Central Europe

Central Europe – Forms of shamanism among peoples ethnically and culturally related to those of Central Asia have been the subject of significant research by Vilmos Diószegi and Mihály Hoppál. Both have contributed significantly to debates about the possibility of finding shamans in Hungarian folklore and history, especially as examples of Eurasian commonalities. Hoppál has also provided invaluable surveys of studies conducted by Soviet and other Eastern European scholars under Communism. He identifies “traces of shamanistic tradition . . . [especially concerned with control of weather and the use of sieves] in folk narratives and tales” collected recently in Hungary. In contrast with movements that have stressed the distinctiveness of Hungarian/Magyar culture and ethnicity from those of neighboring European nations, especially those in political ascendancy, Hoppál is clear that the figure of the táltos in folktales can be identified with the “classic” kind of Eurasian (especially Siberian) shaman only by combining disparate elements from discrete folklore and adding missing material. This creative process is well illustrated in the music of Béla Bartók.


Historical Dictionary of Shamanism by Graham Harvey and Robert J. Wallis 2007


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