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Eskimo (Inuit) Magic

Eskimo (Inuit) Magic

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Published by Paganlady
Eskimo Magic
Eskimo Magic

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Published by: Paganlady on Nov 16, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Eskimo (Inuit) Magic
The Eskimos live in small areas along the coasts of Greenland, Canada, Alaska andnorth-eastern Siberia. The name Eskimo comes from an Algonquin Indian term for ‘raw meat eaters’ which has been inaccurately applied to them. They prefer the nameInuit (Yuit in Siberian and some Alaskan speech) which means ‘the people’. Inuitmyths mirror the experiences of those whose horizons are bounded by frozen oceansand snowy wastes of the long winter. The Eskimo world is controlled by the
orspirit powers. Every natural form including the animals and the sea itself has an
. Such forces sometimes assume the role of 
, becoming guardians of individual Eskimos. Bears possess especially strong innua and if the spirit of a bearbecomes an Eskimo’s Torngak or guardian spirit, the Eskimo may be eaten by a bearto be reincarnated as a shaman.
The Shaman
The shaman or
is the magical man and to some extent law-interpreter of thecommunity. Eskimo shamanism bears strong similarities to that in Central Asia andSiberia.Angakoks have many powerful
as their familiar spirits. For example, it isbelieved that in a previous life a shaman might have been swallowed by whale. Theprocesses of being dismembered by a bear, a whale or other fierce creature and thenbeing reassembled are relived psychically and ritually during a shaman’s initiation.The name Torngak comes from Torngasak, the spirit who is called the Good Being byEskimos. Torngasak himself is often seen as a bear. But unlike other cultures, theInuit mythology has no single creator being nor a pantheon of deities.
Inuit Deities
The World of the Sea
Because of the importance of the sea as the source of most food, the most powerfulspirit in the Inuit cosmology was a very ancient fertility mother, the Old Woman wholived under the Sea. She is given different names throughout the Arctic: Nerivik inAlaska and Arnarquagssag in Greenland. The most common name is Sedna, Sea-Mother, divinity of the sea and all sea animals.There are different versions of her origin but all regard her as the source of thecreation of marine life. In the most common myth, Sedna was a beautiful Inuit girlwho turned away all suitors but was captivated by a handsome hunter who let hiskayak sway on the waves while he sang to her in her hut. He offered her necklaces of ivory in the land of birds and a tent covered with the finest furs.Sedna was lured into the canoe but her suitor was not mortal, rather a bird spirit withthe power to assume human form. She was heartbroken when she discovered the
truth. Her father, Angusta, who was searching the oceans for her, heard Sednaweeping and rescued her in his canoe. But Kokksaut, the bird phantom, pursued themand when Angusta refused to hand back his daughter, changed once more into a birdand created a terrible storm.The waves demanded the sacrifice of Sedna. Angusta become afraid that he had sooffended the sea and spirits of the air that he would be killed and he cast Sedna intothe waves.When Sedna tried to cling to the boat, her father seized an ivory axe and cut off herfingers. The girl sank into the water and her fingers became seals. Three times shetried to reach the kayak but her father hacked at her wounded hands until she waslost beneath the waters. Her knuckles became walruses and whales.Sedna’s father returned to his
(tent) and fell asleep. Sedna’s dog was tied to theridge pole. During a high tide, the sea swallowed the tupik and both man and dogwere drowned. They have since reigned over a subterranean realm called Adlidenwhere the souls of the dead are imprisoned to atone for sins committed during theirlifetime, a punishment that may be temporary or last forever.The Inuit believe that Sedna controls storms at seas and can either provide orwithhold sea creatures for the hunt. When the Eskimos do not catch seals or othersea creatures, the shaman dives in astral or soul form to the bottom of the sea toentreat Sedna to set the sea animals loose. He passes first through the kingdom of the dead, then through an abyss with a wheel of ice and a boiling cauldron of seals.The shaman finally enters a tent under the sea, furnished with the skins of the finestsea animals. There the dark, gigantic Sedna listens to magical chants of the shamanand tells him either that the tribe must move to another place to seek the seacreatures or that she will send shoals to the current hunting grounds.
The World of the Sky
