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Shamanism Among the Sami Groups and Yakut

Updated on April 29, 2014


Shamanism is an ancient healing tradition and a way of life for many people around the world. This paper will focus on the Sam group of people and Hmong people in relation to their shamanism practice. The Sami Groups of people, found in Northern Asia, are known for practicing shamanism even in the modern times. The Hmong people on the other hand, are an ethnic group who live in the Central Republic of China. Some important shamanic practices and beliefs are shared among the Sami and Hmong cultures.

Among the similar Shamanism practices for these groups is the use of songs or music that is intended to mimic natural sounds while performing such rituals. For the Sami, the songs, which were sung while performing shamanistic rites, were identified as Yoiks. The Hmong accompanied their rituals with specific songs which are designed for specific function.

However, there are notable differences between the two cultures on how they performed their Shamanistic practices for healing purposes. For instance, the Sami Group Shamans employed more simple magical actions, ritual objects and incantations without having to invoke the spirits (Lintrop 2009). The Hmong on the other hand practiced complicated rituals such as using twigs to touch the sick part. Additionally, Hmong Shamans are known in using animal sacrifices in most of its shamanic rituals.

One important factor identified among the, Hmong over other Shamanic cultures as revealed by Stein (2009) is that they consider all living things to have souls, which are equal in nature.

Shamanism today

Despite Shamanism being the oldest religious practitice in human history, they continue to perform their religious practices in many societies at present. These people perform magical rituals in which they are considered as conversing with spirits and gods, performing healing with supernatural powers and even visiting the spiritual world. Stein continues to argue that although shamans are mostly treated with skepticism by the more civilized or modern people, their services their magical functions very vital to their societies. This author depicts shamans as being intermediates, healers or conductors of souls and according to her perspective; they have powers of travelling to the underworld.

In essence, it has become hard to hide or eliminate shamanism in the world perspective. Some countries such as Mongolia and Tuva have tried to kill this practice in all ways. However, the practice has begun to flourish again after being brutally persecuted by the Soviet Union for many years. The effort of breaking through and being able to enter into the spiritual world is found worthwhile in the modern perspective. For many, the practice of Shamanism is an avenue for good health among individuals, and for the survival of life, here on earth. Human beings appear to have a deeper inner need of sense and interacting with the spiritual world.

Some may wonder why in modern times, many people are turning to the practices and beliefs of the oldest spiritual disciplines on earth. The re-emergence of shamanism in recent times is an indication of humanity’s need in feeling connected to the world and the universe. Many of the Shamanic practitioners may argue that the western cultures generate a means of being which seek to control and conquer human beings as well as the earth.

It can also be said that all human descend from shamanic societies. Many traditional societies were coerced into giving up their shamanic practices because of the increasing demands from what is currently the dominant religious culture. In essence, we are currently on the crest of a breaking wave in the evolution of human consciousness. The current high interest rate of shamanism in awareness and ritual is coming because the time has come. There is a demand placed on humanity to raise their level of consciousness and step all the wonder, which they are really capable of creating.

In my perspective, neoshamanism can be considered as a legitimate form of shamanism since shamnists behave and believe as though time is non-linear. In this logic, time also exists on several and different planes simultaneously. In addition, it is one with nature, seasons and the earth. In essence, the view of life, animal and human is the same since we are born, live, die and become part the earth. It should be considered that neoshamanism is built across the cultural fantasy which are eclectically borrowed and homogenized into options that we can safely, simply and quickly practiced. Intersection of cultural beliefs echoes back to a common heritage of all humanity, which we have to regain.


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    • bethperry profile image

      Beth Perry 3 years ago from Tennesee

      Very interesting and beautifully written! It is a tragedy Shamanism suffers from the hostilities of modern religion and in some cases, the "enlightened" minds of our contemporary society. Thank you for posting.