Contested Ecstasies, Alternative Archaeologies, and Contemporary Pagans
Author: Robert J. Wallis
Publisher: Psychology Press
Category: Social Science
Shamans and shamanisms are in vogue at present. In popular culture, such diverse characters as occultist Aleister Crowley, Doors musician Jim Morrison and performance artist Joseph Beuys have been termed shamans. The anthropological construct 'shamanism', on the other hand, has associations with sorcery, witchcraft and healing, and archaeologists have suggested the meaning of prehistoric cave art lies with shamans and altered consciousness. Robert J. Wallis explores the interface between 'new' (modern western), indigenous and prehistoric shamans, and assesses the implications for archaeologists, anthropologists, indigenous communities, heritage managers, and neo-Shamanic practitioners. Identifying key figures in neo-Shamanisms, including Mircea Eliade, Carlos Castaneda and Michael Harner, Wallis assesses the way in which 'traditional' practices have been transformed into 'western' ones, such as Castaneda's Don Juan teachings and Harner's core shamanism. The book draws on interviews and self-reflective insider ethnography with a variety of practitioners, particularly contemporary pagans in Britain and north America from druid and heathen traditions, to elucidate what shamans do.; Wallis looks at historical and archaeological sources to elucidate whether 'Celtic' and 'northern' shamanism may have existed; he explores contemporary pagan engagements with prehistoric sacred sites such as Stonehenge and Avebury, and discusses the controversial use by neo-Shamans of indigenous (particularly native American) shamanism. Rather than discuss neo-Shamans as inauthentic, invalid culture-stealers, Wallis offers a more detailed and complex appraisal. He makes it clear that scholars must be prepared to give up some of their hold over knowledge, and not only be aware of these neo-Shamanic approaches but also engage in a serious dialogue with such 'alternative' histories.
This book deals with a broad range of shamanic activities in contemporary Europe. Based on fieldwork in France, Germany, Sweden and Switzerland, it provides a comprehensive overview of European neo-shamanism and its various directions and currents. The study does not focus on casual practitioners but on neo-shamanic healers with many years of experience. Their work, ritual techniques, worldviews, social networks and relations to shamans outside of Europe are analysed - as well as the transformation of shamanic techniques and cosmologies in an increasingly globalised world.
Benson's book discusses what Shamanism is and isn't. She touches also on the different types of Shamanism, Neo-Shamanism, the influence of indigenous ways on Shamanism, and the ways in which Christians--and followers of other religions--have viewed this peaceful and oft-misunderstood way of life.
Ecstasies, Alternative Archaeologies and Contemporary Pagans
Author: Robert J. Wallis
Category: Social Science
In popular culture, such diverse characters as occultist Aleister Crowley, Doors musician Jim Morrison, and performance artist Joseph Beuys have been called shamans. In anthropology, on the other hand, shamanism has associations with sorcery, witchcraft and healing, and archaeologists have suggested the meaning of prehistoric cave art lies with shamans and altered consciousness. Robert J. Wallis explores the interface between 'new' and prehistoric shamans. The book draws on interviews with a variety of practitioners, particularly contemporary pagans in Britain and north America. Wallis looks at historical and archaeological sources to explore contemporary pagan engagements with prehistoric sacred sites such as Stonehenge and Avebury, and discusses the controversial use by neo-Shamans of indigenous (particularly native American) shamanism.
The A to Z of Shamanism has the duel task of exploring the common ground of shamanic traditions and evaluating the diversity of both traditional indigenous communities and individual Western seekers. This is done in an introduction, a bibliography, a chronology, and hundreds of cross-referenced dictionary entries, which explore the consistent features of a variety of shamans, the purposes shamanism serves, the function and activities of the shaman, and the cultural contexts in which they make sense.
A remarkable array of people have been called shamans, while the phenomena identified as shamanism continues to proliferate. This second edition of the Historical Dictionary of Shamanism contains with examples from antiquity up to today, and from Siberia (where the term “shaman” originated) to Amazonia, South Africa, Chicago and many other places. Many claims about shamans and shamanism are contentious and all are worthy of discussion. In the most widespread understandings, terms seem to refer particularly to people who alter states of consciousness or enter trances in order to seek knowledge and help from powerful other-than-human persons, perhaps “spirits”. But this says only a little about the artists, community leaders, spiritual healers or hucksters, travelers in alternative realities and so on to which the label “shaman” has been applied. This second edition contains a chronology, an introduction, and extensive bibliography. The dictionary contains over 500 cross-referenced dictionary entries on individuals, groups, practices and cultures that have been called “shamanic”. This book is an excellent access point for students, researchers, and anyone wanting to know more about Shamanism.
Held at the St. Sabina Center, San Rafael, California, September 3 to September 5, 1988
Author: Ruth-Inge Heinze
Shamanic practices and techniques of healing throughout the world are explored in 40 essays by anthropologists, artists, art historians, educators, historians of religion, philosophers and psychologists.
