chapter
Aspects of Shamanism: An Introduction
ByPeter Knecht
Pages 30

AS REPRESSIVE ideologies and political systems started to dissolve,many ethnic groups in Asia and elsewhere began to reflect on their distinctive cultural properties in order to reconnect themselves with their tradition and their cultural roots. This led to a new appreciation and revival of folklore in various fields such as oral traditions, music, and religion. In Siberia, for example, people began to search for their lost pre-Soviet roots by expelling as much as possible what reminded them of the repressive regime. In terms of religion, they came to see shamanism, rather than Orthodox Christianity, as the fundamental basis of their worldview and their religious expressions. In other areas, such as China, where minority cultures have been granted more freedom to practice their traditions, shamanism has also had a renaissance, although not to the extent that it has occurred in Siberia. In still other areas of Asia, however, shamanism had never stopped being a central part of local traditional religions and was able to adapt to new circumstances that arose as a result of socioeconomic changes.