What is shamanism? What are the rituals and symbols of shamanism?

Home » What is shamanism? What are the rituals and symbols of shamanism?
What is shamanism?  What are the rituals and symbols of shamanism?

The existence of shamanism dates back to the early stone age. A re-implemented version of shamanism in a renewed way is called neo-shamanism today. In many sources it is written that the Turks are interested in shamanism, and even that shamanism is unique to the Turks. We told you what shamanism is, what are the symbols and rituals of shamanism. We also touched on the subject of shamanism among the Turks.

You may also like to see this content: “An Unexpected Journey: A History of the Celts Who Migrated and Settled in Turkey”

What is shamanism?

Let’s answer the very curious question, what is shamanism? Shamanism is a belief system in which the shaman, viewed as a spiritual leader, communicates with the spirit world while in a trance state. The main purpose of this communication with the spirit world is to channel the spiritual energies and spirits into the world and receive various help from it such as prophecy and healing.

Shamanism, which spread throughout the Asian continent, was generally adopted by nomads. According to shamanism, the world; It is divided into three: Earth, Heaven and Underground. In shamanism, where belief in the God of Heaven prevails, souls are divided into two parts as good and bad. Some rituals are held to communicate with good spirits. In order to protect from evil spirits, a balance must be established between earth and heaven. While evil spirits are called Erlik, good spirits are called Ulgen. Now that we know what shamanism is, let’s look at the duties of a shaman and the symbols and rituals of shamanism.

Shamanic initiation

What is shamanism?

In shamanic initiation, shaman candidates can become shamans after undergoing various trainings. According to the traditions of Turkic shamans (Yakuts, Altaians, etc.) in Siberia and Central Asia, the experience of “initial death” or “descent into hell”, which is called assumption in Asian shamanic initiations, is performed by the spirits of the patron guide in the other world called the underworld or in spiritual heaven. Performed on floors. This experience mostly takes place in sacred places such as forests and caves and away from people.

Even if a shaman candidate has received preparatory training, he cannot become a shaman without having this experience called initiation. Only shaman candidates who have received the necessary preparatory training can pass this experience. Preparatory training is given to shaman candidates who are indifferent to what is going on and have some spells, and those who show divine and spiritual signs such as having prophetic dreams in sacred places and communicating with guardian-guide beings.

Learning to use the drum in a way that simplifies entering a trance, an aspiring shaman enters a trance to experience death after going through some painful ordeals. During this experience, which lasts for a few days, the shaman candidate lies in a relaxed state from the bonds of body and soul. These phenomena, called descent into hell or rebirth in the beginning, are symbolized in shamanism as the separation of a candidate shaman’s body by symbolic dismemberment and then the joining of these parts or the reunion of his body by materializing his bones.

During this period, called initiation, the nurturing mentor beings teach the shaman’s spirit the things necessary for shamanism. Among the things taught are trade secrets, “secret language”, methods of treatment, and characteristics of diseases. When these processes end and the candidate emerges from hypnotic sleep, he finds himself possessing some powers and changing dramatically. Now he sees not only with the eyes in his head, but also with his spiritual eye.

What are shamanic symbols?

What is shamanism?

In shamanism, shamans use certain animal spirits to communicate with the deities of heaven and earth. Animal symbols such as horses, eagles, deer, geese, owls, crows, and white rabbits are at the forefront of the shaman’s journey to heaven, and animal symbols such as the snake, dog, and black rabbit in his underground journey. In shamanism, there are also trees that are believed to be sacred. The Tree of Life, believed to be the sacred rod between the world and the earth, is very important in shamanism. What makes this wand special is that it is the path to spirits in heaven. In addition, shamans use this path while in a trance. In shamanism, the Tree of Life rises from the center of the earth, and the upper branches of the tree, believed to be the world’s umbilical cord, reach Ulgen’s palace. The Tree of Life, a very important symbol in shamanism, leads the shaman to the heavenly gods.

What are shamanic rituals?

What is shamanism?

Although shamanic rituals are made for things that are difficult to achieve, good results can be obtained from these rituals. Now that we know what shamanism is, let’s look at some of the shamanic rituals that were performed in the past.

circle ritual

First, the shamans form a circle. In the middle of this circle is the shaman. Candles and incense are very important for this ritual. The shaman closes his eyes and beats the drums, while the others make a fire. The shaman, quietly and slowly entering a trance, spits on the flames. Meanwhile, he communicates with good spirits. Evil spirits may also come to certain rituals and rituals. A shaman asks for help from good spirits to exorcise evil spirits. After the ritual is over, the shaman does not remember anything.

Funeral rites

According to shamanism, a person who has died may wish to stop going to the other side and return to the world. For this reason, the dead in the coffin are not buried immediately. First, they are shown around different places for hours. Thus the deceased becomes disoriented and is unable to find his way home again.

Shamanism in the Turks

old faith

While some former Soviet scholars accept shamanism as the original religion of the Turks, other scholars see shamanism not as a religion, but rather as a type of cult that dominates beings in the other world.

Chukchi, Yakut Turks and Yukagirs all believe that a person has three souls. In death, one remains in the grave, descending into the “shadow kingdom”, and the other ascends to heaven. The dead can be reborn on Earth after some time. The Uyghurs always call the event of rebirth “sansar”.

According to the traditions of the Yakut, Altai, and Uyghur Turks, the three environments consisting of the “place” where people live, the “underground” where the dead go, and the sacred sky in the sense of spirituality and otherworldliness are connected to each other by an axis called a pole that runs through their centers. This axis, called the pole, lies between the navel of the earth and the navel of heaven.

Shaman villages in Turkey

old faith

Shamanism is one of the oldest human languages, and it is mainly based on magic and sorcery. It is not known when shamanism emerged because it has no sacred texts and founders. However, its origins are believed to date back 3,000 years ago. The Turks also believed in shamanism before Islam. The inhabitants of 10 villages, including Tahtakuşlar and called Tahtacılar, migrated from Central Asia and reached the Kaz Mountains in Balıkesir. These cultural assets that came with these people are now on display in museums.

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