Event Title

Presentation, "Landscape of Ghosts: A Semaelai Shaman's Cosmological Map"

Presenter Information

Rosemary Gianno, Keene State College

Start Date

12-6-2014 1:15 PM

End Date

12-6-2014 2:30 PM

Description

ABSTRACT — An ephemeral cosmological map sketched by a Semelai shaman brings together distinct narratives of sickness and death, while establishing the shaman’s authority as a healer and cosmologist. This article interprets the map in terms of these graphical narratives as well as its interrelationship with Semelai ways of living, healing, and dying. Because Semelai shamans have been soul-journeying, they are seen as powerful healers who are also potentially harmful to their enemies. Analysis of the b-blyan, a topogenic shamanic healing ritual in which the shaman searches for the patient’s soul, suggests that the ritual binds the shaman while lending him exceptional spiritual and healing powers. The shaman’s experience in the b-blyan correlates with some features in the map, as do some magical incantations, mortuary practices, categories of death, and the question of divine reward and punishment in death and life. The paper concludes that the different disjunctive narratives in the map reflect an attempt by the shaman, Kak, to reconcile them to each other and subsume them within his celestial powers.

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Jun 12th, 1:15 PM Jun 12th, 2:30 PM

Presentation, "Landscape of Ghosts: A Semaelai Shaman's Cosmological Map"

ABSTRACT — An ephemeral cosmological map sketched by a Semelai shaman brings together distinct narratives of sickness and death, while establishing the shaman’s authority as a healer and cosmologist. This article interprets the map in terms of these graphical narratives as well as its interrelationship with Semelai ways of living, healing, and dying. Because Semelai shamans have been soul-journeying, they are seen as powerful healers who are also potentially harmful to their enemies. Analysis of the b-blyan, a topogenic shamanic healing ritual in which the shaman searches for the patient’s soul, suggests that the ritual binds the shaman while lending him exceptional spiritual and healing powers. The shaman’s experience in the b-blyan correlates with some features in the map, as do some magical incantations, mortuary practices, categories of death, and the question of divine reward and punishment in death and life. The paper concludes that the different disjunctive narratives in the map reflect an attempt by the shaman, Kak, to reconcile them to each other and subsume them within his celestial powers.