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Thread: Good Shamanism Resources?

  1. #1
    Honorary Supporter Dez's Avatar
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    Good Shamanism Resources?

    Can anyone throw some my way, please?

    I have a FB friend who is open-minded LDS and looking for some, any tradition. She's getting frustrated because most of what she finds is very New Age, and gathers from a lot of sources without really explaining what they're doing. Are there Shamanism resources on the reconstructionist side of things?

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    Silver Member monsno_leedra's Avatar
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    Re: Good Shamanism Resources?

    Sadly there are not a lot of "Traditional" resources available for Shamanic practices. Let's face it I can tell you to take a drug, sensory deprivation, etc to induce journey work but beyond that it ends as to how each of us will view and interact with the Dimensions and entities we encounter there. How we will work with our allies and what each ally will represent to us as to what kingdom or people they hail from. Then one has to try and find local words that represent the same notions. Consider that for some European practices it's Hedge Rider or Hedge Riding and the notion of crossing the hedge into journey work and spirit work. For many Native American practices you'd look for some sort of Medicine classification or a specific name such as Shirt Wearer, Piper Welder, Keeper of the Sacred Relic, etc.

    You also have to look into traditional notions of Totemism, animism, animistic, potentially contraries and their recognition and usage. One also in my opinion has to understand how First Nation and Aboriginal practices it's a total package in how the Shaman works in order and purpose of the people. Something that really is not found in the neo-shamanic practices in most instances as they have no tribe, nation, etc that depends upon them to read nature for revelations or support to the divine messages.

    Another thing is traditionally shamanism is passed person to person not via a group or group setting. It's also traditional in that Shamanic practices are not typically seen as spiritual but a way of life within the spiritual traditions of the people for whom they worked. So for instance an Aboriginal person would follow the gods / goddess and Spirits of their people in order to gain insight from their allies about what is affecting / effecting them. A person of Native American ancestry would follow the divine beings of their people same as a Northern shamanic practitioner would follow the same Nordic or Teutonic gods / goddess of their people. Much like Witchcraft, shamanism is a practice and skill set that is utilized within the framework of ones religious / spiritual practices. So yes, one can have a Christian Shaman or equivalent name or title.

    Let me look around and i'll try to give you some books or links to consider. Have to go take care of our dogs in the kennel at the moment so will be a couple of hours.

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    Dievturi Auseklis's Avatar
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    Re: Good Shamanism Resources?

    I have found some interesting information on Shamanic practices in the most unlikely places such as small personal blogs and on Usenet etc, particularly when it comes to those who are living, for long periods of time, in a community who live the Shamanic way. The bloggers and Usenet users often know which books and resources are good and from experience they know who are the fluffy and $$$ driven authors from those who want to share the knowledge. Be aware that there is a 'trend' to holiday in remote villages and take as much ayahuasca as humanly possible then come back and claim you reached some form of enlightenment and have become and expert on everything from N-Dimethyltryptamine to Doreen Virtue's past lives.
    My posts are generally sent from my cell fone. Please excuse my brevity, and spelling/grammar errors.

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    Silver Member monsno_leedra's Avatar
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    Re: Good Shamanism Resources?

    Just wanted to say I haven't forgotten this just most of the links I had are now down so am searching. I am wondering though if your looking for more academic based information or more daily life type information? Here's a few things though.

    Wu and Shaman
    Author(s): Gilles Boileau
    Source: Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, Vol. 65,
    No. 2 (2002), pp. 350-378
    Published by: Cambridge University Press on behalf of School of Oriental and African Studies
    Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4145619

    http://radiantdark.wordpress.com/fem...nism-in-japan/

    http://www2.kokugakuin.ac.jp/ijcc/wp...efs/index.html

    http://omahatribe.unl.edu/etexts/oma...a.0017.215.jpg

    http://en.folklore.ee/

    http://www.folklore.ee/Folklore/vol10/teuton.htm


    http://www.folklore.ee/~aado/tent.htm

    http://projetscours.fsa.ulaval.ca/gi...ope-nord_f.htm

    http://www.tribalartmagazine.com/en/...magazines.html

  5. #5
    Opinionated Rae'ya's Avatar
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    Re: Good Shamanism Resources?

    Pretty much with MonSno on this one.

    It depends largely on whether you want core shamanism (which has a gazillion resources but which I have issues with), traditional/aboriginal shamanism (which as MonSno pointed out, is entirely dependent on cultural context and can't really be taught from a book or webpage), neo-shamanism (of which there are several respectful paths which can be weeded out of the core shamanism lot) or simply wanting to add some shamanist techniques (which is actually much harder than it sounds).

    Shamanism is a set of skills and techniques, but there are respectful and non respectful ways to do it. It's easy to end up appropriating practices, taking them out of context and applying them in non-respectful ways. There is also the issue of what it takes to be a 'shaman' versus a 'shamanist' and the appropriation of terms.

