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The Beauty Of The Primitive

Author: Andrei A. Znamenski
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780198038498
Size: 44.11 MB
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For the past forty years shamanism has drawn increasing attention among the general public and academics. There is an enormous literature on shamanism, but no one has tried to understand why and how Western intellectual and popular culture became so fascinated with the topic. Behind fictional and non-fictional works on shamanism, Andrei A. Znamenski uncovers an exciting story that mirrors changing Western attitudes toward the primitive. The Beauty of the Primitive explores how shamanism, an obscure word introduced by the eighteenth-century German explorers of Siberia, entered Western humanities and social sciences, and has now become a powerful idiom used by nature and pagan communities to situate their spiritual quests and anti-modernity sentiments. The major characters of The Beauty of the Primitive are past and present Western scholars, writers, explorers, and spiritual seekers with a variety of views on shamanism. Moving from Enlightenment and Romantic writers and Russian exile ethnographers to the anthropology of Franz Boas to Mircea Eliade and Carlos Castaneda, Znamenski details how the shamanism idiom was gradually transplanted from Siberia to the Native American scene and beyond. He also looks into the circumstances that prompted scholars and writers at first to marginalize shamanism as a mental disorder and then to recast it as high spiritual wisdom in the 1960s and the 1970s. Linking the growing interest in shamanism to the rise of anti-modernism in Western culture and intellectual life, Znamenski examines the role that anthropology, psychology, environmentalism, and Native Americana have played in the emergence of neo-shamanism. He discusses the sources that inspire Western neo-shamans and seeks to explain why lately many of these spiritual seekers have increasingly moved away from non-Western tradition to European folklore. A work of intellectual discovery, The Beauty of the Primitive shows how scholars, writers, and spiritual seekers shape their writings and experiences to suit contemporary cultural, ideological, and spiritual needs. With its interdisciplinary approach and engaging style, it promises to be the definitive account of this neglected strand of intellectual history.

Stealing Fire From Heaven

Author: Nevill Drury
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780199792511
Size: 38.18 MB
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The Western magical traditions are currently undergoing an international resurgence. In Stealing Fire from Heaven, Nevill Drury offers an overview of the modern occult revival and seeks to explain this growing interest in ancient magical belief systems. Gnosticism and the Hermetica, the medieval Kabbalah, Tarot and Alchemy, and more recently, Rosicrucianism and Freemasonry, collectively laid the basis for the modern magical revival, which first began to gather momentum in Europe at the end of the nineteenth century. Western magic has since become increasingly eclectic, drawing on such diverse sources as classical Greco-Roman mythology, Celtic cosmology, Kundalini yoga and Tantra, shamanism, chaos theory, and the various spiritual traditions associated in many different cultures with the Universal Goddess. Drury traces the rise of various forms of magical belief and practice, from the influential Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn to the emergence of Wicca and Goddess worship as expressions of contemporary feminine spirituality. He also explores Chaos Magick and the occult practices of the so-called Left-Hand Path, as well as twenty-first-century magical forays into cyberspace. He believes that the rise of modern Western magic stems essentially from the quest for personal spiritual transformation and direct experience of the sacred--a quest which the trance occultist and visionary artist Austin Osman Spare once referred to as "stealing fire from heaven." Considered in this light, Drury argues, modern Western magic can be regarded as a form of alternative spirituality in which the practitioners seek direct engagement with the mythic realm.

Religion Politics And Nation Building In Post Communist Countries

Author: Greg Simons
Publisher: Ashgate Publishing, Ltd.
ISBN: 1472449711
Size: 79.39 MB
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The increasing significance and visibility of relationships between religion and public arenas and institutions following the fall of communism in Europe provide the core focus of this fascinating book. Leading international scholars consider the religious and political role of Christian Orthodoxy in the Russian Federation, Romania, Georgia and Ukraine alongside the revival of old, indigenous religions, often referred to as 'shamanistic' and look at how, despite Islam’s long history and many adherents in the south, Islamophobic attitudes have increasingly been added to traditional anti-Semitic, anti-Western or anti-liberal elements of Russian nationalism. Contrasts between the church’s position in the post-communist nation building process of secular Estonia with its role in predominantly Catholic Poland are also explored. Religion, Politics and Nation-Building in Post-Communist Countries gives a broad overview of the political importance of religion in the Post-Soviet space but its interest and relevance extends far beyond the geographical focus, providing examples of the challenges in the spheres of public, religious and social policy for all transitional countries.

