Definitions

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Shamanism

[shah-muh-niz-uhm, shey-, sham-uh-]

Shamanism is a range of traditional beliefs and practices concerned with communication with the spirit world. A practitioner of shamanism is known as a shaman. There are many variations of shamanism throughout the world; following are beliefs shared by all forms of shamanism:

  • Spirits exist and they play important roles both in individual lives and in human society.
  • The shaman can communicate with the spirit world.
  • Spirits can be good or evil.
  • The shaman can treat sickness caused by evil spirits.
  • The shaman can employ trance inducing techniques to incite visionary ecstacy.
  • The shaman's spirit can leave the body to enter the supernatural world to search for answers.
  • The shaman evokes animal images as spirit guides, omens, and message-bearers.

Shamanism is based on the premise that the visible world is pervaded by invisible forces or spirits which affect the lives of the living. In contrast to organized religions like animism or animatism which are lead by priests and which all members of a society practice, shamanism requires individualized knowledge and special abilities. Shaman operate outside established religions, and, traditionally, they operate alone. Shaman can gather into associations, as Indian tantric practitioners have done.

Etymology

Shaman , (|ˈshämən; ˈshā-|) noun (pl. -man(s)) originally referred to the traditional healers of Turkic-Mongol areas such as Northern Asia (Siberia) and Mongolia; šamán being the Turkic-Tungus word for such a practitioner and meaning "he or she who knows." Other scholars assert that the word comes directly from the Manchu language, and indeed is "the only commonly used English word that is a loan from this language". The female form of Shaman is Shamanka.

In contemporary English language usage, shaman has become interchangeable with the older English language pejorative term witch doctor. This is anthropologically inaccurate, and has raised objections among academics and traditional healers, who assert the word comes from a specific place, people, and set of practices.

Function

Shaman perform a plethora of functions depending upon the society wherein they practive their art: healing; leading a sacrifice; preserving the tradition by storytelling and songs; fortune-telling; acting as a psychopomp (literal meaning, “guide of souls”). In some cultures, a shaman may fulfill several functions in one person.

The necromancer in Greek mythology might be considered a shaman as the necromancer could rally spirits and raise the dead to utilize them as slaves, soldiers and tools for divination.

Mediator

Shaman act as "mediators" in their culture. The shaman is seen as communicating with the spirits on behalf of the community, including the spirits of the dead. In some cultures, this mediator function of the shaman may be illustrated well by some of the shaman's objects and symbols. E.g. among the Selkups, a report mentions sea duck as a spirit-animal: ducks are capable of both flying, and diving underwater, thus they are regarded as belonging to both the upper world and the world underneath. Similarly, the shaman and the jaguar are identified in some Amazonian cultures: the jaguar is capable of moving freely on the ground, in the water, and climbing trees (like the shaman's soul). In some Siberian cultures, it is some water fowl species that are associated to the shaman in a similar way, and the shaman is believed to take on its form.

“The Shaman's Tree” is an image found in several cultures (Yakuts, Dolgans, Evenks), Celts, as a symbol for mediation. The tree is seen as a being whose roots belong to the world underneath; its trunk belongs to the middle, human-inhabited word; and its top is related to the upper world.

Distinct types of shaman

In some cultures there may be additional types of shaman, who perform more specialized functions. For example, among the Nanai people, a distinct kind of shaman acts as a psychopomp. Other specialized shaman may be distinguished according to the type of spirits, or realms of the spirit world, with which the shaman most commonly interacts. These roles vary among the Nenets, Enets, and Selkup shaman (paper; online). Among Huichol, there are two categories of shaman. This demonstrates the differences among shaman within a single tribe.

Ecological aspect

In tropical rainforests, resources for human consumption are easily depletable. In some rainforest cultures, such as the Tucano, a sophisticated system exists for the management of resources, and for avoiding the depletion of these resources through overhunting. This system is conceptualized in a mythological context, involving symbolism and, in some cases, the belief that the breaking of hunting restrictions may cause illness. As the primary teacher of tribal symbolism, the shaman may have a leading role in this ecological management, actively restricting hunting and fishing. The shaman is able to “release” game animals (or their souls) from their hidden abodes, The Desana shaman has to negotiate with a mythological being for souls of game. Not only Tucanos, but also some other rainforest Indians have such ecological concerns related to their shamanism, for example Piaroa. Besides Tukanos and Piaroa, also many Eskimo groups think that the shaman is able to fetch souls of game from remote places; or undertake a soul travel in order to promote hunting luck, e.g. by asking for game from mythological beings (Sea Woman).

Soul concept, spirits

The plethora of functions described in the above section may seem to be rather distinct tasks, but some important underlying concepts join them.

Soul concept

In some cases, at some cultures, the soul concept can explain more, seemingly unassociated phenomena:Healing

may be based closely on the soul concepts of the belief system of the people served by the shaman (online). It may consist of the retrieving the lost soul of the ill person. See also the soul dualism concept.Scarcity of hunted game
can be solved by “releasing” the souls of the animals from their hidden abodes. Besides that, many taboos may prescribe the behavior of people towards game, so that the souls of the animals do not feel angry or hurt, or the pleased soul of the already killed prey can tell the other, still living animals, that they can let themselves to be caught and killed. The ecological aspect of shamanistic practice (and the related beliefs) has already been mentioned above in the article.Infertility of women
can be cured by obtaining the soul of the expected child to be born.

Spirits

Also the beliefs related to spirits can explain many different phenomena too, for example, the importance of storytelling, or acting as a singer, can be understood better if we examine the whole belief system: a person who is able to memorize long texts or songs (and play an instrument) may be regarded as having achieved this ability through contact with the spirits (for example among Khanty people).

Knowledge

Cognitive, semiotic, hermeneutic approaches

As mentioned, a (debated) approach explains the etymology of word “shaman” as meaning “one who knows”. Really, the shaman is a person who is an expert in keeping together the multiple codes through which this complex belief system appears, and has a comprehensive view on it in their mind with certainty of knowledge. The shaman uses (and the audience understands) multiple codes. Shaman express meanings in many ways: verbally, musically, artistically, and in dance. Meanings may be manifested in objects, such as amulets.

The shaman knows the culture of their community well, and acts accordingly. Thus, their audience knows the used symbols and meanings — that's why shamanism can be efficient: people in the audience trust it. Such belief system can appear to its members with certainty of knowledge — this explains the above described etymology for the word “shaman”.

There are semiotic theoretical approaches to shamanism, (“ethnosemiotics”). The symbols on the shaman's costume and drum can refer to animals (as helping spirits), or the rank of the shaman. There were also examples of “mutually opposing symbols”, distinguishing “white” shaman practicing at day contacting sky spirits, and “black” shaman practicing at night contacting evil spirits for bad aims.

