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The Spiritual QuestTranscendence  in Myth, Religion, and Science$
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Robert Torrance

Print publication date: 1994

Print ISBN-13: 9780520081321

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520081321.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 22 September 2021

The Arctic and Western North America

The Arctic and Western North America

(p.171) Chapter Twelve The Arctic and Western North America
The Spiritual Quest

Robert M. Torrance

University of California Press

The unmistakable affinity and probable common ancestry of shamanisms in Eurasia and America are especially striking in the case of the Eskimo (or Inuit) and the tribes of the Northwest Pacific coast, the peoples closest to Siberia. The Eskimo in particular belong to an Arctic culture circling the globe from Lapland through Siberia to Alaska, Canada, and Greenland, and their once-universal shamanism was until recently central to their culture. Eskimo cosmologies are generally less developed than those of Old World shamanistic peoples, who were often in contact both with one another and with foreign civilizations from Scandinavia to Japan. Even so, a tripartite division of the universe into heaven, earth, and underworld is widely attested, with the underworld most often located beneath the sea.

Keywords:   ancestry, Eurasia, America, Eskimo, inuit, Lapland, shamanism, heaven, earth, underworld

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