by Eric Whollem
India ink and watercolor on paper
Collection of the artist
9 x 6"Copyright by the artist
The Eskimo Shaman
Angakok is a name given to the shamans of the Eskimos
in Alaska. The angakok is related to the shamans of Siberia,
where metaphysical practitioners are called "divers." This
diving relates to the duck, which is a bird which can fly high,
but also dive deep into the sea.
The duck is thus a good symbol of interdimensional travel.
The penetration into heaven or into hell. The shaman goes
to these dimensions to heal the sick or find lost souls.
Seals, Selkies, and Nereids
I depict the angakok in his transformation into a seal. As such
my imagery recalls the Celtic lore of the Selkies, who are
mermaids who take the form of seals. The ancient Greeks
viewed the sea nymph daughters of Nereus and Doris as seals.
The latter are called Nereids.
The Eskimos revere Sedna, the mermaid sea goddess. She was
the mother of seals, walruses and other sea life. She is
propitiated by the Eskimo hunters, who rely on these animals
In my book, The Mystery of the Mermaids, I wrote: ''The
Eskimo shaman is called angakok; even when he dives into
the sea he is said to fly like a bird. The shaman ritually flaps
his wings when he is said to dive into the sea. . . . The shaman's
costume is decorated with images of diving birds and duck's
BELOW IS A VIDEO
THAT DEALS WITH
SHAMANISM AMONG THE
CONCOW MAIDU INDIANS OF
See more of my blog posts about SHAMANISM:
Selkies, shamanism, metaphysical art, Eskimo, Indians, mermaids, anthropology. Figurative abstraction.