Series of such opposing symbols referred to a world-view behind them. Analogously to the way grammar arranges words to express meanings and convey a world, also this formed a cognitive map. Shaman's lore is rooted in the folklore of the community, which provides a “mythological mental map”. Juha Pentikäinen uses the concept “grammar of mind”. Linking to a Sami example, Kathleen Osgood Dana writes:

Juha Pentikäinen, in his introduction to Shamanism and Northern Ecology, explains how the Sámi drum embodies Sámi worldviews. He considers shamanism to be a ‘grammar of mind’ (10), because shaman need to be experts in the folklore of their cultures (11)
. Some approaches refer to hermeneutics, “ethnohermeneutics”, as coined and introduced by Armin Geertz. The term can be extended: Hoppál includes not only the interpretation of oral or written texts, but also that of “visual texts as well (including motions, gestures and more complex ritual, and ceremonies performed for instance by shamans)”. It can not only reveal the animistic views hiding behind shamanism, but also convey their relevance for the recent world, where ecological problems made paradigms about balance and protection valid.

Ecological approaches, systems theory

Other fieldworks use systems theory concepts and ecological considerations to understand the shaman's lore. Desana and Tucano Indians have developed a sophisticated symbolism and concepts of “energy” flowing between people and animals in cyclic paths. Gerardo Reichel-Dolmatoff relates these concepts to the changes how modern science (systems theory, ecology, some new approaches in anthropology and archeology) treats causality in a less linear way. He suggests also a cooperation of modern science and indigenous lore (online).

Other remarks

According to Vladimir Basilov and his work Chosen By the Spirits, a shaman is to be in the utmost healthy conditions to perform their duties to the fullest. The belief of the shaman is most popular through the people located in Central Asia and Kazakhstan. The traditions of the shamanism is also imbedded in the Tadzhiks and Uzbeks regions. The shaman’s bodies are to be formed in a strong manner, someone having a small build would be turned away at once. Age is a requirement as well, definitely being over the age of fifty would disqualify those that want to be involved in serving the spirits. The shaman are always of the higher intellect and are looked at in a different perspective, they have a way that makes them quick on their feet and at ill will curing those in need.

One of the most significant and relevant qualities that separate a shaman from other spiritual leaders is their communications with the supernatural world. As early as the beginning of the century self-hypnosis was very highly thought of by those who worship. Another characteristic of the shaman is the talent to locate objects and discover thieves, shocking those of their tribe and those others also around to witness. The belief in the spirits or the supernatural is what attracts those to believe in the shaman. Those who have ill children or are in failing health of their own is what draws them to the shaman spiritual healings. Although the shaman are still in existence, the population is surely declining.

Career

Initiation and learning

In the world's shamanic cultures, the shaman plays a priest-like role; however, there is an essential difference between the two, as Joseph Campbell describes:
"The priest is the socially initiated, ceremonially inducted member of a recognized religious organization, where he holds a certain rank and functions as the tenant of an office that was held by others before him, while the shaman is one who, as a consequence of a personal psychological crisis, has gained a certain power of his own." (1969, p. 231)

A shaman may be initiated via a serious illness, by being struck by lightning and dreaming of thunder to become a Heyoka, or by a near-death experience (e.g., the shaman Black Elk), or one might follow a "calling" to become a shaman. There is usually a set of cultural imagery expected to be experienced during shamanic initiation regardless of the method of induction. According to Mircea Eliade, such imagery often includes being transported to the spirit world and interacting with beings inhabiting the distant world of spirits, meeting a spiritual guide, being devoured by some being and emerging transformed, and/or being "dismantled" and "reassembled" again, often with implanted amulets such as magical crystals. The imagery of initiation generally speaks of transformation and the granting powers to transcend death and rebirth.

In some societies shamanic powers are considered to be inherited, whereas in other places of the world shaman are considered to have been "called" and require lengthy training. Among the Siberian Chukchis one may behave in ways that "Western" bio-medical clinicians would perhaps characterize as psychotic, but which Siberian peoples may interpret as possession by a spirit who demands that one assume the shamanic vocation. Among the South American Tapirape shaman are called in their dreams. In other societies shaman choose their career. In North America, First Nations peoples would seek communion with spirits through a "vision quest"; whereas South American Shuar, seeking the power to defend their family against enemies, apprentice themselves to accomplished shaman. Similarly the Urarina of Peruvian Amazonia have an elaborate cosmological system predicated on the ritual consumption of ayahuasca. Coupled with millenarian impulses, Urarina ayahuasca shamanism is a key feature of this poorly documented society.

Putatively customary shamanic "traditions" can also be noted among indigenous Kuna peoples of Panama, who rely on shamanic powers and sacred talismans to heal. As such, they enjoy a popular position among local peoples.

Note: Some feel that the Lakota tradition (which includes the Heyoka and Black Elk, mentioned above) are not really shamanic. There is a big difference between the Lakota culture and shamanic cultures. In many South American shamanic cultures there is the use of psycho-active substances (peyote, fly agaric, psilocybin, etc.) In the Lakota culture pain is often used instead of psychoactive plants. While a Siberian shaman would use fly agaric, a Lakota medicine man would do a sun dance. The Lakota medicine people have some bias against the use of psychoactive plants. The majority of shamanic cultures use repetitive sound to enter the shamanic state versus the use of psycho-active plants or pain.

Shamanic illness

Shamanic illness, also called shamanistic inititatory crisis, is a psycho-spiritual crisis, usually involuntary, or a rite of passage, observed among those becoming shaman. The episode often marks the beginning of a time-limited episode of confusion or disturbing behavior where the shamanic initiate might sing or dance in an unconventional fashion, or have an experience of being "disturbed by spirits". The symptoms are usually not considered to be signs of mental illness by interpreters in the shamanic culture; rather, they are interpreted as introductory signposts for the individual who is meant to take the office of shaman (Lukoff et.al, 1992). Similarities of some shamanic illness symptoms to the kundalini process have been often noted The significant role of initiatory illnesses in the calling of a shaman can be found in the detailed case history of Chuonnasuan, the last master shaman among the Tungus peoples in Northeast China.

Practice

Underlying beliefs of practice

The shaman plays the role of healer in shamanic societies; shamans gain knowledge and power by traversing the axis mundi and bringing back knowledge from the heavens. Even in western society, this ancient practice of healing is referenced by the use of the caduceus as the symbol of medicine. Often the shaman has, or acquires, one or more familiar helping entities in the spirit world; these are often spirits in animal form, spirits of healing plants, or (sometimes) those of departed shamans. In many shamanic societies, magic, magical force, and knowledge are all denoted by one word, such as the Quechua term "yachay".

While the causes of disease are considered to lie in the spiritual realm, being effected by malicious spirits or witchcraft, both spiritual and physical methods are used to heal. Commonly, a shaman will "enter the body" of the patient to confront the spirit making the patient sick, and heal the patient by banishing the infectious spirit. Many shamans have expert knowledge of the plant life in their area, and an herbal regimen is often prescribed as treatment. In many places shamans claim to learn directly from the plants, and to be capable of harnessing their effects and healing properties only after obtaining permission from its abiding or patron spirit. In South America, individual spirits are summoned by the singing of songs called icaros; before a spirit can be summoned the spirit must teach the shaman its song. The use of totem items such as rocks is common; these items are believed to have special powers and an animating spirit. Such practices are presumably very ancient; in about 368 BCE, Plato wrote in the Phaedrus that the "first prophecies were the words of an oak", and that everyone who lived at that time found it rewarding enough to "listen to an oak or a stone, so long as it was telling the truth".

