Dropping Ecstasy? Minoan Cult and the Tropes of Shamanism
AuthorTully, CJ; Crooks, S
Source TitleTime and Mind: the journal of archaeology, consciousness and culture
PublisherTaylor & Francis (Routledge)
University of Melbourne Author/sTully, Caroline
AffiliationSchool of Historical and Philosophical Studies
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsTully, C. J. & Crooks, S. (2015). Dropping Ecstasy? Minoan Cult and the Tropes of Shamanism. Time and Mind: the journal of archaeology, consciousness and culture, 8 (2), pp.129-158. https://doi.org/10.1080/1751696X.2015.1026029.
Access StatusOpen Access
Cult scenes illustrated in miniature on administrative stone seals and metal signet rings from Late Bronze Age Minoan Crete are commonly interpreted as “Epiphany Scenes” and have been called “shamanic”. “Universal shamanism” is a catch-all anthropological term coined to describe certain inferred ritual behaviors across widely dispersed cultures and through time. This study re-examines evidence for Minoan cultic practices in light of key tropes of “universal shamanism”, including consumption of psychoactive drugs, adoption of special body postures, trance, spirit possession, communication with supernatural beings, metamorphosis, and the journey to other-worlds. It is argued that while existing characterizations of Minoan cult as “shamanic” are based on partial, reductionist and primitivist assumptions informed by neo-evolutionary comparative ethnologies, shamanism provides a dynamic framework for expanding understandings of Minoan cult. It is of course understood that while this study is a careful, informed analysis of the evidence, it is but one interpretation among others.
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