Greg Little Wrote:
> In Denisovan Origins we tried to stay with a line
> of reasoning that had a factual basis in
> archaeological research. Of course one can
> speculate in all of this and look at contrary
> evidence. As to speculation, in general, there is
> evidence that a common belief system was held by
> ancient people throughout the world. It was a
> cosmology about the stellar origin of life, the
> return of the soul after death, and the path that
> the soul took along with the trials along the way.
> It can certainly be called a shamanistic ideology
> and of course it certainly involved the use of
> hallucinogenic substances. However the use of
> drugs was not the unifying idea, although it
> certainly gets the most attention today.
This is what I was trying to zero in on, clarification of what shamanism means in your definition, compared to the modern zeitgeist.
Personally, I wouldn't say
> that "shamanism" was the unifying factor. The
> fundamental spiritual/religious beliefs were
> clearly shared among these people.
> I'll add one more thing in response to your last
> question. It is known that in the Death Journey
> ceremony held in mound builder cultures (around
> the winter solstice) that hallucinogenics were
> used by some of the participants. That ceremony
> sent the souls of the dead to the Path of
> Souls-the Milky Way. Some of the most amazing
> artifacts ever excavated from American mounds
> (displaying very specific symbols) were containers
> used in these ceremonies. However, rather than the
> drugs being the focal point of it all, it's pretty
> clear that only some people used it, and that it
> was just one portion of a 10 hour ceremony that
> involved a lot of activity.
And one question becomes, to what extent the substances influence their metaphysical connection to the stars. If this was part of an ongoing ritual that lasted for thousands of years, the participants would have surely developed a strong sense of how these substances contributed to their understanding. Just a thought...