The belief in witchcraft and sorcery, known as brujeria in South America, is prevalent in many shamanic societies. Some societies distinguish shamans who cure from sorcerers who harm; others believe that all shamans have the power to both cure and kill; that is, shamans are in some societies also thought of as being capable of harm. The shaman usually enjoys great power and prestige in the community, and is renowned for their powers and knowledge; but they may also be suspected of harming others and thus feared.

By engaging in this work, the shaman exposes himself to significant personal risk, from the spirit world, from any enemy shamans, as well as from the means employed to alter his state of consciousness. Certain of the plant materials used can be fatal, and the failure to return from an out-of-body journey can lead to physical death. Spells are commonly used to protect against these dangers, and the use of more dangerous plants is usually very highly ritualized.

Methods

Generally, the shaman traverses the axis mundi and enters the spirit world by effecting a transition of consciousness, entering into an ecstatic trance, either autohypnotically or through the use of entheogens. The methods employed are diverse, and are often used together. Some of the methods for effecting such trances:

Shamans will often observe dietary or customary restrictions particular to their tradition. Sometimes these restrictions are more than just cultural. For example, the diet followed by shamans and apprentices prior to participating in an Ayahuasca ceremony includes foods rich in tryptophan (a biosynthetic precursor to serotonin) as well as avoiding foods rich in tyramine, which could induce hypertensive crisis if ingested with MAOIs such as are found in Ayahuasca brews.

Music, songs

Just like shamanism itself, music and songs related to it in various cultures are diverse, far from being alike. In some cultures and several instances, some songs related to shamanism intend to imitate also natural sounds, sometimes via onomatopoiea.

Of course, in several cultures, imitation of natural sounds may serve other functions, not necessarily related to shamanism: practical goals as luring game in the hunt; or entertainment (katajjaqs of Inuit).

Paraphernalia

As mentioned above, cultures termed as shaministic can be very different. Thus, shamans may have various kinds of paraphernalia.

Drum

Drum is used by shamans of several peoples in Siberia; same holds for many Eskimo groups, although its usage for shamanistic seances may be lacking among the Inuit of Canada.

The beating of the drum allows the shaman to achieve an altered state of consciousness or to travel on a journey. The drum is for example referred to as, “‘horse’ or ‘rainbow-bridge’ between the physical and spiritual worlds”. The journey mentioned is one in which the shaman establishes a connection with one or two of the spirit worlds. With the beating of the drum come neurophysiological effects. Much fascination surround the role that the acoustics of the drum play to the shaman. Siberian shamans' drums are generally constructed of an animal-skin stretched over a bent wooden hoop, with a handle across the hoop.

There are two different worlds, the upper and the lower. In the upper world, images such as “climbing a mountain, tree, cliff, rainbow, or ladder; ascending into the sky on smoke; flying on an animal, carpet, or broom and meeting a teacher or guide”, are typically seen. The lower world consists of images including, “entering into the earth through a cave, hollow tree stump, a water hole, a tunnel, or a tube”. By being able to interact with a different world at an altered and aware state, the Shaman can then exchange information between the world in which he lives and that in which he has traveled to.

Eagle Feather

These feathers have been seen used as a kind of spiritual scalpel.

Rattle

Found mostly among South American and African peoples. Also used in ceremonies among the Navajo and in traditional ways in their blessings and ceremonies.

Gong

Often found through South East Asia, Far Eastern peoples.

Didgeridoo and clap stick

Found mainly among the various aboriginal peoples of Australia.

Gender and sexuality

While some cultures have had higher numbers of male shamans, others such as native Korean cultures have had a preference for females. Recent archaeological evidence suggests that the earliest known shamans—dating to the Upper Paleolithic era in what is now the Czech Republic—were women.

In some societies, shamans exhibit a two-spirit identity, assuming the dress, attributes, role or function of the opposite sex, gender fluidity and/or same-sex sexual orientation. This practice is common, and found among the Chukchi, Sea Dayak, Patagonians, Araucanians, Arapaho, Cheyenne, Navajo, Pawnee, Lakota, and Ute, as well as many other Native American tribes. Indeed, these two spirited shamans were so widespread as to suggest a very ancient origin of the practice. See, for example, Joseph Campbell's map in his The Historical Atlas of World Mythology [Vol I: The Way of the Animal Powers: Part 2: pg 174] Such two-spirit shamans are thought to be especially powerful, and Shamanism so important to ancestral populations that it may have contributed to the maintenance of genes for transgendered individuals in breeding populations over evolutionary time through the mechanism of "kin selection." [see final chapter of E.O. Wilson's "Sociobiology: The New Synthesis] They are highly respected and sought out in their tribes, as they will bring high status to their mates.

Duality and bisexuality are also found in the shamans of the Dogon people of Mali (Africa). References to this can be found in several works of Malidoma Somé, a writer who was born and initiated there.

Position

In some cultures, the border between the shaman and the lay person is not sharp:

Among the Barasana, there is no absolute difference between those men recognized as shamans and those who are not. At the lowest level, most adult men have some abilities as shamans and will carry out some of the same functions as those men who have a widespread reputation for their powers and knowledge.
The difference is that the shaman knows more myths and understands their meaning better, but the majority of adult men knows many myths, too.

Similar can be observed among some Eskimo peoples. Many laic people have felt experiences that are usually attributed to the shamans of those Eskimo groups: experiencing daydreaming, reverie, trance is not restricted to shamans. It is the control over helping spirits that is characteristic mainly to shamans, the laic people use amulets, spells, formulae, songs. In Greenland among some Inuit, there are laic people who may have the capability to have closer relationships with beings of the belief system than others. These people are apprentice shamans who failed to accomplish their learning process.

The assistant of an Oroqen shaman (called jardalanin, i.e. "second spirit") knows many things about the associated beliefs: he/she accompanies the rituals, interprets the behavior of the shaman. Despite of this, the jardalanin is not a shaman. For his/her interpretative, accompanying role, it would be even unwelcome to fall into trance.

The way shamans get sustenance and take part in everyday life varies among cultures. In many Eskimo groups, they provide services for the community and get a “due payment” (some cultures believe the payment is given to the helping spirits), but these goods are only “welcome addenda.” They are not enough to enable shamanizing as a full-time activity. Shamans live like any other member of the group, as hunter or housewife.

History

Hypotheses on origins

Shamanistic practices are sometimes claimed to predate all organized religions, dating back to the Paleolithic, and certainly to the Neolithic period.

