Siberia, Western

   The territory that lies to the east of the Ural Mountains is a vast lowland covered in taiga forest which extends toward the Arctic Ocean in the north and, to the east, to the network of rivers in the basin of the Ob, the largest Siberian river. The Khanty (Ostyaks) and Mansi (Voguls) are known as Ob-Ugrian speakers living east of the Urals, and these peoples spread to the great Ob River and its tributaries. Culturally the Khanty and Mansi are closely related, and their languages, together with Hungarian, comprise the Ugrian group of Finno-Ugrian languages, so studies of their shamanism tend to emphasize links to the Suomi (Finns), Saami (Lapps), and Hungarian Magyars. To the north of the Khanty and Mansi are the Nenet (Samoyeds) who are a Samoyed-speaking people. All these Western Siberians are hunters and fishers. By the 18th century much of the territory was seized by the encroaching Russians, who sought to control the natural resources of the region beyond the Urals. The Khanty and Mansi were converted to Orthodox Christianity, but much of their indigenous beliefs endured. Two important 19thand early 20th-century ethnographies about the Ob-Ugrians and Samoyeds were amassed by Alexander Castrén and K. Karjalainen. Khanty, Mansi, and Samoyed shamans wore special hoodlike hats, and they utilized drums. Shamanic séances were conducted to recover information from the spirits or for soul retrieval. Indigenous religious practices, according to Marjorie Balzer, involved each clan maintaining sacred sites in groves within which effigies of ancestors and spirits, as well as those of shamans, were placed. Castrén also noted that Khanty shamans spoke to wooden effigies during shamanic ceremonies. Early ethnographers reported that only a shaman was allowed to conduct sacrifices; however, Kustaa Karjalainen demonstrated that this was not always the case. The most famous rite among the Ob-Ugrian peoples was the bear ceremony, which has been documented by many investigators and comprises a number of rituals involving the sacrifice of a bear that conclude with festivities involving dancing, singing, and satirical dramatic performances. More recently, Balzer addressed the significance of gender and bear ceremonialism among the Ob-Ugrian peoples. Karjalainen points out that the bear was also an important spirit called upon by Mansi shamans. However, the Ob-Ugrian shamans, and by extension the Finno-Ugrians, are most noted for their ingestion of Amanita muscaria or fly agaric mushrooms. This practice continues today, as Khanty shamans have been recorded to take Amanita, beat their drum, and wait for the spirit of the mushroom, pong, to arrive. Pong acts as the intermediary between the spirits and shaman, transmitting questions and returning answers.

Historical dictionary of shamanism. . 2007.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Siberia, Northern and Eastern —    Siberia (a vast landmass stretching from the Arctic Ocean in the north to the borders of Mongolia and China in the south, and eastwards to the Pacific Ocean) is the so called locus classicus of shamanism. The term shaman itself derives from… …   Historical dictionary of shamanism

  • Siberia, Southern —    The Altai (Gorno Altai) in the southwest, Tuva in the southeast, and Khakassia to the north are southern Siberian regions consisting of vast steppes and mountains. Altaian peoples are nomadic pastoralists of mixed Turkic Mongolian descent. The …   Historical dictionary of shamanism

  • Siberia — • A Russian possession in Asia forming the northern third of that continent Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Siberia     Siberia     † …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • SIBERIA — (Rus. Sibir), Asiatic part of the Russian Federation, extending from the Urals in the west to the Pacific in the east. The first Jews went to Siberia from Lithuanian towns captured by the Russians in the Russo Polish war (1632–34); they were… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Siberia, Siberia — ( ru. Сибирь, Сибирь...) is a non fiction book by the Russian writer Valentin Rasputin. It was originally published in Russian in 1991 by Molodaya Gvardiya Publishers. The second and third editions appeared in 2000 and 2006; an English… …   Wikipedia

  • Western betrayal — or Yalta betrayal are popular terms in many Central European countries, especially in Poland and the Czech Republic which refers to the foreign policy of several Western countries which violated allied pacts and agreements during the period from… …   Wikipedia

  • Western Marsh Harrier — Adult male (front), juvenile (behind) and adult female (back) Conservation status …   Wikipedia

  • Siberia — Siberian redirects here. For the cat breed, see Siberian (cat). This article is about Siberia as a whole. For the federal district, see Siberian Federal District. For other uses, see Siberia (disambiguation). Coordinates: 60°0′N 105°0′E /  …   Wikipedia

  • Siberia — Siberian, adj., n. /suy bear ee euh/, n. 1. Russian, Sibir . an extensive region in the Russian Federation in N Asia, extending from the Ural Mountains to the Pacific. 2. any undesirable or isolated locale, job, etc., to which one is assigned as… …   Universalium

  • Siberia —    For nineteenth century Russia, Siberia was a resource frontier like the legendary American West for the United States. Until the peasant liberation of 1861, migration to Siberia was mostly compulsory. Exiles were forced to work in Siberian… …   Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.