This two-volume reference is the first international survey of shamanistic beliefs from prehistory to the present day. In nearly 200 detailed, readable entries, leading ethnographers, psychologists, archaeologists, historians, and scholars of religion and folk literature explain the general principles of shamanism as well as the details of widely varied practices. What is it like to be a shaman? Entries describe, region by region, the traits, such as sicknesses and dreams, that mark a person as a shaman, as well as the training undertaken by initiates.
They detail the costumes, music, rituals, artifacts, and drugs that shamans use to achieve altered states of consciousness, communicate with spirits, travel in the spirit world, and retrieve souls. Unlike most Western books on shamanism, which focus narrowly on the individual’s experience of healing and trance, Shamanism also examines the function of shamanism in society from social, political, and historical perspectives and identifies the ancient, continuous thread that connects shamanistic beliefs and rituals across cultures and millennia.
A guide to worldwide shamanism and shamanistic practices, emphasizing historical and current cultural adaptations.
• Nearly 200 entries on shamanic belief systems, practices, rituals, and related phenomena
• 152 contributors including international experts and pioneering researchers in the field
• 100 photos, charts, and tables
• Multicultural bibliography of significant materials from the fields of history, ethnography, and anthropology