Talk:Shamanism

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Untitled[edit]

Pelase somebosy upload the image of the Altaian shamaness I accidentally deleted while correcting the caption for this image

Request for edit of serious error.[edit]

{{editsemiprotected}} The word Shaman is translated from it's root language as "one who contains fire" not "one who knows" as mentioned in the article. This is a serious error and should be changed as soon as possible.

Rejected: the etymology section is extensive and well-cited. Naahid بنت الغلان Click to talk 17:07, 6 August 2008 (UTC)

Well, from my point of view the origin of the word "shaman" comes from the Sanskrit word Shramana and the meaning hasn't got anything to do with the "one who contains fire" nor the "one who knows". The two qualifications may only be attributes of certain types of shaman. First because shaman can be of different types than fire, second a shaman does not "know". It's the spirit who knows. The shaman only knows how to deal with the spirits. I let you investigate further on the Etymology of the Sanskrit word Shramana, which I think has to do with "the one who makes the effort" but I'm not sure. Signed : a humble practitioner in shamanism. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 62.203.228.231 (talk) 20:33, 28 August 2008 (UTC)

There is a lot of controversy in the origin of the word. What language is it from? According to whom? What is it's actual meaning? I've seen reasonable arguments for Tungusic, Turkic, Chinese, and Sanskrit. I also haven't seen anything about S.M. Shirokogorff, the first man to actually reference the word (and where it has a very specific meaning more on par with English sorcerer than what we usually consider a shaman). I think this controversy needs to be addressed, and explained.Graidan (talk) 17:37, 15 January 2010 (UTC)

→The source: The Psychomental Complex of the Tungus, Shirokogoroff, 1935. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Graidan (talkcontribs) 17:41, 15 January 2010 (UTC)

Definition of Shaman[edit]

"Practitioners of shamanism are known as shamans"

THis is incorrect. Many people practice shamanism in their daily lives. That does not necessarily make them shamans. THere is an initiatory process that all shamans experience, and it is the spirits who select who a shaman will be. It is up to the one "called" to accept that role or deny it. It is not usually something one really desires, because being a shaman in the true sense is not an easy life to lead.

It is a misrepresentation to suggest that anyone who practices shamanism is an actual shaman. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Karenfurr (talkcontribs) 21:57, 11 August 2008 (UTC)

This is my understanding as well. This is actually a fairly serious distinction and should be worked into the definition clearly. Dhcernese (talk) 18:29, 25 August 2008 (UTC)

I'm not sure that the one that has been "called" by the spirits has the possibility to deny it. And Therefore, would agree with the distinction between "shaman" and "practitioner in shamanism". —Preceding unsigned comment added by 62.203.228.231 (talk) 20:11, 28 August 2008 (UTC)

While there are many ways of becoming shaman that do not involve being called by spirits (there are numerous peoples where the role is passed down in the family line, or where someone can choose to take it up by getting the proper training - check Eliade for plenty of examples), I agree that not everyone who practices shamanism is a shaman. There is a greater commitment to the task by shaman, whereas a practitioner may only approach the spirits once in a while. The difference is comparable to laity and clergy in Christianity. Graidan (talk) 17:18, 15 January 2010 (UTC)

(respectfully) Eliade is a bad example. He has been criticized by anthropologist (eg Alice Keyhoe) as lacking empircal support and that he was never an anthropologist or done direct field research in that area of study. He has been criticized for making overgeneralizations (eg Geofry Kirks). And criticized by other scholars (eg Daniel C. Noels) as distorting and romanticizing traditional shamanism. The strict cultural anthropological literatures on shamans shows in a majority of cultures shamans are chosen by spirits and those individuals dont self appoint themselves as a "shaman". Henry123ifa (talk) 12:09, 16 March 2012 (UTC)


This is a question of definition, not of fact. I would argue that "Practitioners of shamanism are known as shamans" is an objective description of word usage. The argument that some people are not "real" shamans is not NPOV.Sheherazahde (talk) 18:06, 26 March 2010 (UTC)

(respectfully) Now the issue reguarding people of not be "real" shamans would need to be at least be backed up with academic material (hopefully written by cultural anthropologists). Henry123ifa (talk) 12:09, 16 March 2012 (UTC)

Reasons[edit]

It might be worth someone adding something about the reasons behind shamanism - eg why do these people seem to communicate with a spirit world? Are there scientific explanations for this phenomenon?

Also, what about shamanism in popular culture, for example, in the tv series Twin Peaks. --Totorotroll (talk) 15:16, 25 September 2008 (UTC)

That sounds like a dangerous direction to go. Heading in non-NPOV direction. Stick with describing what people do and say. That is neutral. Explaining why gets into non-NPOV Sheherazahde (talk) 18:07, 26 March 2010 (UTC)

Etymology[edit]

84.50.181.246 - You keep reverting the following statement:

The correct plural form of shaman is shamans. Unlike man or woman, the word sha•man is not derived from the base word man, so the plural form of man cannot be used. The word shaman is actually an incorporated foreign word to the English language (like the French word bureau), and not a word (or derived from a word) from the Middle or Old English like man. Like any incorporated word, it has to follow the same standard English rule for plural forms on nouns (e.g. paper/papers, prima donna/prima donnas) unless it already has a plural form from its original language (like the Latin syllabus/syllabi). Further, the female form is not Shamaness, but rather Shamanka.

