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Shamanism And Art: The Entry Into An Inconspicuous Reality

1895 words - 8 pages

Shamanism has not been a concept with one succinct definition. However, there have been varying extents of specificity within the definition. Mircea Eliade defines shamanism as an archaic technique of ecstasy. In Graham Harvey’s Shamanism: A Reader, he does not unify to one specific construe of shamanism in his writings, preferably he establishes the ambit of controversy and diversity between various definitions to foresight the extent shamanism has in comparison to other definitions. Shamanism, History, and the State by Nicholas Thomas and Caroline Humphrey debate that people have been corrupted with finding one definition of shamanism that they no longer take into account the controversy within the definition. The authors argue that there are two aspects of shamanism that include power and knowledge. More over Atkinson in her writings Shamanisms Today gets ridiculed for defining shamanism in a broader sense. Atkinson defines shamanism as having two main concepts: the psychological state of shamans and the therapeutic value of shamanic healing. Atkinson thinks that the identification of shamanism in relation to altered states of consciousness has become so strong that the two terms are sometimes used interchangeably. To this point, it is learnt that shamanism has a broad range of definitions that begins with an altered state of consciousness and can be as specific as identifying the type of altered state, paradigmatic experiences and a shaman’s ultimate goal. The skepticism of the definition leads to the speculation that these traditions have an original source.
Shamanism can be viewed as a framework which works on different levels.
Every act in shamanism revolves around a knowledgeable individual that can be deemed a shaman. This person is understood to achieve divine powers and knowledge through trance and archaic techniques of ecstasy. Most knowledgeable individuals deemed shamans do not have a choice in their destiny, being characterized a shaman have been usually a birthright, although there is an additional approach to a shaman called going native. For example, in Shamanism a Reader: The reality of sprits by Edith Turner, she discusses her life along with her husband’s life spent among the Ndembu of Zambia. She illuminates going native, and she communicates, “In the past in anthropology, if a researcher went native, it doomed him academically.” Along with that, a person is described during the mechanism of the journey based upon what was visualized, being a ball of orange sickness goo being sucked out of another person.
The affiliation separating a shaman and the spirit world is defined in terms of spirits, sprits meaning entities that provide guidance to a shaman, who in turn offers direction to a client who can be a single individual to an entire community. The relationship with sprits can differ for each shaman, and with these interactions a shaman gains certain abilities to relay to the client. For example, in the Nishan Shamaness...

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