For the first time in history, Russia is holding an election for the position of “supreme shaman” in an effort to unite traditionally marginalized ethnic tribes, mainly from Siberia. Many people are angered at the attempt to identify a shaman using an electorate method, and feel instead that it should be a status granted by nonhuman or “spirit” forces. Siberian shamanism traces its roots to Zoroastrianism, Shinto, and Tantric Buddhism, as well as to local and indigenous religious practices. The person who initiated the shaman election, a member of the Siberian Akh Khaskha tribe, says she feels that the election will show the Russian public that tribal members and shamans are capable of their own democratic process in post-U.S.S.R. Russia. Read more here.
Mesopotamian Medicine and Religion: Current Debates, New Perspectives
By Eleanor Robson , Department of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge
(Vol. 3, June 2008)
From A New Dictionary of Religions