rock carvings and shamanism

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  • 8/9/2019 Rock Carvings and Shamanism



    IntroductionIn this paper I argue that its time to reconsidersome aspects concerning the way we perceive

    and understand the concept o Nature. Thisis important because we as academics andpart o an urban society must be aware othat our attitude towards nature may notalways be suitable in regard our interpreta-tions o prehistoric past and people. We haveto pay attention to the act that we live ina world quite dierent rom the lie o pre-historic people. This includes peoples mentallie and that we today maybe comprehendthe world rom an essentially dierentview

    compared to people in the past.This leads to a discussion upon the justica-tion on the use o concepts such as mind and

    body, nature and human etc. My argumentis that society today is extremely interwoven

    within this dichotomy, and that we hardlyreally understands views that contradicts thisdichotomy, which, o course, also colors theway we interpret pre-historic society andmental lie. By taking a closer look at phe-nomenology, we get a possibility to achievean understanding that makes sense in thelight o a monistic view upon nature, as op-posed to a dualistic view. The important thingis that both views are proper and therebyrepresent a reality, which is based on certain

    premises. The real question is to uncoverthese premises. One such dominant premiseis the human intellect.

    Bjrn Berg

    The Concept of Nature:Rock Carvings and Shamanismin Arctic Norway

    AbstractThe idea o nature that prevails today is incommensurable with shamanism, which is closely

    linked to animism. Animism must be handled on its own premises, which I identiy to beinuenced by the emotional aspects o human lie, rather than the mechanical logic o theintellect. According to the science o phenomenology, as described by Edmund Husserl, thetraditional split o mind and body related to human epistemology result in a view o na-ture that creates a world o ideals. This ideality is justifed, but a problem arises when ourpersonal bodily sensations no longer correlates to the ideal world o abstract or mathemati-zated truths. The perceived world becomes something alse, with a true or ideal meaningbehind the matter. This causes a gap or dilemma between lie as a elt reality, and lie as anideal, or non-personal truth. These two modes, I argue, uses two dierent languages. Thephenomenological is a direct language, i.e. a language that contradicts the inamous sign-signifed concept o Saussure and the linguistic tradition, which states that the connection

    between a sign and the signifed are arbitrarily constituted. This theoretical background Iuse to draw some interpretations upon the rock art rom Amtmannsnes, Finnmark County.These carvings I primary read as metaphorical embodiments reecting a shamanic praxisconnected to seasonal changes.

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  • 8/9/2019 Rock Carvings and Shamanism



    mensurable with todays view o nature assomething external or unamiliar to humanlie and quintessence. These two points odeparture I call Nature as Human (or subject)and Nature as Object. The latter representsthe conventional science that prevails to-day. The ormer touches the discipline o

    phenomenology.The aim or this paper is thereore to es-tablish a plausible explanation concern-ing presumably incongruent world-viewssuch as Nature-as-Object, in terms o beingsomething alien, unrelated or external, andNature-as-Subject, as amiliar entities withinner relation to each individual human be-ing. Concepts o so-called holy mountainsinhabited by spirits and supernatural power

    makes no sense in Nature-as-Object, but asI will argue, makes a great deal o sense inNature-as-Subject.

    Amtmannsnes and ShamanismThe rock carvings at Amtmannsnes haveprimary been documented and publishedby Helskog (1988). Other publications thatin dierent degree handle this locality areAutio (1991), Berg (2003, 2004), Engelstad

