Shamanic elements in “His Dark Materials” by Philip Pullman
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The purpose of this paper is to analyze five themes of the trilogy His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman in the light of their similarity to shamanic motifs. Firstly, I focus on the idea of daemons as similar to the shamanic concept of the helpful spirits that have the form of animals. Secondly, I describe Pullman’s idea of Dust as a kind of spiritual concept and I present Lyra as the mediator who communicates with Dust by means of her alethiometer which resembles a shamanic drum. Thirdly, I show the character of John Parry, the only shaman in the novels, and some other characters who have similar skills. Fourthly, I analyze Lyra’s dream in a cave as an initiation rite and the introduction to the motif of the descent to the underworld. This descent is the last motif I focus on, and the most similar to the shamanic ones. In conclusion, I try to explain why the shamanic motifs are used in the trilogy and why they are still vivid in modern culture.
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