Kharitidi, Olga

Kharitidi, Olga – In her book Entering the Circle: Ancient Secrets of Siberian Wisdom Discovered by a Russian Psychiatrist (1997), Kharitidi suggests that her experiences with indigenous shamans began at a psychiatric hospital in Novosibirsk, Siberia, with a patient whose mental illness was apparently caused by his call to be a shaman. Following in the footsteps of Carlos Castaneda and Lynn Andrews, Kharitidi’s unwitting introduction to shamanism is portrayed as a true story that can bring meaning and spiritual purpose to the lives of her readers. The book is described as “Castaneda à la Russe” by Michael Harner, and there are clear similarities between Kharitidi’s work and that of Castaneda. Her book portrays misleading stereotypes, suggesting shamanism is a “prototradition, a basic tradition . . . able to preserve very important archaic rituals and beliefs that have not changed as a result of social and cultural influences.” Kharitidi describes her precognitive dreams of the “lady in the ice” found on the Ukok Plateau, near the borders of Kazakhstan, Altai, and China, and these dreams culminate in the appearance of Belovidia, the Siberian homeland of a “long-forgotten, advanced, esoteric civilization.” Besides this decontextualizing and romanticizing of shamanism, Kharitidi does, however, draw a distinction between her own neo-shamanism and that of the indigenous shamans she learned from, not claiming to be a shaman or initiated as one, and she also emphasizes the community role of shamanic practitioners—aspects often overlooked by neo-shamans who misrepresent shamanism.

SOURCE:

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

BOOKS FOR YOU TO READ IN OUR LIBRARY:

Related Articles

Altai

Altai – The Altai Kizhi, Telengits, Teles, and Teleuts are pastoralists of mixed Turkic-Mongolian descent. After the great changes brought by Russian colonization in the…

North America

North America – Shamanism has been identified among a wide range of indigenous nations in North America, from the Yaqui living around the Mexican border…

Czaplicka, Maria Antonina

Czaplicka, Maria Antonina – (1886–1921) Polish-born cultural anthropologist best known for her fieldwork among indigenous Siberian communities, published as Aboriginal Siberia (1914). Czaplicka documents Siberian…

Stutley, Margaret

Stutley, Margaret – In her short volume on shamanism, Stutley states that shamanism is “one of the world’s most ancient, notorious and frequently misrepresented spiritual…

Neo-Shamanism

Neo-Shamanism – Also neo-Shamanism, neoshamanism, new shamanism, whiteshamanism, contemporary shamanism, urban shamanism, Western shamanism. A term applied by scholars to engagement with, application of, or…