    (2001), Evers (1994,1999), Grnnesby (1998),Hesjedal (1990) and Olsen (1994). Commonor all but Berg (2003) are in rst place an ex-clusive ocus on each moti isolated. Secondly,all but Engelstad (2001:275), which ocuson aspects o gender and identity, existinginterpretations point towards the motis assymbols o shamans trance experiences, asan expression o the shaman ecstatic ritualand believes connected to shamanic world-

    views. The result, I argue, is that the carvingsat Amtmannsnes have become emblems oshamanism, without an elaborative discussionconcerning the phenomena o shamanismitsel.For instance, is it possible to understand sha-manism and related concepts as expressionso something real? For me its not sucientto handle the phenomena o shamanism assomething people just thought as reality.I think its very easy to prejudge shaman-

    ism as an incommensurable tradition thatcontradicts and holds no truth comparedto our modern days o thinking. Shamanism

    becomes superstition. This implies that wholetraditions are based on alse premises; weknowthat there is no such thing as spiritsin the mountains, that people really donthave separate souls etc. My intention is toshow that opinions like this must be regardedas reality, rom a certain point o view. And

    this view is more related to peoples emo-tional aspects rather than the human intel-lect alone.I eel that contemporary publications uponrock carvings and shamanism in a to ar ex-tend is trapped in old truths, ocusing onthe same trance and to identiy shamanicemblems. I see this as a problem because Iexperience that most o the research uponshamanism and rock art has stagnated in a

    reproduction o old concepts, such as theinamous three-stage-trance-theory as de-scribed by Lewis-Williams & Dowson (1988),which in its most rigid orm actually doesnot tell us more than that every one o usare able to experience extraordinary visualor entopic phenomena by means o alteredstates o consciousness. This means thatan identication o entopic look-alikes inrock carving by no means can be regardedas proo on a shamanic praxis. It is just an

    indication o shamanism. An elaborate discus-sion concerning this problem is conductedby Bahn (2001). Still, this does not imply thatshamanism is irrelevant as a model o expla-nation, as we shall see.The real problem o shamanism, in my opin-ion, is that there is no solid way to dene thevery word and meaning o shamanism. Sincethe middle o 19th century, when researchersrst began to discuss shamanism as a topic

    (Price 2001:4), we still havent managed toreach a satisying denition o shamanism.I see this as a sign that maybe tells us toquestion the very search or a once and orall denition o shamanism as a phenom-enon. Hence, my aim is to bring orth thatshamanism must be studied as related toanimism, as part o a world-view, as Pen-tikinen (1987:139) writes.My understanding o shamanism is thereoresomething that etches a much broader scale

    o a society compared with the very restrictedecstatic trance experience o the shaman,which indeed seems highly enigmatic, and

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    thereore exotic and as a popular object tostudy. Unortunately, as with most o whatbecomes popular, it stiens and becomesrigid and ull o clichs.

    The Bricoleur and Engineer o Lvi-

    StraussThe approach to the concepts o shaman-ism and related topics are in my opinioncolored o a certain attitude o mind as re-searchers such as Lvi-Strauss represents. Agood example is illustrated by Lvi-Strausswhile he introduce the concepts bricoleurand engineer to explain the dierence be-tween a primitive and modern rationality.A bricoleur, as a kind o do-it-yoursel-man,

    uses whatever he or she can ind in theirenvironment as tangible tools in a process tocreate something new. These tangible toolsare not specialized or one purpose, but canbe reused or dierent purposes. The toolsare not xed or one use only. An engineer,on the other hand, depends on specializedtools, which rst have to be invented to t aspecial purpose (Lvi-Strauss 1996:17).Lvi-Strauss argue that a bricoleur createsby a continual reconstruction rom the same

    materials (Lvi-Strauss 1996:21). The tools arethereore open, not xed. This imply that abricoleurs world consist o an almost unlim-ited set o entities with a going togetherpotential. And most important; their poten-tials are always in retrospect, they addressesor signiy elements in a closedworld. This isnot the case or an engineer. An engineer,on the other hand, rst has to decide or fxthe relations that have a going together

    potential. By doing this, the engineer makesa specialized tool, something that does notaddress itsel in retrospect. The result is thatan engineer always tries to make his way outo and go beyond the constraints imposedby a particular state o civilization while thebricoleur by inclination or necessity alwaysremains within them(Lvi-Strauss 1996:19).The dierence is also understood by reer-ring to an engineer working by means oconcepts and a bricoleur by means osigns

