NOTE: SINCE THERE IS NO EXACT TERM AS I DREAMT IT - I SEARCHED FOR QUANTUM AND SHAMANIC JOURNEYING AND FOUND THIS GLOSSARY OF TERMS WHICH IS INTERESTING WHILE JOURNEYING IN OTHER REALMS BESIDES THE PHYSICAL. IT COULD BE HELPFUL.
Note: words underlined within the body text below are also entries in this glossary, an attempt at cross-referencing. Also, please check out the RECOMMENDED READING link, as it was partially through these books that the site authors came to comprehend many of the concepts presented in this web site.
ABYSS - 1) The emptiness or the nothing, the absence of all things. Most people have never seen the abyss, while others think of it (erroneously) as the religious vision of "hell”. If consciousness is existence, the abyss is oblivion. 2) The hollow emptiness inside someone who has made no attempt at their own personal evolution. The soulless void. In this definition, the abyss is the pit of despair into which people fall when they experience what is traditionally called a "loss of faith". Fortunately, it is this loss of faith and the subsequent fall into the abyss from which the journey toward evolution often begins. When faith fails or is intentionally abandoned, it is from the abyss that we begin our climb toward self-identity and self-Realization.
ALLY or ALLIES - entities who may act on behalf of a seeker. Since the allies are not bound by our traditional understanding of space/time, we might have an ongoing and seemingly inexplicable interaction with an ally for years before we begin to understand that the ally is often the self, having created the illusion of separateness so as to serve as teacher and guide. Other allies, it must be stressed, are beings completely separate from the self - what sorcerers refer to as "inorganic beings". Still another definition of an ally might be the living essence of power plants – the mushroom ally, for example, or “the little smoke”.
ASSEMBLAGE POINT (or AP) – The assemblage point is, first and foremost, the viewpoint through which we see our world. Some perceive the assemblage point as a physical location on the body, between the shoulder blades, but other mystics & seers view it simply as the automatic "program" which runs in the background of our minds once we have been fully socialized into the world - normally at around age 4. It is through learning to move the assemblage point that the seeker may begin to experience the reality of other perceptions, other "worlds". The assemblage point also moves of its accord in times of physical or emotional duress. An assemblage point that is out of alignment results in dis-ease and states of unwellness which may encompass mind, body & spirit equally or individually.
BELIEF SYSTEM - Any school of thought which requires belief or faith as opposed to personal experience. One example: Christianity. Another example: Atheism. Both require belief in external forces or causes, and are therefore only opposing sides of the same coin. Christianity requires faith that God exists. Atheism requires the belief that there is no God. Ultimately, neither the Christian nor the atheist can prove his beliefs, so faith of one sort or another is required in either point of view, and therefore both systems fail as vehicles to Knowledge.
BLACK IRON PRISON – the overlay; the matrix; the continuum of ordinary awareness in which mortals exist until they awaken. Term coined by Philip K. Dick with regard to his own spiritual awakening, as discussed in the book, In Pursuit of VALIS; the Exegesis of Philip K. Dick.
BRUJO or BRUJA - a sorcerer. All men or women of Knowledge may be brujos, but not all brujos are men or women of Knowledge.
BURN WITH THE FIRE FROM WITHIN – Believed by some to be the manner in which a sorcerer, warrior or Nagual leaves this earth in order to join with the infinite. Many different interpretations have been offered, but in essence I see this more as a metaphor for transcending death with absolute awareness rather than any actual dis-corporation of the physical form. What leaves the earth is the totality of awareness, the totality of Self. All aspects of individual awareness are consumed by the Intent of the warrior, so no fragments are left behind. In this manner, the warrior leaves the earth as a Whole entity.
CASTANEDA, CARLOS – Author of several books regarding Toltec traditions, including The Teachings of Don Juan,. From my point of view, a word of gratitude is owed to Carlos for developing what amounts to a syntax and specialized language which had proven invaluable in my own journey.
CHANNELING - see Gnosis.
CLARITY – a warrior who has learned to see and maintains the assemblage point at a perpetual point of seeing may be said to have achieved clarity. Clarity may also be defined as the ability to see the world as it is, without the influence of programs or illusion. Often the first step toward clarity is moving beyond the intrinsic fears which permeate us until we gain sufficient awareness to confront them.
COHESION OF IDENTITY - a state of being in which the seeker has gained a sense of self-awareness beyond all programs - i.e., the seeker knows who he or she is apart from who they are related to, or what they do for a living. There is a sense of self, an ability to touch one's own consciousness and recognize it as a whole entity rather than merely fragments associated with different roles. It is our observation that there are levels of cohesion. When the seeker has achieved cohesion, it is then possible to inhabit the Whole self into eternity as a singularity of consciousness.
CONSENSUAL REALITY or CONSENSUS REALITY or CONSENSUAL CONTINUUM – the world of ordinary awareness, defined & shaped by what is agreed-upon by the majority of the consensus. The Real World. The societies, cultures and definitions of “reality” we take for granted, and upon which we all agree as to what is “real” and what is fantasy, what is right and what is wrong. We are indoctrinated into the consensual reality from the moment we are born, primarily through language, and yet it can be proven through simple observation that much of this indoctrination is incorrect, that what is “right” to one culture is “wrong” to another, that what is “normal” to one consensus is abhorrent to another. We live, therefore, in a world of illusions, a world of words, even a world of lies.
DEATH AS ADVISOR - it is said that the warrior lives with death as her advisor. Knowing we are beings who are going to die and face the infinite, the warrior's decisions in life are guided by the awareness. Knowing I am a being who is going to die, are my actions in this moment impeccable?
DEPENDENCY or HUMAN FORM DEPENDENCY - A dependency is anything to which the energy of the warrior is hooked. One easy to visualize example is that someone who is uncomfortable being alone with themselves could be said to have a dependency on friends, or constant input from TV., music or some other form of stimulus. Other examples, used only to illustrate the point: a constant need for approval would represent a strong dependency. Inability to break addictions such as smoking, drinking, gambling, etc., are indicative of dependencies. Only by identifying the dependencies and breaking them does the warrior free up that energy to be used for other things. It could also be loosely understood that "will" and "dependency" are mutually exclusive. As long as powerful dependencies are in command of the warrior's energy, it is virtually impossible to summon the will, because the energy required to summon the will is in use by the dependency.
DIABLERO - a sorcerer, a man of Knowledge. In some texts, "diablero" or "diablera" refers to a witch-healer as well. All women of Knowledge are diableros, but not all diableros are wo/men of Knowledge. Diableros may also serve as teachers in the underworld. (See also: Underworld, Sorcerer, Brujo)
DON JUAN MATUS - the Yaqui Indian brujo who served as mentor to Carlos Castaneda.
DOUBLE – For practical purposes, the double is the self in eternity, but can be visualized as the "vessel" into which the warrior uploads his consciousness and identity through the process of living impeccably. All warriors can develop a double, though most remain unaware of the existence of the double. The double is the energy body personified and occasionally even manifested in ordinary awareness, developed through Dreaming to a point of extreme cohesion. The double may take on a life of its own for all intents and purposes.
DOUBLE BEING - also called "the Nagual". A rare type of human being who is simply born with two energy bodies where normally only one is present. There are countless theories, but my personal experience is that it is simply an "attribute", such as being born with blonde hair or green eyes. One cannot "become" a nagual anymore than a person with AB blood can suddenly have O blood. It has been stated that the nagual man and the nagual woman are two separate individuals, yet there are naguals who would say that the nagual man and the nagual woman are literally two halves of the same being. At some point in their human life, the second energy body appears to "split", and leaves the world of ordinary awareness to exist in the seventh sense, third attention, or, simply, "beyond the veil". It is the drive to reunite with the other half of one's own self that so compels the one who remains in ordinary awareness to follow the path, to respond to the lure of the other half, which serves as a beacon to Freedom. Also, and of greatest importance, it is because the half that goes into Freedom is now a being of eternity (not constrained by time and space) that it becomes possible for that half to actually instruct the mortal warrior through a variety of methods, including meditation, dreaming, gnosis, and more.
DREAMING - in the sorcerer's world, "dreaming" is an entire artform which cannot be adequately explained in a few brief words. Essentially, it is an active application of intent which enables the sorcerer to dream lucidly and navigate the dreamscape in much the same way we navigate the terrain of our ordinary awareness. Through impeccable dreaming, the double is created, and through dreaming the sorcerer begins to explore shifts of the assemblage point which enable her to assemble other worlds. Through dreaming, it becomes possible to connect the worlds of heightened awareness with the world of ordinary awareness.
DREAMING AWAKE – a level of awareness wherein the warrior enters a state of dreaming while remaining technically in a state of first attention awareness. To those who have experienced it, no explanation is necessary. To those who have not, no explanation is possible.
DUALITY - Meaning, literally, "two things simultaneously". This is not the same thing as dualism, which implies perception through opposites (i.e., dualism is the human propensity for perceiving black/white, good/evil, god/devil, male/female, etc) Duality implies the evolving perception which enables us to see that past and future, just for example, are no different, but only different perceptions according to our location in time. Duality further allows for two seemingly contradictory conditions to exist simultaneously, without either obliterating or in any way usurping the other. Example: "a love/hate relationship". Another example: We exist as mortal human beings in the Now, and simultaneously as eternal beings through the energy body of the double. Duality can be studied in the statement, "You must be immortal before you will know how to become immortal." As long as we are locked into a linear, static perception of reality, we are prisoners of dualism.
EAGLE – according to Toltec legend, the old seers perceived an indescribable force which devours awareness at the moment of death. Though there is no literal eagle, the force itself seemed to be immense and had the shape of an enormous black eagle.
EMBRACING THE TOTALITY OF ONESELF - In shamanic terms, self-integration, beginning with the actions of the warrior in ordinary awareness and first attention, and projecting ultimately into the seventh sense, third attention, infinity. Embracing the totality of oneself would involve, among other things, the final integration of the sorcerer with her double, i.e., the conjoining of the mortal consciousness to the immortal vessel (or energy body). It could be said that the double has already embraced the totality of itself, in that it exists outside of time, i.e., not limited to the linear concept of past, present & future, but instead a ubiquitous consciousness inhabiting all of space/time simultaneously and infinitely. The double is the Wholeness of the sorcerer, but the sorcerer only becomes whole if and when that Wholeness is embraced and integrated ultimately beyond this physical/mortal life. In other words, there is no predestination. The existence of the double does not guarantee success as a warrior. The double exists by the Intent of the sorcerer until the sorcerer actually embraces and conjoins with that double into infinity.
ETERNAL BEING - An evolved consciousness that has gathered its cohesion into Wholeness, and exists ubiquitously throughout the space-time continuum and beyond. The eternal being may project (manifest) an energy body which would be indistinguishable from a corporeal body if that were the Intent, or be entirely non-corporeal, strictly as a matter of Will. See also Immortality/Immortal.
FIRST ATTENTION - Ordinary awareness. The ordinary resting place of the assemblage point when it is not in heightened awareness or dreaming.
FOLLY - "In a million years, it won't make any difference." Though we go through life thinking things matter, none of them really do. Literally everything we touch in the world of ordinary awareness is folly - and yet warriors play the game as if it matters, and learn the art of stalking as a means of developing controlled folly - actions performed with the awareness that they are folly, but performed nonetheless with impeccability.
FOREIGN INSTALLATION – See predator mind.
GNOSIS – an altered state of consciousness accessible through a wide variety of methods, including but not limited to simple Intent, meditation, certain mind-altering substances such as psilocybin mushrooms, tantric sex, the near-death-experience (or NDE), sensory deprivation, and many, many other methods. To me, gnosis is the most crucial tool available to the seeker, for it is through gnosis that – quite literally – the entire knowledge of the entire universe is available if one knows how to listen. What matters is that when the universe speaks, we not only listen, but apply our full Intent to the task of discovering the meaning behind the words. Over time, as our abilities & awareness increase, we may begin to have a permanent channel to the voice of gnosis through our connection to our own double. To achieve that state of seamless gnosis is one of the warrior's greatest tasks.
HEIGHTENED AWARENESS - a state of increased perception, wherein the warrior can seemingly learn and assimilate far more rapidly and deeply than from within ordinary awareness. One of the tasks of the warrior is to "remember the other self", which consists in part of bringing into ordinary awareness the events she has experienced in this altered state of consciousness. From experience, it seems that we simply do not possess the preceptor organs of memory for events that occurred in heightened awareness, just as we cannot see the subatomic world with the naked eye. Special tools are required – in this case, the tools of perception.
HOOK WITH THE WILL – an ability of a master sorcerer or Nagual to essentially compel warriors into undertaking the journey – because any sane being who knew what they were getting into would run like hell. For that reason, it is not uncommon in Toltec practices for the nagual man or woman to intentionally hook apprentices with the energy of their own highly developed will.
