Textbook Notes (367,980)
Canada (161,540)
Religion (74)
RLGA02H3 (39)
Chapter 1

RLGA02 - Chapter 1 (textbook notes)

5 Pages
Unlock Document

David Perley

LOOKING BOTH WAYS  Stonehenge  one of several ancient rock structures thought to have been constructed for ritual purposes Looking Back from Stonehenge  There are a few concepts shared by all human cultures that seem fundamental to what we call religion: powerful gods, sacred places, a life of some kind after death, the presence in the physical world of spirits that interact w/ humans Three Worlds  humans have imagined the world to consist of 3 levels: o Sky (uppermost level)  considered home of the greatest deities  Heavens (highest level)  home of the highest deity (male), who was the forerunner of the god of the monotheistic religions o Earth  Where humans lived o Underworld  Lived the spirits of serpents (surviving as cobras or NAGAS  a mythical cobra living in the underworld, associated with water and fertility in Indian religions) or reptilian monsters  b/c they were associated with dark and hidden places, usually imagined as evil Sacred Places  there are certain places where humans feel they are in the presence of some unusual energy and such places are treated with respect  High Places  sacred areas located on hill- or mountain- tops (ie. ancient Middle East – places closest to sky-dwelling deities) Animal Spirits  Attributing spirits to animals (either individually or as members of a family)  Body parts from the most impressive animals (ie. bulls, bears, lions) have been used as ‘power objects” to help make contact with the spirits of these animals Death & Burial  Humans have taken great care with the burial of their dead (ie. head facing east, body positioned in a fetal position)  Most graves also contained ‘grave goods’ of various kinds  The belief that deceased ancestors can play a role in guiding living members of their families is widespread; examples: o Obon – Japanese festival honoring ancestors o Day of the Dead – Mexican festival honoring the dead o All Saints Day – Christian festival honoring all the departed saints, held in the West on Nov 1 o Hallowe’en – popular secular holiday, held on Oct 31; originally celebrated as the ‘eve” of All Saints Day Why are humans religious?  Religion seems to grow out of human experiences: fear of death, and hope for a good afterlife  Religion has many emotional dimensions (fear, awe, love, hate) but also intellectual dimensions 10 WAVES OF RELIGION Wave 1: Shamanism  Shaman (medicine man, witchdoctor)  type of priest, widespread among hunter-gatherer societies, who communicates w/ the spirit world on behalf of ppl Hunting Rituals  Ancient cave drawings depict a shaman performing a ritual either to ensure a successful hunt or to appease the spirits of the hunted species  Early humans believed that the spirits of the animals they hunted had to be appeased  This goes to show that from ancient times, humans have believed that the spirit (of an animal/human) survives death and can communicate with others of its kind Coping with unfriendly spirits  Spirits associated with natural phenomena have been believed to behave towards humans just as humans behave towards one another  Many cultures have believed wild, inhabited areas to be guarded by resident spirits  Pain and disease of all kinds (ie. appendicitis to mental illness) were also attributed to possession by spirits/demons The Shaman  Shamans are still active in a number of cultures today  Sometimes the child of a shaman will follow in the parent’s footsteps, but more often a shaman will be called to the role by their psychic abilities  Candidates for the role of a shaman face a long and rigorous apprenticeship that often includes a vision quest o The questor will acquire a guiding spirit (of that an animal, god/goddess), which then continues to serve as guide and protector throughout their life  To communicate with the spirit world, the shaman enters a trance state; contact is then made in one of two ways: o (1) shaman’s soul leaves his body and travels to realm where spirits live o (2) shaman calls the spirit into their own body and is possessed by it Wave 2: Connecting to the Cosmos  inspired the building of structures like Stonehenge during the Neolithic Era Discerning the Cosmic Cycles  the seasons (north-south movements of the sun) were tracked as well as phases of the moon and the rising positions of certain constellations  astrology developed as a way of understanding the cycle of the seasons and how humans fitted into it Hilltop Tombs  ancient cultures have favored high places as burial sites  where there were no hills, artificial ones were built (ie. pyramids of Egypt) o in these pyramids, shafts extending from the burial chambers towards imp
More Less

Related notes for RLGA02H3

Log In


Join OneClass

Access over 10 million pages of study
documents for 1.3 million courses.

Sign up

Join to view


By registering, I agree to the Terms and Privacy Policies
Already have an account?
Just a few more details

So we can recommend you notes for your school.

Reset Password

Please enter below the email address you registered with and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Add your courses

Get notes from the top students in your class.