    (Lvi-Strauss 1996:20), or that an engineer (orscientist) create events, or change the worldby means o structures (hypotheses, theo-

    ries), and the bricoleur creating structuresby means o events (Lvi-Strauss 1996:22).Concepts, he says, aim to be wholly transpar-ent with respect to reality, signs allow andeven require the interposing and incorpora-tion o a certain amount o human cultureinto reality. Signs, () address somebody

    (Lvi-Strauss 1996:20).The basic line, as I see it, is that a bricoleurcreates abstractions rom tangible entities,and the engineer creates tangible entitiesrom abstractions. At this point Im not satis-ed with Lvi-Strauss argumentation. I dontthink there is such a undamental dier-ence between a bricoleur and an engineeras Lvi-Strauss claims. These two approachesare in essence the same, both the bricoleur

    and the engineer uses hypotheses to solveproblems, to establish possible relations be-tween entities in the world. By hypothesesI mean speculations, i.e. to imagine whatwill happen i I do this or that, and so ex-ecute these speculations in real lie, to seei it works or not. What Lvi-Strauss claims,is actually the exactly opposite o his owngoal, namely to treat primitive thought as arepresentation non-less sophistical than themodern. The engineer act on problems in

    advance, by breaking the limits o the outerworld, whereby the bricoleur is doomed toa lie only to rearrange already existing el-ements inside this outer boundary. By do-ing this, the bricoleur never really createssomething new.

    Whats common in both these systems othe bricoleur and the engineer is that wend people who deal with a world o outer

    objects and an inner world o the humanmind. From my point o view, I think thatLvi-Strauss misses some important aspectsregards certain aspect o human lie. As Isee it, Lvi-Strauss operate only at a strictlyintellectual level, that is, he neglect the actthat people through all times not necessarysees Nature as we do today, as observers oan externalnature. For me this is a crucialpoint, which brings the subject to the ina-mous Nature-Human dichotomy o today.

    This dichotomy, or attitude o mind, I claim,is exclusive or a pure intellectual approachtowards nature, and represent what I un-

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    derstand by the concept nature as object,as opposed to nature as subject. The latterI state to be a characteristic o an animisticview towards nature.


    Early denitions o animism oten give as-sociations to people that understood theworld childishly and erroneously (Bird-David1999:68). During the last years there havebeen done a great deal to understand ani-mism as an expression o a world-view thatin many ways contradicts the dichotomy be-tween body and mind, nature and culture,supernatural and natural, subject and objectetc. (Bird-David 1999:68). Tim Ingold shredsome light upon this dichotomy problem

    when he argue that it is as entire persons,not as disembodied minds, that human be-ings engage with one other and, moreover,

    with non-human beings as well(Ingold1996:129).This view also works well as a descriptiono essential elements related to shaman-ism, which could be viewed as an activitythat embraces not just the mind, but alsothe totality o body and mind. Nature as

    object represents an opposite view to this.Arturo Escobar points out that such a viewtreats Nature as a passive arena where peopleworks upon a given or static nature (Escobar1999:8). This is not how things work. Peoplein an environment act with within nature ina two-way responsive relatedness, as Bird-David (1999:77) argue. In such a world theremakes no sense to speak o the relation be-tween subject and object as a xed dualism.Ingold describes it like this: seems to me that organisms, throughtheir development and through their ac-

    View of Altafjorden. Photo: Gerhard Milstreu

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    tivities, constitute their environments; butin a sense environments constitute organ-isms too because, through its development,the organism (or human being, as a kindo organism) embodies its own perceptualexperience o involvement with the world(Ingold 1991:29).

    Implications that can be drawn rom this tellsus that the gaining o knowledge, as we usu-ally see it in Nature as Object, cant be viewedas a process whereby we as human beingcollects knowledge rom an already existingexternal world o preabricated objects.Its important to elucidate what we call ob-jective knowledge usually signiy neutralknowledge, in sense o being something un-

    aected by our own thoughts and our ownparticipation. This may not be entirely corrector all people through time and space.In case o animism, the opposite may bestated. Here we nd that people treat na-ture in terms o being something human. Theworld conceals something that is related toone sel as a human. An understanding o aworld like this makes it reasonable to speakabout human having an intentional relationwith orces o nature and other entities in

    peoples environment (Humphrey 1996:85).Hence, what aects nature, aects you, andvice versa. The philosophical basis or ani-mism, where the world is characterized interms o being a non-xed assemblage ointerrelated subjects, is in my opinion phe-nomenology.