Historical times

Aspects of shamanism are encountered in later, organized religions, generally in their mystic and symbolic practices. Greek paganism was influenced by shamanism, as reflected in the stories of Tantalus, Prometheus, Medea, and Calypso among others, as well as in the Eleusinian Mysteries, and other mysteries. Some of the shamanic practices of the Greek religion later merged into the Roman religion.

The shamanic practices of many cultures were marginalized with the spread of monotheism in Europe and the Middle East. In Europe, starting around 400, institutional Christianity was instrumental in the collapse of the Greek and Roman religions. Temples were systematically destroyed and key ceremonies were outlawed or appropriated. The Early Modern witch trials may have further eliminated lingering remnants of European shamanism (if in fact "shamanism" can even be used to accurately describe the beliefs and practices of those cultures).

The repression of shamanism continued as Catholic influence spread with Spanish colonization. In the Caribbean, and Central and South America, Catholic priests followed in the footsteps of the Conquistadors and were instrumental in the destruction of the local traditions, denouncing practitioners as "devil worshippers" and having them executed. In North America, the English Puritans conducted periodic campaigns against individuals perceived as witches. As recently as the nineteen seventies, historic petroglyphs were being defaced by missionaries in the Amazon. A similarly destructive story can be told of the encounter between Buddhists and shamans, e.g., in Mongolia (See Caroline Humphrey with Urgunge Onon, 1996).

Decline and revitalization / tradition-preserving movements

In many areas, former shamans ceased to fill the functions in the community they used to, as they felt mocked by their own community, or regarded their own past as a deprecated thing, sometimes even unwilling to talk about it to an ethnographer.

Moreover, besides personal communications of former shamans, even some folklore texts narrate directly about a deterioration process. For example, a Buryat epic text details the wonderful deeds of the ancient “first shaman” Kara-Gürgän: he could even compete with God, create life, steal back the soul of the sick from God without his consent. A subsequent text laments that shamans of older times were stronger, possessing capabilities like omnividence, fortune-telling even for decades in the future, moving as fast as bullet; the texts contrast them to the recent heartless, unknowing, greedy shamans.

As for reality, in most affected areas, shamanistic practices ceased to exist, with authentic shamans died and their personal experiences following. The loss of memories is not always lessened by the fact the shaman is not always the only person in a community who knows the beliefs and motifs related to the local shamanhood (laics know myths as well, among Barasana, even though less; there are former shaman apprentices unable to complete the learning among some Greenlandic Inuit peoples, moreover, even laics can have trance-like experiences among Eskimos; the assistant of a shaman can be extremely knowledgable among Oroqen). Although the shaman is often believed and trusted exactly because he/she "accommodates" to the "grammar" of the beliefs of the community, but several parts of the knowledge related to the local shamanhood consist of personal experiences of the shaman (illness), or root in his/her family life (the interpretation of the symbolics of his/her drum), thus, these are lost with his/her death. Besides of this, in many cultures, the entire traditional belief system has become endangered (often together with a partial or total language shift), the other people of the community remembering the associated beliefs and practices (or the language at all) became old or died, many folklore memories (songs, texts) went forgotten — this may threaten even such peoples which could preserve their isolation until the middle of the 20th centrury, like the Nganasan.

Some areas could enjoy a prolonged resistance due to their remoteness.

  • Variants of shamanism among Eskimo peoples were once a widespread (and very diverse) phenomenon, but today are rarely practiced, and they were already in the decline among many groups even in the times when the first major ethnological researches were done, e.g. among Polar Eskimos, in the end of 19th century, Sagloq died, the last shaman who was believed to be able to travel to the sky and under the sea — and many other former shamanic capacities were lost in that time as well, like ventriloquism and sleight-of-hand.
  • The isolated location of Nganasan people allowed shamanism to be a living phenomenon among them even in the beginning of 20th century, the last notable Nganasan shaman's séances could be recorded on film in the 1970s.

After exemplifying the general decline even in the most remote areas, let us mention that there are some revitalization or tradition-preserving efforts as a response. Besides collecting the memories, there are also some tradition-preserving and even revitalization efforts, sometimes lead by authentic former shamans (for example among Sakha people and Tuvans). However, according to Richard L. Allen, Research & Policy Analyst for the Cherokee Nation, they are overwhelmed with fraudulent Shaman. "One may assume that anyone claiming to be a Cherokee "shaman, spiritual healer, or pipe- carrier," is equivalent to a modern day medicine show and snake-oil vendor." In fact, there is no Cherokee word for Shaman or Medicine Man. The Cherokee word for "medicine" or is Nvowti which means "power".

Besides tradition-preserving efforts, there are also neoshamansistic movements, these may differ from many tradtitional shamanistic practice and beliefs in several points. Admittedly, several traditional beliefs systems indeed have ecological considerations (for example, many Eskimo peoples), and among Tukano people, the shaman indeed has directly resource-protecting roles, see details in section Ecological aspect.

Today, shamanism survives primarily among indigenous peoples. Shamanic practices continue today in the tundras, jungles, deserts, and other rural areas, and even in cities, towns, suburbs, and shantytowns all over the world. This is especially true for Africa and South America, where "mestizo shamanism" is widespread.

Regional variations

Europe

. While shamanism had a strong tradition in Europe before the rise of monotheism, shamanism remains as a traditional, organized religion in Uralic, Altaic people and Huns; and also in Mari-El and Udmurtia, two semi-autonomous provinces of Russia with large Finno-Ugric minority populations. It was widespread in Europe during the Stone Age, and continued to be practiced throughout the Iron Age by the various Teutonic tribes and the Fino-Baltic peoples. Some peoples, which used to live in Siberia, have wandered to their present locations since then. For example, many Uralic peoples live now outside Siberia, however the original location of the Proto-Uralic peoples (and its extent) is debated. Combined phytogeographical and linguistic considerations (distribution of various tree species and the presence of their names in various Uralic languages) suggest that this area was north of Central Ural Mountains and on lower and middle parts of Ob River. The ancestors of Hungarian people or Magyars have wandered from their ancestral proto-Uralic area to the Pannonian Basin. Shamanism is no more a living practice among Hungarians, but some remnants have been reserved as fragments of folklore, in folktales, customs. Tuva is the only region in the world to have shamanism as an official religion.

Asia

Siberia

Siberia is regarded as the locus classicus of shamanism. It is inhabited by many different ethnic groups. Many of its Uralic, Altaic, and Paleosiberian peoples observe shamanistic practices even in modern times. Many classical ethnographic sources of “shamanism” were recorded among Siberian peoples.

Among several Samoyedic peoples shamanism was a living tradition also in modern times, especially at groups living in isolation until recent times (Nganasans). The last notable Nganasan shaman's seances could be recorded on film in the 1970s.

When the People's Republic of China was formed in 1949 and the border with Russian Siberia was formally sealed, many nomadic Tungus groups that practiced shamanism were confined in Manchuria and Inner Mongolia. These include the Ewenki and the Oroqen. The last shaman of the Oroqen, Chuonnasuan (Meng Jin Fu), died in October 2000.

In many other cases, shamanism was in decline even at the beginning of 20th century (Selkups).

