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Mongolian shamanka Female Shamans and Medicine Women In some societies that practice shamanism there is a preference for the practitioners to be female. At Santander there are wall engravings of men in bird masks who seem to be dancing, and the bird-men of Altamira are also shamans, as are the masked figures at Les Combarelles (Lissner, 1961). Among the Japanese may be found the temple of Sri Lanka (Leach, 1972). Antibrote was another at Troy, as was Cleite, whose ship was blown off course and she landed in Italy to found Clete.

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This woman is also variously known as the Princess of Ukok and the Altai Princess, or Ochy-bala after the Altai heroine. It was hunter-gatherers who created much of rock art which they associated with shamanistic practices and the “…phenomena experienced by shamans during altered states of consciousness, are also reflected in rock art.” (Pearson, 2002). In so far as the Tungus people and their shamanism are concerned “…historically and geographically they have been influenced by culture and borrowing and exchange on a wide front, with the shaman playing a crucial and innovative role as recurring agent and mediator for alien spiritual forces.” (Lewis, 1986). Shamanism: An Archaic and/or Recent System of Beliefs. Theseus carried off princess Antiope, sister of Hippolyta, after the battle. Many goddesses have mythological origins portraying them as warriors and huntresses.

Illustration of the Ukok shamanic burial The burial of a female Natufian shamans discovered in a cave site at Hilazon Tachtit (in Israel) was dated to circa 12,000 BP (Grossman, 2008). Indeed Siberian petroglyphs resemble the Aurignacian drawings from Palaeolithic France that me function as fertility symbols. The most complete manifestation of shamanic practice occurs in Manchuria and Siberia (Leach, 1972) being notable among the Yakuts, Tungus, Koryaks, Ostyaks, Samoyeds as well as the Chukchee. In a poem in the Epic Cycle the Amazons, led by their queen Penthesilea who, according to Quintus Smynaeus, was of Thracian birth, came to aid Priam in the Trojan War after the death of Hector. Today the role of these women warriors or Amazons often remains embedded in many cultures even if disguised by the passage of time.

Reconstruction of a Mesolithic female shaman, 7000-6500 BCE, Bad Durrenberg. At Ma’lta, 50 miles north of Irkutsk, female figures and birds carved in bone represent duck and geese, reminiscent of bird figures which modern Siberian tribes place on top of their shamanic sky-poles. Shamanism and the Upper Palaeolithic The antiquity and ubiquity of shamanism implies it was practised by hunter-gatherers of the European Upper Palaeolithic (Lewis-Williams, 2002), but it was not static or unchanging across western Europe during 30,000 years, indeed “…shamanism is the most archaic form of magico-religious relation of man towards himself and his surroundings.” (Wiercinski, 1989). For others, including anthropologists from the onetime Soviet Union, shamanism is “…essentially a ‘pre-class’ religion that may nevertheless survive in class societies in a marginal, peripheral cult form.” (Lewis, 1986). Otera was an Amazon who, as the consort of Ares, was the mother of both Hippolyta and Penthesilea.

The Ekven burial of a female shaman was found at Chukotka on the Russian side of the Bering Strait. Recurrent artefacts and examples of female shamanic practice are amulets, medicine bags, mirrors, and head-dresses shown by excavated regalia, as well as drums. In view of the fact that shamanic mobiliary art may not have been durable – wands, sky-poles, drums, and other equipment such as masks – it is nonetheless possible that portable engravings of birds may have had a ritual and shamanic role. Indeed, in terms of prehistory shamanism is “…generally regarded as having been endemic to hunter-gatherer societies, because of the importance of its role in hunting.” (Aldhouse-Green, 2005). 2.0 Origin and Meaning The term shaman is Tungus in origin from (Sandars, 1968), with shamanism the basis of Finno-Ugric religion (Guirand, 1982). Melanippe was also a sister of Hippolyta who was captured by Heracles who then demanded Hippolyta’s magic girdle in return for her freedom, whereupon she complied. Arturo Michelena The Amazons were said to have come into contact with the Argonauts of Jason who landed at Lemnos on their ay to Cholchis.

These include the Priestess of Ukok ( as well as remains from south Kazakstan, and the basin from the Ukraine to the Tarim. The prevalence of art deep within caves is the “…cornerstone of the totemic and the magical interpretations.” (Ucko, 1967), that deals the death blow to ‘art for art’s sake’ theories. A shaman is not a magician, not a visionary, not a healer, are usually male but female shamans occur, but importantly it is the “…intensity of his experience that makes him unique. This ninth labour resulted in another Amazonomachy whereby the Amazons attacked Heracles in force, thereby reaching Attica and besieged him at Athens.

Archaeologists have determined that these ancient female interments in central Asia were shamanic priestesses. The Palaeolithic cave artist therefore “…does not differentiate his aesthetic activity…in a world of mystic perception which is one single unity.” (Read, 1949). His ability to extend his consciousness beyond that of the ordinary human being.” (Matthews, 1991). Heracles was joined by Theseus who came to help defeat the Amazon invasion as told in 6th century BC.

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