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Observations placeholder

Marija Volkonskaya - The shaman's frenzy



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

The Princess of Siberia – Christine Sutherland

Quoting Marija Volkonskaya

We all retired inside the yurt, where a white mare's skin had been spread on the floor'. At first, everything was silent, then a handful of horsehair was thrown on the fire, putting it out. In the faint gleam of the red coals we could see the figure of the shaman, motionless, with drooping head, big drum on breast, and face turned towards the south – He gradually began to play the drum - first softly, then rising to a crescendo like an oncoming storm, with peals of thunder and squawking of wild birds. When the music swelled to its highest pitch the shaman began to leap and dance, at first on the skin and then, becoming more rapid, gliding all over the floor of the yurt', beating the drum furiously, jumping about …….. His eyes were closed, his hair tumbled, his mouth strangely twisted, saliva streaming down his chin . His fury rose and ebbed like a wave, now smooth, now frantic and frenzied . . . After what seemed to us quite a long time, he finally slowed down. 'We were told that the ceremony was now over. With a final leap the shaman collapsed onto the white mare’s skin and was carried out of the tent by two assistants.

The source of the experience

Siberian shamanism

Concepts, symbols and science items



Science Items

Activities and commonsteps