Dreamtime & Inner Space, 19-24

pp. 209-212 ascension by shaman of the world-tree




[Balagansk region in Siberia] "the shamanic candidate is carried on a felt mat along a row of birch tree nine times, from east to west. Then he climbs each of these birches, circling the trunk nine times, and calls the spirits from the top of each tree. His teacher simultaneously circles that tree on the ground." [reference :- Harva 1938, p. 486sq]


"The shamanic gurus of the Nepalese Bhujel, as they sing and drum, have a vision of a particular pine tree in the forest and direct other members of the clan to find it. ... this tree is ... taken back to ... where it is erected upright in a hole. {similarly as at the Sun Dance in Wyoming} ... the guru transmits his ecstasy to his pupil, who proceeds to climb the tree. The guru then shouts ... nine times and the pupil, with each shout, slides part way down the trunk until he touches the ground. [reference :- Hitchcock 1976, p. 175]


Among the Magars [in Nepal], the shaman also climbs a tree. He is blindfolded during his ascent. ... He brings back knowledge and prophecies from the Intermediate realm. [reference :- Oppitz 1981]


After his initiation in a luminous cave, the Australian Kurnai medicine man ... was placed into the crown of a tree by the village elders. Thus he became a mulla-mullung. He later found himself lying under the tree with shining objects of magic in his hands." [reference :- Howitt 1887, p. 408]


[Siberia] "the shamans arrive at the "wealthy birch tree" ... . They .. examine its tamgas, or brands ... .


The ones who get their power through the spirit of the mountain, or through a sickness, have no such symbols. If a member of a family is about to become a shaman, the tamga of the dead shaman of the same clan revives. It becomes clearly visible on the trunk of the birch again. ...

When the shaman goes to the chief shaman, that is, the family ancestor, he has to cross the ham saraschan harazi mountain along the way. On the top of that mountain there is a pine tree; its trunk resembles a six-sided log. The shamans carve their symbols into it, between the edges. Whoever places his marking, his tamga, upon it, then becomes a real shaman." [quoted from Dio`szegi 1968, p. 65sq]


"The Buryat and the ... Altai erect a young birch tree and carve nine notches into the lower end of the trunk ... .These notches serve the shaman as steps during his ascent. Whereas the Buryat and Altai believe that the World Tree penetrates all three realms – heaven, earth, and the underworld – the people of the Siberian Gold tribe have a separate World Tree for each realm. [reference :- Ksenofontov 1955, p. 213]


The Tungus of the Lower Tunguska believe in a World Tree known as Tuuru {cf. TURU as Polynesian mythic prop-of-the-sky}, which grows in heaven. On this tree are nests which contain eggs – the souls of shamans. The closer such a nest is to heaven the stronger will be the shaman emerging from it. Shamans that come from nests halfway up or near the bottom of the tree have only average or small powers. The eggs are hatched by a great bird that appears ...


three times ; at birth, during the dismemberment of his body {in a dream}, and at his death." [reference :- Ksenofontov 1955, p. 156]

Hitchcock 1976 = John T. Hitchcock : "Aspects of Bhujel Shamanism". In :- Hitchcock & Jones (ed.s) : Spirit Possession in the Nepal Himalayas. Warminster.

Oppitz 1981 = Michael Oppitz : Schamanen im blinden Land. Frankfurt.

pp. 213-214 other means of ascent to heaven or of descent into the netherworld


other means


"The medicine men of the Australian Kurnai, accompanied by their helping spirits (Mrart), climb to heaven along a kind of rope ..., where a spirit of the dead creates a hole for them through which they can slip into heaven. [reference :- Howitt 1904]


A medicine man of the Australian Barkinyi cuts a circular piece of skin from the belly of his dead wife. He chews a small piece of it after drying it, whereupon her spirit (gumatch) appears to him. It lifts him up and carries him to heaven. There he comes to a ... window that is guarded by another gumatch. ... On the other side of this entrance he meets the spirits of the dead, who reach him many things but soon after urge him to return to earth. [reference :- Petri 1952, p. 293]


The Tshimshian of the Canadian [British Columbia] northwest coast often have holes in their totem poles, which serve as ceremonial routes of access to the house of Haidzermerh {cf. /H.AD.RaMawt/?}, the Creator. The shaman begins his soul journey at this "hole through the sky."