This statement needs re-working, is not sourced, and it contradicts the previous paragraph. Where is your source that cites this? Dinkytown (talk) 22:54, 28 September 2008 (UTC)

  • The source cited dose not mention the above description. Dinkytown (talk) 20:07, 5 October 2008 (UTC)
  • are you blind Main Entry:
   sha·man Listen to the pronunciation of shaman

Pronunciation:

   \ˈshä-mən, ˈshā- also shə-ˈmän\ 

Function:

   noun 

Inflected Form(s):

   plural shamans

"shaman" is from sanskrit word "śramana", it means "buddhist monk" or "ascetic" -Satyr

Where's your source? Dinkytown 02:02, 16 March 2009 (UTC)
There's one in the article now; I gleaned it from shramana, actually, although I'm well familiar with the etymology from other sources, which I don't have here, at the moment, so Eliade will have to do.
From what I've read, the word comes via Russian from Tungusic, and the Tungusic word via Chinese, Tocharian, Sogdian or Khotanese Saka from Middle Indic (specifically Pali) or Sanskrit directly, though I have seen a different path involving German, French and New Persian as well. I have noted excerpts down, but not the sources, but I think the source is Manfred Mayrhofer's KEWA (or EWAia).
I have even checked a Tungusic dictionary and could find no confirmation for the claim that it is a native Tungusic word. The Buddhist derivation is far simpler and less problematic; the semantic shift from foreign to native holy men is hardly surprising. Florian Blaschke (talk) 20:08, 29 September 2009 (UTC)
Actually, a shramana is not 'a buddhist monk', a shramana is one who rejects the legalistic and ritualistic perception of relations with the spirit world, choosing instead to live by a personal relationship with the spirit world. See, wikipedia shramana for clarification. (James B Porter) —Preceding unsigned comment added by 209.132.142.122 (talk) 19:28, 23 March 2010 (UTC)
Note Khotanese Saka ṣamanä for an ascetic, from Indo-Scythian Studies: Being Khotanese Texts Volume IV: By H. W. Bailey. Sudowite (talk) 23:36, 28 November 2011 (UTC)

Removal by Dinkytown of good faith contribution[edit]

Considering that almost the entire sections of Career and Practice are unsourced, wouldn't it have been more fair to request citations (which is the standard practice) rather than remove the contribution concerning "Shama in Old Hebrew" by 68.181.218.17? Odestiny (talk) 03:40, 25 October 2008 (UTC)

  • This is what 68.181.218.17 wrote:
However, it is of interest to note that Shama in Old Hebrew meant "one who heard," as in one who hears God or the divine voice. Our word Simon can be followed thus: masc. proper name, from L., from Gk. Symeon, from Heb. Shim'on, lit. "hearkening, hearing," from shama "he heard." In Eng. O.T., usually printed as Simeon, but in N.T. almost always as Simon. The famous Simon Magus, the Samaritan magician who was rebuked by Saint Peter when he tried to buy the power of confering the Holy Spirit (Acts viii:18-20), is a classical example of the Shaman. It is likely that these words have a similar ancient root.
There are several problems with this: 1) 68.. stole that quote from the Online Etymology Dictionary - copywrite ripoff is mildly frowned upon by Wikipedia."See Simon"; 2) Shaman is not "Old Hebrew". Accourding to Oxford it is Tungus - a language of Siberia. He was putting in wrong information. [1] 68... did not cite the origin of that quote; 3) 68.. is quoting Bible text which has nothing to do with shamanism; 4) "It is likely that these words have a similar ancient root" - 68.. is also doing original research, which is a no-no in Wikipedia.; 5) It was badly written/copied... Time would be better spent if he was looking for citations for the present work rather than putting in the above. Dinkytown (talk) 20:40, 25 October 2008 (UTC)

Shamanism, Greek and Roman religion[edit]

Even if I set aside my skepticism about importing the concept of shamanism to Greek or Roman religious practices, the assertions in this article are unsupported. Given the broad definition of shamanism, I get why necromancy bears comparison, but the statement about the necromancer as known from ancient Greek culture is broad, vague, and unsubstantiated. The following statement is also unsourced: "Greek paganism was influenced by shamanism [How do we know this? Whose shamanism influenced Greek religion?] as reflected in the stories of Tantalus, Prometheus, Medea, and Calypso among others, [This is treated as self-evident, but it isn't at all evident to me what the 'shamanic' elements are in these myths] as well as in the Eleusinian Mysteries, and other mysteries [Again, not self-evident how]. Some of the shamanic practices of the Greek religion later merged into the Roman religion [Whoa -- big subject; but did native Roman religion have no 'shamanic' aspects of its own?]." We just seem to be eliding a range of religious practices and roles: private magic, public oracles, priesthoods, initiations ... Cynwolfe (talk) 17:49, 4 November 2008 (UTC)

The entry under the headline Cyprus is a strongly related to the above.

