A Cross-Cultural Study of Beliefs and Practices


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About the Book

The ancient practice of shamanism touches many cultures and spiritual philosophies. This book offers an in-depth look at the beliefs and practices centered on the shaman, a person believed to have powers to heal and communicate with the spirit world. It explores shamanism and its associated myths, artifacts, and legends as a communally endorsed acknowledgment of the supernatural or spirit world that evolved in the Neolithic Period and continues to appeal today. The work is heavily illustrated, featuring more than 90 of the author’s drawings of masks, fetishes, carvings and ongon, and 40 rare photographs of shamans, medicine men and women, and healers.

About the Author(s)

Gary Edson, professor emeritus of museum science at the Center for Advanced Study of Museum Science and Heritage Management, Museum of Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas, was executive director of the Museum for 25 years. The author of numerous books and articles on museum practices, he lives and works in Taiwan, R.O.C.

Bibliographic Details

Gary Edson
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 295
Bibliographic Info: 143 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2014 [2009]
pISBN: 978-0-7864-9547-4
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1694-0
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vi

Preface      1

1. Spiritual Exaltation      5

2. Shamanism and Belief      22

3. Shamanistic Power and Magic      46

4. Shamanistic Symbolism      68

5. Shamanism and Imaginative Representation      92

6. Shamanic Ritual and Transformation      118

7. Shamanic Divination and Curing      140

8. Spirits, Dreams, and Ecstasy      161

9. Transformation and Shape-Shifting      184

10. Life, Death, and Sacrifice      207

11. Transcendental Shamanism      230

Notes to the Captions      243

Notes to the Text      245

Bibliography      263

About the Photographs      277

About the Drawings      279

Index      283

Book Reviews & Awards

“Scholarly treatment of a subject critical for understanding the evolution of human psychology…he engages in a thought-provoking investigation into the need of our prehistoric ancestors for psychic equilibrium in face of the unknown and the threatening”—Against the Grain.