Religion, Healing and a Shaman–12 thousand years ago?

July 3rd, 2013 rabbi

One of my growing questions is how did religion start?

I just read reports today of a discovery (in 2008)  of a burial site from 12,000 years ago.  It was found in a small cave in Israel.

While the site contains at least 28 individuals,  one of them is particularly interesting.  The article judges that it was a 45 year old female shaman. The writers believe she was an important member of society and a healer.  The secondary report says: “Such healers mediate between the human and spirit worlds, often summoning the help of animal spirits along their quests, according to the researchers.”

They apparently reach this conclusion because her grave site was walled off from the other bodies buried there, and because there [arts of many other animals buried with her.

Healing is an important aspect of many modern religions.  How did the shaman and her contemporaries understand the source of this healing.  Was there a God concept in the Shaman’s mind or in the mind of the people she was healing?  Why did they travel six miles from the nearest domestic site to bring the animal remains to her grave site?

Was it religion by any modern concept? Did “God” command these offerings?   We may never know?

Gravesite showing animal parts added to the shaman's grave

The contents of the healer or shaman’s gravesite.

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