AUTHOR: Ramis Sattarov

Danubius, XXXII- Supliment, Galati, 2014, pp. 253-274.


Since Uzbekistan gained its independence, the overall attitude towards religion has greatly changed. Within the framework of law, religious organizations have been granted free and open activity in the society. Uzbekistan is a secular state, the religious way of life and thinking lives in harmony with that of the secular in the country. The Law of the Republic of Uzbekistan “On freedom of faith and religious organizations” of 1998 secures the right of the public to profess any religion individually or in group, to observe religious customs and rites, and to offer pilgrimages to holy sites. Most of the population of Uzbekistan follows the Sunni Islam. Aside from that, there are representatives of more than 15 religious confessions in the country: Catholics, Protestants, Jews, and others. All of them act for the sake of the prosperity of the Homeland, the consolidation of national independence, as well as the promotion of political and social stability. The processes of globalization has since then increased the income of new spiritual ideas and created a synthesis between native forms of indigenous healing as well as new samples from the culturally and regionally diverse population of CIS countries and the world in a whole. This article aims to contribute to the discussions on social issues and its ‘contents’ in light of the urbanization processes in Tashkent. The main argument is that social actions within urban shamanism maintain the everyday spiritual needs in the community. The analysis focuses specifically on practices of solving problems related to family, marital, financial, and effect issues. It shows how these practices help people and modify the context of Tashkent.
The aim of this paper is to outline the current situation of urban shamanism in Tashkent. It examines the relationship between spiritual specialists and society, the phenomenon of urban shamanism and the emergence of spiritual business in Tashkent. The study is partly based on a 2 year-long fieldwork in Uzbekistan (2011–2012). During this time, the author came into contact with spiritual practitioners, healers, had interviews with their clienteles, and attended a number of rituals that they conducted. The field study was conducted at a time when these practices had already “grown”, i.e. they had recruited a vast number of members and attracted enough clients to operate, but still had not reached the stage of economic prosperity.