    Edmund Husserl as a philosopher was one othe rst to question the basis or a sciencethat conceived the world as a xed dualismbetween objects and subjects. Husserl makesthis explicit by reerring to the emergingworldview advocated by Galileo:One can truly say that the idea o nature asa really sel-enclosed world o bodies frstemerges with Galileo. A consequence o this,along with the mathematization, which wastoo quickly taken or granted, is [the idea

    o] a sel-enclosed natural causality in whichevery occurrence is determined unequivo-cally and in advance. Clearly the way is thus

    prepared or dualism, which appears im-mediately aterwards in Descartes (Husserl1999:60).

    According to Husserl, the dualistic view othe world is an abstraction, without a un-dament in concrete experience, but rom a

    mathematizated nature (Husserl 1999:61).This implies the belie on mathematics as thehighest orm o truth, as an ideal. Problemsconcerning such an approach are that thisideal world o mathematics involves anabstraction in the very moment this math-ematics are used to explain the real world.The gap between meaning and maniesta-tion, mind and matter, needs to be lled,and one way to do this is by reducing the

    real world properties to t the rigid rules omathematic, which is one way o orderingthe world. The problem is evidently that whatwe see is notwhat we get, the mathematizedcalculations expressed by numbers demandsone basic premise; and that is explicit meas-urement or quantication o qualities o theworld. Such a demand or explicit expressionssuits a mechanic understanding o the world,which involves the classic chains o causalitywithin a system o rigid logic, which belong

    solidly to the realm o intellect.The aim is not to criticize this approach; thelogic or rationality o this system is o coursevalid and justied, but what we oten orgetis that while the mathematized approachstipulate an all embracing universality andsel-evidence, so also could be said aboutwhat Husserl denote as lie-world.The lie-world is our pre-given sense-experi-ences that we take or granted and nourish

    the lie o thought (Husserl 1999:76). This lie-world represents a contrast to the dualisticideality-reality (or phenomena) o mathemat-ics. When Descartes started to question thetruthulness or quality o our sense-experi-ences, when our senses or the rst time wascalled into question, the result was that thesense-experience, and its correlate, the worldin it sel, also where conceived as a deceivingactor (Husserl 1999:76). And so on with eve-rything corporal, as a contrast to the mind.

    Only the I who thinks becomes undoubted.Descartes thereby excludes the living body,the sensible world in general. The result is a

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    pure intellectual approach o reality, and thelanguage o this reality is the mathematicalrationality (Husserl 1999:79).

    Nature as Object and Nature as SubjectWhen I speak o a pure or one-sided intel-

    lectual approach upon nature, I understandthis as a state o consciousness, not as a de-nition o specic peoples characters. Its easyto orget that each human lie involves morethan the very moments o intellectual specu-lations; as observers o a world inhabited bydead orces o nature. I see the possibilitythat whole groups o peoples in the prehis-tory in a ar more extent than today wheredisposed to approach nature in terms o be-

    ing something alive, and thereby much morerelated to the fuctuating lie o emotionalorces such as the eeling o rage, anger,sorrow, pleasure, good, bad, etc. These areindeed individualeelings, which cannot beregarded as something else than reality. Still,they cannot be regarded as objective entitiesin terms o being something observable orvisible, and hence dicult to measure: i.e. toseparate as a closedentity. Emotional aspectsdo not ollow the rules o mechanics in an

    objectifed world.The problem, o course, is that these emo-tions only reers to the subject alone, andthereore dicult to use as a basis or gen-eral truths, or laws, such as the law o gravityetc. I I eel that the law o gravity doesntconcern me, I soon nd out that this eel-ing is based on alse premises. But i I relatesome characteristic eatures o a wol or asimilar animal with certain aspects o my own

