“The source of good forces is located in the east...”: Yakut (Sakha) Shamans’ Concepts about the Universe and Spiritual Beings


  • Takako Yamada Dr., Emeritus Professor




This paper deals with the concept of the universe and belief in spiritual beings among contemporary Sakha (Yakut) shamans. It is based on field data collected in 1994 among several shamans of the Sakha Republic (Yakutia). Since Soviet atheistic policy prohibited shamanic traditions, the idea of the universe and spiritual beings varies depending on the shaman’s own interpretations based on his or her own supernatural experiences. The paper argues that the concepts of spiritual beings reintegrated into a new worldview, and that animistic beliefs can be formed by an interpretation of individual experiences. This also suggests that the belief in spiritual beings is closely related to a shaman’s tradition and influences its forms.

Author Biography

Takako Yamada, Dr., Emeritus Professor

Kyoto University, Japan


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How to Cite

Yamada, T. (2015). “The source of good forces is located in the east.”: Yakut (Sakha) Shamans’ Concepts about the Universe and Spiritual Beings. Quaestio Rossica, (2), 224 – 248. https://doi.org/10.15826/qr.2015.2.105



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