IMMORTAL BEING or IMMORTAL - The terms "immortal" and "eternal being" are used somewhat interchangeably unless specifically noted otherwise, though by strict definition there is considerable difference. When we say "the quest for immortality begins here", it could perhaps be more accurately stated as "the quest for eternity beings here". On the evolutionary scale, it could be surmised that an eternal being has fewer limitations than an immortal still attached to organic form. Picture this: if a comet smashes the earth and the planet is reduced to rubble, the eternal being has the option of simply manifesting elsewhere, becoming entirely formless, or assembling other worlds. The physical immortal, on the other hand, might not have as many options, depending on the level of evolution of consciousness. It is speculated that there are physical immortals living among us.
INDIVIDUATION – The manifestation of the Self as a singularity of consciousness. Many paths teach unity within the all as a goal of the afterlife, whereas Individuation is the act of maintaining the unique and individual I-Am throughout eternity.
INTENT – Intent (or "unbending intent") could be loosely defined as an idea or thought-form held constantly in the quantum shaman's mind until it becomes a literal part of the shaman himself. For example, it is my intent to achieve an evolution of consciousness that will enable me to exist as a cohesive, sentient being with a single point of view continuing into eternity. The strength of that unbending intent determines the manner in which the shaman lives, which paths are taken.
INTERNAL DIALOGUE – the automatic chatter that goes on in the human mind which is, essentially, how we keep our world intact. Internal dialogue is everything from the lists we create to tell ourselves that a tree is a tree and a dog a mammal, to the inventories we run upon awakening each morning. Internal dialogue, in short, is the language of the program, and one of the prerequisites to any serious spiritual journey is learning to stop that automatic self-programming so that we can hear the silence and access the deeper levels of the mind itself, including the state of gnosis.
KNOWLEDGE -- as used throughout these documents, Knowledge shall refer to the result of direct personal experience. Example: we are taught as children that fire will burn, but until we touch a candle flame to see for ourselves, we cannot know for sure. The Quantum Shaman seeks Knowledge, never settling for faith or belief systems. The greatest Knowledge comes through gnosis.
McKENNA, TERENCE – one of the greatest forward-thinkers of this century or any other, Terrence McKenna experimented extensively with mind-altering substances and produced some of the most visionary insights into possibilities for human evolution as anyone ever has. Sadly, Terrence died in 2000, and will be greatly missed. Must-reads by Terrence include Archaic Revival and True Hallucinations.
MAGICK or MAGIC – as used throughout these documents, “magick” or “magic” is the force within the human organism which enables us to do, perceive and interact with things for which science has no immediate explanation. It is the force which enables a 110 pound woman to lift a 5,000 pound truck off her child in a crisis. It is the force that we recognize as “the little voice” that tells a man not to get onboard a doomed airliner. It is the ghost inside the machine, and it is altogether human. One day, science will explain “magick”, and yet magick will never be fully understood, for as we grow and evolve, our “magick” grows & evolves with us – like the muse, always one step ahead so we will always be compelled to follow. Also, as used throughout these documents, magick or magic is not defined by adherence to ritual or religion. Magick is the force being sought through certain rituals, but magick itself is most definitely not ritual or religion any more than “the soul” can be found in “the church”. At best, one is only a tool used in searching for the other.
MEDICINE WITCH – Sorcerer, shaman, healer, quantum teacher.
MEDITATION-WITH-INTENT - an active form of meditation as opposed to the passive silence. Meditation with intent might also be described as gnosis - the ability of the human mind to ask a question of the non-local web of all information. But more than just asking the question, meditation-with-intent enables the seeker to actually emerge with answers based in higher truth because meditation-with-intent develops the ability to listen and interact with the double. It will not happen the first time the seeker tries it, for it is a technique of learning to focus neither inward nor outward, but "non-locally" throughout space/time, in the realm of reality where past, present and future are all precisely the same, and where all information as to events, probabilities and outcomes is already stored holographically. Meditation-with-intent is tapping in to that limitless library. See also gnosis.
MINDSET - a state of awareness from which we naturally assemble our idea of reality. For example, our most common mindset tells us what is possible, what is impossible, what is "real" and what is "unreal". In our waking awareness, for example, we automatically "know" we cannot fly, whereas in our dreaming mindset, we often discover that we can do many things which are "impossible" in the mindset of ordinary awareness . By changing our mindset about the parameters of reality, we can often change the limitations that prevent us from expanding and growing as individuals and as a species.
MOMENT OF CREATION - Because it is recognized in the sorcerer's world that time is a matter of perception, it is further understood that events that appear to have happened in the past may actually have their origins in the future, through a process termed "retroactive enchantment" by Peter J. Carroll. The moment of creation is the moment in which the sorcerer actually creates her double - with the full awareness that there may have been evidence of the double long before. The moment of creation is a moment of definitive action, brought into being through Intent and Will. Put another way: if we do not create the double today, he will not exist yesterday. Time can be funny that way.
NAGUAL (pronounced "nah*wahl") - Nagual is a word with many meanings. 1) The unknowable which lies outside of human perception. The nagual is not the unknown, but the unknowable, all that cannot be discussed in any direct language, but which nonetheless exists as real. 2) The "nagual" may also refer to the leader of the warrior's party - a sorcerer, a brujo, a "man of knowledge" who is, by nature, a double being. See also double being.
NON-LOCAL -refers to the concept that information, consciousness and even certain types of beings may be described as ubiquitous - i.e., existing simultaneously in all places and all times. Non-local also refers to the concept that the universe - and especially consciousness itself - is a holographic construction.
NON-ORDINARY AWARENESS - altered states of consciousness such as dreaming, trance states, deep meditation, gnosis, visionary states.
ORDINARY AWARENESS - The state of consciousness which results simply by being alive and walking through life. It is in ordinary awareness that we enact our human programming. Ordinary awareness is also known as the lowest common denominator of being human. It is where and how we assemble the world and our expectations about it and ourselves.
ORLANDO - the Nagual Man, the evolved self in eternity, outside of time. To learn more about Orlando, visit Meeting the Mirror or The Life & Death Dialogues.
OVERLAY - (see also consensual reality). Essentially, the overlay is the "play" of which we are all a part. It is the lives we live and the things we do which we mistake for "real", but which are only extensions of the human-default program. If we could see the world with the innocence of a newborn child or an alien being who knows nothing of the human paradigm, we would see the world as it really is -- without all the automatic things we say, think and do because it is intrinsically programmed into us .
PHANTOM - individuals still plugged into the belief systems of the consensual reality, usually without ever questioning. Phantoms define themselves by what they do, the company they keep, the church they attend, their social status. Another mark of a phantom is that they possess an unlimited number of personalities and roles, all without the cohesion of a single, unified "I-Am".
PLACE OF SILENT KNOWING, THE – A “space” or openness inside the warrior where one can hear the voice of gnosis, the teacher who is often the double.
POWER SPOT - a physical location which brings an individual into balance with the earth, the non-local web of all information, and with herself. A location which enables us to focus or meditate, where we are in our most impeccable balance.
PREDATOR MIND – If it can be perceived that the consensual reality possesses a rudimentary “hive mind”, it then becomes possible to see that this hive mind is predatory in nature, in that it invades and usurps the individual unless the individual has mastered extreme awareness. IOW, we may be “taken over” by the consensual hive, whose primary agenda is to preserve its static, status quo. Other – more extreme – definitions have been offered for the predatory mind, and may in fact, have truth as well.
PROGRAM - The information which we accept as truth without necessarily confirming or disproving it for ourselves as individuals. For example, we are taught, "All things die," and because this would appear to be true, most people simply accept the statement as fact rather than doing their own quest for Knowledge into the veracity or falseness of the statement itself. In reality, we cannot know for certain that "all things die." We can only know what our perceptions reveal to us within our immediate environment. By altering our perceptions - thereby altering our automatic expectations (the program) - we learn to see that much of what we think we "know" about the world is only what we "believe". The danger of all programs is that as long as they are accepted blindly as fact, they prevent us from exploring other possibilities. If, for example, the Wright Brothers had accepted the program-du-jour which stated, "Man is not meant to fly," we would live in a vastly different world.
QUANTUM SHAMAN™- a term first used by Orlando to describe one who stops at nothing in order to pursue and eventually embrace the Knowledge and abilities which will enable her to achieve a continuity of consciousness wherein we become cohesive, sentient beings with a single point of view continuing into eternity – a singularity of consciousness. The quantum shaman gathers insights, knowledge and techniques from every walk of life, from the sorcery of don Juan to the quantum experiments taking place on the cutting edge of modern science, from legends of ancient alchemy to shamanic herbalism. It is when the individual truths gleaned from these multitudinous sources assimilate to create a comprehensive "map" that we begin to understand the path toward our evolution. It is then that we are enabled through our own efforts to take control of our own destiny. This is the path of the quantum shaman™. (Also, a registered Trademark of Della Van Hise)
REALIZATION - To make real through Intent. More than "realizing" we are beings of ultimate potential, we Real-ize that through our actions and our will.
RECAPITULATION - the process of essentially re-living through intent events in the warrior's past which have left energy hooks in the spirit. The process is described at length in the books of Castaneda; but in a nutshell, recapitulation involves disentangling those energy hooks, removing the "importance" placed on events in the past, so that warrior is freed from those hooks and as a result, enabled to go forward on his path. It is said that recapitulation frees energy trapped in the past.
REMEMBERING THE OTHER SELF – Refers not only to remembering events which may have occurred in heightened awareness, but also involves a process of beginning to “remember” the experiences of the double. It is through remembering that a cohesion of self is achieved which enables the warrior to transcend beyond the eagle and emerge as a singularity of consciousness.
RETROACTIVE ENCHANTMENT – term borrowed from Peter J. Carroll. As understood by the author, an act of sorcery in the now which may appear to have effects reaching backward in time.
RIGHT WAY TO LIVE – an intuitive awareness having nothing to do with social morality or cultural predilections. The warrior is guided by the right way to live through an intrinsic harmony with the earth, which is communicated through the inner voice of gnosis.
RULE OF THE NAGUAL – an unwritten “map” which reveals to the nagual man & woman specific truths about the path. The “rule” reveals the truth about the eagle in specific – that awareness is lost at death unless the warrior has taken measures to circumvent that inevitability. The map, therefore, speaks to how that inevitability may be thwarted through developing cohesion. It has been my experience that the rule itself is the same for most Naguals, but how it manifests may be very different. For example, not all Naguals form strict “warrior parties,” yet they nonetheless end up guiding others to freedom in other ways. In my own life, the rule of the nagual showed me the necessity to write this book – largely for my own assimilation, and also to serve as a guide for those who find it beneficial.
SCRY or SCRYING - any method of divination, or, more accurately, seeing or gathering information or knowledge. Traditionally, to scry (or scrye) was to gaze into a crystal ball, pool of water, or other reflective object. Scrying can also refer to palm reading (as in "scrying the palm of the gods"), gnosis , or any other method of accessing knowledge and information traditionally thought to be beyond the realm of human awareness.
SECOND ATTENTION - loosely defined, second attention is the assemblage point of heightened awareness or Dreaming. It is the world the sorcerer may manifest through Intent - such as in lucid dreaming.
SEE or SEEING - when used in italics, "see" or "seeing" is to describe the act of viewing the world (or anything within the world) according to its true nature, without the illusions and expectations we place onto the world through our own human programs. Seeing is more than looking. It is the shaman's greatest asset and tool in being able to recognize the illusory nature of the consensual reality (overlay) in which we all exist, often without ever realizing it.
SELF-IMPORTANCE - Perhaps best summed up by Don Miguel Ruiz in The Four Agreements, under the heading, "Take nothing personally". It is self-importance that causes us to think that everything that is said or done is somehow personal to us as individuals. To get angry at the schmuck who cuts you off in traffic is self-importance. It's about him, not about you. The common misconception is that self-importance is arrogance, or egomaniacal behavior, and while that could be true to an extent, self-importance is more accurately an underlying defensiveness that prevents the warrior from embracing clarity and power because she is so busy defending herself, when there is nothing to defend in the first place. It. Ain't. Personal.
SEVENTH SENSE – a perceptual plateau comprised of a combination of the 5 ordinary senses plus the “sixth sense” of psychic awareness or, more precisely, self-awareness. Orlando coined the term “the seventh sense” to describe the “world” we are aspiring to inhabit through this evolution of consciousness – for it is a state of being every bit as real and inhabitable as our world of ordinary awareness, but accessed with a more evolved set of preceptors which could be described as consciousness itself. Some have used the term “third attention”, which is somewhat interchangeable. The seventh sense is our world, but it is an expanded world.
SHAMAN - A word meaning, literally, "self-healed madman". Shamans do not belong to any one culture or system of Knowledge. Any human being may have a shamanic essence - a calling to healing of mind, body, spirit in any combination. Orlando once said, "You are the quantum shaman - each of you." The spiritual healing & integration undertaken by a shaman (any shaman, including you) is what determines the difference between a madman caught in the consensual reality, and a self-healed madman (shaman) who begins to walk outside the box of ordinary awareness.