    inner lie, I establish a link o knowledgethat could be shared with other people, asa truth based on our own subjective state oconsciousness. We then create characteristicsor general knowledge (discover connectionsin the world), which can be reckoned as aninter-personal reality, i.e. something that notjust each individual experience as truth. Andso on with other characteristics and orces inpeoples surroundings. The sun as a bringer olive is another example. Its not speculative

    to claim that the orces o the sun and theway it eects lie, brings orth some paral-lels related to inner eelings o something

    that nourish each individual lie. This couldbe called anthropomorphism, which is tosay that nature consist o something that isanalog to the individual human being (Peirce1994:47). Nature is thereby conceived as re-lated to the human soul, or Man is seen asa refection or a micro-cosmos o a bigger

    macro-cosmos (Cassirer 1965:98).With such point o view, we see that thisdemands a quite radical change o inves-tigation in regard our understanding andexplanation o presumably mystic or irra-tional human belie and behavior. Natureas Human involves a language that, by mywords, is based onprocesses rather thanisolated objects. With processes I mean somekind o orces that is analog to our emotional

    understanding o bodily experience con-nected to dierent aspects o each humanduring a lietime. Such a language doesntdistinguish between sign and signied, thewol is the ear. This language contradictsSaussures old semiotic treatise concerningthe so called arbitrarily relationship betweenexpression and meaning. Willam GregoryBateson touches an important core relatedto this problem (or language) by stating:

    The distinction between the name and thething named or the map and the territory isperhaps really made only by the dominanthemisphere o the brain. The symbolic andaective hemisphere, normally on the right-hand side, is probably unable to distinguishname rom thing named. () For example,with the dominant hemisphere, we can re-gard such a thing as a ag as a sort o nameo the country or organization that it rep-

    resents. But the right hemisphere does notdraw this distinction and regards the ag assacramentally identical with what it repre-sents. So Old Glory is the United States. Isomebody steps on it, the response may berage. And the rage will not diminished byan explanation o the map-territory relations(Bateson 1985[1979]:38).There is a huge dierence between thesetwo modes o attitude. One o them stronglyrelate to peoples emotional side, and there-

    ore could be described as deeply rooted inthe human soul, or person, the other moderespond on a dierent level, the intellect,

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    only as a neutral observer o something thatdoes not really concern each individual at apersonal level. It is extremely easy to pre-judge the emotional mode as subjective,or less real reality. O course, or the brainalone, the fag in the abovementioned quotecould denote all sorts o meanings. But this I

    claim is to miss the target, because we orgetthat emotions deals with experiences at-tached to us as persons, while the intellectdeals with descriptions o entities detachedrom our sel as persons. These two modeso attitude represent two ways o acquiringknowledge, and most important, they are notmutually exclusive to each other, both areully rational, based on their own premises. II experience a certain eeling rom a certain

    color or a certain sound, this eect doesntvanish i I at the same time think o the soundand light as specic physical waves travelingthrough a certain type o medium.With such a background, I nd it rational tohandle topics like shamanism and animism asa refection rom people that is disposed toexpress their knowledge in terms o a moreemotional language than we usually expressour sel today. Thereore, i we are to studya society which elt the nature as something

    strongly related to their own inner being, Ind it reasonably to suggest that they expe-rienced themselves as ar more interwovenin the surroundings changing character dur-ing a cyclic year, and that these changes inthe environment where incorporated andexperienced as an element intimately relatedto each individual human beings characterand emotional temperament.An ethnographic example rom the Saami

    people in arctic Scandinavia could serve asa good example at this point. Among someSaami groups many important aspects con-nected to their lie where strongly connectedto and ollowed the seasonal changes inthe surroundings (Pentikinen 1987:138). Inthese arctic and sub-arctic areas, the seasonalchanges where strongly elt, where the win-ter was denoted as a long period o kaamoswithout any sun at all, while the summer rep-resented many months o a never vanishing

    sun. These aspects were also refected in theSaamis nomadic and semi-nomadic lie-style.This involved a separation between winter

    and summer dwellings or areas (Pentikinen1987:137).

