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Core Shamanism is a system of shamanic beliefs and practices synthesized by Michael Harner. Core shamanism does not hold a fixed belief system, but instead focuses on the practice of shamanic journeying and may on an individual basis integrate indigenous shamanism, the teachings of Carlos Castaneda and other spiritualities.
Specific practices include the use of rapid drumming [about 220 beats per minute] to attain the Shamanic State of Consciousness, communication with "power animals", and ritual dance. Those who practice core shamanism do not usually refer to themselves as shamans, preferring "shamanic practitioner." They say this is out of respect for indigenous peoples, and that they are usually very careful to avoid cultural imperialism.
Critics Daniel C. Noel and Robert J. Wallis see Harner's teachings as based on cultural appropriation and a misrepresentation of the various cultures he claims to have been inspired by (reference: "The Soul of Shamanism: Western Fantasies, Imaginal Realities"). Critics believe Harner's work laid the foundations for massive exploitation of Indigenous cultures by "plastic shamans" and other cultural appropriators (reference: "The Soul of Shamanism: Western Fantasies, Imaginal Realities", "Shamans and Religion: An Anthropological Exploration in Critical Thinking"). However, recent work by Peter N. Jones questions this criticism, as his work shows that the term shamanism has been used by a wide number of individuals, groups, and cultures across time and can not be linked to a specific group, culture, or ethnic identity (reference: "Shamans and Shamanism: A Comprehensive Bibliography of the Terms Use in North America").
- Harner, Michael, The Way of the Shaman: A Guide to Power and Healing, Harper & Row Publishers, NY 1980
- Jones, Peter N. Shamans and Shamanism: A Comprehensive Bibliography of the Terms Use in North America. 2008. Boulder: Bauu Press. ISBN 978-0-9820467-1-5
- Kehoe, Alice. Shamans and Religion: An Anthropological Exploration in Critical Thinking. 2000. London: Waveland Press. ISBN 1-57766-162-1
- Noel, Daniel C. Soul Of Shamanism: Western Fantasies, Imaginal Realities, Continuum International Publishing Group ISBN 0-8264-1081-2
- Wallis, Robert J. Shamans/neo-Shamans: Ecstasy, Alternative Archaeologies and Contemporary Pagans. London: Routledge, 2003. ISBN 0-415-30203-X
- Michael Harner's Foundation for Shamanic Studies
- Scandinavian Center for Shamanic Studies
- Sacred Hoop Magazine a leading international magazine about shamanism and shamanic practice
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