"Stay in the light, the Furbys have gone feral..." (obscuritan) wrote in anthropologist,
"Stay in the light, the Furbys have gone feral..."

Transgendered Shamanism in Ancient India

Hi, i'm currently researching the Indus Valley Civilization of around 5000-1300 BCE Punjab, and while i've come across a few examples of male shamans/seers who took on symbolic female attributes, such as the later Scythian seers (Enarees) who acted in an effeminate manner and wore women's clothing, I was wondering whether there is much precedent for the reverse - of women taking on symbolic male attributes in the same manner?

I ask because of the most famous stone seal from the IVC is of a figure with a female physique and wearing female clothing and hair-styling but with obviously male genitalia, which I believe indicates a female figure wearing a phallus object on her belt (it's my Icon for this post if you can make it out). Other objects around "her" seem to indicate a shamanic context (a drum and the seated semi-yogic posture). I came to that conclusion given that there are other seals of more obviously male figures with a "V" shaped, possibly vaginal, symbol in the crotch. The horns may be important too - this figure's horns are much larger, possibly from a male bison, whereas the others have much smaller horns.

I was wondering if any of you had come across any good examples or articles on the topic, even if its just to say how rare it was, that you'd be willing to share? Examples from around the same period would be especially useful, but anything from around Central Asia or India would help.

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