Red Shambhala

Author: Andrei Znamenski
Publisher: Quest Books
ISBN: 0835630285
Size: 21.66 MB
Format: PDF, ePub
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Many know of Shambhala, the Tibetan Buddhist legendary land of spiritual bliss popularized by the film, Shangri-La. But few may know of the role Shambhala played in Russian geopolitics in the early twentieth century. Perhaps the only one on the subject, Andrei Znamenski’s book presents a wholly different glimpse of early Soviet history both erudite and fascinating. Using archival sources and memoirs, he explores how spiritual adventurers, revolutionaries, and nationalists West and East exploited Shambhala to promote their fanatical schemes, focusing on the Bolshevik attempt to use Mongol-Tibetan prophecies to railroad Communism into inner Asia. We meet such characters as Gleb Bokii, the Bolshevik secret police commissar who tried to use Buddhist techniques to conjure the ideal human; and Nicholas Roerich, the Russian painter who, driven by his otherworldly Master and blackmailed by the Bolshevik secret police, posed as a reincarnation of the Dalai Lama to unleash religious war in Tibet. We also learn of clandestine activities of the Bolsheviks from the Mongol-Tibetan Section of the Communist International who took over Mongolia and then, dressed as lama pilgrims, tried to set Tibet ablaze; and of their opponent, Ja-Lama, an “avenging lama” fond of spilling blood during his tantra rituals.

The Shamanic Themes In Armenian Folktales

Author: Michael Berman
Publisher: Cambridge Scholars Publishing
ISBN:
Size: 65.69 MB
Format: PDF, Kindle
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"In Marxist anthropological theory, shamanism represented one of the early forms of religion that later gave rise to more sophisticated beliefs in the course of human advancement ... The premise of Marxism was that eventually, at the highest levels of civilization, the sacred and religion would eventually die out" (Znamenski, 2007, p.322). Though history has of course since disproved this, the theory clearly had a great bearing on what was written in the former Soviet Union about shamanism, and also on people's attitudes in the former Soviet Republics towards such practices. On the other hand, it has been suggested that "all intellectuals driven by nationalist sentiments directly or indirectly are always preoccupied with searching for the most ancient roots of their budding nations in order to ground their compatriots in particular soil and to make them more indigenous" (Znamenski, 2007, p.28). Although this might apply to searching for the roots of Christianity in Armenia, when it comes to searching for the roots of pagan practices, interest on the part of the people of Armenia is generally speaking not so forthcoming. This impasse, coupled with the effects of the repressions against religions, including shamanism, unleashed by the Soviet government between the 1930s and 1950s, along with the recent surge of interest in the Armenian Orthodox church, a backlash to the seventy years of officially sanctioned atheism, makes research into the subject no easy business. However, hopefully this study will at least in some small way help to set the process in motion.

The Shamanic Themes In Georgian Folktales

Author: Michael Berman
Publisher: Cambridge Scholars Publishing
ISBN:
Size: 78.48 MB
Format: PDF, Mobi
View: 3409
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"In Marxist anthropological theory, shamanism represented one of the early forms of religion that later gave rise to more sophisticated beliefs in the course of human advancement ... The premise of Marxism was that eventually, at the highest levels of civilization, the sacred and religion would eventually die out" (Znamenski, 2007, p.322). Though history has of course since disproved this, the theory clearly had a great bearing on what was written in the former Soviet Union about shamanism, and also on people's attitudes in the former Soviet Republics towards such practices. On the other hand, it has been suggested that "all intellectuals driven by nationalist sentiments directly or indirectly are always preoccupied with searching for the most ancient roots of their budding nations in order to ground their compatriots in particular soil and to make them more indigenous" (Znamenski, 2007, p.28). Although this might apply to searching for the roots of Christianity in Armenia, when it comes to searching for the roots of pagan practices, interest on the part of the people of Armenia is generally speaking not so forthcoming. This impasse, coupled with the effects of the repressions against religions, including shamanism, unleashed by the Soviet government between the 1930s and 1950s, along with the recent surge of interest in the Armenian Orthodox church, a backlash to the seventy years of officially sanctioned atheism, makes research into the subject no easy business. However, hopefully this study will at least in some small way help to set the process in motion.