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diamond-creek-road11 thebutte Stan Beus Plateau Point

Who is a Shaman?

River of SorrowReligious specialists date to the beginnings of religion. Mediums, shaman, priests, prophets, and diviners have helped, controlled, and advanced religion for thousands of years.

The shaman is the traditional healer. From the Tungus word shaman, or haman, he moves through the world of spirit curing, divining, and chasing ghosts. He communicates directly with souls “on the other side”, asking questions face to face rather than supplicating them. And unlike a witch, all of this is done in full view of his people. The remaining stronghold of the shaman is in northeast Asia among the Yakuts, Tungus, and the tribes of the western shore of the Bering Sea. Continue reading Who is a Shaman?

The Symbol that is the American Flag

FlagsMany people outside the United States believe that Americans have a “flag obsession”,  an almost cult like fetish worship. Why is this the case? What, in fact, does the flag mean to Americans? What does it mean to you Americans reading this? Let me know. This is a conversation.

The elevated status given to the American flag as “the” symbol of America is due to the fact that as a symbol,  it represents more than one ideal. It has many meanings to nearly all Americans. It embodies patriotism,  freedom,  national pride,  unity,  history,  democracy,  and many other values that Americans resonate with.

Continue reading The Symbol that is the American Flag

Two Forms of Magic

Heavens GateContagious and imitative Magic are the two forms of Sympathetic magic which is based on the foundation that things, through a secret sympathy, can act upon each other at a distance. Imitative magic acts through the Law of Similarity, i.e. things that are alike are connected. Voodoo dolls are “like” their target. In modern times photographs are often used. During some peoples imitative ceremonies meant to stimulate crop growth, women would sit in an inner circle while the men would dance around and take one after the other. “Fertility” for the crops. Women who had many children were good for planting crops while barren women were bad. Contagious magic acts through the Law of Contact, i.e. things that were once in contact continue to be connected. Finger nail clippings are still connected to the person from whom they came. Hair is very powerful. In Germany thousands of years ago, you would drive a nail into the footprint of a man to make him lame.

What is a Taboo?

zebra1Taboos prohibit or restrict behaviors or actions. These revolve around sex, food, rites of passage, sacred objects, and sacred people. Taboos function to control the ecology, distinguish between social groups and control them, and to threaten violators with supernatural punishment. These proscriptions are put into place to counter threats to existence and/or social stability. The Jewish peoples have a series of taboos regarding the eating of certain animals. Breaking a sacred taboo is a “sin”, as opposed to a mere civil disobedience. Taboos are the restraint we put upon ourselves. We’ve been doing it for tens of thousands of years and we still do. Hmmm…..

Myth vs History

- cottage -Myth is the narrative relation of the occurrence of events that has a sacred nature. The characters of myth are often symbols for ideals, values, or beliefs and may have never existed outside the myth itself. Myth is typically passed down from generation to generation orally. History is the recordation of events by a witness to a given event. History may be related orally, but it is the telling of occurrences and reference to items, persons, or phenomena unknown outside the world of “myth” that differentiates myth from history.

Another Culture Swallowed by the World

British Museum adamanese artefactsThe last speaker of one of the world’s oldest dialects has died. And with her death, so dies yet another culture. Our indifference to this death of a culture is unforgivable. Hundreds of Native American cultures are only a story, their language lost, their myths but a story. This loss of a culture tens of thousands of years old is reported only on the internet, or maybe the back pages of newspapers. You won’t see it in the headlines. These peoples are our ancestors! How self-centered are we? Our culture is so “self” focused, we simply dismiss the loss of the history that brought us here. Shame on us.

I am appalled.


New Series!

Muchilottu Bhagavathy TheyyamI will be posting a new series of articles derived from assignments in an anthropology of religion class I am currently taking. This includes magic, witchcraft, ritual, and “modern” religion. I hope you all enjoy this new series. It will be a bit technical because this is a collegiate anthropology course as opposed to my more “off-the-cuff” musings. Here we go!!

History of the Evolution of “Religion”

Albinos in Burundi - hunted for body partsFrom the belief in souls or spirits, to modern day science, the hypothesis for the root, and development, of religion is discussed. Clifford Geertz, speaking from a perspective almost 40 years old, talks of the evolution of the anthropology of religion. Lecture notes encapsulate and emphasize points that introduce us to why we have religion, and how it may have evolved. Together, a perspective and template is introduced, into which we might analyze our future lessons.

Geertz’s article, “Religion” is basically an historical summary of the anthropology of religion since the mid-nineteenth century. I do find it interesting that there is nothing mentioned of the musings of pre-nineteenth century thinkers. But then, “publishing” was not the way of many thinkers prior. Certainly in an area as ripe for speculation as this, there have been thinkers thousands of years old.

Continue reading History of the Evolution of “Religion”

Coming Next Week!

Beginning next week, in conjunction with a college course I’m taking, I will be posting weekly articles and glossary additions on Magic, Witchcraft and Healing. I’m really excited about this class and hope I can illuminate all of you with what I learn. Magic, faith, shamanism, and traditional religions will all get attention. Look for this series of articles to continue for 12-13 weeks. Check back weekly as the posts begin. Hope you join me for a look at the supernatural!

New tour to the historic Hopi villages

We have added a spectacular tour of the historic Hopi villages. The homeland of the Hopi is steeped in history and culture. We will visit all three mesas and walk through some truly extraordinary villages. You will get to meet the Hopi people and learn about their culture on a personal level. Climb aboard and have the experience of a lifetime! Historic Hopi Villages