SINGULARITY OF CONSCIOUSNESS – The self made Whole, the evolution of consciousness which results in a cohesive field of awareness existing ubiquitously and non-locally, infinitely and eternally. The cohesive, fully integrated I-Am consisting of all components of the mortal self and the eternal double, brought together under a single assemblage point.
SKINWALKER - A being who has the ability to temporarily inhabit the body of another. In certain branches of shamanism, the shaman may invite an evolved entity (often his own double) to inhabit his body for the purpose of sharing consciousness and expanding awareness. While certain religious groups have expressed a fear of this as a form of possession, skinwalking is normally a mutual agreement between the shaman & the entity or spirits to whom he would lend his body. Do unscrupulous skinwalkers exist? Sure. But so do unscrupulous priests.
SORCERER – A man or woman of Knowledge; brujo or bruja. All men of knowledge may be sorcerers, but not all sorcerers are men of knowledge.
SORCERER'S WORLD - perhaps a better explanation would be "sorcerer's mindset". The sorcerer's world is the world of perception and ability available to the quantum shaman through the evolution of consciousness. Not a different world, it is this world, but without the limitations placed on it through our intrinsic programs and adherence to the consensual reality.
SORCERY - a system of Knowledge geared toward a direct manipulation of energy at the quantum level. Sorcery is not about frivolous parlor tricks, but is instead geared toward bringing the sorcerer into alignment with the higher self (or double) as an eternal being. The sorcerer's ultimate "trick" is to transcend death (slip past the eagle) not only retaining the awareness from this mortal life, but conjoining with the higher self so as to "embrace the totality of oneself" - in other words, a complete and seamless identity stretching infinitely into past and future, with the understanding that eternity is both and neither.
SPIRIT – If earth, air, fire and water are the 4 natural elements, Spirit is the 5th element of creation. The living force or anima of the universe – impersonal, not a deity or entity; the living breath of power; the cohesive element of the all.
SPONTANEOUS PARTHENOGENESIS – the act of something coming into existence out of the nothing, with no apparent cause. It is theorized by the author that the universe created itself from the void through an act of spontaneous parthenogenesis – a thought which wills itself into existence by saying I-Am.
SUPER-POSITION OF THE SELF or SUPER-POSITION OF THE ASSEMBLAGE POINT – A point of awareness wherein the seeker and the Other (double) have conjoined to embrace the Totality of awareness. At this point, consciousness becomes ubiquitous, inhabiting all quantum positions simultaneously, thereby allowing for consciousness to take on certain similarities of light. Particle and wave – particle being what might be experienced should consciousness make the decision to “localize” into a specific point in time and space; wave being the non-local presentation of awareness, wherein it is a ubiquitous field spanning all of space/time simultaneously.
TALES OF POWER - sorcery stories, usually incredible and often unbelievable by their very nature. To the ordinary man, these tales would automatically be deemed to be fiction, lies, or delusions. Only to fellow sorcerers are they descriptions of acts of power, describing very real events.
TENANT, THE – a being referenced in the books of Carlos Castaneda, seemingly a self-created immortal in corporeal manifestation. Also called “the death defier” because s/he has seemingly lived hundreds of years.
THIRD ATTENTION – the state of freedom beyond the eagle, when the warrior has achieved the state of Wholeness. The state of the ubiquitous, non-local singularity of awareness.
TONAL – the world of matter and men. Anything that can be discussed or known is within the tonal. The nagual is the unknowable, by contrast.
TULPA – the seemingly physical manifestation of a thoughtform, usually transient and without individual volition.
TWO PART MIGRATION OF THE SOUL – the process wherein the mortal self creates the double through dreaming, at which point the double begins teaching the mortal self the path of evolution of consciousness. The mortal self appears to create the double first, and so the double exists as an eternal being, a construct of will and intent. That “immortal” then teaches the mortal self how to evolve, so that when the process is complete, the mortal self reconjoins with the immortal double beyond the eagle’s reach.
UNDERWORLD - Also called the otherworld, or the spirit world. Many shamans report visiting a realm of Spirit which seems to have certain common elements, including a huge underground river flowing through a world where "dead" shamans may collaborate with those still on this side to facilitate healing, learning and exchanges of energy & Knowledge on many levels. For a more thorough understanding of the underworld, try Michael Harner's book, The Way of the Shaman.
WARRIOR or SPIRIT WARRIOR – a seeker of knowledge who has made the commitment to the path of her heart. The warrior is the traveler on the journey toward becoming a woman of Knowledge.
WHOLE SELF – The integrated totality of the mortal self and the eternal double as it comes together in a single assemblage point of cohesion beyond the eagle. From the AP of the Whole Self, all memory of all fragments of the Self come into alignment. See also – singularity of consciousness.
WILL - Will is the force which manifests want or need into reality. Will differs from intent. A simple analogy: intent is a true and genuine plan to visit the Grand Canyon. Will is the force that puts you behind the wheel of the car and drives. Will could also be described as the force which causes the intent behind our magic to actually begin to manifest. It is the secret ingredient of sorcery, elusive as the wind and just as impossible to define.
WHAT IS A SHAMAN?
Shamanism ( /ˈʃɑːmən/ SHAH-mən or /ˈʃeɪmən/ SHAY-mən) is a practice that involve a practitioner reaching altered states of consciousness in order to encounter and interact with the spirit world. A shaman is a person regarded as having access to, and influence in, the world of benevolent and malevolent spirits, who typically enters a trance state during a ritual, and practices divination and healing.
Ancient Altaic peoples, such as Turkic, Tungusic and Mongolic peoples practiced shamanism and the term "shaman" originates from the Evenk language (Tungusic) of North Asia and was introduced to the west after the Russian forces conquered shaman Khanate of Kazan in 1552. Upon learning more about religious traditions across the world, western scholars also used the term "shamanism" in reference to similar magico-religious practices found within the indigenous religions of other parts of Asia, Africa, Australasia and the Americas. Various historians have argued that shamanism also played a role in many of the pre-Christian religions of Europe, and that shamanistic elements may have survived in popular culture right through to the Early Modern period. Various archaeologists and historians of religion have also suggested that shamanism may have been a dominant religious practice for humanity during the Palaeolithic.
Mircea Eliade writes, "A first definition of this complex phenomenon, and perhaps the least hazardous, will be: shamanism = "technique of religious ecstasy". Shamanism encompasses the belief that shamans are intermediaries or messengers between the human world and the spirit worlds. Shamans are said to treat ailments/illness by mending the soul. Alleviating traumas affecting the soul/spirit restores the physical body of the individual to balance and wholeness. The shaman also enters supernatural realms or dimensions to obtain solutions to problems afflicting the community. Shamans may visit other worlds/dimensions to bring guidance to misguided souls and to ameliorate illnesses of the human soul caused by foreign elements. The shaman operates primarily within the spiritual world, which in turn affects the human world. The restoration of balance results in the elimination of the ailment.
Shamanic beliefs and practices have attracted the interest of scholars from a wide variety of disciplines, including anthropologists, archaeologists, historians, religious studies scholars and psychologists. Hundreds of books and academic papers on the subject have been produced, with a peer-reviewed academic journal being devoted to the study of shamanisms. In the 20th century, many westerners involved in the counter-cultural movement adopted magico-religious practices influenced by indigenous shamanisms from across the world, creating the Neoshamanic movement.
The word "shaman" is based upon the Evenk language word "šamán". The Tungusic term was subsequently adopted by Russians interacting with the indigenous peoples in Siberia. It is found in the memoirs of the exiled Russian churchman Avvakum. The word was brought to Western Europe in 1692 by the Dutch traveler Nicolaes Witsen who reported his stay and journeys among the Tungusic- and Samoyedic-speaking indigenous peoples of Siberia in his book Noord en Oost Tataryen. Adam Brand, a merchant from Lübeck, published in 1698 his account of a Russian ambassy to China and a translation of his book, published the same year, introduced the word to English speakers.]
There is no single agreed upon definition for the word "shamanism" among anthropologists. The English historian a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ronald_Hutton" title="Ronald Hutton">Ronald Hutton noted that by the dawn of the 21st century, there were four separate definitions of the term which appeared to be in use. The first of these uses the term to refer to "anybody who contacts a spirit world while in an altered state of consciousness." The second definition limits the term to refer to those who contact a spirit world while in an altered state of consciousness at the behest of others. The third definition attempts to distinguish shamans from other magico-religious specialists who are believed to contact spirits, such as "mediums", "witch doctors", "spiritual healers" or "prophets", by claiming that they undertake a particular technique not used by the others. Problematically, scholars advocating this position have failed to agree on what this defining technique should be. The fourth definition identified by Hutton uses "shamanism" to refer to the indigenous religions of Siberia and neighbouring parts of Asia.
Shamans are normally "called" by dreams or signs which require lengthy training. However, shamanic powers may be inherited.
Turner and colleagues mention a phenomenon called shamanistic initiatory crisis. A rite of passage for shamans-to-be, commonly involving physical illness and/or psychological crisis. 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.
The wounded healer is an archetype for a shamanizing journey. This process is important to the young shaman. S/he undergoes a type of sickness that pushes her or him to the brink of death. This happens for two reasons:
- The shaman crosses over to the under world. This happens so the shaman can venture to its depths to bring back vital information for the sick, and the tribe.
- The shaman must become sick to understand sickness. When the shaman overcomes her or his own sickness s/he will hold the cure to heal all that suffer. This is the uncanny mark of the wounded healer.
The shaman's social role is usually defined by the obligations, actions and responsibilities expected of them within their individual cultures.
Shamans gain knowledge and the power to heal by entering into the spiritual world or dimension. Most shamans have dreams or visions that tell them certain things. The shaman may have or acquire many spirit guides, who often guide and direct the shaman in his/her travels in the spirit world. These spirit guides are always present within the shaman though others only encounter them when the shaman is in a trance. The spirit guide energizes the shaman, enabling him/her to enter the spiritual dimension. The shaman heals within the spiritual dimension by returning 'lost' parts of the human soul from wherever they have gone. The shaman also cleanses excess negative energies which confuse or pollute the soul.
Shamans act as mediators in their culture. The shaman communicates with the spirits on behalf of the community, including the spirits of the deceased. The shaman communicates with both living and dead to alleviate unrest, unsettled issues, and to deliver gifts to the spirits. Shamans assist in soul retrieval. In shamanism it is believed that part of the human soul is free to leave the body. The soul is the axis mundi, the center of the shamanic healing arts. Shamans change their state of consciousness allowing their free soul to travel and retrieve ancient wisdom and lost power.
Because a portion of the soul is free to leave the body it will do so when dreaming, or it will leave the body to protect itself from potentially damaging situations, be they emotional or physical. In situations of trauma the soul piece may not return to the body on its own, and a shaman must intervene and return the soul essence.
Among the Selkups, the sea duck is a spirit animal because ducks fly in the air and dive in the water. Thus ducks belong to both the upper world and the world below. Among other Siberian peoples these characteristics are attributed to water fowl in general. Among many Native Americans, the jaguar is a spirit animal because jaguars walk on earth, swim in water, and climb in trees. Thus jaguars belong to all three worlds, Sky, Earth, and Underworld.
Shamans perform a variety of functions depending upon their respective cultures; healing, leading a sacrifice, preserving the tradition by storytelling and songs, fortune-telling, and acting as a psychopomp (literal meaning, "guide of souls"). A single shaman may fulfill several of these functions.
The functions of a shaman may include either guiding to their proper abode the souls of the dead (which may be guided either one-at-a-time or in a cumulative group, depending on culture), and/or curing (healing) of ailments. The ailments may be either purely physical afflictions—such as disease, which may be cured by gifting, flattering, threatening, or wrestling the disease-spirit (sometimes trying all these, sequentially), and which may be completed by displaying a supposedly extracted token of the disease-spirit (displaying this, even if "fraudulent", is supposed to impress the disease-spirit that it has been, or is in the process of being, defeated, so that it will retreat and stay out of the patient's body) --, or else mental (including psychosomatic) afflictions—such as persistent terror (on account of a frightening experience), which may be likewise cured by similar methods. Usually in most languages a different term other than the one translated "shaman" is applied to a religious official leading sacrificial rites ("priest"), or to a raconteur ("sage") of traditional lore; there may be more of an overlap in functions (with that of a shaman), however, in the case of an interpreter of omens or of dreams.
There are distinct types of shaman who perform more specialized functions. For example, among the Nani people, a distinct kind of shaman acts as a psychopomp. Other specialized shamans 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 the Huichol, there are two categories of shaman. This demonstrates the differences among shamans within a single tribe.
Among the Hmong people, the shaman or the Ntxiv Neej (Tee-Neng), acts as healer. The Ntxiv Neej also performs rituals/ceremonies designed to call the soul back from its many travels to the physical human body. A Ntxiv Neej may use several shamanistic tools such as swords, divinity horns, a gong (drum), or finger bells/jingles. All tools serve to protect the spirits from the eyes of the unknown, thus enabling the Ntxiv Neej to deliver souls back to their proper owner. The Ntxiv Neej may wear a white, red, or black veil to disguise the soul from its attackers in the spiritual dimension.
