The Artwork depicts a Yakut Shaman, whose trance drum is symbolically seen to be the genie bottle abode of the his Spirit Wife, who visits him within his lucid dreams.
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The European classification of the Spirit Wife is usually based upon a medieval perception, which considers the Spirit Wife to be a demonic entity, called a Succubus.
Western psychology, during the Soviet era, once considered the Spirit Wife complex of Siberian shamanism and that of other shamanic cultures to be a mental aberration, or that of fantasy prone individuals indulging themselves in erotic delusions. However, the psychologist Carl Jung otherwise saw the Spirit Wife/Succubus as being an archetypal aspect of the ‘Anima.’
Jung saw the feminine archetype of the ‘Anima’ as being the personified intermediary with the psychic powerhouse of the subconscious, whose myriad female forms are encountered within ‘lucid’ dreams, from whom a Shaman derives his psychic abilities, an Artist is inspired by as his Art Muses.
The motif of the Spirit Wife is known to the Yoga practitioner as Shakti, whose numerous feminine aspects are called Dakinis, which is also very much part of Tibetan Buddhist dream Yoga practices as well as Siberian shamanism.
For example, the Goldi tribe of Siberia clearly distinguish between a female tutelary spirit, known as an Ayami, which in Western occult practice is of similarity to the (HGA) Holy Guardian Angel, (Jung would also see the HGA as being the ‘Anima,’) who chooses the shaman.
Whereas the helping spirits, (Jung would see as being the myriad aspects of the ‘Anima’) the Goldi call Syven, an occultist would call (Succubae/Succubi) Demons, which are subordinate to the Ayami. The Syven are granted to the Shaman by the Ayami herself. The Altaic name, Ayami means, ‘Silk Twisted In Beauty,’ as in a horse’s mane. The Siberian shaman in particular sees the drum as his Mare, who too is his Spirit Wife, whom he trance rides as an eight-legged female centaur into conscious dreaming.
According to the ethnologist and anthropologist, Leo Sternberg, the Goldi explain the relations between the Shaman and his Ayami by a complex sexual emotion. Below is an experience related by a Goldi shaman:
“Once I was asleep on my sick-bed, when a spirit approached me. It was a very beautiful woman. Her figure was very slight, she was no more than half an arshin (71 cm.) tall. Her face and attire were quite as those of one of our Gold women.
Her hair fell down to her shoulders in short black tresses. Other shamans say they have had the vision of a woman with one half of her face black, and the other half red. She said: ‘I am the “Ayami” of your ancestors, the Shamans. I taught them shamaning. Now I am going to teach you. The old shamans have died off, and there is no one to heal people. You are to become a shaman.’
Next she said: “I love you, I have no husband now, you will be my husband and I shall be a wife unto you. I shall give you assistant spirits. You are to heal with their aid, and I shall teach and help you myself. Food will come to us from the people.”
I felt dismayed and tried to resist. Then she said, “If you will not obey me, so much the worse for you. I shall kill you.”
She has been coming to me ever since, and I sleep with her as with my own wife, but we have no children. She lives quite by herself without any relatives in a hut, on a mountain, but she often changes her abode. . . . Sometimes she comes under the aspect of an old woman, and sometimes under that of a wolf, so she is terrible to look at.
Sometimes she comes as a winged tiger. I mount it and she takes me to show me different countries. I have seen mountains, where only old men and women live, and Villages, where you see nothing but young people, men and women: they look like Golds and speak Goldish, sometimes those people are turned into tigers.
Now my ‘Ayami’ does not come to me as frequently as before. Formerly, when teaching me, she used to come every night.’
She has given me three assistants-the ‘Jarga’ (the Panther), the ‘Doonto (the Bear) and the ‘Amba’ (the Tiger).
They come to me in my dreams, and appear whenever I summon them while shamanising.
If one of them refuses to come, the ‘Ayami’ makes them obey, but, they say, there are some who do not obey even the ‘Ayami.’ When I am shamaning, the ‘Ayami’ and the assistant spirits are possessing me; whether big or small, they penetrate me, as smoke or vapour would.
When the ‘Ayami’ is within me, it is she who speaks through my mouth, and she does everything herself.
When I am eating the ‘Sukdu’ (the offerings) and drinking pig’s blood (the blood of pigs is drunk by shamans alone, lay people are forbidden to touch it), it is not I who eat and drink, it is my ‘Ayami’ alone.”
NOTE: The quoted material concerning the Ayami is derived from: Mircea Eliade, Shamanism, op. cit., PP. 72-3, quoting Leo Sternberg, ‘Divine Election in Primitive Religion’ (1924), PP. 476 ff. cf.. Shamanism, PP. 42l ff., for autobiographies of South-Indian Savara male shamans and female shamans, whose marriages to (Anima – Animus) spirits are in striking parallel to the documents collected by Sternberg.
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