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Observations placeholder

Mircea Eliade - Altaic shamanism and the descent to the underworld



Type of Spiritual Experience


Just like Dante

A description of the experience

Mircea Eliade – Shamanism Archaic techniques of ecstasy

The Altaic shaman’s celestial ascent has its counterpart in his descent to the underworld.  This ceremony is far more difficult and though it can be undertaken by both shamans who are ‘black’ and ‘white’, it is naturally the speciality of the former…..

According to these texts, it seems that the shaman makes a vertical descent down the seven successive ‘levels’ or subterranean regions, called ‘pudak’, obstacles.  He is accompanied by his ancestors and his helping spirits.  As each ‘obstacle’ is passed, he sees a new subterranean epiphany; the word ‘black’ recurs in almost every verse.  At the second ‘obstacle’ he apparently hears metallic sounds; at the fifth, waves and wind whistling; finally at the seventh, where the nine subterranean rivers have their mouths, he sees Erlik Khan’s palace, built of stone and black clay and defended in every direction.  The shaman utters a long prayer to Erlik in which he also mentions Bai Ulgan [God] then he returns to the yurt and tells the audience the results of the journey.

The source of the experience

Siberian shamanism

Concepts, symbols and science items

Science Items

Activities and commonsteps



Activity not known