Boundaries between the shaman and laity are not always clearly defined. Among the Barasana of Brazil, there is no absolute difference between those men recognized as shamans and those who are not. At the lowest level, most adult men have abilities as shamans and will carry out the same functions as those men who have a widespread reputation for their powers and knowledge. The Barasana shaman knows more myths and understands their meaning better, nonetheless the majority of adult men also know many myths.
Among Eskimo peoples the laity have experiences which are commonly attributed to the shamans of those Eskimo groups. Daydream, reverie, and trance are not restricted to shamans. Control over helping spirits is the primary characteristic attributed to shamans. The laity usually employ amulets, spells, formulas, songs. Among the Greenland Inuit, the laity have greater capacity to relate with spiritual beings. These people are often apprentice shamans who failed to complete their initiations.
The assistant of an Oroqen shaman (called jardalanin, or "second spirit") knows many things about the associated beliefs. He or she accompanies the rituals and interprets the behavior of the shaman. Despite these functions, the jardalanin is not a shaman. For this interpretative assistant, it would be unwelcome to fall into trance.
 Gender and sexuality
Recent archaeological evidence suggests that the earliest known shamans—dating to the Upper Paleolithic era in what is now the Czech Republic—were women.
Shamans may 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: p. 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 Burkina Faso (Africa). References to this can be found in several works of Malidoma Somé, a writer who was born and initiated there.Ecological aspect
Resources for human consumption are easily depletable in tropical rainforests. Among the Tucano people, a sophisticated system exists for environmental resources management and for avoiding resource depletion through overhunting. This system is conceptualized mythologically and symbolically by the belief that breaking 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 Piaroa people have ecological concerns related to shamanism. Among the Eskimo, shamans fetch the souls of game from remote places, or soul travel to ask for game from mythological beings like the Sea Woman.
The way shamans get sustenance and take part in everyday life varies among cultures. In many Inuit groups, they provide services for the community and get a "due payment" (cultures), 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.
believe the payment is given to the helping spirits
There are many variations of shamanism throughout the world, but several common beliefs are shared by all forms of shamanism. Common beliefs identified by Eliade (1972) are the following:
- 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 benevolent or malevolent.
- The shaman can treat sickness caused by malevolent spirits.
- The shaman can employ trance inducing techniques to incite visionary ecstasy and go on vision quests.
- 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.
- The shaman can tell the future, scry, throw bones/runes, and perform other varied forms of divination
Shamanism is based on the premise that the visible world is pervaded by invisible forces or spirits which affect the lives of the living. Although the causes of disease lie in the spiritual realm, inspired by malicious spirits or witchcraft, both spiritual and physical methods are used to heal. Commonly, a shaman "enters the body" of the patient to confront the spiritual infirmity and heals by banishing the infectious spirit.
Many shamans have expert knowledge of medicinal plants native to their area, and an herbal treatment is often prescribed. In many places shamans learn directly from the plants, harnessing their effects and healing properties, after obtaining permission from the indwelling or patron spirits. In the Peruvian Amazon Basin, shamans and curanderos use medicine songs called icaros to evoke spirits. Before a spirit can be summoned it must teach the shaman its song. The use of totemic items such as rocks with special powers and an animating spirit is common.
Such practices are presumably very ancient. Plato wrote in his Phaedrus that the "first prophecies were the words of an oak", and that those 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".
Belief in witchcraft and sorcery, known as brujería in Latin America, exists in many societies. These distinguish shamans who cure from sorcerers who harm. Other societies assert all shamans have the power to both cure and kill. Shamanic knowledge usually enjoys great power and prestige in the community,[ but it may also be regarded suspiciously or fearfully as potentially harmful to others.
By engaging in their work, a shaman is exposed to significant personal risk, from the spirit world, from enemy shamans, or from the means employed to alter the shaman's state of consciousness. Shamanic plant materials can be toxic or fatal if misused. Failure to return from an out-of-body journey can lead to death]. Spells are commonly used to protect against these dangers, and the use of more dangerous plants is often very highly ritualized.
Soul and spirit concepts
The variety of functions described above may seem like distinct tasks, but they may be united by underlying soul and spirit concepts.
- This concept can generally explain more, seemingly unassociated phenomena in shamanism:
- This concept may be based closely on the soul concepts of the belief system of the people served by the shaman (online). It may consist of retrieving the lost soul of the ill person. See also the soul dualism concept.
- Scarcity of hunted game
- This problem 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 allow themselves to be caught and killed. For the ecological aspects of shamanistic practice, and related beliefs, see below.
- Infertility of women
- This problem can be cured by obtaining the soul of the expected child.
- Beliefs related to spirits can explain many different phenomena. 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 can memorize long texts or songs, and play an instrument, may be regarded as the beneficiary of contact with the spirits (eg. Khanty people).
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. Methods for effecting such trances are:
Shamans will often observe dietary or customary restrictions particular to their tradition. 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.
Just like shamanism itself, music and songs related to it in various cultures are diverse, far from being alike. In several instances, songs related to shamanism are intended to imitate natural sounds, via onomatopoeia.
Sound mimesis in various cultures may serve other functions not necessarily related to shamanism: practical goals as luring game in the hunt; or entertainment (Inuit throat singing). Paraphernalia
Shamans may have various kinds of paraphernalia in different cultures.
- Drum – The drum is used by shamans of several peoples in Siberia, the Inuit, and many other cultures all over the world, 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 between the physical and spiritual worlds. Much fascination surrounds the role that the acoustics of the drum play to the shaman. Shaman drums are generally constructed of an animal-skin stretched over a bent wooden hoop, with a handle across the hoop.
- Feathers – In numerous North and South American cultures, as well as in Europe and Asia, birds are seen as messengers of the spirits. Feathers are often used in ceremonies and in individual healing rituals.
- 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.
- Pipe – Used for smoking various tobaccos and psychoactive herbs (e.g. tobacco in North and South America, cannabis in India).
- Sword – In Hmong Shamanism, a holy sword will always be used in the practice to protect the shaman from wandering "evil" spirits as he travels to the spirit world.
- Shake – Found mostly in Hmong Shamanism, the shaman begins his practice by rattling, which turns into a shake. It is the process of communicating with his shamanistic spirits to guide him to the spirit world.
- Long Table – A flexible wooden table, approximately nine by two feet, is used in Hmong Shamanism; the table transforms into a "flying horse" in the spirit world.
- Rooster – A rooster is often used in Hmong Shamanism. A shaman uses a rooster when he journeys to the unknown. It is said that the rooster shields the shaman from wandering "evil" spirits by making him invisible; thus, the evil spirits only see the rooster's useless spirit.
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 of the society. Accordingly, the society's codes are the manifestation of the society's underlying complex belief system. Thus to be effective, shamans maintain a comprehensive view in their mind which gives them certainty of knowledge. The shaman uses (and the audience understands) multiple codes. Shamans 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 his or her community well, and acts accordingly. Thus, their audience knows the used symbols and meanings—that is why shamanism can be efficient: people in the audience trust it. For example, the shaman's drumming can appear to its members as certainty of knowledge—this explains the above described etymology for the word "shaman" as meaning "one who knows."
There are semiotic theoretical approaches to shamanism, ("ethnosemiotics"). The symbols on the shaman's costume and drum can refer to Power animals, or to the rank of the shaman.
There are also examples of "mutually opposing symbols", distinguishing a "white" shaman who contacts sky spirits for good aims by day, from a "black" shaman who contacts evil spirits for bad aims by night. (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 shamans need to be experts in the folklore of their cultures (11).
Armin Geertz coined and introduced the hermeneutics, "ethnohermeneutics", approaches to the practice of interpretation. Hoppál extended the term to include not only the interpretation of oral and written texts, but that of "visual texts as well (including motions, gestures and more complex ritual, and ceremonies performed for instance by shamans)". It not only reveals the animistic views hiding behind shamanism, but also conveys their relevance for the contemporary world, where ecological problems have validated paradigms about balance and protection.
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 developments in the ways that modern science (systems theory, ecology, new approaches in anthropology and archeology) treats causality in a less linear fashion. He also suggests a cooperation of modern science and indigenous lore (online).
Hypotheses on origins
Shamanic practices may originate as early as the Paleolithic, predating all organized religions, and certainly as early as the Neolithic period. Early anthropologist theorize that shamanism develop as a magic to ensure a successful hunt or gathering of food.Evidence in caves and rock with drawings support indications that shamanism started during the Paleolithic era. One such picture featured half-animal, with face and legs a man, with antlers and a tail of a stag.
Archaeological evidence exists for Mesolithic shamanism. In November 2008, researchers announced the discovery of a 12,000-year-old site in Israel that they regard as one of the earliest known shaman burials. The elderly woman had been arranged on her side, with her legs apart and folded inward at the knee. Ten large stones were placed on the head, pelvis and arms. Among her unusual grave goods were 50 complete tortoise shells, a human foot, and certain body parts from animals such as a cow tail and eagle wings. Other animal remains came from a boar, leopard, and two martens. "It seems that the woman … was perceived as being in a close relationship with these animal spirits", researchers noted. The grave was one of at least 28 at the site, located in a cave in lower Galilee and belonging to the Natufian culture, but is said to be unlike any other among the Natufians or in the Paleolithic period.
The Kaiser Permanente Center For Health Research in Portland, Oregon conducted a phase I study into the effectiveness of shamanic healing as a treatment for chronic face and jaw pain. Twenty-three women who were diagnosed with Temporomandibular Joint Disorders (TMDs) participated in the study. At the end of treatment only four were clinically diagnosed with the TMDs present at the beginning of the study.
Historical-Anthropological School of Folkloristics
Folklorists have evaluated the presence of remnants of shamanism and shamanic practice in folktales from around the world. Michael Berman identified the genre of the shamanic story, examples of which are only produced by folk groups with shamanic cosmology or a shamanic world view. Kultkrantz points out that, “in areas where shamanism has long been a thing of the past, many tales contain only vague, piecemeal or inaccurate recollections of shamans and their like.” The presence of distinctive characteristics and features of shamanic stories help folklorists and anthropologists reconstruct a culture’s practice of shamanism.
Decline and revitalization / tradition-preserving movements
Shamanism is believed to be declining around the world. Possibly due to other religious influences, like Christianity, that want people who practice shamanism to convert to their own religion. Another reason is western views of shamanism as primitive and superstitious. Whalers who frequently interact with Inuit tribes are one source of this decline in that region.
A recent photograph: shaman doctor of Kyzyl
, 2005. . Attempts are being made to preserve and revitalize Tuvan
former authentic shamans have begun to practice again, and young apprentices are being educated in an organized way.
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, and are unwilling to talk about it to an ethnographer.
Moreover, besides personal communications of former shamans, folklore texts may 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.
In most affected areas, shamanistic practices ceased to exist, with authentic shamans dying 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 shaman-hood (laics know myths as well, among Barasana, even though less; there are former shaman apprentices unable to complete the learning among Greenlandic Inuit peoples, moreover, even laics can have trance-like experiences among Eskimos; the assistant of a shaman can be extremely knowledgeable among Dagara). 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, those are lost with his/her death. Besides that, 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 century, 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 there are also tradition-preserving and even revitalization efforts, led 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" is Nvowti which means "power".
mention that there are revitalization or tradition-preserving efforts as a response. Besides collecting the memories,
Besides tradition-preserving efforts, there are also neoshamanistic 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.
Mongolian shamanism has the longest recorded history in the world. The word Böö "shaman; spirit medium; healer" first appeared on oracle bones from the late Shang Dynasty (ca. 1600–1046 BCE). Mongolian classics from the Hunnu Dynasty (1045-256 BCE) provide details about male and female shamans serving as exorcists, healers, rainmakers, oneiromancers, soothsayers, and officials. Shamanic practices continue in present day Mongolia culture.
The spiritual hierarchy in clan-based Mongolian society was complex. The highest group consisted of 99 tngri (55 of them benevolent or "white" and 44 terrifying or "black"), 77 natigai or "earth-mothers", besides others. The tngri were called upon only by leaders and great shamans and were common to all the clans. After these, three groups of ancestral spirits dominated. The "Lord-Spirits" were the souls of clan leaders to whom any member of a clan could appeal for physical or spiritual help. The "Protector-Spirits" included the souls of great shamans (ĵigari) and shamanesses (abĵiya). The "Guardian-Spirits" were made up of the souls of smaller shamans (böge) and shamanesses (idugan) and were associated with a specific locality (including mountains, rivers, etc.) in the clan's territory.
In the 1990s, a form of Mongolian neo-shamanism was created which has given a more modern approach to shamanism. Mongolian shamans are now making a business out of their profession and even have offices in the larger towns. At these businesses, a shaman generally heads the organization and performs services such as healing, fortunetelling, and solving all kinds of problems.