The Mexican Huichol Indians speak in this context of Nierika, and


[South American Tropical Forest] Indians, after taking the psychedelic Ayahuasca brew, say that the "horizon opens like a door."" [reference :- Reichel-Dolmatoff 1975]


[statement by Siberia shaman (quoted from Popow 1963, p. 149sq)] "As I looked around, I noticed a hole in the earth. ... The hole became larger and larger. We [shaman and spirit ally] descended


through it and arrived at a river".


"Spirits, too, needs such a place of entry. That is why there is a hole in the wall of the house of the Indonesian [on the island of Gilolo in the Maluku islands (DL&DM--"TTT")] Tobelorese. A palm leaf is placed into this hole, with a stick {as bridge} through it that establishes the connection between inside and outside. This construction is referred to as the "path of the spirits."" [reference :- Ro:der 1948, p. 124]

Howitt 1904 = Alfred W. Howitt : The Native Tribes of South-East Australia. London.

Popow 1963 = Andrei A. Popow : "Wie Sereptie D’aruoskin zum Schamanen erwa:hlt wurde". In :- Vilmos Dio`szegi (ed.) : Glaubenswelt und Folklore des sibirischen Vo:lker. Budapest.

DL&DM--"TTT" = http://www.diccionariosdigitales.net/glosarios%20y%20vocabularios/diccionario%20de%20lenguas%20y%20dialectos%20del%20mundo-ttt.htm

p. 214 C^umas^ legend about a shaman (wizard)

"Axiwalic, a wizard who is critically ill, slips through a hole into the other world while he is trying to heal himself. ... He was walking one night by the side of the ocean ... when a light appeared from a nearby cliff. This light flew around for a while, disappeared again and shortly after reappeared, dancing above the cliffs. ... This small flickering light ... submitted to the will of Axiwalic and guided him to a narrow orifice that led into a tunnel. After they had passed through this tunnel and entered a house, the little light disappeared and Axiwalic found himself in the company of various animals – a deer, a beaver, and birds. Soon yet more arrived : coyotes, bears, and wild cats. All these animals defecated on Axiwalic, and when he was all covered with feces, ... he was ... healed. ... He then returned home, having reached the earth’s surface through a spring. ... He ... was amazed when they said that he had been gone for three years, for he thought he had been gone only three days!" [reference :- Blackburn 1975, p. 233sq]

pp. 216-218 extraction of spiritual power from animal




[Tukano] "To be able to visit the Ruler of the Animals, however, the shamanic aspirant has need of the intervention of Viho`-mahse:, the Lord of Snuff ... . If a shaman wished to learn where game can be found or when best to carry out a large-scale fishing expedition, he must sniff Viho` (Virola spp.) in order to be able to consult the Lord of Snuff while psychedelically intoxicated. Viho`-mahse: lives in the Milky Way and keeps mankind under continuous observation. The shaman travels to him".


[Fiji (reference : Katz 1981, p. 68)] "snakes are believed to be possessors of Mana, the life force. It is [a snake-charmer]’s task to wrest this mana from the seasnake. ...


Suddenly a seasnake appeared, and round its neck, hanging by a gold chain, was the mana-box. ... He slipped the mana-box off the seasnake’s neck, thereby acquiring great healing powers." {"I slipped the mana-box off its neck and didn’t even need the pole. The Vu now told me that I was to use that mana for healing." (SPS, p. 315)}

Katz 1981 = Richard Katz : "Becoming a Healer among !Kung and Fijians". HARVARD EDUCATIONAL REVIEW, vol. 51. pp. 57-78.

SPS = Richard Katz : The Straight Path of the Spirit. 1983. http://books.google.com/books?id=VGJlXFjFXLoC&pg=PA315&lpg=PA315&dq=loti+mana+seasnake&source=bl&ots=qrjNqXVYB6&sig=-NtRGekLSi1w7W2Js7tFC4wB22I&hl=en&ei=_qK4TJeGEcKclgf2sqmvDQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CBQQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false

pp. 220-223 shamanic significance of crystals




[Kwakiutl] "I was taken far away to the quartz mountain ...

I was covered with crystals on the quartz mountain ...

I became a bird a Matem on the quartz mountain

a cloud came and took me to the edge of the world" [quoted from Cloutier 1980, p. 83sq] {"MatEm, who lives on the top of steep mountains ... is a bird,

and bestows the faculty of flying." (SO&SSK)}


"The shaman receives crystals ... . He is literally showing himself with them and performs the dance of the mythological Matem Bird, turns into a bird himself, and leaves his body to fly to the "edge of the world"". {"among the Kwakiutl, where the sun is also thought to set in a mountain ... . Among the Kwakiutl it is the mountain of the white eagle Matem."(SKR, p. 110, fn.1)} {Instead of quartz, there are diamonds strewn in the valley frequented by gigantic eagles, according to narrative of the 2nd voyage of Sindbad ("2ndVSS").}


"The pioneer of scientific hypnosis, James Braid, used crystals ... . Crystal gazing is also mentioned by Agrippa von Nettesheim, Paracelsus, John Dee, and Cagliostro."


