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Knud Rasmussen - The Little Diomede Diviner

Identifier

011497

Type of Spiritual Experience

Background

A description of the experience

Knud Rasmussen – The Arctic Eskimos

On the Alaskan island called Little Diomede, [Knud Rasmussen] encountered an old woman living among the shreds of her life in a cold, dark cave. A diviner, she had seen many seasons come and go and many lives pass as the seasons do.

She spoke to me, the Greenlander, of her own life and imminent passing. Her final words to me concerned the genesis of song. With eloquent and profound insight, she described the source of the sacred sounds that are the most important of the shaman's voices, those voices that awaken during threshold experiences:

"For our forefathers believed that the songs were born in stillness while all endeavoured to think of nothing but beautiful things. Then they take shape in the minds of men and rise up like bubbles from the depths of the sea, bubbles seeking the air in order to burst. This is how sacred songs are made."

The source of the experience

Inuit

Concepts, symbols and science items

Symbols

Science Items

Activities and commonsteps

Activities

Suppressions

Singing spells

Commonsteps

References