The Hmong people, as an ancient people of China with a 5,000 year history, continue to maintain and practice its form of shamanism known as "Ua Neeb" in mainland Asia. At the end of the Vietnam War, some 300,000 Hmong have been settled across the globe. They have continued to practice Ua Neeb in various countries in the North and South America, Europe and Australia. In the USA, the Hmong shaman practitioner is known as "Txiv Neeb" has been license by many hospitals in California as being part of the medical health team to treat patients in hospital. This revival of Ua Neeb in the West has been brought great success and has been hailed in the media as "Doctor for the disease, shaman for the soul".
Being a Hmong shaman represents a true vocation, chosen by the shaman God "Sivyis". A shaman main job is to bring harmony to the individual, his family and his community within his environment by performing various rituals (trance).
Animal sacrifice has been part of the Hmong shamanic practice for the past 5,000 years. Contrary to the belief of many Westerners, the Hmong practice of using animal in shamanic practice has been done with great respect. After the Vietnam War, over 200,000 Hmong were resettled in the USA and shamanism is still part of the Hmong culture. But due the colluding of culture and the law, as Professor Alison Dundes Renteln, a political science professor at the University of Southern California and author of The Cultural Defense, a book that examines the influence of such cases on U.S. courts, once said, "We say that as a society we welcome diversity, and in fact that we embrace it...In practice, it's not that easy.".
The Hmong believe that all things on Earth has a soul(s) and those souls are treated as equal and can be considered interchangeable. When a person is sick due to his soul being loss or captured by wild spirit, it is necessary to ask and get permission of that animal, whether it is a chicken, pig, dog, goat or any other animals is required, to use its soul for an exchange with that person's soul for period of 12 months. At the end of that 12 months period, during the Hmong New Year, the shaman performed a special ritual to release the soul of that animal and send it off to the world beyond. As part of his service to mankind, the animal soul is sent off to be re-incarnated into a higher form of animal or even to become a member of a god's family (ua Fuab Tais Ntuj tus tub, tus ntxhais) to live a life of luxury, free of the suffering as an animal. Hence, being asked to perform this duty (what Westerner called "animal sacrifice) is one of the a greatest honor for that animal to be able to serve mankind. The Hmong of Southeast Guizhou will cover the cock with a piece of red cloth and then hold it up to worship and sacrifice to the Heaven and the Earth before the cockfight. In a 2010 trial of a Sheboygan Wisconsin Hmong that was charged with staging a cockfight, it was stated that the roosters were “kept for both food and religious purposes” followed by an acquittal.
In addition to the spiritual dimension, Hmong shaman can treat many physical illness by using text of sacred words (khawv koob).
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.
Shamanism is part of the native Japanese religion of Shinto.The distinction is that Shinto is Shamanism for agricultural society. Today Shinto has morphed with Buddhism and other Japanese folk culture. The book "Occult Japan: Shinto, Shamanism and the Way of the Gods" by Percival Lowell delves further into researching Japanese Shamanism or Shintoism. It is generally accepted that the vast majority of Japanese people take part in Shinto rituals. The book Japan Through the Looking Glass: Shaman to Shinto uncovers the extraordinary aspects of Japanese beliefs.
Japanese scroll painting, circa 1870.
Among the Siberian Chukchis peoples, a shaman is interpreted as someone who is possessed by a spirit who demands that someone assume the shamanic role for their people. Among the Buryat, there is a ritual known as "shanar" whereby a candidate is consecrated as shaman by another, already-established shaman.
Siberia is regarded as the locus classicus of shamanism. It is inhabited by many different ethnic groups. Many of its 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 Evenki. 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 (Gypsies).
Geographic influences on Central Asian shamanism
Geographical factors heavily influence the character and development of the religion, myths, rituals and epics of Central Asia. While in other parts of the world, religious rituals are primarily used to promote agricultural prosperity, here they were used to ensure success in hunting and breeding livestock. Animals are one of the most important elements of indigenous religion in Central Asia because of the role they play in the survival of the nomadic civilizations of the steppes as well as sedentary populations living on land not conducive to agriculture. Shamans wore animal skins and feathers and underwent transformations into animals during spiritual journeys. In addition, animals served as humans' guides, rescuers, ancestors, totems and sacrificial victims. As a religion of nature, shamanism throughout Central Asia held particular reverence for the relations between sky, earth and water and believed in the mystical importance of trees and mountains. Shamanism in Central Asia also places a strong emphasis on the opposition between summer and winter, corresponding to the huge differences in temperature common in the region. The harsh conditions and poverty caused by the extreme temperatures drove Central Asian nomads throughout history to pursue militaristic goals against their sedentary neighbors. This military background can be seen in the reverence for horses and warriors within many indigenous religions.
Central Asian shamans served as sacred intermediaries between the human and spirit world. In this role they took on tasks such as healing, divination, appealing to ancestors, manipulating the elements, leading lost souls and officiating public religious rituals. The shamanic séance served as a public display of the shaman's journey to the spirit world and usually involved intense trances, drumming, dancing, chanting, elaborate costumes, miraculous displays of physical strength, and audience involvement. The goal of these séances ranged from recovering the lost soul of a sick patient and divining the future to controlling the weather and finding a lost person or thing. The use of sleight-of-hand tricks, ventriloquism, and hypnosis were common in these rituals but did not explain the more impressive feats and actual cures accomplished by shamans.
Shamans perform in a "state of ecstasy" deliberately induced by an effort of will. Reaching this altered state of consciousness required great mental exertion, concentration and strict self-discipline. Mental and physical preparation included long periods of silent meditation, fasting, and smoking. In this state, skilled shamans employ capabilities that the human organism cannot accomplish in the ordinary state. Shamans in ecstasy displayed unusual physical strength, the ability to withstand extreme temperatures, the bearing of stabbing and cutting without pain, and the heightened receptivity of the sense organs. Shamans made use of intoxicating substances and hallucinogens, especially mukhomor mushrooms and alcohol, as a means of hastening the attainment of ecstasy.
The use of purification by fire is an important element of the shamanic tradition dating back as early as the 6th century. People and things connected with the dead had to be purified by passing between fires. These purifications were complex exorcisms while others simply involved the act of literally walking between two fires while being blessed by the Shaman. Shamans in literature and practice were also responsible for using special stones to manipulate weather. Rituals are performed with these stones to attract rain or repel snow, cold or wind. This "rain-stone" was used for many occasions including bringing an end to drought as well as producing hailstorms as a means of warfare. Despite distinctions between various types of shamans and specific traditions, there is a uniformity throughout the region manifested in the personal beliefs, objectives, rituals, symbols and the appearance of shamans.
Shamanic rituals as artistic performance
The shamanic séance is both a religious ceremony and an artistic performance. The fundamental purpose of the dramatic displays seen during shamanic ceremonies is not to draw attention or to create a spectacle for the audience as many Westerners have interpreted, but to lead the tribe in a solemn religious function.
In general, all performances consist of four elements: dance, music, poetry and dramatic or mimetic action. The use of these elements serves the purpose of outwardly expressing his mystical communion with nature and the spirits for the rest of the tribe. The true shaman can make the journey to the spirit world at any time and any place, but shamanic ceremonies provide a way for the rest of the tribe to share in this religious experience. The shaman changes his voice mimetically to represent different persons, gods, and animals while his music and dance change to show his progress in the spirit world and his different spiritual interactions. Many shamans practice ventriloquism and make use of their ability to accurately imitate the sounds of animals, nature, humans and other noises in order to provide the audience with the ambiance of the journey. Elaborate dances and recitations of songs and poetry are used to make the shamans spiritual adventures into a matter of living reality to his audience.
Costume and accessories
The shaman's costume varies throughout the region but his chief accessories are his coat, cap, and tambourine or drum. The transformation into an animal is an important aspect of the journey into the spirit world undertaken during shamanic ceremonies so the coat is often decorated with birds feathers and representations of animals, colored handkerchiefs, bells and metal ornaments. The cap is usually made from the skin of a bird with the feathers and sometimes head, still attached.
The drum or tambourine is the essential means of communicating with spirits and transporting the shaman on supernatural journeys. The drum, representing the universe in epitome, is often divided into equal halves to represent the earth and lower regions. Symbols and natural objects are added to the drum representing natural forces and heavenly bodies.
Shamanism in Tsarist and Soviet Russia
In Soviet Central Asia, the Soviet government persecuted and denounced shamans as practitioners of fraudulent medicine and perpetuators of outdated religious beliefs in the new age of science and logic. The radical transformations occurring after the October Socialist Revolution led to a sharp decrease in the activity of shamans. Shamans represented an important component in the traditional culture of Central Asians and because of their important role in society, Soviet organizations and campaigns targeted shamans in their attempt to eradicate traditional influences in the lives of the indigenous peoples. Along with persecution under the tsarist and Soviet regimes, the spread of Christianity and Islam had a role in the disintegration of native faith throughout central Asia. Poverty, political instability and foreign influence are also detrimental to a religion that requires publicity and patronage to flourish. By the 1980s most shamans were discredited in the eyes of their people by Soviet officials and physicians.
There is a strong shamanistic influence in the Bön religion in Central Asian, 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 a major 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, have 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. 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.
"Jhakri" is the common name used for shamans in Sikkim, India. They exist in the Limbu, Sunuwar, Rai, Sherpa, Kami, Tamang, Gurung and Lepcha communities. They are inflluenced by Hinduism, Tibetan Buddhism, Mun and Bön rites.
Shamanism is still widely practiced in the Ryukyu Islands (Okinawa, Japan), where shamans are known as 'Noro' (all women) and 'Yuta'. 'Noro' generally administer public or communal ceremonies while 'Yuta' focus on civil and 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.
Shamanism practices seem to have been preserved in the Catholic religious traditions of aborigines 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.
While shamanism had a strong tradition in Europe before the rise of monotheism, shamanism remains a traditional, organized religion in northern Eurasia, including Mari-El and Udmurtia, two semi-autonomous provinces of Russia with large minority populations. Shamanism in Scandinavia may be represented in rock art dating to the Neolithic era and was practiced throughout the Iron Age by the various Teutonic tribes and the Baltic-Finnic peoples. People 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 played an important role in Turko-Mongol mythology. Tengriism, the major belief among Xiongnu or Mongol and Turkic peoples, Magyars and Bulgars in ancient times incorporates elements of shamanism. Shamanism is no more a living practice among Hungarians, but remnants have been reserved as fragments of folklore, in folktales, customs.
Various scholars have also argued that shamanism was once widespread across Europe prior to Christianisation. Some historians of the Late Middle Ages and Early Modern period have argued that traces of shamanistic traditions can be seen in the popular folk belief of this period. Most prominent among these was the Italian Carlo Ginzburg, who claimed shamanistic elements in the benandanti custom of 16th century Italy, the Hungarian Éva Pócs, who identified them in the táltos tradition of Hungary, and the Frenchman Claude Lecouteux, who has argued that Medieval traditions regarding the soul are based on earlier shamanic ideas. Ginzburg in particular has argued that some of these shamanistic traditions influenced the conception of witchcraft in Christendom, in particular ideas regarding the witches' sabbath, leading to the events of the witch trials in the Early Modern period.
The cunning folk is an English language term referring to professional or semi-professional Anglo-Celtic practitioners of magic active from at least the 15th up until the early 20th century particularly throughout rural United Kingdom (and possibly into the 21st century among the diaspora). They practiced folk magic – also known as "low magic" – although often combined this with elements of "high" or ceremonial magic. Such people were also frequently known across England as "wizards", "wise men" or "wise women", or in southern England and Wales as "conjurers" or as "dyn(es) hysbys" in the Welsh language. In Cornwall they were sometimes referred to as pellars, which some etymologists suggest originated from the term expellers, referring to the practice of expelling evil spirits. Many have argued that this is evidence that community shamanism was practiced in the UK up until to the modern era. Christian sanctioned Laws were enacted across England, Scotland and Wales that often condemned cunning folk and their magical practices.
In Scandinavia the klok gumma ("wise woman") or klok gubbe ("wise man"), and collectively De kloka ("The Wise ones"), as they were known in Swedish, were usually elder members of the community who acted as naturopathic doctors and midwives as well as using folk magic such as magic rhymes. In Denmark they were called klog mand ("wise man") and klog kone ("wise woman") and collectively as kloge folk ("wise folk").
The names used for cunning-folk in Italy vary from region to region, although such names include praticos (wise people), guaritori (healers), fattucchiere (fixers), donne che aiutano (women who help) and mago, maga or maghiardzha (sorcerers). At times, they were sometimes called streghe (witches), although usually only "behind their backs or by those who either are sceptical of their powers or believe they deal in black magic." The cunning profession akin to Shamanism survived the 20th century and into the early 21st, allowing Italian-American sociologist Sabina Magliocco to make a brief study of them (2009).
Eskimo groups inhabit 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.
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 alignalghi (IPA: [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).
Unlike the majority of shamanisms 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 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 similarities in the cultures of the Eskimo groups together with diversity, far from homogeneity.