Korea

Shamanism is still practiced in South Korea, where the role of a shaman is most frequently taken by women known as mudangs, while male shamans (rare)are called baksoo mudangs. Korean shamans are considered to be from a low class.

A person can become a shaman through hereditary title or through natural ability. Shamans are consulted in contemporary society for financial and marital decisions.

The Korean shamans' use of the Amanita Muscaria .. in traditional practice is thought to have been suppressed as early as the Choseon dynasty. Another mushroom of the Russula genus was renamed as the Shaman's mushroom, "Mu-dang-beo-seot무당버섯". Korean shamans are also reputed to use spiders over the subject's skin. Colorful robes, dancing, drums and ritual weapons are also features.

Other Asian areas

There is a strong shamanistic influence in the Bön religion of some Central Asians, and in Tibetan Buddhism. Buddhism became popular with shamanic peoples such as the Tibetans, Mongols, and Manchu beginning in the eighth century. Forms of shamanistic ritual combined with Tibetan Buddhism became institutionalized as the state religion under the Mongolian Yuan dynasty and the Manchurian Qing dynasty. However, in the shamanic cultures still practiced by various ethnic groups in areas such as Nepal and northern India, shamans are not necessarily considered enlightened, and often are even feared for their ability to use their power to carry out malicious intent.

In Tibet, the Nyingma schools in particular, had a Tantric tradition that had married "priests" known as Ngakpas or Ngakmas/mos (fem.). The Ngakpas were often employed or commissioned to rid the villages of demons or disease, creations of protective amulets, the carrying out of religious rites etc. The Ngakpas should however, been grounded in Buddhist philosophy and not simply another form of shaman, but sadly, this was most often not the case. There have always been, however, highly realised and accomplished ngakpas. They were in their own right great lamas who were of equal status as lamas with monastic backgrounds. The monasteries, as in many conventional religious institutions, wished to preserve their own traditions, sometimes at the expense of others. The monasteries depended upon the excesses of patrons for support. This situation often led to a clash between the more grassroots and shamanic character of the travelling Chödpa and Ngakpa culture and the more conservative religious monastic system.

Shamanism is still widely practiced in the Ryukyu Islands (Okinawa), where shamans are known as 'Nuru' (all women) and 'Yuta'. 'Nuru' generally administrates public or communal ceremonies while 'Yuta' focuses on the civil or private matters. Shamanism is also practiced in a few rural areas in Japan proper. It is commonly believed that the Shinto religion is the result of the transformation of a shamanistic tradition into a religion. Forms of practice vary somewhat in the several Ryukyu islands, so that there is, e.g., a distinct Miyako shamanism

Shamanistic practices also seem to have been preserved in the Catholic religious traditions of aborigenes in Taiwan

In Vietnam, shamans conduct rituals in many of the religious traditions that co-mingle in the majority and minority populations. In their rituals, music, dance, special garments and offerings are part of the performance that surround the spirit journey.

Eskimo cultures

Eskimo groups comprise a huge area stretching from Eastern Siberia through Alaska and Northern Canada (including Labrador Peninsula) to Greenland. Shamanistic practice and beliefs have been recorded at several parts of this vast area crosscutting continental borders.

As for terminology used in the article: the term Eskimo has fallen out of favour in Canada and Greenland, where it is considered pejorative and the term Inuit has become more common. However, Eskimo is still considered acceptable among Alaska Natives of Yupik and Inupiaq (Inuit) heritage, and is preferred over Inuit as a collective reference. To date, no replacement term for Eskimo inclusive of all Inuit and Yupik people has achieved acceptance across the geographical area inhabited by the Inuit and Yupik peoples. The Inuit and Yupik languages together constitute one branch within the Eskimo-Aleut language family alongside the Aleut branch. (The Sireniki Eskimo language is sometimes proposed to form a third branch of the Eskimo, but sometimes it is regarded as belonging to the Yupik languages.) The languages of the Eskimo branch have certain common characteristics (compared to Aleut) which justifies "splitting off" the Eskimo branch inside the Eskimo-Aleut family.

Shamanistic features

When speaking of “shamanism” in various Eskimo groups, we must remember that (as mentioned above) the term “shamanism” can cover certain characteristics of various different cultures. Mediation is regarded often as an important aspect of shamanism in general. Also in most Eskimo groups, the role of mediator is known well: the person filling it in is actually believed to be able to contact the beings who populate the belief system. Term “shaman” is used in several English-language publications also in relation to Eskimos. Also the /aˈliɣnalʁi/ of the Asian Eskimos is translated as “shaman” in the Russian and English literature.

The belief system assumes specific links between the living people, the souls of hunted animals, and those of dead people. The soul concepts of several groups are specific examples of soul dualism (showing variability in details in the various cultures).

Like most cultures labelled as “shamanistic”, the Eskimo groups have several special features, or at least ones that are not present in all shamanistic cultures. Unlike in many Siberian cultures, the careers of most Eskimo shamans lack the motivation of force: becoming a shaman is usually a result of deliberate consideration, not a necessity forced by the spirits.

Diversity, with some similarities

Another possible concern: do the belief systems of various Eskimo groups have such common features at all, that would justify any mentioning them together? There was no political structure above the groups, their languages were relative, but differed more or less, often forming language continuums (online).

There are some similarities in the cultures of the Eskimo groups together with diversity, far from homogeneity.

The Russian linguist Меновщиков, an expert of Siberian Yupik and Sireniki Eskimo languages (while admitting that he is not a specialist in ethnology) mentions, that the shamanistic seances of those Siberian Yupik and Sireniki groups he has seen have many similarities to those of Greenland Inuit groups described by Fridtjof Nansen, although a large distance separates Siberia and Greenland. There may be certain similarities also in Asiatic groups with some North American ones. Also the usage of a specific shaman's language is documented among several Eskimo groups, used mostly for talking to spirits. Also the Ungazigmit (belonging to Siberian Yupiks) had a special allegoric usage of some expressions.

The local cultures showed great diversity. The myths concerning the role of shaman had several variants, and also the name of their protagonists varied from culture to culture. For example, a mythological figure, usually referred to in the literature by the collective term Sea Woman, has factually many local names: Nerrivik “meat dish” among Polar Inuit, Nuliayuk “lubricous” among Netsilingmiut, Sedna “the nether one” among Baffin Land Inuit. Also the soul conceptions, e.g. the details of the soul dualism showed great variability, ranging from guardianship to a kind of reincarnation. Conceptions of spirits or other beings had also many variants (see e.g. the tupilaq concept).

Africa

See also African traditional religion.

In the early 19th century traditional healers in parts of Africa were often referred to in a derogatory manner as "witch doctors" practising Juju by early European settlers and explorers.The San or Bushmen ancestors who were primarily scattered in Southern Africa before the 19th century, are reported to have practiced a practice similar to shamanism. In areas in Eastern Free State and Lesotho, where they co-existed with the early Sotho tribes, local folklore describes them to have lived in caves where they drew pictures on cave walls during a trance and were also reputed to be good rain makers.