    Further on, in such a cyclic society the sha-man, as a kind o religious leader, playedan important part, especially in connectionto huge seasonal sacrices, which involved

    several amily-groups rom dierent areas.These sacrices could be held at a specictime the year, such as spring and autumn,but also at mid-winter (Mebius 1968:88,100).I will not discuss the character o these sacri-ces in detail; I will rather ocus on aspectsconcerning the drive-orces behind theseceremonies, or sacrices. Why are ceremonieslike this seen as necessary at rst place? Toanswer this question I nd it necessary to

    take a closer look at what I previously called ashamanistic world-view. This opens up, in myview, or a more comprehensive understand-ing o shamanism, and that this shamanismexpresses a reality that is refected throughrock art, as one medium among others.

    Aspects o a shamanistic world-view; thesignifcant lie o the living deadAccording to Bckman (1975:9), Hultkrantz

    (1987:111) and Schanche (2000:256),sjva,saivo, orjbmeibmu are important conceptsconnected to Saami religion. The meaningo these concepts is maniold, but one com-mon eature is thatsjva reers to the realmo dead souls (Bckman 1975:67-78,84). Thisrealm is oten located to a mountain or rocks,in caves, near the sea or by the shore o alake (Vorren 1987:95, Holmberg [1915]:31).And most important, the souls o the dead

    where thought as real, in the same way asliving people on the earth. The souls o thedead where seen as a crucial part o humanlie, capable to bring both health and sick-ness to the earth and its people (Bckman1975:86). These spirits could also be usedas the shamans helping- or guiding-spirits(Bckman 1975:116).On such a background the shaman, or theSaami noaide, play a vital part as a kind onegotiator with the dead. Sacrices o di-

    erent animals, such as reindeers, could beviewed as a negotiation with the dead. Onlythe noaide had the knowledge and skills to

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    treat the remains o the animal in a properway. By doing this they control the reindeersregenerative powers, and thereore to se-cure the orthcoming resurrection o otherreindeers (Schanche 2000:265).Another important aspect connected to thisis that the sacrices depend on the seasonal

    character o the year. Each time o year de-mands dierent sacrices, which correlateto the access o game, such as sacrices con-nected to reindeer at autumn and sacricesconnected to shery at spring, when the riv-ers and reshwater melts (Mebius 1968:100-101).Activities like these could be viewed as aritual that ollows the ecological cycle, andare a common eature among several socie-

    ties (Helskog 1999:84). Bases on the view oshamanism and animism, in a world that isexperienced as a nature as subject, I arguethat an understanding o these rituals canbe compared to what Victor Turner (1999)describes as liminales, or rites de passage,which exist in societies all around the world.An essential attribute is the ambiguous orindenite character connected to the ex-pressions or appearance related to thesetransitions. Turner denotes these ambiguous

    eatures in terms o representing a structuralinvisibility with a two-sided characteristic(Turner 1999:133).

    This statement points to the transerencerom one condition to another, and worksboth on an individual and an environmentallevel, such as or instance the change romjuvenileness to adulthood and the seasonaltransormation rom winter to summer

    (Gennep 1999:22-23). These circumstanceso liminales occurs through a combinationor blending o qualities associated with theprevious and orthcoming state, as the case isat spring, when both the qualities o winterand summer emerges at the same time, asa two-sided characteristic connected to thephenomena.On the individual level the same principalworks. An example on this is or instance thatthe neophyte or the shamanistic apprentice

    at a certain level is associated with character-istics connected to death and destruction othe body, ollowed by a renewal o the body

    (Eliade 1998:48). This case also reers to two-sided or ambiguous conditions, where bothlie and death are represented in the journeyo the neophyte rom one state o being toanother (Turner 1999:133-134). Besides thereerences to lie and death, there is also athird-sided aspect connected to this.

