a whim.It is the accumulated spiritual knowledge and practices of mankind.It is the wisdom cultivated by humankind,since the beginning of time.Let us give full respect to our ancestors.Let us thank them for our present knowledge...Good.
Now,I acknowledge that many become stuck on the path,for a variety of reasons,including:rigid conformity to old traditions,lack of authenticity,inflated egos,etc...Stagnation is not a new invention.Make sure, it never happens to you.We have to be creative,YES!I agree.
So,tell me please,what is your vision of "The New Man"?Is it a new vision for humanity?I would love to know.
The Sage.


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 Post subject: Re: Performatist Shamanism
 Post Posted: Sat Jul 30, 2011 8:19 am 
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Animism and shamanism are not one and the same, inseperable. this is beacause animism exists in paths that are not shamanic. Shamanism exists within Witchcraft, that does not make them one and the same.

I agree with strmraven and Oracledreamhealer; that who we are today has a lot to do with our ancestors and their spiritual persuasion. In context however Shamanism or any other human spiritual practice did not predate humans. It was either developed from existing ideas (which is the same for all inventions) or it was a gift which accompanied the change from automatons to vessels. (which means it isn't a human spiritual system.


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 Post subject: Re: Performatist Shamanism
 Post Posted: Sat Jul 30, 2011 1:20 pm 
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Dante A. wrote:
...Animism and shamanism are not one and the same, inseparable. this is because animism exists in paths that are not shamanic. Shamanism exists within Witchcraft, that does not make them one and the same....



Shaman entreat, enlist, bargain, negotiate, or make use of spirit allies by various names, demeanor, characters, and agendas to effect and affect the actions, shifts, changes, or results that they desire. At the core of all shamanism is animism. Without a direct and very personal relationship to the spirits, there is not shaman with connections to the spirit world or spirit allies to make them shaman within their communities.

In fact, it is now being argued that the evolutionary perspective of the human ontological mind that defined the world naturally with an animist perspective, inevitable gave rise to the role of shaman and thus the fine line distinction that some people place on animism/shamanism. That is to say, with humanities natural inclination toward animist views, the rise of shaman was unavoidable, inescapable, inevitable, a foregone conclusion, a statistical certainty, etc...

If, however, you are suggesting that core shaman techniques are shamanism alone without the aid and office of ally spirits, I very much disagree. While the nature, character, perceptions, and attitudes both of and toward the spirits differ greatly, where they are, how they interact, and in general the very nature of what they are, the one truly universal fact of shamanism is the animist belief in spirits that assist and ally with the shaman to enable them to be shaman, and in some (not all) cases, even require it of them.

Though, I will concede the point that animism exists outside of shamanism. That is because animism (as defined) is nothing more than the belief in spirits that are separate and separable from the physical which live on after physical death, and which are not (strictly speaking) limited to humans. When speaking of belief systems, on the other hand, we are using the term as a category to describe belief systems with a core tenet that focuses heavily on the direct and very personal interaction of the community as a whole with the spirits of that culture, a world view and perspective.


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 Post subject: Re: Performatist Shamanism
 Post Posted: Tue Aug 02, 2011 4:47 pm 
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Man. . . .

sonoffox: I effin' love you for writing this. It exposes many truths about this society. Thank you very much for writing this post. Keep it up.

Yours,
--Teopiltzin


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 Post subject: Re: Performatist Shamanism
 Post Posted: Tue Aug 02, 2011 10:14 pm 
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strmraven wrote:
the one truly universal fact of shamanism is the animist belief in spirits that assist and ally with the shaman to enable them to be shaman, and in some (not all) cases, even require it of them.


This is an extremely important statement. Thanks for sharing.


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 Post subject: Re: Performatist Shamanism
 Post Posted: Sat Aug 06, 2011 11:45 am 
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I think you guys took my "invention of shamanism" remark out of context, though maybe I was being too vague. What I meant was that there was no unified "shamanism" spread about the world that needs rediscovery. Eliade invented the modern usage of the term to apply to various peoples. I am not criticizing what he did, because he was pointing out real patterns, but many people act as though shamanism is a unified thing.

But then, you people who parsed my words knew what I was driving at anyway.


Last edited by sonoffox on Sat Aug 06, 2011 1:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Performatist Shamanism
 Post Posted: Sat Aug 06, 2011 11:52 am 
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@strmraven what sources are you using? not denying, interested. it doesn't change my point, it just moves the timeline and actors, but i smell facts i haven't ferreted out within your grasp...please share.


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