Back to Siberia

Andrei A. Znamenski

in The Beauty of the Primitive

Published in print July 2007 | ISBN: 9780195172317
Published online September 2007 | e-ISBN: 9780199785759 | DOI:
  Back to Siberia

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The picture of shamanism in the modern imagination is not complete without exploring how Soviet Marxism viewed this phenomenon and what happened with shamanism under communism and beyond. Shamanism became the symbol of obscurantism and conservatism, which corresponded to Karl Marx's famous dictum that, by its nature, religion was the “opiate of the people” used by ruling elites to mask their domination over the laboring masses. This chapter describes Soviet attempts to theorize about shamanism using Marxism and the efforts made to eradicate it. The settings, events, and people that contributed to the return of shamanism into native Siberian life in the 1990s are discussed. This resurgence of Siberian indigenous spirituality is considered in the context of a global mind, body, and spirit culture.

Keywords: shamanism; Siberia; indigenous spirituality; Karl Marx; Marxism; communism; esotericism

Chapter.  17451 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Religious Studies

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