Healing through symbols : historical continuity of shamanism in Siberia
This thesis investigated the nature of the shamanic healing system in Siberia and examined the changes it has undergone during the Soviet era. The purpose of this work was to analyze the symbolism underlying shamanic healing within the Siberian context which encompasses the native cosmology and classification of illness, as well as historical and ecological settings. By examining the system of meaning incorporated into shamanic cures, I explained the persistence of shamanism in Siberian region throughout the Soviet era. The major premise underlying this work is that shamanic healing provides successful cures to culturally defined afflictions. In this thesis, I discussed two kinds of success observed in Siberian shamanism: its curing effectiveness, and its historical continuity. I suggested that both forms of success are the products of symbolism utilized in this healing system. In order to examine the therapeutic value of symbols utilized in the shamanic curing ritual, I analyzed the indigenous conceptualization of illness and healing within their historical, social, and ecological contexts. The historical continuity of shamanism in Siberia was explained through the analys of transformations observed in the shamanic symbolism during the Soviet era--the period of intense culture change.