Friday, September 29, 2006

Hellenic Shamanism


In ancient Greece there existed a group of spiritual practicioners whom scholars have called 'iatromanteis' (medicine men). This is coined from the term 'aitros' (healer). Examples include Pythagoras of Samos, Empedocles of Acragos, Abaris, Aristeas of Proconnesus, Bakis, Epimenides of Crete, and Hermotimos of Clazomenae.

These were reputed to be masters of separating the Soul from the body. The ancient Greeks had a number of ways of referring to such individuals, including,
'Throbates' (spirit/air traveler)
'Kathartes' (purifier)
'Cresmologos' (author of oracles)
'Thalmatourgos' (worker of miracles)

The iatromanteis made their journeys into space and other dimensions via a trance technique which they called 'apnous'. This term is usually translated as Catalepsy. Upon the return of the Soul to the body, the medicine man would relate the tale of the flight of Soul and convey any important information or instructions. A number of inquiries have been made about western shamanic experience and tradition. The above information, which is available in The Encyclopedia of Religion, New York, Macmillan; v. 1, p. 436, (Article) Ascension by Ioan Petru Culianu.

The western tradition is focused on the experience of sacred mysteries of direct experience with the principle of order in the universe, usually called 'logos'. A separate shamanic tradition was present in the germanic, celtic, slavic, and finnic countries. However, in the lands around the Mediterranean Sea it seems to have become a part of a larger tradition of gnosis from an early date. In Mesopotamian, Egyptian, Hellenic and Latin spiritual traditions shamanic experience or shamanic ecstasis was one of may tools for initiates of many traditions. The Orphic Pythagorean, Platonic and Gnostic traditions seem to follow this model. Shamans from these lands were part of something that was not centrally focused or defined by shamanic experience. They sought the same experience as those whose unitive visions brought them into contact with divine spirit.

In late Antiquity, among those we know today as Gnostics and NeoPlatonists, descriptions of voyages of Soul into other realms often provided essential details for their respective emerging cosmologies and systems for spiritual liberation.

Dean Edwards



Alkman said...

Ριξε μια ματια εδω:

Anonymous said...

Nice info on ancient Greece subject, while I still wonder why (if journeys into space and other dimensions included Pythagoras too) didn't Pythagoras leave some mathematical definitions on that issue, while he gave us so much?

Alkman said...

I assume that the absence of mathematical definition on this matter must be related to the mysticism of the Pythagorean circle.

Anonymous said...

No, I meant concrete.

Perhaps my question would be far better if I asked, why didn't ancient Greeks then write down that Earth was sphered, in stead of flat and on the back of giant turtles?

Aristotle who came much later then Pythagoras, was the first who ever suggested that Earth might be a ball.

... and after him, Ptolemy (also a Greek), some 5 centuries later...

Alkman said...

Actually it's Pythagoras that have taken the credits for being the first to come up with the idea of a spherical earth. He based his conclusion during a lunar eclipse, on the earth's shadow falling on the moon which could only be reproduced only by a sphere.
Eratosthenes was able to
estimate the circumference of the Earth a few centuries later.

Anonymous said...

Then why did Aristotles:

"ALTHOUGH AS LATE AS THE TIME of Christopher Columbus it was common to find people who thought the earth was flat (and you can even find a few such people today), we can trace the roots of modern astronomy back to the ancient Greeks. Around 340 B.C., the Greek philosopher Aristotle wrote a book called On the Heavens. In that book, Aristotle made good arguments for believing that the earth was a sphere rather than flat like a plate..."

... get all the glory?
See the link above for more...

Also, why if we know that much of Pythagora's work today, didn't anyone use that part of the knowledge earlier?

I mean we had to wait all the way up to sixteenth century, until Copernicus designed his model that we use today...
It just doesn't fit somewhere. Don't you think?

Anonymous said...

Which makes me think,..

Why if already had made journeys into space, would Pythagoras "base his conclusion during a lunar eclipse, on the earth's shadow falling on the moon" ...?

I mean, even if he made his journeys much later then he developed his Earth sphere theory, he could always say/write it down, like: Alright folks, it's definitly sphere and IT'S ORBITING THE SUN... because I saw it!

I can't imagine he wouldn't want to declare it, as he was very curious man, he was a guru, teacher,.. and god knows what else. As he had obviously his own theories on pretty much everything.

Alkman said...

I insist on Pythagoras being the first that thought of earth as a sphere. A few try to refute it pointing st his student as the founders of this theory. Nevertheless, much earlier to Aristotle...

Copernicus mentions Aristarchus' works (Aristarchus from Samos was the first to propose a heliocentric universe)as his main inspiration for his theories.
As for why we had to wait all the way up to sixteenth century the answer is simple: Destruction of Greek-Roman world, middle ages, christian dogmas.

I don't see how separating the Soul from the body and its journeys are related to astronomy. Should someone be obliged to create a map of the universe after a shamanic experience?

Why do you post as "greek ecards"? :)

Anonymous said...

"I don't see how separating the Soul from the body and its journeys are related to astronomy. Should someone be obliged to create a map of the universe after a shamanic experience?"

Hmmmm... why not relate it to astronomy? It's as much important as astrology, or let's say spiritual journeys, if you ask me. And above of all, just like mathematics, astronomy was one of many Pythagora's things if I'm not mistaken. Look I have no problem who was first, Aristotles or Pythagoras. It's that there are just a quite some questions I have no answer on yet.

Further, I do agree that christian dogmatic attitude has done a lot of damage on common knowledge issue, centuries long- and that's a shame!

Why posting as "greek ecards"?
Would you like me to post as "Sailing in Greece"? ;)

a. because it is partly related to this site (both are about beautiful country Greece).
b. because I run that site.