    I recommend starting with the academic side and moving from there. Academia is... a bit biased when it comes to shamanism, because for the most part is is anthropologists who are observing communities with traditional shamanic practices from the outside. Often the observers don't have any spiritual foundation themselves, and so don't truly understand some of the practices and may have attitudes that are not conducive to an accurate passing on of information. On the other hand, modern core shamanists have stripped the techniques of all cultural context, watered them down, sanitised them and created something that is more Innerworlds work than Otherworlds or spirit work. And then you have the 'neo-shamans' who are constructing modern shamanic practices but who may fall on either side of the 'appropriation' fence, or who claim the title of shaman when they don't technically qualify for it, or who claim that their brand of shamanism is an ancient tradition when patently it is not. Neo-shamanism is tricky... I've seen many who are respectful and ethical in their practice, and many who aren't... many who are unfairly elitist and cliquey and then many who are far too blase and superficial about it. The problem is that you can't really tell the difference until you have been exposed to the whole spectrum of traditional through to core shamanism, and that really only comes from reading copious resources, talking to practitioners and being exposed to the shamanic community at large.

    So... resources...

    Academia:

    Mircea Eliade's "Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy" is perhaps the seminal work on shamanism. Very academic, so fair warning.

    Piers Vitebsky has several books... I have one called "Shamanism" which is a good general overview, but he has several others, some of which are difficult to find. The other one that I have heard good things about but haven't actually read is called "The Shaman".

    Roger Walsh's "The World of Shamanism: New Views of an Ancient Tradition" is a lot more accessible in terms of ease of reading, and looks at the psychology of shamanism. It's a bit more general and not quite so keyed into specific tribal traditions, but it's very good.

    Core Shamanism:

    Micheal Harner is, of course, the founding father of Core Shamanism, though many, many others have jumped on board. Tom Cowan and Christopher Penczac fall into this category, as does DJ Conway (though most of her books claim to be of a particular cultural context, which is debatable... personally I feel that she writes about core shamanism dressed up with specific cultural references). Diana Paxson is an interesting mix... if you read her works such as 'Tranceportation' then it's very core (although very good as a book on trancework)... but if you read her oracular seidhr works or her articles for Hrafnar then it's not so much.

    I don't personally like the way that most core shamanist authors claim 'shaman' or 'shamanism' and yet are not actually working in external Otherworlds or with external spirits and entities, but that's a personal thing. It's an opinion that is shared by a large chunk of the neo-shamanic community, though. Core shamanism itself is valid as an Innerworlds practice, and serves very well to allow most folk to incorporate shamanic techniques without actually traipsing around bothering spirits in their own homes... it would just be nice if it was a bit more honest about that.

    Plastic Shamanism:

    You don't want to do this but I include it as a warning. Pretty much anyone who does weekend workshops that promise to make you a shaman, and a great many of the published authors who claim to practice Native American shamanism fit in here. I wont name names.

    Neo-Shamanists (of varying qualities):

    Lupa writes about her own brand of neo-shamanism: therioshamanism. Mostly at her Therioshamanism blog, but also in amongst her totemism and skinworking books ("Fang and Fur, Blood and Bone", "DIY Totemism", "Skin Spirits" and "New Paths to Animal Totems"). I do very much like her approach to animal spirits and guides, which is inherently shamanic, and her careful handling of appropriation issues. She doesn't do much work in the Otherworlds, but works closely with animal spirits in this world. She also fluctuates between using female pronouns and gender neutral pronouns to refer to herself, so don't get confused.

    Ravenari has a website and practice which has changed over the years. She used to claim to practice a traditional Russion form of shamanism taught to her by her family, but that's debatable. Her Wildspeak context is much more consistent and accessible. She isn't as active online as she used to be, and closed down her forum, but has some useful articles up on the website.

    James Endredy has a book called "Ecoshamanism", which is his own neo-shamanic brand. Again, not much work in the Otherworlds but extensive work with the spirits here, particularly land spirits and the like. He comes from an interesting perspective, and has some insightful practices and attitudes.

    Nan Moss and David Corbin have written a book called "Weather Shamanism", and I believe have a website. It's shamanism at it's loosest... they do work extensively with weather spirits, but other than that are fairly core in their approach to shamanic techniques. I didn't particularly like the book and I have some personal disagreements with some of their attitudes, but others may find it useful.

    Raven Kaldera's Northern Tradition Shamanism series attempts to reconstruct a possible pre-Indo European circumpolar shamanic practices. It's spirit taught, and quite different to Seidhr or anything else practiced by more traditional Heathens and reconstructionists. There are five books so far... " Jotunbok ", "Pathwalkers Guide to the Nine Worlds", "Wyrdwalkers", "Wightridden" and "Northern Tradition Herbal". Also his website.

    Kaldera also has a book called "Neolithic Shamanism", written with Galina Krasskova, that has some very good tecniques and exercises for working with landspirits and the like in this world.

