Saturday, September 26, 2015

Shamans and Sacred Symbols

CC Jean Stimmell September 25, 2015
An explanation for combining bones and trees in my 
photographic series: Shamans and Sacred Symbols

The importance of bones:

Mircea Eliade reminds us modern Western folks– addicted as we are to rational thought and mathematical algorithms –why bones are so existentially important, something traditional cultures have always known because, rather than being cognitively divorced, indigenous people are intimately held within the embrace of mother nature within the web of life.

"Indeed, for the hunting peoples, the bone symbolizes the ultimate root of animal Life, the matrix from which the flesh is continually renewed. It is starting with the bones that animals and men are re-born; they maintain themselves awhile in carnal existence, and when they die their "life" is reduced to the essence concentrated in the skeleton, whence they will be born anew according to an uninterrupted cycle that constitutes an eternal return. It is duration alone, time, which breaks and separates, by the intervals of carnal existence, the timeless unity represented by the quintessence of Life concentrated in the bones. By contemplating himself as a skeleton, the shaman does away with time and stands in the presence of the eternal source of Life.".[1]

The importance of trees:

Another sacred symbol to indigenous cultures around the world is the cosmic tree which connects Earth with Heaven. The shaman, separated from his community by the intensity of her religious experience, lives on the sacred side of life which enables him to climb the Cosmic Tree to the top where she can “commune with the Lord of the World."[2]

To see the rest of my bony images, check out Shaman and Sacred Symbols on my photography website. 



[1] Mircea Eliade, Myths, Dreams and Mysteries: The Encounter Between Contemporary Faiths and Archaic Realities.pp 83-84
[2] Ibid. pp 64-5.
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