The modern-day folk dances of the Middle Eastern island of Cyprus have been argued to originate from ancient shamanist ceremonies and "early religious and incantational worship".[1] The country was one of the last centres of ancient female-lead shamanistic Goddess rites in the Mediterranean, where the so-called Double Goddesses were worshiped.[2] Ancient Cypriot healers used special rituals, charms and incantations in their practices, as well as herbs and spices including frankincense, myrrh, olive oil. Medicine was also linked to the Phoenician gods Astarte and Baal. Healers and magi still exist in Cyprus today,[3][4] and a study by Harvard University suggests that, during Biblical times, "the island of Cyprus was in fact reputed for magia", a varient which was relatively "more recent" than the Persian (Zoroastrian) and Jewish traditions which would have influenced the island.[5] Additionally, Gypsies, who first arrived in Cyprus between 1322 and 1400 from the Levantine mainland, are known for fortune telling by palm reading.[6]

Several pages seem to be missing[edit]

This has to do with the website, not the article per se. The topic on page 21 is not completed and there are a couple of blank pages before the bibliography begins. 130.184.236.213 (talk) 16:18, 6 December 2008 (UTC)

My New Additions[edit]

I made a few additions in the "See Other" section. I think they have some relevancy here.

--Bill--

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Animism[edit]

Another problem with the definition and charaterization of shamanism... animism/animatism is not an organized religion, as the 'animism' article itself clearly says. (I don't know if Eliade claims it is in the reference... if he did, he's not using animism in the way that is generally accepted today). I think on a broader level, we just need to acknowledge that shamanism is fragmentary, somewhat vaguely defined, and has a lot of overlap with things like animism, some magical practices, etc. I think the article needs to do a better job of communicating this complexity and ambiguity. I suspect a 'history of the term' section would be really good. This would probably mostly involve building a backstory for the 'Criticism of the term' section.Genesiswinter (talk) 18:32, 11 December 2008 (UTC)

More on the breadth of definition[edit]

Regrettably, I am not an anthropologist, so I can not provide more precision to the definition....but I wish someone endowed with expertise would. The article defines shamanism as "a range of traditional beliefs and practices concerned with communication with the spirit world...Shamans are intermediaries between the human and spirit worlds. They can treat illness and are capable of entering supernatural realms to provide answers for humans." This sounds like my vocation as an Anglican priest. Does this make me a shaman? Perhaps entering into the discussion on the basis of that distinction might yield a more precise definition. For the record, I do consider that there is little difference between who I am and what I do and shamanism as explained in the article. fishhead64 (talk) 05:10, 3 February 2009 (UTC)

Hi Fishhead... I would have to disagree with you regarding the simularities between a Monotheistic religion (such as Christianity) and a generic form of Shamanism. Take for example the following 'understandings' of Shamanism:
   * Spirits exist and they play important roles both in individual lives and in human society.
   * The shaman can communicate with the spirit world.
   * Spirits can be good or evil.
   * The shaman can treat sickness caused by evil spirits.
   * The shaman can employ trance inducing techniques to incite visionary ecstasy and go on "vision quests".
   * The shaman's spirit can leave the body to enter the supernatural world to search for answers.
   * The shaman evokes animal images as spirit guides, omens, and message-bearers.
   * The shaman can tell the future, scry, throw bones/runes, and perform other varied forms of divination.
I have known several Shamans over the years; Native American Dakota and Ojibwe, Sami, and Hmong. Even though they are thousands of miles apart, they all have some connections with each other and with the above. However, I've never seen a priest, minister, imam, or rabbi get involved in any of the above in a regular fashion. Yes, all religions deal with the supernatural and the unknown, that is something that they all have in common. But I have never heard of a Rabbi or Priest go on a 'vision quest' in order to find answers in the spirit world for the next of kin. However, a trait that Christianity, Islam, Judaism (Abrahamic Religions) and many other larger religions have that Shamanism does not, is the objective of prositizing to the unconverted. In fact, I don't think I have to give they numerous examples of how Christianity has played a major part in destruction of many Shamanistic religions over the centuries in order to further their own faith. Another difference is that Shamanism is very specific to the culture, while the Abrahamic Religions are cross-cultural. You don't hear Italians practicing the Hmong religion, unless they are Hmong themselves. There are however, German Catholics as well as Peruvian Catholics - different cultures, yet having a similar, if not identical religion.
Sorry, but I have to disagree with you, but I think the definition is very correct... Take Care. Dinkytown (talk) 02:59, 5 February 2009 (UTC)
I'm still unconvinced. Religions traditionally considered non-shamanistic (and I include Eastern ones such as Buddhism or Hinduism along with western ones) believe in a spirit world, and in communication with that world, which include good and bad spiritual forces. Are shamans associated only with animistic traditions? The article doesn't say.
Other similarities: What is anointing of the sick and the laying on of hands if not a treatment of sickness, which can be considered spiritual? And is a spiritual retreat or fasting exercises, or the spiritual practices of dervishes not the same as a vision quest? Certainly a lot of Christian mystics and visionaries, like Julian of Norwich or John of the Cross had and have out-of-body experiences in which they travel to the supernatural world - and midrashic literature speaks of rabbis doing the same thing. I know that some eastern religions practice divination (it is forbidden in the Abrahamic tradition) - so the only absence seems to be animals as spirit guides, although angels are certainly nonhuman. I just think there's less difference here than meets the eye.
Citing proselytism as a key factor doesn't hold up either. Contrary to your assertion, Judaism is not a proselytising tradition - neither is Hinduism or Shintoism. What they are - and this they have in common with many so-called indigenous faiths - are tribal or national traditions, and in that sense the spiritual message, explanatory function, and enforcement of conformity peculiar to religions is specifically for a tribe rather than for humanity in general, as is the case with trans-tribal traditions such as Christianity, Buddhism, or Islam.
If the issue is the cultural context out which these so-called shamanistic traditions arise is the key identifier, then this should be made explicit. Because the actual practices have clear analogues in larger faith traditions. fishhead64 (talk) 05:17, 5 February 2009 (UTC)
I think you are confusing the word shamanism with the word mysticism. All religions involve mysticism, and as a result all religions are going to have some shared simularities with some aspects of the above descriptions, including any of the larger mainstream religions. That's not surprising. That would include dervishes and even Byzantine and Orthodox Hesychasts as part of that on the extreme end. Maybe another definition of shamanism could be a strict ethnic criteria. Maybe that could be put in. Animistic traditions are a very strong part of shamanism. Maybe that could be cited and put in also.
However, most of your examples are from historical figures from centuries ago. Would you call Christianity a shamanistic religion because some sources stated that a few people did it centuries ago? Evangelicals do faith healing and speaking in tongues today, yet the Catholic Church called them witches five centuries ago - and burned them... I would not call Evangelicals (or any Christians for that matter) "shamans" as they normally do not claim to travel to the spiritual world to communicate with a spirit or a deceased individual and negociate with them, yet this is a common trait within any cultural specific shamans duty.
Priest, Medicine Man, Imam, Witch Doctor, Shaman. All serve similar roles, but have very different contexts. Dinkytown (talk) 01:43, 6 February 2009 (UTC)