    Katie Gerrard ("Seidr, The Gate Is Open") and Jenny Blain ("Nine Worlds of Seidr-Magic") write about seidhr, which is not shamanism per se, but is the Norse oracular and trance practices that come rather close. Some people consider it to be the Heathen equivelant of shamanism, or as close as you can get. I personally count it as a related practice, but not as shamanism itself. Hrafnar also practice oracular seidhr, and have links on their website.

    Sandra Ingerman has several books, particularly "Soul Retrieval", that are very good but are a bit like Paxson's "Tranceportation". There is some inconsistencies which make it easy to mistake as core shamanism, though I suspect that's not wholly accurate and may be an attempt to make the techniques more accessible.

    Most of my other links I lost when my laptop was stolen, and most of the forums that were active years ago have been closed down (which was a shame). But that's a good start lol.

  6. #6
    Sr. Member Riothamus12's Avatar
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    Re: Good Shamanism Resources?

    Well there's general shamanism and then there's the specific forms. There are some characteristics that can be applied shamanism in general, but there are different traditional and modern forms that have some noticeable differences.

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    Silver Member monsno_leedra's Avatar
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    Re: Good Shamanism Resources?

    Quote Originally Posted by Riothamus12 View Post
    Well there's general shamanism and then there's the specific forms. There are some characteristics that can be applied shamanism in general, but there are different traditional and modern forms that have some noticeable differences.
    Please expound upon this. Especially considering Shamanism or Shaman is a Tsungian word and concept and everything else is an attempt to pigeon hole observations and force fit them into a pattern. A pattern that is typically no longer used in anthropology today as it does not paint a true picture. A lot of the usage of the Shamanic pattern is outside of the actual academic fields and especially prevalent in paganism and it's typical lack of credentials.

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    Re: Good Shamanism Resources?

    Everyone else has already said what I know on the subject, but beginning apprentices should NOT ever use any psychoactive anything from what one mentor I talked to told me. You have to first learn to do it with your mind and that's it. I can do it listening to music most all the time where I feel like I "visit" the spirit world, and then get the answers I need for this world. Sometimes for me sometimes it's an answer for someone else, but I've also had experiences where I got a malevolent spirit attach to me and I had to pull myself away it took several weeks of meditation before I found my center again.
    I've been practicing for awhile, but mostly on my own with no steady mentor to apprentice under like a young Shaman is suppose to. I still can find myself getting lost when meditating too deeply, so that’s one piece of advice I would strongly suggest is to any person is get a good center with yourself before fully diving into it.

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    Silver Member monsno_leedra's Avatar
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    Re: Good Shamanism Resources?

    Quote Originally Posted by CR.Archer View Post
    Everyone else has already said what I know on the subject, but beginning apprentices should NOT ever use any psychoactive anything from what one mentor I talked to told me. You have to first learn to do it with your mind and that's it. I can do it listening to music most all the time where I feel like I "visit" the spirit world, and then get the answers I need for this world. Sometimes for me sometimes it's an answer for someone else, but I've also had experiences where I got a malevolent spirit attach to me and I had to pull myself away it took several weeks of meditation before I found my center again.
    I've been practicing for awhile, but mostly on my own with no steady mentor to apprentice under like a young Shaman is suppose to. I still can find myself getting lost when meditating too deeply, so that’s one piece of advice I would strongly suggest is to any person is get a good center with yourself before fully diving into it.
    Bolded mine.

    I'm not sure I would agree with that position. Can't recall where I read it now but many first nation and aboriginal societies sent their youths out to discover themselves as rites of passage, often around the age of 12. I've read some suggestions that many of those "Journeys" or "Quests" might actually have been mental journeys via the aide of some psychoactive substance vice an actual physical journey. If not the complete journey then significant parts of it considering the various purification and sacred practices that accompanied them.

    Potentially using it as another means of identifying one who had been chosen, marked or selected by "Spirit" to begin the initiation process of becoming a Medicine type person. Especially so in those situations where a physical death was not the only means used to identify one who was marked, chosen or selected by Spirit. Especially considering that to me marked, selected or identified did not ensure you would be trained as a Shamanic practitioner regardless of what name is used to identify them within the respective societies. Nor did it indicate specifically to what level one would be trained if they were selected as most societies had various levels of Shamanic type practices or even entire clans within the nation / tribe who performed those type duties.

    I would say though that in most instances the Shaman or whatever entered into journey to find an answer for another and seldom for themselves. To gain an insight to say what allies the tribe, nation or people themselves had angered or upset and had to be appeased to gain their good graces once again. To call upon the spirits of game so that the hunt would be successful, the land fertile and fecundity of the land and herds would be beneficial to the success of their people. But seldom for their own personal benefit.

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    Honorary Supporter Dez's Avatar
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    Re: Good Shamanism Resources?

    Thanks so much folks! I'll pass this along

    TBH, this is exactly why, while I find the idea of Shamanism fascinating, it's been more then a little daunting to look into myself. I think this will be very helpful for my friend. Thank you again!

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