Going Native or Going Naïve? is a critical analysis of an esoteric-Indian movement, called white shamanism. This movement, originating from the 1980's New Age boom, redefines the phenomenon of playing Indian. For white shamans and their followers, Indianness turns into a signifier for cultural cloning. By generating a neo-primitivistic bias, white shamanism utilizes esoteric reconceptualizations of ethnicity and identity. In Going Native or Going Naïve?, a retrospective view on psychohistorical and sociopolitical implications of Indianness and (ig)noble savage metaphors should clarify the prefix neo within postmodern adaptations of primitivism. The appropriation of an Indian simulacrum by white shamans as well as white shamanic disciplines connotes a subtle, yet hazardous form of ethnocentrism. Transcending mere market trends and profit margins, white shamanism epitomizes synthetic/cybernetic acculturations. Through investigating the white shamanic matrix, Going Native or Going Naïve? is intended to make these synthesizing processes more transparent.
This book on Nanai shamanic culture is based on first-hand information provided by shamans and recorded in the years between 1980 and 2012, a time of rapid socio-cultural change in Russia. It sheds light on the lively indigenous discourse in which social factors such as the splitting of society into different paternal lineages relates to spiritual troubles that Nanai people experience as collective ‘shamanic disease.’ But inter-clan confrontations are not only mediated in shamanic rituals, as these must not be separated from folk narratives, dances and other forms of art. Furthermore, the book provides profound insights into the plurality of contradictory discourses on indigenous knowledge as well as those delivered in non-indigenous contexts. The latter arose or became more intense in the Soviet and post-Soviet periods, and often led to experiments in new shamanic practices.
This is an essential tribute to the vitality and breadth of shamanic tradition both amongst the most distant tribes of America and Asia, and within seemingly ordinary aspects of modern western culture.
With their ability to enter trances, to change into the bodies of other creatures, and to fly through the northern skies, shamans are the subject of both popular and scholarly fascination. In Shamans: Siberian Spirituality and the Western Imagination Ronald Hutton looks at what is really known about both the shamans of Siberia and about others spread throughout the world. He traces the growth of knowledge of shamans in Imperial and Stalinist Russia, descibes local variations and different types of shamanism, and explores more recent western influences on its history and modern practice. This is a challenging book by one of the world's leading authorities on Paganism.
"Galdrbok" ('spell-book') straddles the divide between the academic and the inspirational to provide arguably the most comprehensive and practical 'system' of Northwest European 'Heathen Shamanism' thus far in print. Nine years in preparation and painstakingly constructed by two practicing Heathen shamans, "Galdrbok" explores the magic of Migration Age Northwest Europe and outlines a complete self-study program of Heathen Runecraft. "Galdrbok" introduces the essential techniques of Scrying ('to descry'/'foresee'/crystal gaze), and Galdr (magical chants or sung spells), and other powerful techniques involving Runes (whispered secrets and magical letters) for inducing the 'altered states' necessary to enter and explore the nine magical worlds of 'Yggdrasill' - the Heathen World Tree. The book also includes an impressively thorough bibliography for sourcing essential reading on Heathenry, Paganisms and related occult subjects.
Stories have traditionally been classified as epics, myths, sagas, legends, folk tales, fairy tales, parables or fables. However, the definitions of the terms have a tendency to overlap, making it difficult to classify and categorize material. For this reason, a case can be made for the introduction of a new genre, termed the shamanic story - a story that has either been based on or inspired by a shamanic journey (a numinous experience in non-ordinary reality) or one that contains a number of the elements typical of such a journey. Other characteristics include the way in which the stories all tend to contain embedded texts (often the account of the shamanic journey itself), how the number of actors is clearly limited as one would expect in subjective accounts of what can be regarded as inner journeys, and how the stories tend to be used for healing purposes. Within this new genre, it is proposed that there exists a sub-genre shamanic stories that deal specifically with divination, and examples are presented and analysed to support this hypothesis. By means of textual analysis it can be shown they all share certain attributes in common, the identification of which forms the conclusion of the work.
In this timely collection, Neil Price provides a general introduction to the archaeology of shamanism by bringing together recent archaeological thought on the subject. Blending theoretical discussion with detailed case studies, the issues addressed include shamanic material culture, responses to dying and the dead, shamanic soundscapes, the use of ritual architecture and shamanism in the context of other belief systems such as totemism. Following an intial orientation reviewing shamanism as an anthropological construct, the volume focuses on the Northern hemisphere with case studies from Greenland to Nepal, Siberia to Kazakhstan. The papers span a chronological range from Upper Palaeolithic to the present and explore such cross-cutting themes as gender and the body, identity, landscape, architecture, as well as shamanic interpretations of rock art and shamanism in the heritage and cultural identity of indigenous peoples. The volume also addresses the interpretation of shamanic beliefs in terms of cognitive neuroscience and the modern public perception of prehistoric shamanism.
Native Americans believed that it was their responsibility to maintain harmony in the natural world on which they depended by performing a variety of rituals. Shamans were credited with exceptional powers to act on behalf of the community. They claimed to be capable of separating their spirits from their bodies and interceding with those spirits that controlled the many forces of nature. Having studied the subject at first hand during his many visits to American tribes, Dr. Norman Bancroft Hunt sets out the richly rewarding results of his research in this survey of shamanic traditions and practices in various Native American groups. Shamanism in North America is profusely illustrated with the most remarkable masks, effigies, and implements used by shamans and includes evocative images of the often harsh wilderness inhabited by the tribes under discussion, as well as some revealing historical photographs of shamans.