"The Arizona Hopi believe that there are various spirito-physiological centers along the spinal column, comparable to the chakras in Hinduism, and they gaze through crystals to perceive these centers more clearly. [reference : Waters 1963] {"the medicine man took out from his medicine pouch a small crystal ..., held it in the sun to get it in working order, and then looked through it at each of the centers." (BH, p. 11)}


Similarly, the Tarahumare shamans of the Mexican Hechizero make use of crystals for diagnosing internal illnesses, and


the [Maran~on river-basin] Tukano, in much the same way, use crystals during healing as a kind of magnifying glass to enhance their power of vision. then then extract the illness from the body by means of these crystals. [reference :- Reichel-Dolmatoff 1975, p. 90]


The Keresan ... along the Rio Grande employ crystals for identifying objects that have been introduced into the patient’s body by a ... spell. Apart from that, crystals are used for clairvoyance ... . [reference :- White 1930]


The shamans of the Papago Indians have "shining stones" which are brighter than the headlights of a car or flares. By the use of these stones they can discover the site of an illness ... . Most Papago healers have four of these precious stones. They are said to carry them in their heart, so that their saliva is charged with energy as they spray it all over the patient.

[statement by Papago healer (quoted from Underhill 1946, p. 271) :] The eagle told me to go at sunset to ... look for the crystals. So I did, ... and one by one they jumped down my throat."


"The Kwakiutl shaman ..., who traveled to the Beyond and there received the power of healing from Nau>alakume, his spirit helper in the shape of a wolf, also owned crystals which resided within him. After his initiation, the spirits took him to "the very edge of this world" ... . Nau>alakume gave ... the crystals whereby he became a shaman, a healer." [reference :- Cloutier 1980, p. 88sq]

Cloutier 1980 = David Cloutier : Spirit, Spirit. Providence.

SO&SSK = Franz Boas : The Social Organization and the Secret Societies of the Kwakiutl Indians. http://www.archive.org/stream/cihm_14300/cihm_14300_djvu.txt

SKR = Gottfried Wilhelm Locher : The Serpent in Kwakiutl Religion. E. J. Brill, 1932. http://books.google.com/books?id=qSQVAAAAIAAJ&pg=PA110&lpg=PA110&dq=Kwakiutl+matem+bird+quartz&source=bl&ots=6oGrErlqaS&sig=xoYvhRreGlE8b3d6zkZSk8OHO3Q&hl=en&ei=y7G4TIWJKsK78gaB3PSuDg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&sqi=2&ved=0CBIQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=Kwakiutl%20matem%20bird%20quartz&f=false

"2ndVSS" = "The 2nd Voyage of Sindbad the Sailor" http://www.mythfolklore.net/1001nights/dixon/second_voyage.htm

BH = Frank Waters : The Book of the Hopi. Viking Penguin Inc., 1963.

White 1930 = Leslie A. White : "A Comparative Study of Keresan Medicine Societies". PROCEEDINGS OF THE 23RD INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS OF AMERICANISTS. NY.

pp. 225-227 California shamans taming their own supernatural "pains" by dreaming


taming pains



"a Yurok Indian woman ... saw in a dream ... a woman standing beside her who reached right into heaven, broke off some of the bleeding icicles hanging down from there, and placed them into [the dreameress’s] mouth. This is how she received her magical powers from the Bringer of Life. Later, as she was dancing, the face of a goshawk appeared to her. He, too, placed something in her mouth".

"Among the Yurok, the spirit protector places "pains" inside the initiate, which then have to be "cooked" – that is to say, tamed – by prolonged dancing and singing. ...

Another Yurok shamaness dreamt ... .

p. 227 "A Californian Shasta woman ... heard a voice speaking to her ... ... He commanded her to sing ... . she performed her first shamanic dance, holding herself by a rope that was swung from the ceiling. ... From this time on she had in her body a visible materialization of her spirit’s power. It was an object {ectoplasm} like an icicle, which she would exhibit during her dances, producing it from one part of her body and returning it to another. [reference :- Benedict 1934, p. 60sq] ...