please somebody upload the image of the Altaian shamaness I accidentally deleted while correcting the caption for this image. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Siberianquest (talkcontribs) 00:19, 28 February 2009 (UTC)

Shamanism, as opposed to 'mysticism' is the specific religion of the siberoamerican peoples (Elliade). The assertion of similarities to African, Oceanic and European religious or folk traditions is specious and lacks historicity. (James B Porter) —Preceding unsigned comment added by 169.229.207.139 (talk) 19:17, 24 February 2010 (UTC)


@Fishhead64 I would argue that Shamanism is what priest-craft looks like in non-institutional religions. This article seems to support the general consensus in Anthropological community that Shamanism is a not a religion in the same way that Priesthood is not a religion. The big difference between Shamans and Priests is that Shamans derive their authority from their ability to provide services where as Priests derive their authority from their positions in a hierarchy. Some Priests provide good services but some don't. All Shamans have to provide good services or they are out of work. Sheherazahde (talk) 18:16, 26 March 2010 (UTC)

Sometimes it seems that no one reads books anymore. Sheherazahde attempts to draw hard distinctions between 'Priests' and 'Shamans'. Such distinctions have been thoroughly debunked by Barbara Tedlock in her ground breaking, and apparently still unread, work (Time and The Highland Maya, 1982, University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque). Tedlock's training and initiation as a Maya calendar 'shaman' required her to learn not only private practice and ritual, but also public practice and ritual as well as the local shaman's priestly hierarchy.
Ignoring the anthropological definition of 'Shamanism' as 'the religion of Sibero-American peoples', simply encourages those who attempt to map Abrahamic slurs or 'New Age' errors (eg. 'Witchcraft', 'Magick') onto the religions and philosophies of the conquered peoples of Sibero-America. I am with Fishhead on this one! (James B Porter) —Preceding unsigned comment added by 209.132.142.122 (talk) 21:16, 22 June 2010 (UTC)

Shaman's Tools Section Reomved?[edit]

Oh never mind.

Could this section be expanded?

--Bill--

Monday April 13, 2009

Shamanism In Fiction[edit]

This section needs to be trimmed as its off-topic. The sections should be described in detail on their respective pages. We should only provide links from here. Dinkytown 19:18, 4 June 2009 (UTC)

I removed large sections of the Shamanism in Fiction section as they are off topic and take away from the larger article. I am temped in removing the entire sections as there is no such section in the Catholicism or Protestant page as Catholicism in Fiction or Protestantism in Fiction. Why does Shamanism have to put up with this? The issues should be linked to the other pages where there it can be expanded on, not here. Dinkytown 22:20, 9 June 2009 (UTC)
  • I am removing this whole section for the reasons described above - and because of the lack of interest. My reasoning for this removal is that the examples given such as Shaman King and Zen Pinball are cartoon charaters and not good examples of shamanism. If we include these examples on this page, then we should put in Jimmy Swaggart, Jim Jones and Jim Bakker as examples of Protestant religion. Dinkytown 21:51, 18 June 2009 (UTC)

couldnt you just change it to "shamanism in popular culture"? i really see no need for your reaction to adding a brief description of shamanism's references in popular culture (not even a link!), as it is helpful to show how different subjects connect to each other. also, your examples of links/sections that should be added to the Protestant page are all examples of scandal/controversy and overall negative highlights of the Protestant religion, indicating that you wish to add these things out of spite rather than as helpful information.

i have added a link (not an entire section but a SMALL LINK) to the shaman king page because the two are related. the show, although centered around using shamanism to fight, does contain some aspects of traditional shamanism or mystic beliefs, though mostly japanese and native american (for example, Onmyōdō is used in the show, and there are characters in the show that are Itako, japanese shamans). and as i emphasized, it is not going to be unhelpful to show how subjects are related, and i only added a small link.

