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Mircea Eliade - Describes Siberian shaman rebirth 003069



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

The Shaman’s coat – Anna Reid
Especially dramatic were their initiatory journeys, during which they endured dismemberment and resurrection' emerging with shamanising powers. A Sakha shaman told of how a long tailed iron-beaked bird carried him off to the underworld, spitted him on a pine-branch, then cut him up and fed him to the spirits of smallpox and influenza.  When the diseases had eaten their fill the bird gathered and reclothed with flesh his clean picked bones,  leaving him with the ability to heal. A Nenets shaman stumbled into a mountain cave where he found a naked man stirring a giant cauldron.  The man caught him in a pair of tongs and boiled him up for three years, before reassembling him complete with eyes that could see the spirits, a throat that could sing for ever, and ears that could understand the conversation of trees.

Mircea Eliade – Shamanism Archaic techniques of ecstasy

Sometimes initiation includes both the candidate’s dismemberment and his ascent to the sky (we have seen that this is the case among the Binbinga and the Mara).  Elsewhere, initiation takes place during a mystical descent to the underworld.  All these types of initiation are also found among the Siberian and Central Asian shamans.  Such a parallelism between two groups of mystical techniques belonging to archaic peoples so far removed in space is not without bearing on the place to be accorded to shamanism in the general theory of religions

The source of the experience

Siberian shamanism

Concepts, symbols and science items


Spirit helper

Science Items

Activities and commonsteps



Inherited genes