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The Beauty of the PrimitiveShamanism and Western Imagination$
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Andrei A. Znamenski

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780195172317

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195172317.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 07 August 2020

 Back to Siberia

 Back to Siberia

Adventures of the Metaphor in Its Motherland

(p.321) 9 Back to Siberia
The Beauty of the Primitive

Andrei A. Znamenski

Oxford University Press

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

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