The Russian linguist Menovshikov (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 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 Ungazighmiit (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).
performing a traditional baptism
on a baby in order to protect the
spirit of the baby, Johannesburg,
In central Mali, Dogon sorcerers (both male and female) claim to have communication with a head deity named Amma, who advises them on healing and divination practices.
In the early 19th century traditional healers in parts of Africa were often referred to in a derogatory manner as "witch doctors" practicing Juju by early European settlers and explorers.
Contemporary ethnology records that the Bushmen, or their ancestors distributed throughout Southern Africa before the 20th century, practiced shamanism. In the semi-desert Northern Cape region, the shamans of the |Xam people were known by the compound word '!gi:ten', where '!gi' is 'power' and 'ten' indicated possession. The word is phonetically identical to the Xhosa word for 'doctor'. 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 rainmakers.
The classical meaning of shaman as a person who, after recovering from a mental illness (or insanity) takes up the professional calling of socially recognized religious practitioner, is exemplified among the Sisala (of northern Gold Coast) : "the fairies "seized" him and made him insane for several months. Eventually, though, he learned to control their power, which he now uses to divine."
The term sangoma, as employed in Zulu and congeneric languages, is effectively equivalent to shaman. Sangomas are highly revered and respected in their society, where illness is thought to be caused by witchcraft, pollution (contact with impure objects or occurrences) or by the ancestors themselves, either malevolently, or through neglect if they are not respected, or to show an individual her calling to become a sangoma (thwasa). For harmony between the living and the dead, vital for a trouble-free life, the ancestors must be shown respect through ritual and animal sacrifice.
The term inyanga also employed by the Nguni cultures is equivalent to 'herbalist' as used by the Zulu people and a variation used by the Karanga, among whom remedies (locally known as muti) for ailments are discovered by the inyanga being informed in a dream, of the herb able to effect the cure and also of where that herb is to be found. The majority of the herbal knowledge base is passed down from one inyanga to the next, often within a particular family circle in any one village.
Shamanism is known among the Nuba of Kordofan in Sudan.
Main article: Medicine man
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 and women, 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 do not, the ceremony will not work. Training a Hatałii to perform ceremonies is extensive, arduous, and takes many years. The apprentice learns everything by watching his teacher, and memorizes the words to all the chants. Many times, a medicine man or woman cannot learn all sixty of the traditional ceremonies, so will opt to specialize in a select few.
Extirpation in North America
With the arrival of European settlers and colonial administration, the practice of Native American traditional beliefs was discouraged and Christianity was imposed upon the indigenous people.
About 1888, a mass movement known as the Ghost Dance started among the Paviotso (a branch of the Pah-Utes in Nevada) and swept through many tribes of Native Americans. The belief was that through practicing the Ghost Dance, a messiah would come with rituals that would make the white man disappear and bring back game and dead native Americans. This spread to the Plains tribes, who were starving due to the depletion of the buffalo. Some Sioux, the Arapahos, Cheyennes and Kiowas accepted the doctrine. This form of shamanism was brutally suppressed by the United States military with the death of 128 Sioux at the massacre of Wounded Knee.
During the last hundred years, thousands of surviving Native Americans, First Nations youngsters from many cultures were sent into Indian boarding schools to destroy any tribal, shamanic or totemic faith.
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.
- Shamanic healing is found among the indigenous Kuna people of Panama, who rely on sacred talismans. As such, they enjoy a popular position among local peoples.
- The Urarina of the Peruvian Amazonia have an elaborate cosmological system predicated on the ritual consumption of ayahuasca. Urarina ayahuasca shamanism is a key feature of this poorly documented society.
- Among the Brazilian Tapirapé people shamans are called to serve in their dreams.
- The Shuar people, seeking the power to defend their family against enemies, would apprentice themselves to become shamans.
- Santo Daime and União do Vegetal ( abbreviated to UDV) are syncretic religions with elements of shamanism. They use an entheogen called ayahuasca to connect with the spirit realm and receive divine guidance.
In the Peruvian Amazon Basin and north coastal regions of the country, the healer shamans are known as curanderos. Ayahuasqueros are Peruvian shamans, such as among the Urarina people, who specialize in the use of ayahuasca, a psychedelic herbal potion used for physical and psychological healing, divine revelation, and for the very reproduction of society itself. Ayahuasqueros have become popular among Western spiritual seekers, who claim that the shamans and their ayahuasca brews have cured them of everything from depression to addiction to cancer.
In addition to curanderos use of ayahuasca and their ritualized ingestion of mescaline-bearing San Pedro cactuses (Trichocereus pachanoi) for the divination 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 scarce 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.
The yaskomo of the Waiwai is believed to be able to perform a soul flight. The soul flight can serve several functions:
- flying to the sky to consult cosmological beings (the moon or the brother of the moon) to get a name for a newborn 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, earth, 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.
Among the Mapuche people of Chile, 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.
For the Aymara people of South America the Yatiri is a healer who heals the body and the soul, they serve the community and do the rituals for Pachamama.
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/.
On the island of Papua New Guinea, indigenous tribes believe that illness and calamity are caused by dark spirits, or masalai, which cling to a person's body and poison them. Shamans are summoned in order to purge the unwholesome spirits from a person. Shamans also perform rainmaking ceremonies and can allegedly improve a hunter's ability to catch animals.
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".
Contemporary Western shamanism
There is an endeavor in some contemporary occult and esoteric circles to reinvent shamanism in a modern form, often drawing from core shamanism—a set of beliefs and practices synthesized by Michael Harner—centered use of ritual drumming and dance, and Harner's interpretations of various indigenous religions. Harner has faced criticism for taking pieces of diverse religions out of their cultural contexts and synthesising a set of universal shamanic techniques. Some neoshamans focus on the ritual use of entheogens, as well as embrace the philosophies of chaos magic] while others (such as Jan Fries) have created their own forms of shamanism.
European-based neoshamanic traditions are focused upon the researched or imagined traditions of ancient Europe, where 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 do not call themselves shamans, but instead use specific names derived from the European traditions -they work within such as völva or seidkona (seid-woman) of the sagas (see Blain 2002, Wallis 2003).
Many New Age spiritual seekers travel to Peru to work with ayahuasqueros, shamans who engage in the ritual use of ayahuasca, a psychedelic tea which has been documented to cure everything from depression to addiction. When taking ayahuasca, participants frequently report meeting spirits and receiving divine revelations. Shamanistic techniques have also been used in New Age therapies which use enactment and association with other realities as an intervention.
Certain anthropologists, most notably Alice Kehoe in her book Shamans and Religion: An Anthropological Exploration in Critical Thinking, are highly critical of the term "shaman". 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 on shamanism as 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 hallucinogens, 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 and Islamic rituals) and that in their expression are unique to each culture that uses them and cannot be generalized easily, accurately or usefully into a global religion of 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" (a term used in old Russian and German ethnographic reports at the beginning of the 20th century) for stressing the diversity and the specific features of the discussed cultures. He believes that this places more stress on the local variations and emphasizes 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. Piers Vitebsky also 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).
- ^ Hutton 2001. p. 32.
- ^ Hoppál 1987. p. 76.
- ^ Oxford Dictionary Online.
- ^ a b c Mircea Eliade, Shamanism, Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy, Bollingen Series LXXVI, Princeton University Press 1972, pp. 3–7.
- ^ Eliade 2004 . p. 04.
- ^ Written before 1676, first printed in 1861; see Hutton 2001. p. vii.
- ^ Hutton 2001, p. 32.
- ^ Adam Brand, Driejaarige Reize naar China, Amsterdam 1698; transl. A Journal of an Ambassy, London 1698; see Laufer B., Origin of the Word Shaman, American Anthropologist, 19 (1917): 361–71 and Bremmer J., Travelling souls? Greek shamanism reconsidered, in Bremmer J.N. (ed.), The Rise and Fall of the Afterlife, London: Routledge, 2002, pp. 7-40. 
- ^ Hutton 2001. pp. vii–viii.
- ^ Hoppál, Mihály (2005) (in Hungarian). Sámánok Eurázsiában. Budapest: Akadémiai Kiadó. ISBN 963-05-8295-3. pp. 77, 287; Znamensky, Andrei A. (2005). "Az ősiség szépsége: altáji török sámánok a szibériai regionális gondolkodásban (1860–1920)". In Molnár, Ádám (in Hungarian). Csodaszarvas. Őstörténet, vallás és néphagyomány. Vol. I. Budapest: Molnár Kiadó. pp. 117–134. ISBN 963-218-200-6. , p. 128
- ^ Turner et al., page 440
- ^ Noll & Shi 2004 (see online)
- ^ Halifax, Joan (1982). Shaman: The Wounder Healer. London: Thames & Hudson. ISBN 9780500810293. OCLC 8800269.
- ^ Hoppál 2005: 45
- ^ a b Boglár 2001: 24
- ^ a b Hoppál 2005: 94
- ^ Vitebsky 1996: 46
- ^ a b Hoppál 2005: 25
- ^ a b Sem, Tatyana. "Shamanic Healing Rituals". Russian Museum of Ethnography. http://www.museum.state.il.us/exhibits/changing/journey/healing.html.
- ^ Hoppál 2005: 27–28
- ^ Hoppál 2005: 28–33
- ^ Hoppál 2005: 37
- ^ Hoppál 2005: 34–35
- ^ Hoppál 2005: 36
- ^ Hoppál 2005:36164
- ^ Hoppál 2005:87–95
- ^ Czaplicka 1914
- ^ a b Salak, Kira. "Lost souls of the Peyote Trail". National Geographic Adventure. http://www.kirasalak.com/Peyote.html.
- ^ a b Stephen Hugh-Jones 1980: 32
- ^ a b c d e Merkur 1985
- ^ Kleivan & Sonne 1985: 8–10
- ^ a b c d Kleivan & Sonne 1985: 24
- ^ a b Noll & Shi 2004: 10, footnote 10 (see online)
- ^ a b Noll & Shi 2004: 8–9 (see online)
- ^ Tedlock, Barbara. 2005. The Woman in the Shaman's Body: Reclaiming the Feminine in Religion and Medicine. New York: Bantam.
- ^ a b c d Reichel-Dolmatoff 1997
- ^ Vitebsky 1996:107
- ^ a b Boglár 2001:26
- ^ Merkur 1985: 5
- ^ Vitebsky 1996:108
- ^ Kleivan & Sonne: 27–28
- ^ a b Merkur 1985: 3
- ^ a b c d e f g h Salak, Kira. "Hell and Back". National Geographic Adventure. http://www.kirasalak.com/Peru.html.
- ^ Merkur 1985: 4
- ^ Vitebsky 1996: 11, 12–14, 107
- ^ Hoppál 2005:27, 30, 36
- ^ Hoppál 2005: 27
- ^ Kleivan & Sonne 1985: 7, 19–21
- ^ a b Gabus, Jean: A karibu eszkimók. Gondolat Kiadó, Budapest, 1970. (Hungarian translation of the original: Vie et coutumes des Esquimaux Caribous, Libraire Payot Lausanne, 1944.) It describes the life of Caribou Eskimo groups.
- ^ Hoppál 2007c: 18
- ^ Hoppál 2005: 99
- ^ a b c d e Hoppál 2005:15
- ^ Hoppál 2006c: 143
- ^ a b Nattiez: 5
- ^ Deschênes 2002
- ^ H.B. Paksoy, PhD. "In the Beginning was Tengri, Part 1". http://www.neweurasia.net/cross-regional-and-blogosphere/in-the-beginning-was-tengri-part-1-grace-is-the-heart-of-belief/. "A diagram of Tengriist metaphysics on a shaman's drum. At the center is a world-tree connecting the three dimensions of the underworld, middleworld and upperworld."
- ^ Alexander Eliot (1976). Myths. New York: McGraw-Hill. p. 77. http://www.nbi.dk/~natphil/oldqueSib.html. "The world tree appears again in this drawing from a Shaman drum... with its roots in the underworld it rises through the inhabited earth to penetrate the realm of the gods."
- ^ Circle of Tengerism. "Mongolian Cosmology". http://www.tengerism.org/cosmology.html. "The other important symbol of the world center is the turge tree, which creates an axis as well as a pole for ascent and decent. Siberian and Mongolian traditions locate the tree at the center of the world, but also in the south, where the upper and middle worlds touch."
- ^ Barüske 1969: 24, 50–51
- ^ Kleivan & Sonne 1985: 25
- ^ Maxfield, Melinda. "The journey of the drum." ReVision 16.4 (1994): 157.