  • The term "sangoma", as employed in Zulu and congeneric languages, is effectively equivalent to "shaman".

Americas

Native American and First Nations cultures have diverse religious beliefs. There was never one universal Native American religion or spiritual system. Though many Native American cultures have traditional healers, ritualists, singers, mystics, lore-keepers and "Medicine People", none of them ever used, or use, the term "shaman" to describe these religious leaders. Rather, like other indigenous cultures the world over, their spiritual functionaries are described by words in their own languages, and in many cases are not taught to outsiders.

Many of these indigenous religions have been grossly misrepresented by outside observers and anthropologists, even to the extent of superficial or seriously mistaken anthropological accounts being taken as more authentic than the accounts of actual members of the cultures and religions in question. Often these accounts suffer from "Noble Savage"-type romanticism and racism. Some contribute to the fallacy that Native American cultures and religions are something that only existed in the past, and which can be mined for data despite the opinions of Native communities.

Not all Indigenous communities have roles for specific individuals who mediate with the spirit world on behalf of the community. Among those that do have this sort of religious structure, spiritual methods and beliefs may have some commonalities, though many of these commonalities are due to some nations being closely-related, from the same region, or through post-Colonial governmental policies leading to the combining of formerly-independent nations on reservations. This can sometimes lead to the impression that there is more unity among belief systems than there was in antiquity.

Navajo medicine men, known as "Hatałii", use several methods to diagnose the patient's ailments. These may include using special tools such as crystal rocks, and abilities such as hand-trembling and trances, sometimes accompanied by chanting. The Hatałii will select a specific healing chant for that type of ailment. Navajo healers must be able to correctly perform a healing ceremony from beginning to end. If they don't, the ceremony will not work. Training a Hatałii to perform ceremonies is extensive, arduous, and takes many years, and is not unlike priesthood. The apprentice learns everything by watching his teacher, and memorizes the words to all the chants. Many times, a medicine man cannot learn all sixty of the traditional ceremonies, so he will opt to specialize in a select few.

Santo Daime is a syncretic religion with elements of shamanism.

Meso-American shamanism

The Maya people of Guatemala, Belize, and Southern Mexico practice a highly sophisticated form of shamanism based upon astrology and a form of divination known as "the blood speaking", in which the shaman is guided in divination and healing by pulses in the veins of his arms and legs.

In contemporary Nahuatl, shamanism is known as cualli ohtli ('the good path') leading (during dreaming by 'friends of the night') to Tlalocán.

Alaska, northern Canada, and Greenland

Shamanic practices are also present in tribes in northern Canada, such the animism and shamanism of the Chipewyan and of the Cree

Amazonia

In the Peruvian Amazon Basin and north coastal regions of the country, the healer shamans are known as curanderos. In addition to Peruvian shaman’s (curanderos) use of rattles, and their ritualized ingestion of mescaline-bearing San Pedro cactuses (Trichocereus pachanoi) for the divinization and diagnosis of sorcery, north-coastal shamans are famous throughout the region for their intricately complex and symbolically dense healing altars called mesas (tables). Sharon (1993) has argued that the mesas symbolize the dualistic ideology underpinning the practice and experience of north-coastal shamanism. For Sharon, the mesas are the, "physical embodiment of the supernatural opposition between benevolent and malevolent energies” (Dean 1998:61).

In the Amazon Rainforest, at several Indian groups the shaman acts also as a manager of scare ecological resources (paper; online). The rich symbolism behind Tukano shamanism has been documented in some in-depth field works even in the last decades of the 20th century. For variations in shamanism among the several Tukano tribes, see : "Shamans, Prophets, Priests, and Pastors." For individual tribes of the Tukano, separate reports have been published, such as "Desana Shamanism"

The yaskomo of the Waiwai is believed to be able to perform a soul flight. The soul flight can serve several functions:

  • healing
  • flying to the sky to consult cosmological beings (the moon or the brother of the moon) to get a name for a new-born baby
  • flying to the cave of peccaries' mountains to ask the father of peccaries for abundance of game
  • flying deep down in a river, to achieve the help of other beings.

Thus, a yaskomo is believed to be able to reach sky, erth, water, in short, every element.

Shamanism among the Yąnomamö (of the Venezolano Amazonas and the Brazilian Roraima) is described in Tales of the Yanomami by Jacques Lizot.

There is Asuriní shamanism of Pará, Brazil.

Harakmbut shamanism (of Peru) involves curing by dream-interpretion.

Among other literature on South American tropical forest shamanism are:-

Mapuche

Among the Mapuche people of South America, the community "shaman", usually a woman, is known as the Machi, and serves the community by performing ceremonies to cure diseases, ward off evil, influence the weather and harvest, and by practicing other forms of healing such as herbalism.

Fuegians

Although Fuegians (the indigenous peoples of Tierra del Fuego) were all hunter-gatherers, they did not share a common culture. The material culture was not homogenous, either: the big island and the archipelago made two different adaptations possible. Some of the cultures were coast-dwelling, others were land-oriented.

Both Selk'nam and Yámana had persons filling in shaman-like roles. The Selk'nams believed their /xon/s to have supernatural capabilities, e.g. to control weather. The figure of /xon/ appeared in myths, too. The Yámana /jekamuʃ/ corresponds to the Selknam /xon/.

Oceania

In Australia various aboriginal groups refer to their "shamans" as "clever men" and "clever women" also as kadji. These Aboriginal shamans use maban or mabain, the material that is believed to give them their purported magical powers. Besides healing, contact with spiritual beings, involvement in initiation and other secret ceremonies, they are also enforcers of tribal laws, keepers of special knowledge and may "hex" to death one who breaks a social taboo by singing a song only known to the "clever men".

Criticism of the term “shaman” or “shamanism”

Certain anthropologists, most notably Alice Kehoe in her book Shamans and Religion: An Anthropological Exploration in Critical Thinking, are highly critical of the term. Part of this criticism involves the notion of cultural appropriation. This includes criticism of New Age and modern Western forms of Shamanism, which may not only misrepresent or 'dilute' genuine indigenous practices but do so in a way that, according to Kehoe, reinforces racist ideas such as the Noble Savage.

Kehoe is highly critical of Mircea Eliade's work. Eliade, being a philosopher and historian of religions rather than an anthropologist, had never done any field work or made any direct contact with 'shamans' or cultures practicing 'shamanism', though he did spend four years studying at the University of Calcutta in India where he received his doctorate based on his Yoga thesis and was acquainted with Mahatma Gandhi. According to Kehoe, Eliade's 'shamanism' is an invention synthesized from various sources unsupported by more direct research. To Kehoe, what some scholars of shamanism treat as being definitive of shamanism, most notably drumming, trance, chanting, entheogens and hallucinogenics, spirit communication and healing, are practices that

  • exist outside of what is defined as shamanism and play similar roles even in non-shamanic cultures (such as the role of chanting in Judeo-Christian rituals)
  • in their expression are unique to each culture that uses them and cannot be generalized easily, accurately or usefully into a global ‘religion’ such as shamanism.

