Vladimir Serkin

Khokhot shamana The Shaman’s Laugh
AST. Mocow 2009. 272 pages
Foreign rights: Germany/ Random House

- City man meets Siberian shaman - the authentic experience report of a healing in the rough landscape of the tundra.
- Captivating encounter of western rational thinking and indigenous wisdom
- Magic journey to a forgotten world

In the sparse, icy vastness of Siberia, a shamanic tradition has been preserved that fascinates and shakes Western people in its strangeness. On the search for a way out of a life crisis, the psychology professor Vladimir Serkin goes on an adventurous journey into the wilderness and finds an old shaman as an eccentric but intelligent teacher. He allows Serkin to experience shamanic healing up close and to record the conversations and experiences. What Serkin learns from his charismatic teacher is as unconventional as it is profound and shows that real insights into the shamanic view of life can only be gained with the courage to make radical changes. Serkin is led to his physical and mental limits and experiences on his own body how the power of a lived shamanism melts the supercooled, rational facade of modern man. The portrait of a forgotten world - and at the same time the autobiographical description of a gripping healing process.

This book is derived from Serkin’s notes recording the impressions gained during his visits to the shaman, as well as from the notes of his discussions with the shaman which Serkin carried out over the years. During these dialogues Serkin often begins with a naive question deriving from his observations of the shaman’s way of life. The latter answers patiently but seldom as directly or immediately as the scientist and psychologist Serkin is used to.

Serkin’s book avoids rash interpretations. He lets the reader take part in his unique encounters with someone who lives in another dimension, who has a different wisdom and genuine freedom and clarity of consciousness. These dialogues contain the key to a completely different view of the world.

Vladimir Serkin is professor of psychology in the north eastern region of Siberia. He encountered an unusual man while building a holiday cottage for hunting and fishing outside of the Tundra town at the end of the 1990s. The man lived in a remote hut and was of course known to everybody as “the shaman”. Serkin begins visiting this shaman, engaging in long conversations with him. It turns out that the shaman is no way a recluse but people are not the only creatures with whom he interacts. He communicates with animals and plants, opens his senses to fragrances, to the ice, to the wind, to the trees and also to invisible beings. He engages in unusual practices which enable him to use powers not available to normal people. The shaman combines the quintessential wisdom of the ancient peoples of the north with the intellect of a modern city dweller. He is no stranger to the town (Magadan) which he visits every now and again. During these visits he is hardly any different to a normal town resident. Yet even when communing with nature and the spirits he appears entirely rational and practical. Astounding practices, one of which is the shaman’s laugh, and not a trace of mysticism are what the professor encounters.

more titles: Stars of the Shaman, Freedom of the Shaman, Philosophy of the Shaman, Kosmos of the Shaman (announced)