"We should only provide links from here." - Dinkytown

thats all im doing —Preceding unsigned comment added by 75.146.126.129 (talk) 16:32, 21 July 2009 (UTC)

I don't see anything in the Shaman King article to indicate that it is based on any type of Shamanism at all. The only connenction I can see is in the name and the link needs removing. Enter CambridgeBayWeather, waits for audience applause, not a sausage 17:43, 27 July 2009 (UTC)
that is because the article itself does not contain a thorough description of the plot and characters. and like i mentioned, it is not based on a single type of shamanism, but many characters in the show use aspects of japanese shamanism, and the plot revolves around native american shamanism. and seriously, what harm is a single link going to cause?
I'll tell you what 75.146.126.129 (sign your responses...), there is plenty of harm as to what you are doing. "Shaman King is a cartoon - not part of a religion. If you don't like what that page is describing, then change that one. If you announce on the Catholic Church talk page that you are going to put a link of Father Guido Sarducci on the see also section - and they agree, then you will have an argument for this debate. However, that kind of action is just as silly as what you are sponsoring. "Shaman King" has *no* business being on this page. If you read my statements above before - if other religions don't have too put up with this, why does Shamanism have to? Dinkytown (talk) 00:35, 29 July 2009 (UTC)

I will have you know that it is not my intention on starting a debate on the Catholic Church page (I am not Catholic, by the way); if such desires are yours, then please by all means do so. But my argument is right here, and I think it is very much relevant. You seem to believe that it is such a bad thing to have a link to a cartoon show on the shamanism page, and you compare it to Catholicism and the Protestant religions. Have you ever even considered that there aren't any popular Catholic or Protestant-based cartoon shows/mangas, which would explain why nobody is fighting for links to those articles to be included? And regardless, I once again point out harmlessness of adding a single link. The two are related, so I added a link. So what? You still haven't given me any reason for the link not to be there, other than giving examples of how other religious articles may be responded to if links to comical priests and scandalous clergymen were added to their pages. I have already pointed out how the show incorporates aspects of different types of shamanism. You say I have no argument unless I try adding links to other religions' pages and see how they respond; I would argue that the opposite is true, that you should do so, and then you will have an argument.

I stand by my argument, but you know what, it's not worth my time fighting with internet trash. You people are just too touchy and stubborn to argue with. If you want to remove the link, whatever go ahead. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 75.146.126.129 (talk) 20:26, 30 July 2009 (UTC)

Beneficial practices[edit]

I don't think the Wikipedia definition of shamanism is totally accurate or complete. I've lived on Native American reservations, in an Inuit village, and I'm a little familiar with TIbetan Buddhism. Shamanism is still practiced. And, it's truly powerful. But, it's seldom used by harming anyone or to harm anyone. Suggesting that it is, is derogatory and misleading. Many shamans don't connect with spirits or even consider doing so worthwhile. Other elements are involved. And, sacrifice in many traditions has nothing to do with killing of any kind. The most significant element involved is the mind and its power to influence circumstances. Doing so is not usually evil or harmful. I cannot provide verification of these claims. Shamans are usually careful about whom they inform about their practice because of stigmas, etc. Documentation is usually irrelevant and counterproductive.

About the only case I have read of involving shamans' harming was the terminating of Stalin's life by two shamans : one shaman (in Siberia) who gave him his final illness, and other shaman (in Alaska) who gave the final death-blow which killed Stalin instantly.0XQ (talk) 16:52, 14 December 2009 (UTC)

request for source[edit]

under the historical times section, it is said that Catholic priests ordered the executions of shamans. This is a rather serious thing to say, and it has no source listed. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 69.248.105.174 (talk) 02:50, 3 September 2009 (UTC)

Read virtually any contact period account from Mesoamerica, all indigenous religious were identified by The Catholic church as 'demonic' and many were tortured (waterboarding is tame by comparison) and/or executed as part of the church's program of 'extirpating idolatry'. (See, Diego de Landa, Diego Duran, Bernardino de Sahagun, Bartolome de las Casas, etc.). (James B Porter BA, MA, PhD) —Preceding unsigned comment added by 169.229.207.139 (talk) 19:23, 24 February 2010 (UTC)

Modern abstract?[edit]

The proposed introductory sentence "The term is a modern abstract, not necessarily applied within a spiritual tradition" contradicts the content of the article under the heading of History. Please discuss. Gabriel Kielland (talk) 17:01, 11 October 2009 (UTC)

Specifically, where is the contradiction?
The addition intends to add context, as to how the word is applied. The preceding sentence, "A practitioner of shamanism is known as a shaman" begs the question "by who and when". The article itself is a collection of abstracts on many practices. Really, none of the traditions employ the exact word shaman, except for new age, which is modern and not yet a tradition. I believe the intro doesn't adequately address the controversies in this words usage. The addition benefits the reader with the context in which the word is applied. The word has taken on new and modern meaning from its original source(s). The Medicine_man article describes its usage in the first line. Zulu Papa 5 ☆ (talk) 14:30, 12 October 2009 (UTC)
The sentence comes with a reference. By who and when is further developed under the heading "Etymology". Better there than clogging up the header. It is possible that the tungusic tradition is disrupted. If your claim on the employ of the word is correct, it would fit within the section "History" provided there is a reliable source. The controversies is covered within the "Criticism" section. It is all there. Gabriel Kielland (talk) 15:57, 12 October 2009 (UTC)

