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Author Topic: Shamanism books?  (Read 9793 times)
Finn
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« Reply #15: July 29, 2007, 06:05:52 pm »

I have VERY long reading list, but, for some reason I'm not sure of yet, shamanism has jumped to the top.

Damned lightbulbs.

No kidding--they hurt!  Cheesy

Out of curiosity, why the interest in shamanism?
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« Reply #16: July 29, 2007, 09:20:00 pm »

Thanks.  This is really helpful.

I have VERY long reading list, but, for some reason I'm not sure of yet, shamanism has jumped to the top.

Damned lightbulbs.

It would make sense since you are going to be studying seidr. 

Exploring Shamanism by Hillary S Webb
I truly enjoyed this book. It is inclusive and yet allows for specific systems of shamanic practice to be its own entity. She gives a general overview of the world (three worlds of Upper, Middle and Lower while stating that some systems have seven or nine, but that three was the most common). She has studied and interviewed with both indigenous and non-indigenous shamans and gives examples of these to explain some points. She discusses and worlds, the initiation of a shaman, spirits allies such as deities, angels, power animals and the dead, and that the concept of the world as interconnected and a part of our own perceptions. This is the best book I have found on the generalities of shamanic practice from around the world while respecting each system for its uniqueness and cultural base.
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« Reply #17: July 30, 2007, 01:38:15 am »

Out of curiosity, why the interest in shamanism?

As SetAset said, I'm studying seidh.  Shamanism is not an area I know much about, and I'm very interested in the intersections between seidh and shamanism.

I'm also interested, of course, in the practices of the ancient Celts that might now be labeled "shamanistic" (yes, I know that's a loaded word), and how we can reinvent them and use them today.  And, related to that, how some of the seidh techniques can be used in a Celtic context.

And because Brighid's making me.

She's being extremely demanding about my homework right now.  I need to prioritize somehow!  I just don't know what She thinks is the most important.  *sighs*
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« Reply #18: July 30, 2007, 01:39:04 am »

Exploring Shamanism by Hillary S Webb

Thank you very much for this recommendation and review.  I've just ordered it from Amazon.
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« Reply #19: July 30, 2007, 06:55:56 pm »

As SetAset said, I'm studying seidh.  Shamanism is not an area I know much about, and I'm very interested in the intersections between seidh and shamanism.

And because Brighid's making me.

Had a "duh" moment there--I almost forgot you were studying seidh. That sounds very interesting, and awesome.
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« Reply #20: July 30, 2007, 08:04:16 pm »

Had a "duh" moment there--I almost forgot you were studying seidh. That sounds very interesting, and awesome.

So far, it is.  And very long term, I think.

I just finished Nine Worlds of Seid-Magic: Ecstasy and Neo-Shamanism in North European Paganism by Jenny Blain, which was good.
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« Reply #21: July 30, 2007, 08:36:07 pm »

practices of the ancient Celts that might now be labeled "shamanistic" (yes, I know that's a loaded word)
I'm a bit confused.  Certainly "shamanic" is a controversial word, but what would you say is "loaded" about "shamanistic"?

Sunflower
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« Reply #22: July 30, 2007, 08:54:21 pm »

I'm a bit confused.  Certainly "shamanic" is a controversial word, but what would you say is "loaded" about "shamanistic"?

As I understand it -- and I could be very wrong! -- the very word "shaman", and therefore all its derivatives, is controversial, mostly because of the shades of cultural misapproriation, etc.

I think the way the word is used now, at least in the US, is to generally describe ecstatic and/or trance techniques used to produce healings or oracles or something like that.

Disclaimer:  I'm just beginning to study this area, and primarily because of a series of coincidences (if you believe in such things  Wink ), so I could be really far off base with my understanding.
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« Reply #23: July 31, 2007, 12:46:50 am »

As I understand it -- and I could be very wrong! -- the very word "shaman", and therefore all its derivatives, is controversial, mostly because of the shades of cultural misapproriation, etc.
That would make sense, if neoshamanic types had taken the word "shaman" directly from the Tungus.

