Jamuqa’s goat

Jamuqa just wants to pop up today with his goat.
I don’t know what his goat meant to the Scyths (it’s Scythian gold) but it’s spooky, isn’t it? Fit adumbration of his madness.


I have no other excuse to post. Have a goat, people. — It’s a great goat, Jamuqa, and any time you want to guest-post… you know, when you feel talkative. He doesn’t talk much, folks, in public, so I’ll give him his goat and see if that’s a first step.

If I were to write over, the one thing I’d do that I didn’t do (I guess I’m lucky to have a single regret — at this stage) is treat Jamuqa’s mental illness with more realism. As it is, it’s story and not science. I’ve only gone a touch mad twice and I’ve never hallucinated goats, and I’ve dabbled in serious material on the subject, over my life. One comment I have: from my researches on shamanism I’ve come to the view that mental problems were more acknowledged as the common things they are, in these societies than in our own. In descriptions of Mongolian and neighbour shamanism I have seen said that shamans work with mental ills even more often than they do with physical. Anthropologist Caroline Humphrey lists the tasks of a Daur Mongol shaman and finishes, “Daur shamans were above all invited to cure mental illness and depression.” [Shamans and Elders, Oxford, 1996]. There are a few areas where I think ‘they did better than us’ and mental illness is among them. Our Jamuqa didn’t let a shaman help him, but even so, he might agree.

While we’re here, why don’t we link to the State Hermitage Museum St Petersburg, its collection of Scythian antiquities. They have the goat.

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