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Mircea Eliade - Australian Aboriginal Initiation ceremony



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

Mircea Eliade – Shamanism Archaic techniques of ecstasy
From A P Elkin ‘The Rainbow Serpent Myth in North West Australia

The master assumes the form of a skeleton and equips himself with a small bag, in which he puts the candidate, whom his magic has reduced to the size of a small infant.  Then, seating himself astride the Rainbow Serpent, he begins to pull himself up by his arms, as if climbing a rope.  When near the top, he throws the candidate into the sky ‘killing him’.  Once they are in the sky, the master inserts into the candidate’s body small rainbow serpents, brimures [ie small fresh water snakes] and quartz crystals (which have the same name as the mythical Rainbow serpent.  After this operation the candidate is brought back to earth, still on the Rainbow serpent’s back.  The master again introduces magical objects into his body, this time through the navel and wakens him by touching him with a magical stone.  The candidate returns to normal size.  On the following day the ascent by Rainbow serpent is repeated in the same way.

The source of the experience

Australian aboriginal

Concepts, symbols and science items


Science Items

Activities and commonsteps