In fact, it was anthropology that borrowed the word, as a non-pejorative replacement for things like "witch doctor" ("Oo, ee, ooh-ah-ah, ting-tang, walla-walla-bing-bang...").  This isn't without controversy, but by and large it's an established term in the field, simply because it's necessary to have some general-use term that doesn't come with the baggage of "primitive superstition."

Pagandom nicked the anthropological usage (regrettably, mainly from romantically-appealing but methodologically-questionable anthropologists and anthropological historians).  One compromise that has become fairly common is to distinguish between the usually-tribe-based traditional stuff that anthropologists are usually studying/talking about and modern personal-based practices, is to reserve "shaman, shamanic" for the former, and refer to the latter as "shamanistic" or "neoshamanic".

The "cultural appropriation" thing is a sticky wicket.  While there can be very real issues related to cultural respect, many of those who decry "cultural appropriation" go to extremes with it.  In this instance, what has been "appropriated" is a word, whose meaning as an assimilated word in English has a relation to, but is quite distinct from, its Tungus meaning; insofar as practices have been "appropriated", they're mostly not the practices of any one culture, but things practiced by more than one unrelated culture (or, what those methodologically-dubious folks thought was being practiced, or thought was common, etc - the farther they're out to lunch, the more these things are fiction rather than appropriation).

I'm reminded of the time when a friend of mine was accosted and berated by a "gentleman" of First Nations extraction, for the "cultural appropriation" of having her hair in braids.

Sunflower
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« Reply #24: July 31, 2007, 01:35:26 am »


Thanks for the clarification.  That's helpful with the reading I'm currently doing.

As I said, I think the word has taken on a more value-neutral usage now, at least in the US.  When I say I'm looking into "shamanistic" techniques, I'm talking about various ecstatic and/or trance techniques.  And I think that's pretty well understood by most people I would be talking to.

At least, *I* don't have a problem using it that way.  And if my hair was longer, I'd wear it in braids, too.  Wink
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« Reply #25: July 31, 2007, 08:38:33 pm »

Is anyone familiar with either of these books?:
...
If so, any comments?

Not familiar with those books my apologies, I tend not to like the majority of neoshamanism books out there. However I have enjoyed:

Reindeer People by Piers Vitebsky

Soul Retrieval by Sandra Ingerman (while I'm not a huge fan of Core Shamanism either, I think this book is quite well written, and thankfully and essentially comes with the disclaimer 'don't try this at home, on your own, if you've never done it before.')

Totemism by Claude Levi Strauss (yeah, it's academic, and focuses less on 'shamanism,' but I like it as a general resource).

Flying with Shamans by Nana Nauwald.

I would recommend avoiding anything by D. J. Conway, I just find that her work is sometimes historically inaccurate, and that if you're going to spend money on book, you might as well get something that is packed with a bit more information. This is just me though.

I'd love to be able to recommend more, but most of what I learn is through experience, and I don't have the money to fund my book obsessions! Tehe.
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« Reply #26: July 31, 2007, 10:17:18 pm »

Fire in the Head:  Shamanism and the Celtic Spirit, but Tom Cowan

Here you go:

http://www.summerlands.com/crossroads/remembrance/_remembrance/fire_in_head.htm
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« Reply #27: July 31, 2007, 10:57:16 pm »


Thanks, that's very helpful.  That book just dropped off my to-read list.  Cheesy
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« Reply #28: July 31, 2007, 11:01:12 pm »

Thanks, that's very helpful.  That book just dropped off my to-read list.  Cheesy

Smiley It's been a while since I've read Jenny's reviews. She's got a way with words.
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« Reply #29: August 01, 2007, 06:46:55 pm »


Wow. I must not remember a lot of the book... *shrug*
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