Because of this, Kehoe is also highly critical of the notion that shamanism is an ancient, unchanged, and surviving religion from the Paleolithic period.

Mihály Hoppál also discusses whether the term “shamanism” is appropriate. He recommends using the term “shamanhood” or “shamanship” for stressing the diversity and the specific features of the discussed cultures. This is a term used in old Russian and German ethnographic reports at the beginning of the 20th century. He believes that this term is less general and places more stress on the local variations, and it emphasizes also that shamanism is not a religion of sacred dogmas, but linked to the everyday life in a practical way. Following similar thoughts, he also conjectures a contemporary paradigm shift. Also Piers Vitebsky mentions, that despite really astonishing similarities, there is no unity in shamanism. The various, fragmented shamanistic practices and beliefs coexist with other beliefs everywhere. There is no record of pure shamanistic societies (although, as for the past, their existence is not impossible).

See books and small online materials on this topic.

Shamanism and New Age movement

The New Age movement has appropriated some ideas from shamanism as well as beliefs and practices from Eastern religions and Native American cultures. As with other such appropriations, the original practitioners of these traditions frequently condemn New Age use as misunderstood, sensationalized, or superficially understood and/or applied. Some Nanai shamans experienced performances on the stage as dangerous: inappropriate (untimely, superfluous) invocation of the helping spirits can raise their anger.

There is an endeavor in some occult and esoteric circles to reinvent shamanism in a modern form, drawing from core shamanism - a set of beliefs and practices synthesized by the controversial Michael Harner - often revolving around the use of ritual drumming and dance, and Harner's interpretations of various indigenous religions. Harner has faced much criticism for implying that pieces of diverse religions can be taken out of context to form some sort of "universal" shamanic tradition. Some of these neoshamans also focus on the ritual use of entheogens, as well as chaos magic. Allegedly, European-based Neoshamanic traditions are focused upon the researched or imagined traditions of ancient Europe, where they believe many mystical practices and belief systems were suppressed by the Christian church. Some of these practitioners express a desire to practice a system that is based upon their own ancestral traditions. Some anthropologists and practitioners have discussed the impact of such "neoshamanism" as 'giving extra pay' (Harvey, 1997 and elsewhere) to indigenous American traditions, particularly as many Pagan- or Heathen-'shamanic practitioners' of legitimate cultural traditions do not call themselves shamans, but instead use specific names derived from the older European traditions - the völva or seidkona (seid-woman) of the sagas being an example (see Blain 2002, Wallis 2003). Shamanism has also been used in New Age therapies which use enactment and association with other realities as an intervention

(see also Plastic shaman)

See also

Notes

References

Latin

  • Barüske, Heinz (1969). Eskimo Märchen. Düsseldorf • Köln: Eugen Diederichs Verlag. The title means: “Eskimo tales”, the series means: “The tales of world literature”.
  • Boglár, Lajos (2001). A kultúra arcai. Mozaikok a kulturális antropológia köreiből. Budapest: Napvilág Kiadó. The title means “The faces of culture. Mosaics fom the area of cultural anthropology”.
  • Czaplicka, M. A. (1914). Shamanism in Siberia. Aboriginal Siberia. A study in social anthropology. Sommerville College, University of Oxford, Clarendon Press.
  • Dana, Kathleen Osgood (2004 summer). "Áillohaš and his image drum: the native poet as shaman". Nordlit 15
  • Deschênes, Bruno Inuit Throat-Singing. Musical Traditions. The Magazine for Traditional Music Throughout the World. (2002). .
  • Diószegi, Vilmos (1960). Sámánok nyomában Szibéria földjén. Egy néprajzi kutatóút története. Budapest: Magvető Könyvkiadó. The book has been translated to English:
  • Diószegi, Vilmos (1962). Samanizmus. Budapest: Gondolat. The title means: “Shamanism”.
  • Diószegi, Vilmos (1998). A sámánhit emlékei a magyar népi műveltségben. first reprint, Budapest: Akadémiai Kiadó. The title means: “Remnants of shamanistic beliefs in Hungarian folklore”.
  • Eliade, Mircea (1983). Le chamanisme et les techniques archaïques de'l extase. Paris: Éditions Payot.
  • Eliade, Mircea (2001). A samanizmus. Az extázis ősi technikái. Budapest: Osiris. Translated from Eliade 1983.
  • Fienup-Riordan, Ann (1994). Boundaries and Passages: Rule and Ritual in Yup'ik Eskimo Oral Tradition. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press.
  • Fock, Niels (1963). Waiwai. Religion and society of an Amazonian tribe. Copenhagen: The National Museum of Denmark.
  • Freuchen, Peter (1961). Book of the Eskimos. Cleveland • New York: The World Publishing Company.
  • Gusinde, Martin (1966). Nordwind—Südwind. Mythen und Märchen der Feuerlandindianer.. Kassel: E. Röth. The title means: “Northern wind, southern wind. Myths and tales of Fuegians”.
  • Hajdú, Péter (1975). Uráli népek. Nyelvrokonaink kultúrája és hagyományai. Budapest: Corvina Kiadó. The title means: “Uralic peoples. Culture and traditions of our linguistic relatives”; the chapter means “Linguistical background of the relationship”.
  • Hoppál, Mihály (1994). Sámánok, lelkek és jelképek. Budapest: Helikon Kiadó. The title means “Shamans, souls and symbols”.
  • Hoppál, Mihály (1998). Folklór és közösség. Budapest: Széphalom Könyvműhely. The title means “The belief system of Hungarians when they entered the Pannonian Basin, and their shamanism”.
  • Hoppál, Mihály (2005). Sámánok Eurázsiában. Budapest: Akadémiai Kiadó. The title means “Shamans in Eurasia”, the book is published also in German, Estonian and Finnish. Site of publisher with short description on the book (in Hungarian)
  • Hoppál, Mihály (2006a). Sámánok és kultúrák. Budapest: Gondolat. The chapter title means “Shamans, cultures and researchers in the millenary”, the book title means “Shamans and cultures”.
  • Hoppál, Mihály (2006b). Sámánok és kultúrák. Budapest: Gondolat. The chapter title means “Shamanhood among the Nenets”, the book title means “Shamans and cultures”.
  • Hoppál, Mihály (2006c). Macht Musik. Musik als Glück und Nutzen für das Leben. Köln: Wienand Verlag.
  • Hoppál, Mihály (2007b). Shamans and Traditions (Vol 13). Budapest: Akadémiai Kiadó.
  • Hoppál, Mihály (2007c). Shamans and Traditions (Vol 13). Budapest: Akadémiai Kiadó.
  • Hugh-Jones, Christine (1980). From the Milk River: Spatial and Temporal Processes in Northwest Amazonia. Cambridge University Press.
  • Hugh-Jones, Stephen (1980). The Palm and the Pleiades. Initiation and Cosmology in Northwest Amazonia. Cambridge University Press.
  • Kleivan, Inge; B. Sonne (1985). Eskimos: Greenland and Canada. Leiden, The Netherlands: Institute of Religious Iconography • State University Groningen. E.J. Brill.
  • Lawlor, Robert (1991). Voices Of The First Day: Awakening in the Aboriginal dreamtime. Rochester, Vermont: Inner Traditions International, Ltd. ISBN 0-89281-355-5
  • Menovščikov, G. A. (= Г. А. Меновщиков) (1968). Popular beliefs and folklore tradition in Siberia. Budapest: Akadémiai Kiadó.
  • Merkur, Daniel (1985). Becoming Half Hidden: Shamanism and Initiation among the Inuit. Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell.
  • Nagy, Beáta Boglárka (1998). Finnugor kalauz. Budapest: Medicina Könyvkiadó. The chapter means “Northern Samoyedic peoples”, the title means Finno-Ugric guide.
  • . The songs are online available from the ethnopoetics website curated by Jerome Rothenberg.
  • . It describes the life of Chuonnasuan, the last shaman of the Oroqen of Northeast China.

