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Shamanism and New Age



This is a pretty good site, lots of external links.  

""Shamanism and New Age""

""The New Age movement imported some ideas from shamanism in general and core shamanism in particular. As in other such imports, original users of said ideas frequently condemn New Age use as ill-understood and superficial.

At the same time, there is an endeavor in occult and esoteric circles to re-invent shamanism in a modern form drawing from core shamanism, various indigenous forms of shamanism, and chaos magic. This is mostly focused upon in Europe, where the ancient shamanic tradition was exterminated by the Christian church (see Inquisition) and where people compelled to be shamans often find it improper to use shamanic systems rooted in other parts of the earth. Various traditional shamans express respect for this endeavor and in this, separate it sharply from "light" New Age shamanism.

Many Westerners also claim to be shamans. If a self-described shaman isn't speaking of a Tungusic-speaking ethnic group, he or she is probably a huckster preying on New Age followers. Most commonly they will claim Cherokee or Sioux ancestry, the former because Cherokee ancestors are a common story in one's genealogy, and the latter because of all the Westerns, especially Dances with Wolves. The risk for studying under such people varies from simply losing money to rape and even death in an ill-fated sweat lodge. For Indians, the danger is that their voices will be drowned out by self-styled "shamans"; in fact, Lynn Andrews has sold more books than all Indian authors put together. ""

I particularly like  ""If a self-described shaman isn't speaking of a Tungusic-speaking ethnic group, he or she is probably a huckster preying on New Age followers.""


Overall the article cited here has a good point,
Shamanism not associated with Native Siberian people (including their related minority peoples in Mongolia and China) is pretty much New Age hucksterism.  The exceptions are rare.
But the word "Tungus" bothers me like a nail scratched across a blackboard even though I have people from the nationality still sometimes given that name in my family tree.  Those of you who are Native Americans know of cases among various tribes and clans where outsiders have imposed blanket names on your group which has nothing to do with your language or ethnic name.  Tungus is such a name and was so offensive that it was even eliminated in Soviet times because it was so hated, it bothers me that Westerners still cling onto it.  The nationality is called EVENK.
Evenks are the most widely distributed nationality in Siberia and played an important role in diffusing cultural ideas from one region to another because even though they are not concentrated in any great numbers anywhere they are great hunters and warriors, hardy nomads who have adapted to just about every imaginable niche in northern Eurasia.  Their language overlaps greatly with the other Native Siberian languages, and their material culture has a similar overlap with other native groups.  Likewise most Native Siberians have at least some Evenk blood as a lot of Evenk clans have intermarried and even merged with other tribes.  I respect them very much.
Likewise the word shaman is in its ultimate origin an Evenk word but it has migrated into other Native Siberian languages.  The concept of the shaman and his work is spread throughout the peoples that inhabit that vast area from the Urals to the Pacific, from the Arctic to the Gobi and Himalaya in the south over which the Evenks and their kin and allies ranged and there is an amazing uniformity of belief, regalia, and artistic expression among them which probably was at least in part facilitated by the cultural and trade ties that the Evenk nomads and their relatives, the Mongols, kept up for countless centuries.
When I lived in Siberia I very much admired the work of the Evenk native movement "Arun" in Buryatia and met with them a few times.  They even now have their own radio and TV broadcasts every week.  
Let's try to get that ugly word "Tungus" off the books for good.  The Evenks are taking an important role in the indigenous rights movement in Russia and deserve a lot of respect for the good work they are doing.  Thanks to the Evenks for giving us the word shaman.  Let us all learn to use it more responsibly.




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