An Introduction to Shamanism

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Overview

Shamans are an integral part of communal religious traditions, professionals who make use of personal supernatural experiences, especially trance, as a resource for the wider community's physical and spiritual well-being. This Introduction surveys research on the topic of shamanism around the world, detailing the archaeology and earliest development of shamanic traditions as well as their scientific "discovery" in the context of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century colonization in Siberia, the Americas, and Asia. It explores the beliefs and rituals typical of shamanic traditions, as well as the roles of shamans within their communities. It also surveys the variety of techniques used by shamans cross-culturally, including music, entheogens, material culture, and verbal performance. The final chapters examine attempts to suppress or eradicate shamanic traditions, the revitalization of shamanism in postcolonial situations, and the development of new forms of shamanism within new cultural and social contexts.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"DuBois provides a superlative account of this complex topic." —-Choice
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521695367
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 6/22/2009
  • Series: Introduction to Religion Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 330
  • Sales rank: 819,872
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Thomas A. DuBois is the Birgit Baldwin Professor of Scandinavian Studies at the University of Wisconsin, Madison where he teaches in the fields of Scandinavian Studies, Folklore Studies and Religious Studies. He is author and editor of five books including Nordic Religions in the Viking Age (1999) and Sanctity in the North: Saints, Lives and Cults in Medieval Scandinavia (2008).

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Table of Contents

List of illustrations vii

Preface ix

Part I Introductions 1

1 Shamanism and the issue of religion 3

2 A history of shamanic encounters 12

3 Shamanism in archaeological evidence 26

Part II Shamanic Soteriology and Ritual 39

4 Cosmology and the work of the shaman 41

5 The shamanic calling 56

6 Mediating the spirit world: shamanic roles and careers 82

Part III Examining Ritual Effectiveness 107

7 Séance, trance, and the shamanic mind 109

8 Shamans, clients, and healing 133

Part IV The Shamanic Arsenal 151

9 Music and entheogens: pathways to ecstasy 153

10 The material culture of shamanism 176

11 Shamanic verbal art 202

Part V Shamanic Politics In a Changing World 219

12 Shamanism under attack 221

13 Shamanic revitalizations 248

14 Neoshamanism 264

Epilogue 291

Bibliography 295

Index 312

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