Observations placeholder

Mircea Eliade - Native American Indians - Soul retrieval



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

Mircea Eliade – Shamanism Archaic techniques of ecstasy

Summoned to a sick bed, the North American shaman first turns his attention to discovering the cause of the illness. 

Two principal kinds of diseases are distinguished; those due to the introduction of a pathogenic object, and those resulting from ‘soul loss’.  The treatment in the two cases is essentially different.  In the first the effort is directed to expelling the cause of the trouble, in the second to finding and restoring the patient’s fugitive soul…….

The flight of the patient’s soul may be due to many causes; dreams that frighten it away; dead persons who are reluctant to set out for the land of the shades and prowl around the camp looking for another soul to take with them.  Or finally, the patient’s soul strays far from his body itself………..

The soul leaves the body during sleep and [it is believed] one may kill a person by waking him suddenly.  A shaman must never be startled awake.

The source of the experience

Native American Indians

Concepts, symbols and science items


Science Items

Activities and commonsteps