- ^ Vitebsky 1996: 49
- ^ Diószegi 1962:13
- ^ a b Hoppál 2005:14
- ^ Pentikäinen 1995: 270
- ^ a b c Hoppál 2005:25–26,43
- ^ Hoppál 2004:14
- ^ Hoppál 2005: 13–15, 58, 197
- ^ Hoppál 2006a: 11
- ^ Hoppál 2006b: 175
- ^ Hoppál 2007c: 24–25
- ^ a b Hoppál, Mihály: Nature worship in Siberian shamanism
- ^ Hoppál 2007b: 12–13
- ^ a b c Hoppál 2007c: 25
- ^ Pentikäinen 1995: 270–271
- ^ Dana 2004: 18 (see online)
- ^ Merkur 1985:v
- ^ Hoppál 2007b: 13
- ^ a b Gerardo Reichel-Dolmatoff: A View from the Headwaters. The Ecologist, Vol. 29 No. 4, July 1999.
- ^ Jean Clottes. "Shamanism in Prehistory". Bradshaw foundation. http://www.bradshawfoundation.com/clottes/page7.php. Retrieved 2008-03-11.
- ^ a b Karl J. Narr. "Prehistoric religion". Britannica online encyclopedia 2008. http://concise.britannica.com/oscar/print?articleId=109434&fullArticle=true&tocId=52333. Retrieved 2008-03-28.
- ^ Winkelman, Michael. Shamanism: a Biopsychosocial Paradigm of Consciousness and Healing. Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger, 2010. Print.
- ^ "Earliest known shaman grave site found: study", reported by Reuters via Yahoo! News, November 4, 2008, archived. see.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
- ^ TMD Clinical study
- ^ 1993, p.51
- ^ Berman, Shamanic Journeys Through Daghestan, 2008, p.22
- ^ Oosten, Jarich; Frederic Laugrand, and Cornelius Remie (2006). "Perceptions of Decline: Inuit Shamanism in the Canadian Arctic". American Society for Ethnohistory: 445–477. doi:10.1215/00141801–2006-001.
- ^ Hoppál 2005: 117
- ^ a b Hoppál 2005: 259
- ^ Boglár 2001: 19–20
- ^ Diószegi 1960: 37–39
- ^ Eliade 2001: 76 (= Chpt 3 about obtaining shamanic capabilities)
- ^ Omnividence: A word created by Edwin A. Abbott in his book titled Flatland
- ^ Diószegi 1960: 88–89
- ^ Hoppál 2005: 224
- ^ Nagy 1998: 232
- ^ Merkur 1985:132
- ^ Merkur 1985:134
- ^ Hoppál 2005: 92
- ^ a b Hoppál 1994: 62
- ^ Hoppál 2005: 88
- ^ Hoppál 2005: 93
- ^ Hoppál 2005: 111, 117–119, 128, 132, 133–134, 252-263
- ^ Hoppál 2005: 257–258
- ^ "Pseudo Shamans Cherokee Statement". http://www.thepeoplespaths.net/Articles2001/RLAllen-CherokeeStatement-Shamans.htm. Retrieved 2008-06-23.
- ^ Vitebsky 1996: 150–153
- ^ http://website.leidenuniv.nl/~haarbjter/shamanism.htm
- ^ http://people.cohums.ohio-state.edu/bender4/eall131/EAHReadings/module03/local_beliefs.html
- ^ http://chinaperspectives.revues.org/5288
- ^ http://www.yale.edu/seacrn/asia_members.htm
- ^ Hesse, Klaus (1987). "On the History of Mongolian Shamanism in Anthropological Perspective". Anthropos 82 (4-6): 403–13. http://www.jstor.org/stable/40463470.
- ^ Balogh, Matyas. "Contemporary Shamanisms in Mongolia." Asian Ethnicity 11.2 (2010): 229-38.
- ^ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hmong_people
- ^ http://www.lexicon.net/drpao/shaman/sivyis/
- ^ USA Today. http://www.usatoday.com/educate/firstamendment/religion_052504.html.
- ^ Southeast Guizhou Travel Tips - China Highlights, a division of CITS Guilin, a full service China travel agency providing China Tours
- ^ Cockfight Trial UnderwayWHBL News April 08, 2010
- ^ Not Guilty Verdict In Cockfighting Trial WHBL News April 09, 2010
- ^ Percival Lowell, Occult Japan: Shinto, Shamanism and the Way of the Gods, Inner Traditions International (April 1990), Rochester Vt
- ^ Alan Mcfarlane, Japan Through the Looking Glass: Shaman to Shinto, Profile Books Ltd, Aug 2007, London England
- ^ Japantimes.co.jp
- ^ Shanar Buryat
- ^ Hoppál 2005:13
- ^ a b Hoppál 2005:92–93
- ^ Julian Baldick, Animal and Shaman: Ancient Religions of Central Asia (New York: University Press, 2000), 3-35
- ^ Marjorie Mandelstam Balzer, Shamanism: Soviet Studies of Traditional Religion in Siberia and Central Asia (New York: M.E. Sharpe, 1990), 113
- ^ Nora K. Chadwick, "Shamanism among the Tatars of Central Asia," The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, Vol. 66, (Jan.-Jun., 1936): 97-99
- ^ Balzer, Shamanism, 12-21
- ^ John Andrew Boyle, "Turkish and Mongol Shamanism in the Middle Ages," Folklore Vol. 83 (1972): 183-185
- ^ Chadwick, Shamanism among the Tatars of Central Asia: 93-101
- ^ Chadwick, Shamanism among the Tatars of Central Asia,: 85-87
- ^ Balzer, Shamanism, 42-49
- ^ Economy of Excess. George Bataille.
- ^ Gulia 2005, pp. 153–4
- ^ Gulia 2005, p. 168
- ^ O. Lardenois, Shamanism and Catholic Indigenous Communities in Taiwan
- ^ "Journeys to Other Worlds: The Rites of Shamans". American Museum of Natural History. http://www.amnh.org/exhibitions/vietnam/07_other/.
- ^ Bolin 2000: 157
- ^ A. Asbjorn Jon, Shamanism and the Image of the Teutonic Deity, Óðinn
- ^ Hajdú 1975:35
- ^ Diószegi 1998
- ^ Ginzburg 1983 .
- ^ Pócs 1999.
- ^ Lecouteux 2003.
- ^ Ginzburg 1990.
- ^ Fienup-Riordan, Ann. 1994:206
- ^ a b Kleivan & Sonne 1985
- ^ Hoppál 2005:45–50
- ^ a b Menovščikov 1996:442
- ^ Vitebsky 1996
- ^ Freuchen 1961: 32
- ^ Рубцова 1954: 203, 209
- ^ Both death of a person and successfully hunted game require that cutting, sewing etc. be tabooed, so that the invisible soul does not get hurt accidentally (Kleivan&Sonne, pp. 18–21). In Greenland, the transgression of death tabu could turn the soul of the dead into a tupilak, a restless ghost which scared game away (Kleivan&Sonne 1985, p. 23). Animals fled from hunter in case of taboo breaches, e.g. birth taboo, death taboo (Kleivan&Sonne, pp. 12–13)
- ^ Lawrence Kaplan: Comparative Yupik and Inuit (found on the site of Alaska Native Language Center)
- ^ Kleivan 1985:8
- ^ Rasmussen 1965:366 (ch. XXIII)
- ^ Rasmussen 1965:166 (ch. XIII)
- ^ Rasmussen 1965:110 (ch. VIII)
- ^ Mauss 1979
- ^ Kleivan 1985:26
- ^ Menovščikov 1996 :433
- ^ Menovščikov 1996 :442
- ^ Vitebsky 1996:42 (ch. North America)
- ^ Merkur 1985:7
- ^ Kleivan & Sonne 1985:14
- ^ Rubcova 1954:128
- ^ Kleivan & Sonne 1985: 27
- ^ Kleivan & Sonne 1985: 30–31
- ^ Eugene L. Mendonsa : The Politics of Divination : a Processual View of Reactions to Illness and Deviance among the Sisala. University of California Press, Berkeley, 1982. p. 112
- ^ David M Cumes"Africa in my bones" pp.14
- ^ Susan Schuster Campbell"Called to Heal" pp.38
- ^ Susan Schuster Campbell"Called to Heal" pp.79
- ^ David M Cumes"Africa in my bones" pp.10
- ^ http://texts.00.gs/Karanga_shamanism.htm Karanga_shamanism
- ^ Nadel, S.F. "A Shaman Cult in the Nuba Mountains". Sudan Notes and Records 1941; 24(l): 85-112
- ^ Nadel, S.F. "A Study of Shamanism in the Nuba Mountains". Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 1946; 76:25–37
- ^ Jones, Peter N. 2008 Shamans and Shamanism: A Comprehensive Bibliography of the Terms Use in North America. Boulder, Colorado: Bauu Press.
- ^ History of the American Indian, page 222. Oliver Lafarge 1956
- ^ lib of congress 56-11375 page 224
- ^ a b Dean, Bartholomew 2009 Urarina Society, Cosmology, and History in Peruvian Amazonia, Gainesville: University Press of Florida ISBN 978-0-8130-3378-5 
- ^ Joralemen, D and D Sharon 1993 Sorcery and Shamanism: Curanderos and Clients in Northern Peru. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press.
- ^ Dean, Bartholomew 1998 "Review of Sorcery and Shamanism: Curanderos and Clients in Northern Peru" American Ethnologist. 25(1): 61-62.
- ^ Christine Hugh-Jones 1980
- ^ Stephen Hugh-Jones 1980
- ^ Fock 1963: 16
- ^ Gusinde 1966, pp. 6–7
- ^ Service, Elman: The Hunter. Prentice-Hall, 1966.
- ^ Extinct Ancient Societies Tierra del Fuegians
- ^ Gusinde 1966:175
- ^ About the Ona Indian Culture in Tierra del Fuego
- ^ Gusinde 1966:15
- ^ Gusinde 1966:156
- ^ Gusinde 1966:186
- ^ "Amazon.com listing for the "Four Corners: A Journey into the Heart of Papua New Guinea"". http://www.amazon.com/Four-Corners-Journey-Heart-Guinea/dp/0792274172/ref=pd_bxgy_b_img_b.
- ^ Salak, Kira. "Kira Salak's official webpage on "Four Corners"". http://www.kirasalak.com/FourCorners.html.
- ^ Salak, Kira. "MAKING RAIN--from Four Corners". http://www.kirasalak.com/MakingRain.html.
- ^ Visual Magic:A Manual of Freestyle Shamanism:Jan Fries ISBN 1-869928-57-1
- ^ ULL – Universidad de La Laguna (Spanish)
- ^ Encyclopedia of NLP
- ^ a b ISSR, 2001 Summer, abstract online in 2nd half of 2nd paragraph)
- ^ Hoppál & Szathmári & Takács 2006: 14
- ^ Hoppál 1998:40
- ^ Vitebsky 1996:11
- Barüske, Heinz (1969) (in German). Eskimo Märchen. Die Märchen der Weltliteratur. Düsseldorf • Köln: Eugen Diederichs Verlag. The title means: "Eskimo tales", the series means: "The tales of world literature".
- Berman, Michael. Shamanic Journeys through Daghestan. Winchester, UK: O, 2009.
- Boglár, Lajos (2001) (in Hungarian). A kultúra arcai. Mozaikok a kulturális antropológia köreiből. TÁRStudomány. Budapest: Napvilág Kiadó. ISBN 963-9082-94-5. The title means "The faces of culture. Mosaics fom the area of cultural anthropology".
- Bolin, Hans (2000). "Animal Magic: The mythological significance of elks, boats and humansin north Swedish rock art". Journal of Material Culture. 5(2): 153-176..
- Czaplicka, M. A. (1914). "Types of shaman". Shamanism in Siberia. Aboriginal Siberia. A study in social anthropology. preface by Marett, R. R.. Sommerville College, University of Oxford, Clarendon Press. ISBN 1-60506-060-7. http://www.sacred-texts.com/sha/sis/sis05.htm.
- Dana, Kathleen Osgood (2004 summer). "Áillohaš and his image drum: the native poet as shaman" (PDF). Nordlit (Faculty of Humanities, University of Tromsø) 15. http://uit.no/getfile.php?PageId=977&FileId=183#search=%22Juha%20Pentik%C3%A4inen%20grammar%20of%20mind%22.
- Deschênes, Bruno (2002). "Inuit Throat-Singing". Musical Traditions. The Magazine for Traditional Music Throughout the World. http://www.mustrad.org.uk/articles/inuit.htm.
- Diószegi, Vilmos (1960) (in Hungarian). Sámánok nyomában Szibéria földjén. Egy néprajzi kutatóút története. Budapest: Magvető Könyvkiadó. http://mek.oszk.hu/02100/02181/index.phtml. The book has been translated to English: Diószegi, Vilmos (1968). Tracing shamans in Siberia. The story of an ethnographical research expedition. Translated from Hungarian by Anita Rajkay Babó. Oosterhout: Anthropological Publications.
- Diószegi, Vilmos (1962) (in Hungarian). Samanizmus. Élet és Tudomány Kiskönyvtár. Budapest: Gondolat. http://mek.oszk.hu/01600/01639/. The title means: "Shamanism".
- Diószegi, Vilmos (1998)  (in Hungarian). A sámánhit emlékei a magyar népi műveltségben (first reprint ed.). Budapest: Akadémiai Kiadó. ISBN 963-05-7542-6. The title means: "Remnants of shamanistic beliefs in Hungarian folklore".