    According to Turner the neophytes could beconnected neither to death, nor lie, but assomething in between, as a living dead. Theyare viewed both as alive and dead at thesame time, and thereore place themselvesbeyond all traditional categories (Turner1999:134). In the case o shamanism, thisthird category is a requently observed at-tribute related to the shamans praxis andways o expression. One example is that

    a shaman by means o trance, or alteredstate o consciousness, combine dierentcharacters rom the environment into hy-brid-expressions, such as the combinationo a human-animal (Clottes & Lewis-Williams1998:17).Based on these concepts, there is possibleto line up a ew headlines or a shamanisticpraxis that ocuses on the nature understoodin a language that resonate to personal expe-riences o lie as a series o processes which

    is eltemotionally, as a concrete lie-world.Additionally; it makes sense to speak o thislanguage as metaphorical, where individualexperiences seeks an equivalent side in theprocesses o outer nature. Processes o natureare in term o this understood as somethingthat resembles the inner qualities o humanlie and emotional state. I will ocus on a ew,but central aspects related to all kinds olie, namely growth and decay, understood

    as processes o lie and death.

    Negotiations with the dead as a re-vitali-zation o lie, expressed as rock carvingsI animism is to be taken seriously, and not assome kind o misunderstanding o the world,with spirits and souls etc., i.e. conceptswhich usually doesnt give any meaning at all,we must be aware o that this animism actu-ally isnt thatmystic or unrealistic, compared

    to what we normally regard as a concretereality. But, in the moment we understandthe basis o animism, which in my point o

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    Dietrich Evers

    Rubbing after Dietrich Evers 1994.

    Fig. 3. Amtmannsnes II (Helskog 1988:66-67).

    Shamanic rock carvings: The rise and allo spirits among the living.

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    Rubbing after Dietrich Evers 1994.

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    view represent a more aesthetic or artisticworld-view, which cannot be reduced downto a rigid system o logically interrelated enti-ties, we see that animism in its own peculiarway represents a ully rational, and therebyrealistic world-view.To understand the magic, or unrealistic

    part o shamanism as animism, such as thehelping spirits o the shaman, I nd it ap-propriate to compare this to the Saamijoik,as a kind o singing that in many aspects is aexpression that not onlysigniysomething,but also must be regarded as a expressionthat shares some similar qualities with theobject or phenomena itsel. By doing this, itis possible to express ajoik that resembles thequalities o or instance a juvenile reindeer.

    The basic line, as I see it, is that a traditionlike this shows a tendency or a prooundknowledge o the natures living qualities,which I would describe as contemplativeobservations.It is possible in the same manner to understandthe shamans expressions and ideas concern-ing the world o spirits. I the belie in thesesaivos, as I described earlier, were thoughto as especially important and loaded withpotentially harmul spirits, as living orces

    with certain qualities, there is possible tounderstand these spirits as contemplativeobservations refecting the orces o nature,which, in terms o anthropomorphism or aphenomenological-monistic view upon nature,is closely related to the emotional aspectso human lie. Thereby, the spirits resembleand resonate to the individual lie o eachpersonal being.I we combine the concepts nature as subject

    (as the theoretical base o animism),saivoand shamanism, seasonal sacrifces (wherethe lie o a society strongly ollows the cli-matic and ecological changes through a year)and Turners liminales (connected to ritesde passage), this gives us an opportunityto draw some interpretations o the rockcarvings at Amtmannsnes. The rst actorimportant or an elucidation o a potentialbackground o the rock carvings concerns theinterrelation between the individual human

    lie and changes in the nature.So, my rst explicit hypotheses state thatpeoples mental lie (or ocus) strongly cor-

    relate to the character o the environment.The act that dierent time o year demandsdierent types o sacrices, as I mentionedearlier through Mebius (1968:100-110), is oneexample. I would also suggest that peoplesaw these changes in the environment asan increase and decrease o qualities that

