Alcohol as a Unifying Force in the Shamanic Community: Nanai Case Study

Tatyana Bulgakova


The issue raised in the present article is shamanists’ ideas about why there should be unity in drinking in the shamanic community. In the framework of the shamanic worldview, each act of drinking, not only ritual acts but also everyday acts, can comprise the features of worshipping the spirits and making an offering to them. Hence there is the need to make an offering during any domestic drinking, and an obligation to share the drink with everyone present. From the shamanic perspective, by rejecting alcohol a person demonstrates a refusal to subordinate him or herself to the spirits, which can cause problems.


Nanai culture; shamanism; alcohol in ritual praxis; offering

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ISSN (print) 1736-6518. ISSN (online) 2228-0987. JEF is a joint publication of the University of Tartu, the Estonian National Museum and the Estonian Literary Museum.