- Eliade, Mircea (1972). Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy. Bollingen 76. Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0-691-01779-2. Translated from the French by Willard R. Trask.
- Eliade, Mircea (1983). Le chamanisme et les techniques archaïques de'l extase. Paris: Éditions Payot. Originally published in 1951.
- Fienup-Riordan, Ann (1994). Boundaries and Passages: Rule and Ritual in Yup'ik Eskimo Oral Tradition. Norman, Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press. ISBN 0-585-12190-7.
- Fock, Niels (1963). Waiwai. Religion and society of an Amazonian tribe. Nationalmuseets skrifter, Etnografisk Række (Ethnographical series), VIII. Copenhagen: The National Museum of Denmark.
- Freuchen, Peter (1961). Book of the Eskimos. Cleveland • New York: The World Publishing Company. ISBN 0-449-30802-2.
- Gulia, Kuldip Singh (2005). Human Ecology of Sikkim - A Case Study of Upper Rangit Basin. Delhi, India: Kalpaz Publications. ISBN 81-7835-325-3. http://books.google.com/books?id=J4aDVQ1KVZYC.
- Gusinde, Martin (1966) (in German). 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). "A rokonság nyelvi háttere". In Hajdú, Péter (in Hungarian). Uráli népek. Nyelvrokonaink kultúrája és hagyományai. Budapest: Corvina Kiadó. ISBN 963-13-0900-2. The title means: "Uralic peoples. Culture and traditions of our linguistic relatives"; the chapter means "Linguistical background of the relationship".
- Hoppál, Mihály (1987). Shamanism: An Archaic and/or Recent System of Beliefs. Nicholson, Shirley, "Shamanism", Quest Books; 1st edition (May 25, 1987). p. 76. ISBN 0-8356-0617-1
- Hoppál, Mihály (1994) (in Hungarian). Sámánok, lelkek és jelképek. Budapest: Helikon Kiadó. ISBN 963-208-298-2. The title means "Shamans, souls and symbols".
- Hoppál, Mihály (1998). "A honfoglalók hitvilága és a magyar samanizmus" (in Hungarian). Folklór és közösség. Budapest: Széphalom Könyvműhely. pp. 40–45. ISBN 963-9028-14-2. The title means "The belief system of Hungarians when they entered the Pannonian Basin, and their shamanism".
- Hoppál, Mihály (2005) (in Hungarian). Sámánok Eurázsiában. Budapest: Akadémiai Kiadó. ISBN 963-05-8295-3. 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, kultúrák és kutatók az ezredfordulón". In Hoppál, Mihály & Szathmári, Botond & Takács, András. Sámánok és kultúrák. Budapest: Gondolat. pp. 9–25. ISBN 963-9450-28-6. The chapter title means "Shamans, cultures and researchers in the millenary", the book title means "Shamans and cultures".
- Hoppál, Mihály (2006b). "Sámánság a nyenyecek között". In Hoppál, Mihály & Szathmári, Botond & Takács, András. Sámánok és kultúrák. Budapest: Gondolat. pp. 170–182. ISBN 963-9450-28-6. The chapter title means "Shamanhood among the Nenets", the book title means "Shamans and cultures".
- Hoppál, Mihály (2006c). "Music of Shamanic Healing". In Gerhard Kilger. Macht Musik. Musik als Glück und Nutzen für das Leben. Köln: Wienand Verlag. ISBN 3-87909-865-4. http://dasa.baua.de/nn_35984/sid_2C8A99B3F31A58C62BBE3312986DC568/nsc_true/de/Presse/Pressematerialien/Sonderausstellung_20Macht_20Musik/Schamanen-Musik.pdf.
- Hoppál, Mihály (2007b). "Is Shamanism a Folk Religion?". Shamans and Traditions (Vol 13). Bibliotheca Shamanistica. Budapest: Akadémiai Kiadó. pp. 11–16. ISBN 978-963-05-8521-7.
- Hoppál, Mihály (2007c). "Eco-Animism of Siberian Shamanhood". Shamans and Traditions (Vol 13). Bibliotheca Shamanistica. Budapest: Akadémiai Kiadó. pp. 17–26. ISBN 978-963-05-8521-7.
- Hugh-Jones, Christine (1980). From the Milk River: Spatial and Temporal Processes in Northwest Amazonia. Cambridge Studies in Social and Cultural Anthropology. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-22544-2.
- Hugh-Jones, Stephen (1980). The Palm and the Pleiades. Initiation and Cosmology in Northwest Amazonia. Cambridge Studies in Social and Cultural Anthropology. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-21952-3.
- Hutton, R., 2001, Shamans: Siberian Spirituality and the Western Imagination, London and New York: Hambledon and London, ISBN 1-85295-324-7
- Kleivan, Inge; B. Sonne (1985). Eskimos: Greenland and Canada. Iconography of religions, section VIII, "Arctic Peoples", fascicle 2. Leiden, The Netherlands: Institute of Religious Iconography • State University Groningen. E.J. Brill. ISBN 90-04-07160-1.
- *Kultkrantz, A. "The Shamans in Myths and Tales." SHAMAN 1.2 (1993): 39-55.
- 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 Conceptions, Religious Beliefs and Rites of the Asiatic Eskimoes". In Diószegi, Vilmos. Popular beliefs and folklore tradition in Siberia. Budapest: Akadémiai Kiadó.
- Merkur, Daniel (1985). Becoming Half Hidden: Shamanism and Initiation among the Inuit. : Acta Universitatis Stockholmiensis • Stockholm Studies in Comparative Religion. Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell. ISBN 91-22-00752-0.
- Nagy, Beáta Boglárka (1998). "Az északi szamojédok". In Csepregi, Márta (in Hungarian). Finnugor kalauz. Panoráma. Budapest: Medicina Könyvkiadó. pp. 221–234. ISBN 963-243-813-2. The chapter means "Northern Samoyedic peoples", the title means Finno-Ugric guide.
- Nattiez, Jean Jacques. Inuit Games and Songs • Chants et Jeux des Inuit. Musiques & musiciens du monde • Musics & musicians of the world. Montreal: Research Group in Musical Semiotics, Faculty of Music, University of Montreal. . The songs are online available from the ethnopoetics website curated by Jerome Rothenberg.
- Noll, Richard; Shi, Kun. "Chuonnasuan (Meng Jin Fu), The Last Shaman of the Oroqen of Northeast China" (PDF). 韓國宗敎硏究 (Journal of Korean Religions) (西江大學校. 宗教硏究所 (Sŏgang Taehakkyo. Chonggyo Yŏnʾguso.)) 6: pp. 135–162. 2004. http://www.desales.edu/assets/desales/SocScience/Oroqen_shaman_FSSForumAug07.pdf. Retrieved 2008-07-30. . It describes the life of Chuonnasuan, the last shaman of the Oroqen of Northeast China.
- Pentikäinen, Juha (1995). "The Revival of Shamanism in the Contemporary North". In Tae-gon Kim & Mihály Hoppál. Shamanism in Performing Arts. Bibiotheca Shamanistica (Vol. 1). Budapest: Akadémiai Kiadó. pp. 263–272. ISBN 963-05-6848-9.
- Reichel-Dolmatoff, Gerardo (1997). Rainforest Shamans: Essays on the Tukano Indians of the Northwest Amazon. Dartington: Themis Books. ISBN 0-9527302-4-3.
- Reinhard,, Johan (1976) "Shamanism and Spirit Possession: The Definition Problem." In Spirit Possession in the Nepal Himalayas, J. Hitchcock & R. Jones (eds.), New Delhi: Vikas Publishing House, pp. 12–20.
- Turner, Robert P.; Lukoff, David; Barnhouse, Ruth Tiffany & Lu, Francis G. (1995) Religious or Spiritual Problem. A Culturally Sensitive Diagnostic Category in the DSM-IV. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, Vol.183, No. 7, pp. 435–444
- Vitebsky, Piers (1995). The Shaman (Living Wisdom). Duncan Baird. ISBN 0-7054-3061-8.
- Vitebsky, Piers (1996) (in Hungarian). A sámán. Bölcsesség • hit • mítosz. Budapest: Magyar Könyvklub • Helikon Kiadó. ISBN 963-208-361-X. Translation of Vitebsky 1995
- Vitebsky, Piers (2001). The Shaman: Voyages of the Soul – Trance, Ecstasy and Healing from Siberia to the Amazon. Duncan Baird. ISBN 1-903296-18-8.
- Voigt, Vilmos (1966) (in Hungarian). A varázsdob és a látó asszonyok. Lapp népmesék. Népek meséi. Budapest: Európa Könyvkiadó. The title means: "The magic drum and the clairvoyant women. Sami folktales", the series means: "Tales of folks".
- Voigt, Miklós (2000). "Sámán – a szó és értelme" (in Hungarian). Világnak kezdetétől fogva. Történeti folklorisztikai tanulmányok. Budapest: Universitas Könyvkiadó. pp. 41–45. ISBN 963-9104-39-6. The chapter discusses the etymology and meaning of word "shaman".
- Joseph Campbell, The Masks of God: Primitive Mythology. 1959; reprint, New York and London: Penguin Books, 1976. ISBN 0-14-019443-6
- Richard de Mille, ed. The Don Juan Papers: Further Castaneda Controversies. Santa Barbara, California: Ross-Erikson, 1980.
- Ricci, Daniele Japanese Shamanism: trance and possession. Volume Edizioni (Kindle Edition, 2012).
- George Devereux, "Shamans as Neurotics", American Anthropologist, New Series, Vol. 63, No. 5, Part 1. (Oct., 1961), pp. 1088–1090.
- Jay Courtney Fikes, Carlos Castaneda: Academic Opportunism and the Psychedelic Sixties, Millennia Press, Canada, 1993ISBN 0-9696960-0-0
- 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 Anthropological Exploration in Critical Thinking. 2000. London: Waveland Press. ISBN 1-57766-162-1
- 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 0-7914-2315-8.
- Juha Pentikäinen and Péter Simoncsics (eds): Shamanhood. An endangered language. The Institute for Comparative Research in Human Culture, 2005. (Series B, 117). ISBN 82-7099-391-3.
- Smith, Frederick M. (2006). The Self Possessed: Deity and Spirit Possession in South Asian Literature. Columbia University Press, USA. ISBN 0-231-13748-6. pp. 195–202.
- 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
- 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, Connecticut: 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 0-19-517231-0
- 色音, 东北亚的萨满教：韩中日俄蒙萨满教比较研究(Northeast Asia Shamanism: Compare studies of Shamanism in Korea, China, Japan, Russia and Mongolia).中国社会科学出版社, Mar. 1998. ISBN 7-5004-2193-1
- Chinese Shamanka – Short documentary about mop-nyit ceremony in Sichuan.
- A. Asbjorn Jon. "Shamanism and the Image of the Teutonic Deity, Óðinn" (PDF). http://www.folklore.ee/folklore/vol10/pdf/teuton.pdf. It considers cross cultural similarities in shamanic belief.
- Lintrop, Aado. "Studies in Siberian Shamanism and Religions of the Finno-Ugrian Peoples". Folk Belief and Media Group of the Estonian Literary Museum. http://haldjas.folklore.ee/~aado/.
- NAFPS – New Age Frauds and Plastic Shamans is a First Nations (American Indian) group devoted to alerting seekers about fraudulent teachers, and helping them avoid being exploited or participating in exploitation.
- Richard, Noll; Shi, Kun (2004). "Chuonnasuan (Meng Jin Fu). The Last Shaman of the Oroqen of Northeast China" (PDF). Journal of Korean Religions (6): 135–162. http://www.desales.edu/assets/desales/SocScience/Oroqen_shaman_FSSForumAug07.pdf. It describes the life of Chuonnasuan, the last shaman of the Oroqen of Northeast China.
- Gerardo Reichel-Dolmatoff (July 1999). "A View from the Headwaters". The Ecologist 29 (4). http://www.theecologist.info/page9.html. It discusses the symbolics of shamanism of Amazonian indigenous groups, and also its "ecological" functions: avoiding the depletion of scare resources.
- Sem, Tatyana. "Shamanic Healing Rituals". Russian Museum of Ethnography. http://www.museum.state.il.us/exhibits/changing/journey/healing.html.
- Shamanism in Siberia
- The Spirit Foundation An NGO protecting cultural aspects of shamanism including the international shamananic network
- AFECT A charitable cultural organization protecting deep shamanism in northern Thailand
- "An Ethnographic and Historical Study of Shamanism in Afghanistan" by Muhammad Humayun Sidky
- Video "Shaman trip"
- Sacred Hoop Magazine – a leading international magazine on shamanism and neoshamanic practice
- Shamanism Studies from the 18th century to present, Andrei Znamenski page
- Online abstract) Pentikäinen, Juha. Shamanhood symbolism and epic. Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, 2001. ISBN 963-05-7811-5.
- similar online abstracts.