She then ... every night went into the sweat lodge to dance. ... Not until the tenth day did she succeed in controlling her "pains" and ... something that looked like the liver of a flounder came up through her mouth.

{[Karawari myth] When fishing at night, "The sakima "Threw its liver into the creek." (DThT, p. 165)} {cf. "the liver and gall of the fish" (Book of Tobit 6:6)}


She slept in the sweat lodge closely guarded by several men, to ensure that she ... trance ... . A monster appeared to her one night in a dream.

{"This guardian spirit is the source of shamanistic power through his putting into the candidate on of the telogeL or "pains" upon control of which the doctor’s power rests. The spirit may be ... an animal like the chicken hawk ... or the whale. ... It is to "cook" these pains, to accustom them to their new human bode, to make them tractable, that the new doctor dances the remo^hpo or "kick dance" for days before the fire in the sweat house. ... A doctor’s {doctrix’s} first pain may come to her unsought in a dream ... . To get its mate she goes to one of the mountaintop half-enclosures of stone which the Yurok call tsektseL .. . There she dances again, ... under guard and at night, until, the guardian spirit having put the second of the pair into her body, she goes out of her senses" ("YSh", p. 533).} {"The large telogeL pains rest in the doctor’s body enveloped in a blanket of something like slime (sle^yiL). ...


One of its legs was straight, the other bent, and it had only one eye. ... After that, she danced through three nights and received her fourth largest "pains." ... If she danced for a long time, she was able to track down illnesses in other people". [reference :- Spott 1971, p. 535sq]

{[Karawari myth] While the sakima (female bush-spirit) "swallowed its leg the baby screamed." (DThT, p. 165)}


One Yuki shaman ... dreamt about the Creator, whom he encountered in heaven, where he also saw many colors and flowers. ...

The telogeL pains ... are described as of various shapes and colors" ("YSh", p. 534).}


The Creator had been connected to his head by something like a cord and then sang another song and told him to use that one". [reference :-ibid.]

"I felt reentry into my body through the silver cord at the top of my head." (BL, pp. 56-60; quoted in "NDEA" #13, and in "NSC")

DThT = Borut Telman : Dancing through Time. Clarendon Pr, Oxford, 1998.

Tobit = http://www.piney.com/ApocTobit.html

Spott 1971 ("YSh") = Robert Spott : "Yurok Shamanism". In :- Robert Fleming Heizer & Mary Anne Whipple (ed.s) : The Californian Indians : a source book. Berkeley. 2nd edn. pp. 533-43. http://books.google.com/books?id=ZjUOmWWyGSMC&pg=PA101&lpg=PA101&dq=Heizer+%22Californian+Indians%22&source=bl&ots=7lx-f8rcoX&sig=fqAenuIm-0dA62Ac9vu5fpxWg3Y&hl=en&ei=r5q5TNqtEIP6lwfp4qDLDQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CBUQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false [reprinted from :- Robert Spott : "Yurok Narratives". UCPAA&E 35 (1942), pp. 143-256.]

Benedict 1934 = Ruth Benedict : "Anthropology and the Abnormal". JOURNAL OF GENERAL PSYCHOLOGY, No. 10. pp. 59-79.

BL = P. M. H. Atwater : Beyond the Light. Birch Lane Pr, NY, 1994.

"NDEA" = "17 Near-Death Experience Accounts from Beyond the Light" http://www.iands.org/pmh17.html

"NSC" = "NDE and the Silver Cord" http://www.near-death.com/experiences/research12.html

p. 231 agility of the projected subtle body, or of the dream-body of a shaman

[Siberian Tofa shaman (quoted from Dio`szegi 1963b, p. 347)] "I heard him say that, when he was shamanizing, he could fly over rocks. And often he would jump from one big rock to the next, for instance from Surar yaja to Soyny yaja (two cliffs that are about half a kilometer apart)."

[Siberian shaman, detailing "what kind of things the soul of a shaman might encounter on its journey to the Land of the Dead" (quoted from Dio`szegi 1968, p. 60)] "A single rope is fastened across the kettle and they order him to walk over it. ... certain people told ... that they were forced to pass around the edge of the kettle. They did it".

Dio`szegi 1963b = Vilmos Dio`szegi : "Zum ... Homogenita:t des tofischen (karagassischen) Schamanismus". In :- Glaubenswelt und Folklore der sibirischen Vo:lker. Budapest.

Holger Kalweit (transl. from the German by Werner Wu:nsche) : Dreamtime & Inner Space. Shambhala, Boston, 1988.