Visiting the Six Worlds: Shamanistic Journeys in Canadian Mi'kmaq Cosmology

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Mi’kmaq Indians’ descriptions of journeys between parallel worlds, as we find them in tales collected from the early seventeenth century to the earlier twentieth, are far too complex to fit into Mircea Eliade’s model of shamanism or romantic images of Indians as being “one with nature”. The tales reveal six parallel worlds in which all types of beings belongs to families, have wigwams, and search for food. The parallelism between the worlds has no significance for beings living their ordinary lives, but it is of the utmost importance for understanding how differing types of beings (people, animals, supernaturals) achieve interworlds journeys. The notions of cosmological deixis and perspectivism are used to explore the narratives and shed light on Mi’kmaq cosmology.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • History of Religions


  • cosmological deixis, Mi’kmaq tales, shamanism, traditional ecological knowledge, interworlds journeys, perspectivism
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)312-336
JournalJournal of American Folklore
Publication statusPublished - 2006
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015. The record was previously connected to the following departments: Centre for Theology and Religious Studies (015017000)