Evidence of shamanism in Russian folklore
MetadataShow full item record
A wealth of East Slavic folklore has been collected throughout Russia, Ukraine, and Belorussia over a period of more than a hundred years. Among the many examinations that have been conducted on the massive corpus of legends, fabulates, memorates, and charms is an attempt to gain some understanding of indigenous East Slavic religion. Unfortunately, such examination of these materials has been overwhelmingly guided by political agenda and cultural bias. As early as 1938, Yuri Sokolov suggested in his book, Russian Folklore, that some of Russia’s folk practices bore a remarkable resemblance to shamanic practices, commenting specifically on a trance like state which some women induced in themselves by means of an whirling dance. This thesis explains the historical bias against a comparison of East Slavic folklore with shamanism; offers a brief anthropological review of shamanism and conducts a minimal comparison of elements of Russian folklore with the sine qua non definitions of two experts on the subject of shamanism.