I disagree that it "clogging up the header". The heading requires context on the words usage. Take a look at Medicine_man. Too many folks are lead astray with this words usage, which has caused controversies. Wikipedia will benefit from this editorial clarification. The heading deserves a reference to clear up the controversy by attributing the words usage. How is it possible the tungusic tradition is disrupted? Zulu Papa 5 ☆ (talk) 17:06, 12 October 2009 (UTC)

Reorganization[edit]

The article is way too long now, says Wikipedia. I have attempted to consolidate the regional variations toward creating separate and specific regional articles. Still requires work. Apologies for any disruptions. There are way too many non-specific "in some" statements that should be clarified. Zulu Papa 5 ☆ (talk) 03:12, 14 October 2009 (UTC)

I've combined and reorganized sections into what is a reasonable and simpler outline. The refs require fixing and the content can be cleaned up to flow better. Zulu Papa 5 ☆ (talk) 04:41, 14 October 2009 (UTC)

The etymology references[edit]

Of the three sources being presented to justify claims of a Turkic origin, the third (Dioszegi) doesn't address the matter at all. The first, when fixed, is nothing more than an automated translation of a word, and proves nothing. The second is from a popular publisher, by a non-notable, non-academic author, and isn't utterly clear at that. These sources just aren't good enough. Mangoe (talk) 05:41, 18 October 2009 (UTC)

Seems like the sources should be attributed with specific text descriptions if they come from a reliable source. Zulu Papa 5 ☆ (talk) 01:23, 19 October 2009 (UTC)

Also, the word shaman could easily be derived from the amharic word "shama" (pronounced as in "sha-ma" as opposed to "shah-mah") and pronunciation of "shaman" in this way is preferable by most non speakers of english (you'll have to find out for yourself!). The word shama means cloth. amharic is an Ethiopian language, and I'm afraid i can't quote any scholars, but it's my ethnic background, and I can only give you my assurances or to ask any ethiopian (amhara tribe anyway, I don't know about the others!). It's a general word for cloth, but can mean a blanket that is worn around the body.Natmanprime (talk) 23:40, 2 December 2010 (UTC)

Reorganize section 5?[edit]

The current "5 Regional variations" section is confusing. To begin with, "5.1 Gender and sexuality" probably belongs elsewhere, "5.2 Siberia" belongs under "5.4 Asia", and the main article Shamanism among Eskimo peoples is listed for both "5.5 Inuit and Eskimo cultures" and "5.7 Meso-American shamanism". What would be the best rearrangement? Keahapana (talk) 22:50, 2 November 2009 (UTC)

Yes, it could be done better. I consolidated it under one section, but neglected to completely combine the sections. Have at it. Thanks. Zulu Papa 5 ☆ (talk) 16:04, 5 November 2009 (UTC)

Request to Redefine/Rework[edit]

At lot of work has clearly gone into this page, but I'm afraid that it seems to be confused by a very broad definition of what shamanism is. I note that there is a page on Shamanism in Siberia, and I suggest that this page should possibly be deleted or retitled (Indigenous Religions?) and Shamanism should direct to the Siberian page.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shamanism_in_Siberia

The problem is, this page defines Shamanism so broadly that everything from necromancy to Papuan religions to Australian indigenous Dreamtime beliefs are deemed 'Shamanistic'. As one person has pointed out, according to the definition here, an Anglican priest is a Shaman.

Some differences between ordinary Anglican (or Catholic) priest and the typical shaman : The local term translated ‘shaman’ / ‘shamaness’ is usually defined (in the local dialect) as (1) a public religious practitioner who would become sick if he / she were temporarily to cease from such public practice; and moreover (2) who initially became a shaman / shamaness in order to recover from such a sickness. Such sickness is usually described as entailing dreams of one’s being instructed by a deity that the sickness has been divinely produced in order to compell the dreamer to continue (or commence) public religious practice.0XQ (talk) 16:46, 14 December 2009 (UTC)

REPLY: (sorry, not sure how to tab these comments...?) I don't think I've ever seen that particular definition of shaman in folklore/anthropology literature. If, however, we accept it here, it removes most the African, Papuan and Aboriginal Australian religions from Shamanism, as well as many Siberian/New World religions too. Many North American shamans taught the practice to any apprentice who was willing to learn... Chris 14/01/2010

To some degree I have a feeling that at least some people working on this page have (unconsciously) defined Shamanism as any 'primitive' religion (with an attached scattering of new age beliefs).

Thus, I feel this page is generating confusion, rather than useful information. I'd prefer to see a short paragraph along the lines of the OED definition.

http://dictionary.oed.com/cgi/entry/50221745?single=1&query_type=word&queryword=shamanism&first=1&max_to_show=10)

This would make it clear that strictly speaking, Shamanism in the most 'correct' sense only refers to indigenous Siberian beliefs. There could be a brief discussion about how people use Shamanism to mean 'primitive' religions in general and the degree to which this is acceptable. Links could then be provided to religions or cultural groups that are sometimes deemed to be shamanistic.

It would also be worth noting that the term is commonly applied to similar and related belief systems in Academic work (North American First Nations, Inuit etc), but in this sense the term is akin to 'Abrahamic' for Christianity, Islam and Judaism--it's a loose term to conveniently group together related but not identical religions.

I was tempted to just go ahead and do a big rework myself, but felt that unilaterally and completely deleting and rewriting a page that other people have clearly put a lot of effort into wouldn't be very good behaviour on my part.