    in essence is similar to human emotionalsphere o experience. To describe the sun asdying when it is ading away at nightall,the autumn as something that dies and thewinter as nature sleeping are some exam-ples o my point. These expressions must betaken literally, not as some kind o romantictittle-tattle. Its my conviction that a personwith a character that is deeply tuned to-wards nature, in some way would develop

    a language that embraces the qualities onature in a more organic (and hence vivid)mode than a person who study the natureas a kind o mechanical machinery.The second hypotheses deals with the ex-pression o such an organic language. Inature is sensed and perceived as animated,as processes o lie and death, this involvesa ocus on conditions rather than entities asisolated objects. I an expression is ambigu-ous, or instance a carving that appears as a

    hybrid between man and woman, as gure1 shows, where the central moti is a depic-tion o a human that could be viewed asbi-sexual, displaying attributes o both maleand emale character at the same time.This specic expression could be understoodin terms o shamanism, and the carved motidepicts a elt reality o an animated nature,as a particular power o nature at a speciclocus and time o year, like or instance the

    spring, which could be described as a limi-nalistic third category, like a state o beingexpressed as a combination o the winterand summers qualities.Based on what I previous wrote, where theshaman works as an important operator con-nected to seasonal sacrices, my claim is thatthis specic carving could be understood as aemblem o a spirit (or power), that is locatedto what I described as asaivo, as a powerulplace. Further on, the shaman is the one who

    can intervene, and thereby negotiate withthese powers. To carry out a sacrice is aproper way to do this. I these powers were

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    experienced as phenomenological reality,this reality would resonate to the emotionalaspects o human lie. The very character oa sacrice could be viewed as a deliberatelyact that connect and establish a link to twovery important actors related to a societyssurvival, namely lie and death.

    I the survival and reproduction o naturalresources and human health are understoodas guided or governed by dierent kind ospirits or orces, I nd it rational to extendthese concepts, and to propose that somespecic types o spirits, or orces o naturecharacterizes each specic time o year. Aworld-view like this could thereore be de-scribed as constituted by a waxing and vein-ing o dierent kind o spirits through the

    cycle o a year. One example that serves asa description on this is the view o autumnas nature that dies or ades away. In termso a phenomenological/shamanistic/animisticview o nature, this is actually a quite preciseand adequate description o a natural proc-ess. Again, this is a dierent language thatis inspired rom organic lie. Thereore, theexpression o this language deals with di-erentiations o lie and death. I we take acloser look at gure 3 in the upper let rame

    we se a moti that consist o a human gurewith two olded potency, with emale andmale characteristics. I read this as an explicitsymbol o ertility, as an accumulation olie, in contrast to death. Thereore, thismoti could actually be viewed as the signo spring, or at least as a sign o power, as apotent condition.Another aspects that gives strength to thisview, is the moti o a relatively big human

    gure oriented horizontally compared to themajority o the other human motis. I readthe underlying zigzag line, which stretchesrom the horizontally oriented human motitowards the vertically oriented human motis,as a line o connection, and that the motisthereore cant be studied as isolated enti-ties alone. The relative orientation aectsthereore the motis meaning.The horizontally oriented human gure couldbe understood as an emblem o nature as

    a orce o death at winter. In act, this is aquite precise expression o something deador inactive, as a corporal metaphorical symbol

    o death. On an individual level, as praxisconnected to shamanism, these motis alsoworks as a description o experiences relatedto the shaman or the noaides negotiationswith the powers o nature, in orm o helpingand guiding spirits, as I wrote earlier. Thecarvings o Amtmannsnes could thereore

    be understood as an animistic expressiono changes rom one condition to another,both on an individual and a dividual level,as seasonal changes through the cycle oa year.

    ConclusionMuch more could and should be said aboutAmtmannsnes, but I will conclude this paperby stating that the shamans personal experi-

    ences deals with orces o nature, expressedas metaphorically embodiments reerringto a corporal reality o lie and death. Onepurpose o this paper is to show that thestudy o rock carvings and prehistoric cul-ture in general, must release itsel rom theboundaries o a science, that in many casesreduces nature to an entity alien to humanessence and lie.

    Bjrn Berg

    [email protected]

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