By John R. Hinnells
Historical civilisations workout an extreme fascination for individuals across the world. This instruction manual presents a vibrant, scholarly, and eminently readable account of historical cultures around the globe, from China to India, the center East, Egypt, Europe, and the Americas. It examines the advance of non secular trust from the time of the Palaeolithic cave work to the Aztecs and Incas. overlaying the total of society not only the elite, the guide outlines the background of different societies in order that their faith and tradition may be understood in context. each one bankruptcy comprises dialogue of the vast box of suitable reviews alerting the reader to wider debates on every one topic. a global crew of students exhibit their very own deep enthusiasm for his or her topic and supply a special examine of either renowned and 'official' faith within the old global.
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These neurologically generated experiences make it highly probable that entry into a cave was, for Upper Palaeolithic people, entry into a subterranean spirit world. A cave in the mind took the human mind into the caves and gave them profound experiential significance. Further, the sensory deprivation of the utterly dark, silent passages may not only have replicated the vortex; it may also have contributed to the induction of an altered state. Indeed, spelaeologists report experiencing hallucinations while deep underground.
Someone carried paint far underground and then simply made what is for us an insignificant dot. Probably what mattered was not so much the dot that remained but what we cannot see, the whole ritual process of taking powerful paint underground and then, as part of a complex rite, touching the wall of the cave with it. The complexity and diversity of Upper Palaeolithic subterranean ritual activities is becoming clearer. Finally, there is the juxtaposition in so many shamanistic rock arts of what appear to be ‘realistic’ depictions of animals and geometric ‘signs’.
Secondly, destructive magic was said to have been used against the most dangerous species, such as bears, lions and rhinoceroses. Thirdly, fertility magic helped to increase the herds of herbivores by representing mating scenes or pregnant females. The few human figures were taken to represent sorcerers or gods, especially when they were given animal characteristics, like those in Les Trois Fr`eres and Gabillou (Fig. 5). Some of these ideas still make sense. Modern ethnology has abundantly shown that most cultures, not only traditional ones, did and still do try to change the natural course of events in order to facilitate daily life.
A Handbook of Ancient Religions by John R. Hinnells