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Mircea Eliade - Batu Ribn rises at the Centre of the World



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

Mircea Eliade – Shamanism Archaic techniques of ecstasy

Among one of the most archaic peoples of the Malay Peninsula – the Semang Pygmies – we find the symbol of the World Axis; an immense rock, Batu Ribn rises at the Centre of the World, below it is the underworld.  Formerly a tree trunk rose from Batu Ribn into the sky.

According to the data collected by Evans [Ivor H N Evans – Studies in Religion, Folk lore and Customs in British North Borneo and the Malay Peninsula], a stone pillar, Batu Herem, supports the sky; its top passes through the celestial vault and comes out above the heaven of Tapern, in a region called Ligoi , where the Chinoi live and amuse themselves.

The underworld, the centre of the earth and the gate of the sky are situated on the same axis and in past times it was by this axis that passage from one cosmic region to another was effected.  One would hesitate to credit the genuineness of this cosmological schema among the Semang pygmies if there were not reason to believe that a similar theory had already been outlined in prehistoric times….

There is no doubt that the Pygmies of the present day, though affected by the ‘higher’ culture of their neighbours, still preserve many archaic characteristics, this conservation is found especially in their religious beliefs……Hence, we believe we are justified in classing the cosmological schema and the myth of the World Axis among the genuine survivals of the Pygmies’ religious tradition

The source of the experience

Shaman unspecified

Concepts, symbols and science items

Science Items

Activities and commonsteps



Activity not known