Anyway, my final word: Applying 'Shamanism' to religions and spiritual/belief structures that are unrelated to Siberian indigenous beliefs (i.e. African, Australian Indigenous People, Oceanic etc) is misleading and represents an unhelpful over-simplification of diverse and complex religions.

Chris (130.194.164.241 (talk) 00:38, 10 December 2009 (UTC))

The article requires rework, however the dictionary term can be shown to be too narrow by all the sources. Source attribution is the answer. We would not throw out wiki because of its definition. The sources define the article and place its anthropological context within religion. Zulu Papa 5 ☆ (talk) 01:20, 10 December 2009 (UTC)
I do like the idea of of retitling the article to "Indigenous Religions" since this is what the final product is talking about. The problem is that there are already "Indigenous Religions" that call them selves shamanic, such as the Hmong for example. I also agree that the article needs a rewrite, since a 'shaman' has been linked from here to a cartoon charactor some time before and has become very broad based, but it was worse before... Dinkytown (talk) 04:24, 10 December 2009 (UTC)


REPLY: The anthropological references I can bring to hand (mostly) make it pretty clear that 'classical' shamanism is used in an anthropological/ethnographic context usually for Siberian/Nor.Am. indigenous religions, though there are 'traces' of shamanistic practice in Aisa, India, Oceania (apparently? I suspect about this one, but maybe) etc. I think one of the papers I've listed below inadvertently suggests a part-solution to the problem... it refers to Shamanism and other 'magico-religious healers'. Perhaps this would be a sensible dividing line in the article?

Some references:

http://arjournals.annualreviews.org/doi/abs/10.1146/annurev.an.21.100192.001515 (Atkinson 1992)

http://www.jstor.org/stable/640339 (Winkelman 1990)

http://www.jstor.org/stable/1061973 (Eliade 1961)

Paper #1 and #3 seem to agree that shamanism is more 'correctly' or 'classically' applied to Siberia/Nor.Am. Paper #3 is less clear on this point and feels that 'shamanism' is a class of religion that can develop independently in different cultures, a little like monotheism. There seems to be an underlying belief that because trance, ecstasy or 'altered state of consiousness' is a biologically hard-wired feature of human brains, shamanism can develop anywhere (I'm a biologist, so my hackles are raised by stating this as a fact without reference to some sort of actual biological study, but them's the breaks...) Anyway, I think 'magico-religious healing/healers' sums up some/most of religious practices discussed on this page fairly well. This even opens the possibility that a Christian faith healing (for example) *could* be discussed on the page as an example of a magico-healing practice that *isn't* widely viewed as shamanistic, which I think would be appropriate though this might need further discussion.

From Eliade (1961) QUOTE: More recently, Taussig (236) declared that "shamanism is ... a made-up, modem, Western category, an artful teification of disparate practices, snatches of folklore and overarching folklorizations, residues of long-established myths intermingled with the politics of academic departments, curricula, conferences, journal juries and articles, [and] funding agencies."

COMMENT: Yikes. I agree with Eliade that Taussig may have been over-reacting. Shamanism is a useful term, it just needs to be more clearly and usefully defined... we don't need to throw it out entirely... so...

From Eliade (1961) QUOTE: Although shamanism is a specifically Siberian religious phenomenon, it is not limited to central and northern Asia. It is met with, for example, in the two Americas, in southeast Asia, in Oceania, in India, in Tibet, in China, and traces of shamanic beliefs and techniques can be discovered among certain Indo-European peoples. (The only continent where shamanism is a rather rare phenomenon is Africa.)

From Eliade (1961) QUOTE: Out of its Siberian context, the term "shaman" is sometimes used in the broad sense of medicine man, magician, soothsayer. This may cause confusion, for, although the shaman is a medicine man (because he does make efforts to cure the sick), not all medicine men are shamans in the sense that they practice ecstasy. Similarly, the shaman is not necessarily a magician or soothsayer, although cases are known in which he is or becomes one. This is why we thought it useful to limit the term "shaman" to those among the various "specialists of the sacred" (medicine men, magicians; contemplative, inspired, and possessed people, etc.) who know how to employ ecstasy for the benefit of the community.

From Eliade (1961) QUOTE: Ecstasy always involves a trance, whether "symbolic" or pretended or real, and the trance is interpreted as a temporary abandonment of the body by the soul of the shaman. During ecstasy, the soul of the shaman is thought to ascend to Heaven, to descend to the other world (to the netherworld) or to travel far away into space. The shaman undertakes these mystic voyages fqr the first time during his initiation, and afterward (1) in order to search for the soul of the sick (in space, in the netherworld, in exceptional cases in Heaven); (2) in order to bring the soul of the sacrificed animal to Heaven and to offer it to the Gods (central Asia, Siberia), or to ask a blessing from the celestial Gods (South America), or to perform the initiation of a novice (Australia), or to visit the Moon or another celestial sphere (Eskimoes), etc.-in all these cases, we are dealing with an ascension; (3) finally, in order to lead the soul of the dead to his new dwelling place in the netherworld (the descensus ad inferos of the shaman-psychopompos). Since the "ecstasy" (trance, "losing one's soul," losing consciousness) seems to form an integral part of the human condition, just like anxiety, dream, imagination, etc., we did not deem it necessary to look for its "origin" in a particular culture or in a particular historical moment. As an experience, ecstasy is a non-historical phenomenon; it is a primordial phenomenon in the sense that it is coextensive with human nature. Only the religious interpretation given to ecstasy and the techniques designed to prepare it or facilitate it are historical data. That is to say, they are dependent on various cultural contexts, and they change in the course of history.

