Religion and Art of Foragers
Religion is a very important for foraging societies. From a psychological perspective, religion helps people understand and accept sickness and death. Australian Aborigines believe that past spirits live on in the physical matter of the natural world. These ‘ghosts’ exist as a state of ‘dreamtime’ and manipulate the weather, plant life, animal life, and the birth and death of people (Scupin 2008). Unlike the Aborigines, the Inuit people believed in reincarnation. When one was sick or dying, the Inuit people believed this to be ‘soul lost’, where the soul has been stolen from a spirit. They had healers called Shaman to help battle these supernatural forces (Scupin 2008). Socially, religion teaches how people should live their life and behave under certain social situations. Through certain social activities and rituals, like circumcision among males, the Australian Aborigines believed they were connecting with the spirits of ‘dreamtime’ (Scupin 2008). The social importance of religion also enforces social codes that tell people what is right and wrong. It was very important for the Aborigines to appease the spirits that controlled their resources, so they followed the moral codes that descended from their ancestors (Scupin 2008). In the Inuit society, Shamans were generally the highest of all ranks and encouraged social order amongst tribes. Since Shamans were the healers, curing everything from illnesses to performing exorcisms, they were looked up to for their wisdom and contributions. Without religion, societies would have no way of controlling behavior and social norms. Foraging societies generally practice forms of ‘cosmic religions’, meaning their religious practices are directly associated with the land they live off of. The Australian Aborigines belief that their ancestors lived on in the physical world as organic matter and controlled aspects such as plant growth, weather, animals, and human life is a form of cosmic...
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