    • Pentikäinen, Juha (1995). Shamanism in Performing Arts. Budapest: Akadémiai Kiadó.
    • Reichel-Dolmatoff, Gerardo (1997). Rainforest Shamans: Essays on the Tukano Indians of the Northwest Amazon. Dartington: Themis Books.
    • Vitebsky, Piers (1995). The Shaman (Living Wisdom). Duncan Baird.
    • Vitebsky, Piers (1996). A sámán. Budapest: Magyar Könyvklub • Helikon Kiadó. Translation of Vitebsky 1995
    • Vitebsky, Piers (2001). The Shaman: Voyages of the Soul - Trance, Ecstasy and Healing from Siberia to the Amazon. Duncan Baird.
    • Voigt, Vilmos (1966). A varázsdob és a látó asszonyok. Lapp népmesék. Budapest: Európa Könyvkiadó. The title means: “The magic drum and the clairvoyant women. Sami folktales”, the series means: “Tales of folks”.
    • Voigt, Miklós (2000). Világnak kezdetétől fogva. Történeti folklorisztikai tanulmányok. Budapest: Universitas Könyvkiadó. The chapter discusses the etymology and meaning of word “shaman”.

    Cyrillic

    • Рубцова, Е. С. (1954). Материалы по языку и фольклору эскимосов (чаплинский диалект). Москва • Ленинград: Академия Наук СССР. Rendering in English:

Further reading

  • Joseph Campbell, The Masks of God: Primitive Mythology. 1959; reprint, New York and London: Penguin Books, 1976. ISBN 0-14-019443-6
  • Tom Cowan. Fire in the Head: Shamanism and the Celtic Spirit. New York: HarperCollins. 1993. ISBN 0-06-250174-7
  • Richard de Mille, ed. The Don Juan Papers: Further Castaneda Controversies. Santa Barbara, CA: Ross-Erikson, 1980.
  • George Devereux, "Shamans as Neurotics", American Anthropologist, New Series, Vol. 63, No. 5, Part 1. (Oct., 1961), pp. 1088-1090.
  • Nevill Drury, The Shaman and the Magician: Journeys Between the Worlds, Routledge & Kegan Paul, London, 1982. ISBN 0-7100-0910-0
  • Mircea Eliade, Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy. 1964; reprint, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2004. ISBN 0-691-11942-2
  • Jay Courtney Fikes, Carlos Castaneda: Academic Opportunism and the Psychedelic Sixties, Millennia Press, Canada, 1993ISBN 0-9696960-0-0
  • Joan Halifax, ed. Shamanic Voices: A Survey of Visionary Narratives. 1979; reprint, New York and London: Penguin, 1991. ISBN 0-14-019348-0
  • Michael Harner: The Way of the Shaman. 1980, new edition, HarperSanFrancisco, 1990, ISBN 0-06-250373-1
  • Graham Harvey, ed. Shamanism: A Reader. New York and London: Routledge, 2003. ISBN 0-415-25330-6.
  • Åke Hultkrantz (Honorary Editor in Chief): Shaman Journal of the International Society for Shamanistic Research
  • Philip Jenkins, Dream Catchers: How Mainstream America Discovered Native Spirituality. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004. ISBN 0-19-516115-7
  • Alice Kehoe, Shamans and Religion: An Anthropoligical Exploration in Critical Thinking. 2000. London: Waveland Press. ISBN 1-57766-162-1
  • Sarangerel Odigan, Julie Ann Stewart. Riding Windhorses: A Journey into the Heart of Mongolian Shamanism. 2000, Inner Traditions International, Limited. ISBN 0892818085
  • Jeremy Narby and Francis Huxley, eds. Shamans Through Time: 500 Years on the Path to Knowledge. 2001; reprint, New York: Tarcher, 2004. ISBN 0-500-28327-3
  • Daniel C. Noel. Soul Of Shamanism: Western Fantasies, Imaginal Realities.Continuum, 1997. ISBN 0-8264-1081-2
  • Åke Ohlmarks 1939: Studien zum Problem des Schamanismus. Gleerup, Lund.
  • Jordan D. Paper, The Spirits are Drunk: Comparative Approaches to Chinese Religion, Albany, New York: State University of New York Press, 1995. ISBN 0791423158
  • John Perkins. The World Is As You Dream It: Shamanic Teachings from the Amazon and Andes. Rochester, Vt.: Park Street, 1994. ISBN 0-89281-459-4
  • John Perkins. Spirit of the Shuar: Wisdom from the Last Unconquered People of the Amazon. Destiny Books, 2001. ISBN 0-89-281865-4
  • Malidoma Patrice Some. Of Water and the Spirit: Ritual, Magi, and Initiaion in the Life of an African Shaman. New York: Penguin Group. 1994. ISBN 0-87477-762-3
  • Barbara Tedlock, Time and the Highland Maya,U. of New Mexico Press, 1992. ISBN 0-8263-1358-2
  • Alberto Villoldo, PhD, Erik Jendresen: Dance of the Four Winds - Secrets of the Inca Medicine Wheel. Destiny Books ISBN 978-0892815142
  • Piers Vitebsky, The Shaman: Voyages of the Soul - Trance, Ecstasy and Healing from Siberia to the Amazon, Duncan Baird, 2001. ISBN 1-903296-18-8
  • Michael Winkelman, (2000) Shamanism: The Neural Ecology of Consciousness and Healing. Westport, CT: Bergin & Garvey.
  • Andrei Znamenski, ed. Shamanism: Critical Concepts, 3 vols. London: Routledge, 2004. ISBN 0-415-31192-6
  • Andrei Znamenski, Shamanism in Siberia: Russian Records of Siberian Spirituality. Dordrech and Boston: Kluwer/Springer, 2003. ISBN 1-4020-1740-5
  • Andrei Znamenski, The Beauty of the Primitive: Shamanism and the Western Imagination.Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2007. ISBN 0195172310

External links

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