"Spirith-Master of the Drum"
from a Siberian Shaman's Drum
Stanford University: The Center for
Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies presents:

Symposium: Eurasian Shamanism as Healing

Izaly Zemtsovsky, Ph.D., ethnomusicologist,
Alma Kunanbaeva, Ph.D., anthopologist,
Peter Newsom, M.D., psychiatrist
Galiya Kassymova, folk healer,
& Saben Baribaev, musician

Co-sponsored by
the Department of Cultural and Social Anthropology
and the Asian Religions and Cultures Initiative

Tressider Memorial Union,
Oak Lounge, Stanford University

Friday, May 20, 2005, 9:30 am-5:30 pm

Edited by Peter Y. Chou

Preface: On May 5, I received an email from Wendy Abraham, Associate Director of Stanford's Buddhist Studies on "Eurasian Shamanism as Healing"— a Symposium presented by Stanford's Center for Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies (CREES). The 7-hour event from 9:30 am to 5 pm included talks on Shamanism from Siberia and Central Asia by an ethnomusicologist, an anthropologist, a psychiatrist, interview with a folk healer from Kazakhstan, and a demonstration session on "Melotherapy" by a folk healer & musician. The word "shaman" conjured up images of the cave art of 40,000 years ago showing a "Reindeer Man" as well as Mircea Eliade's book Shamanism: Archaic Techniques (1964) first published in French Le Chamanisme et les techniques archaïques de l'extase (1951). I was interested in learning more about shamanism and told my friends about this symposium. I made an effort to get up early at 8 am and got the buses to Stanford, arriving at the lecture at 10:10 am. There were around 60 attendees in the room which doubled later in the afternoon. I found an empty seat in the back and opened my mind to learn about those who have traversed to the Upper Worlds. Prof. Izaly Zemtsovsky, the ethnomuscologist and folklorist, was in the middle of his talk "The Phenomenon of Shamanism: The Siberian Case". He spoke softly and referred to his index cards describing characteristics of the Siberian Shaman. Here are my notes of this illuminating symposium.

Izaly Zemtsovsky, Ph.D.,Ethnomusicologist & Folklorist
Visiting Professor of Music, Stanford University
"The Phenomenon of Shamanism: The Siberian Case"
9:30 am-11:15 am

Shamans see with closed eyes. They have visions.
What is a shaman? Here are two etymologically correct definitions:
1) A shaman is one who knows
2) A shaman is a monk or ascetic (Sanskrit)
In Cyrillic, the term "sha-man" denotes "a knowledgeable man"
and "those who dance with excitement".
But there is a universal meaning—
All of us, if we're generous— we are shamans.
We're shamans in our own subtle ways. But the shaman
is suppressed in us so we don't know our own powers.
(Someone in the audience shouted out "Well said!"
and from the general reaction in the room, we all agreed!)

Q & A Session:



Books on Shamanism at the Stanford Library:

Benedict Allen, Last of the Medicine Men
(Chapter 4: Siberia— Shamans in the Steppe)
BBC, London, 2000, 240 pp.
Carla Corradi Musi, Shamanism from East to West
Akadémiai Kiadó,Budapest, Hungary, 1997, 113 pp.
V. Dioszegi & M. Hoppál, Shamanism in Siberia
Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary, 1978, 532 pp.
Mircea Eliade, Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy
Bollingen Series LXXVI, Pantheon Books, NY, 1964, 610 pp.
Stefania Massari & Gilberto Mazzoleni, Il Volo Dello Sciamano
(Simboli ed Arte Delle Culture Siberiane)
De Luca Editori d'Arte, Roma, 2002, 238 pp.
Henry N. Michael (Ed.), Studies in Siberian Shamanism
University of Toronto Press, Toronto, 1963, 229 pp.
Juha Pentikäinen (Ed.), Shamanhood Symbolism and Epic
Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary, 2001, 272 pp.
Martin Prechtel, Secrets of the Talking Jaguar:
A Mayan Shaman's Journey to the Heart of the Indigenous Soul

Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam, New York, 1998, 284 pp.
Margaret Stutley, Shamanism: A Conscise Introduction
Routledge, London, 2003, 134 pp.
Nicolas Thomas & Caroline Humphrey (Eds.),
Shamanism, History, and the State
University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor, 1994, 232 pp.
S. A. Thorpe, Shamans, Medicine Men and Traditional Healers
(A comparative study of shamanism in Siberian Asia,
Southern Africa, and North America)
University of South Africa, Pretoria, 1993, 146 pp.
Robert M. Torrance, The Spiritual Quest
(Transcendence in Myth, Religion, and Science)
University of California Press, Berkeley, 1994, 367 pp.
(Part Four: Forms of the Shamanic Quest) pp. 133-168)
Andrei A. Znamenski, Shamanism in Siberia
(Russian Records of Indigenous Spirituality)
Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, Netherlands, 2003, 371 pp.

Web Sites on Shamanism:

Cave Shaman
Cave Art in Siberia
Huichol Shamanic Art
PBS: The Last Shaman
Siberian Shamanism
Shamans and Shamanism
Shamanism and Rock Art in Minnesota
Shaman: Journal of the International Society for Shamanistic Research

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P.O. Box 390707, Mountain View, CA 94039
email: peter(at)wisdomportal.com (5-20-2005)