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Observations placeholder

Andrija Puharich - Siberian shamans - The Tests of Bodily function control



Type of Spiritual Experience


Being able to control your body temperature along with similar tests for the ability to withstand cold are used by the Tibetan Buddhists


A description of the experience

Andrija Puharich – The Sacred Mushroom

The candidate for shamanship, either male or female, usually receives a "call" to this form of priesthood somewhere between the ages of fifteen to thirty-five. He then retreats into the woods from his clan or tribe and lives a solitary and ascetic life for a long period.

During this time he indulges in fasting, exposure to cold, and physical exertion to an extreme degree bordering on masochism. He has two objects, one to master the physical man and the other to master the "spirits." When he feels that he has achieved mastery over both he returns to his clan and undergoes testing at the hands of the elders to see if he is master of himself and the spirits.

The physical tests are prodigious. For example, among the Tungus, nine holes are cut in the ice of a frozen river and the candidate has to jump into the first hole and surface in succession at each of the remaining eight holes. If he survives this test he goes on to other extreme tests, finally being allowed to demonstrate his ability to call and control the clan spirits. Having passed all these tests and shown his ability in divination, medicine, soothsaying, and spirit mastery, he then becomes a full-fledged shaman.

The source of the experience

Siberian shamanism

Concepts, symbols and science items


Science Items

Activities and commonsteps