By John R. Hinnells
Old civilisations workout an excessive fascination for individuals across the world. This guide presents a bright, scholarly, and eminently readable account of historical cultures worldwide, from China to India, the center East, Egypt, Europe, and the Americas. It examines the improvement of spiritual trust from the time of the Palaeolithic cave work to the Aztecs and Incas. masking the entire of society not only the elite, the guide outlines the heritage of different societies in order that their faith and tradition should be understood in context. every one bankruptcy comprises dialogue of the huge box of proper experiences alerting the reader to wider debates on each one topic. a world group of students express their very own deep enthusiasm for his or her topic and supply a distinct learn of either renowned and 'official' faith within the old international.
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Extra resources for A Handbook of Ancient Religions
Fundamentally, hunter-gatherer shamanism is posited on a range of altered states of consciousness, be they induced by ingestion of hallucinogens, rhythmic driving, such as insistent drumming and dancing, hyperventilation, sensory deprivation, pathological conditions, etc. Dreams, too, should be included here. Such states are often termed ‘trance’ or ‘ecstasy’. Of necessity, they are institutionalized, that is, they have social consequences. 2. Visual, aural and somatic experiences of altered states that are ‘wired’ into the human nervous system give rise to conceptions of an ‘alternative reality’ that is frequently tiered.
But in order to use the rock in this way, he or she had to position the bison vertically. What was important to the Castillo image-maker was finding the bison in the natural features of the rock, not orienting the image so that it would call to mind a real, standing bison. In Niaux, there is a different use of the rock wall. An imagemaker added antlers to a dark hole in the rock that looks something like the head of a deer seen face on. The animal so created looks out from the rock; its body is hidden in the realm behind the surface.
If a geometric design in a French cave looks like a hut somewhere in central Africa, it does not necessarily mean that its maker intended it to depict a hut. There are, however, some universals in human ways of thinking, and those can be used, with circumspection, to interpret Palaeolithic evidence. For example, all over the world, deep caves are considered as the realm of the spirits, or of the dead, or of the gods, as a supernatural world parallel to ours yet below it, as a dangerous world to which very few – if any – have access and then only for very precise purposes (Clottes and Lewis-Williams 1998; Lewis-Williams 2002).
A Handbook of Ancient Religions by John R. Hinnells