The Eskimo cosmology includes a celestial world above and an underworld below.When a shaman travels to the sky realm, the joyous abode of the good dead, he asksfor assistance from the ancestors in removing sickness from an individual or sorrowfrom the community.Although the Inuit did not believe in a single supreme spirit, some tribes believedthere was one ancestral spirit who was especially responsible for each family. In theSky World, the seasons were reversed so that winter on Earth was summer in theSky. The Sun and Moon were sister and brother, Seqinek and Aningan or Akycha andIgaluk. Their path around the heavens was seen as a perpetual race in which theMoon, at first close to his sister the Sun, lost ground until she finally overtook him atthe end of his cycle, which explains why the Moon can be seen during the day.The Sun is pictured as a beautiful girl who carries her torch through the sky. TheMoon Man is a great hunter who can be seen standing in front of his igloo. He has asledge loaded with seal skins and his team of spotted dogs occasionally chases theirprey down to Earth where they are seen as shooting stars. The Moon Man lives withhis demon cousin Irdlirvirisissong, a female trickster figure who tries to bring laughterto travellers on the road to the heavens or those who see her on Earth. If anyonedoes laugh, however, the clown woman will dry them up and devour their intestines.The Inuit in north-west Greenland say that the constellation called the Great Bear, orNanook once lived on earth but was chased into the sky by a fine pack of dogs. Thedogs ran so fast that they flew up to the sky and became the Pleiades.Across the sky, almost directly opposite the Great Bear is Casseiopia which theEskimo see as stones supporting a giant oil lamp. Orion is seen as three huge snowsteps, leading from Earth to Heaven. As the Aurorea Borealis or Northern Lights
dancing in the sky are seen as deceased family members as they dancing round theirfires at celestial festivals.The movement of the stars provided information essential for a life centred onhunting and fishing. The position of the stars indicated the time of the annualmigration of the caribous or the first appearance of the fish shoals and the coming of the big freeze of the thaw of spring, the summer hunting of walrus and whale on theinlets of the open sea inlets.
Eskimo Rituals of the Hunt
The sea is of greater importance as a source of food than the land to the Eskimo andwinter is the longest season. These physical factors influence the nature and timing of the rituals. Caribou or reindeer hunting, for example, takes place chiefly in theautumn. Tekkeitserktok, God of the Earth, is offered sacrifices at this time since heowns all caribou.Each form of hunting had different gods to be propitiated. For example, Nootaikok,the sprit of icebergs, will send seals if he is called. The spirit within a living bear couldbe charmed so that he might be caught and killed but such killing must only be forneedEskimos must appease the spirits of the animal they kill for food or there will be a badhunting period.. When the tribes of Hudson Bay slay a bear, they paint the head withbright colours and sing sacred songs around it. Usually the hunter’s wife wouldperform the rituals to avoid bringing down the anger of the spirit of the deadcreature. No work could be followed for three days after bearded seals were hunteddown and any discarded parts were taken back to the place the creature was caughtso that it might be reborn.There are taboos against hunting land and sea animals at the same time. Forexample, fish and meat may not be eaten on the same day. Before seal hunting,weapons are cleansed by holding them in the smoke of burning seaweed to removethe taint of the land.Amulet belts of bird skulls, teeth and talons were often worn to invoke the protectionof Koodjanuk, an important spirit who was seen as a very large bird with a blackhead, hooked beak and white body. He could offer protection and healing, especiallyin connection with the hunting of birds whom he created.Similar amulet belts could be created for different creatures and their guiding spirits,such as Aumanil who guides whales to the hunting grounds. The shaman acts asintermediary of the unseen and because he understands the secret language of animals, can travel either to the depths of the sea or to the sky realms when ahunting taboo has been violated.
Eskimo Festivals
Because the intense cold and darkness makes hunting almost impossible during theharshest winter, December and January are especially favoured for festivals. On thelongest night of the year a ceremony is carried out by two shaman who go from hutto hut, extinguishing all the lights and rekindling them from a new flame, chanting: ‘From the new sun comes light.’ The festival symbolises the return of the sun and thepromise of good hunting weather in the spring.The Eskimo year is divided into 13 months, beginning with the winter solstice. Fromthis date the Moons are counted until the Moon can no longer be seen in the brightsummer nights. The Central Eskimos have a sunless month that every few years islost so that the solar and lunar years coincide.

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LilEmo LovesTacoz added this note
im a Eskimo and also some of this stuff is and is not true okay? now us as eskimos yes we are spiritual but we are not mean and most of us were killed off by the Russians and now we are trying to keep the eskimos going
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