As some Pagans and Heathens attempt to revive ancient or indigenous religions they often rely on the work of historians, primary texts and archaeologists. For this reason, when something new pops up that challenges long held academic ideas on cultural or religious practice, we pay attention. Here are some of the new(er) finds making waves in archaeological circles. Ireland was inhabited earlier than thought… A knee bone from a brown bear had been sitting in the National Museum of Ireland since the 1920s.
Russia, more often making headlines for repression of minority faiths, recently recognized the neo-Pagan faith Aar Aiyy as an official “religious organization” in the Siberian Russian Republic of Sakha. Religions with this special designation receive greater protections and privileges in Russia than those who are merely religious groups. Aar Aiyy appears to be a modern neo-Pagan revival of the indigenous shamanistic religion Tengrism. Tengrism flourished among the Turkic-speaking population of the Siberian Yakuts, the Turks, Huns, Mongolians, and Hungarians. In Siberia the religion waned in the 1600’s when Russian Orthodox Christians moved into the area.
Fearing that Siberian Shamanism is endangered due to a lack of a spokesperson and visibility, Shonchulai Khovyenmei of the Akh Khaskha tribe in Tuva has organized a controversial Internet voting process to elect a “Supreme Shaman”. “The organizers of the Internet vote say a top shaman would serve in a similar way to the Orthodox Patriarch or Supreme Mufti and help raise the profile of Russia’s ethnic tribes after their wretched treatment at the hands of the Soviet authorities … Over 230 shamans from Russia’s 11 time zones are competing for the top spot, which will be decided by November. Nominations closed last Friday.” If you’re thinking this process is very unpopular among some within the Siberian tribes, you’d be right.