COMMENT: Eliade (1961) is a very old article, I'm not confidant that the definition described still holds in the literature... but here at least, shamanism seems to be defined as trancework involving leaving the body and there is an implicit assumption that 'classical Shamanism' in Siberia represents the best preserved modern version of a once wide-spread religious practice (which I think is debatable. I honestly don't think that there is any evidence, either via migration or contact, that Australian Aboriginal practices are any more related by common descent to Siberian religions than they are to Zoroastrianism...)

From Atkinson (1992) QUOTE: Among cultural anthropologists there is widespread distrust of general theories about shamanism, which run aground in their efforts to generalize. The category simply does not exist in a unitary and homogeneous form, even within Siberia and Central Asia-the putative homeland of "classical shamanism" (224). Holmberg (102: 144) claims that "shamanism remains intractable as a general field of study, in part because disparate practices have been disassociated from larger cultural contexts and linked to universal motivations."

COMMENT: I think this is an important point...

From Winkelman (1990) QUOTE: Although the term "shaman" has a quasi-etic status, there are no widely accepted definitions or characterizations based on systematic cross-cultural examination of those practitioners called "shaman." As a result, terms such as shaman, medicine man, diviner, witch doctor, medium, healer, and others are often used interchangeably and without specification of the assumed common characteristics or consideration of the possible differences among such practitioners.

COMMENT: So in 1990 we're still about as confused as we were in 1961... Hm. Well. I guess I vote for the article to be reworked along the lines of:

Classical Shamanism

- Siberian Shamanism (with link to wiki Shamanism in Siberia article)

Trance And Ecstasy Practices Worldwide

- Where 'altered state of conciousness' practices appear in other cultures, incl. actual e.g.

Magico-Religious Healers

- Where magico-religious healing appears in other cultures, incl. actual e.g.

Artificial Term?

- Some discussion about how 'shamanism' as a term is deemed artificial by at least some anthropologists/ethnologists. Also, make it clear that generalizations about 'shamanism' are inherently risky because its a grab-bag term entailing a number of different practices. Perhaps a list of links to various pages on indigenous religions might be appropriate here too?

A lot of the material currently in the page could be salvaged, re-organized and clarified. So, basically, I suspect it wouldn't take too much effort to vastly improve the page. Hopefully that was more helpful than confusing. Thoughts?

Chris 14/01/2010

- The anthropological definition of 'Shamanism' as the religion of the Sibero-American peoples has been thoroughly muddied by 'new age' and popular authors (who appear unaware of, or unconcerned by, the cultural, historical and genetic links between Central Asian and Native American peoples). Elliade himself initiates this process, and confusion, by citing comparisons with the religious and spiritual traditions of non Sibero-American peoples. Many people are unable to grasp the concept that argument by analogy does not constitute an argument for identity. (James B Porter) —Preceding unsigned comment added by 169.229.207.139 (talk) 19:45, 24 February 2010 (UTC)

Regional variations : Gender and sexuality[edit]

In the following quote from the current article, I believe the correct term is "intersex" (i.e. biologically "inbetween" male and female) instead of "transgendered" (i.e. socially and physically transitioning from one gender to another). Since I don't know the cited book I have no idea if this confusion of terms originates there. Therefore I didn't just change the term in the article but wanted to put it up for other opinions first.
This is the quote: "Such two-spirit shamans are thought to be especially powerful, and Shamanism so important to ancestral populations that it may have contributed to the maintenance of genes for transgendered individuals in breeding populations over evolutionary time through the mechanism of 'kin selection.' [see final chapter of E.O. Wilson's "Sociobiology: The New Synthesis]" 85.177.253.77 (talk) 00:47, 10 February 2010 (UTC)

Non-NPOV problems[edit]

In the "Shamanism and New Age movement" section it says "legitimate cultural traditions". The use of the word "legitimate" is not NPOV Sheherazahde (talk) 18:18, 26 March 2010 (UTC)

Please be [WP:BOLD]. I concur with your observation, and have attempted to remove the disparaging tone. The section has other problems, in that it was making broad, generalised claims based on primary sources, which is not an appropriate editorial style for an encyclopedia. Davémon (talk) 20:05, 16 June 2010 (UTC)

Drum image[edit]

In favor of keeping it with the text. There could be a whole article just on variations in shaman drums. Zulu Papa 5 * (talk) 02:57, 1 November 2010 (UTC)

Relevance of painting of "File:Shamans Drum.jpg"[edit]

This photo should be removed based on the following reasons: 1) This is not a photo of a "Shamans drum", but a paint depicting a Shaman's drum. It is an artist conception of a shamans drum, and not relevant to the article; 2) There is no citation source as to the origination; 3) While the English/German translation is accurate, there is no mention to the source; 4) With no source, citation, nor author, it is a good candidate for speedy deletion.

Shaman's drum depicting a three-world cosmology. The vertical arrow symbolizes the World Tree, which stands in the center of the world. It unites the underworld, the earthly world, and heaven. This presentation can be found on shaman drums of the Turks, Mongols and Tungusic peoples in Central Asia and Siberia.

Comments? Dinkytown talk 03:10, 1 November 2010 (UTC)

How is it not relevant? It seems an ideal illustration of the text on drums in the "Paraphernalia" section.
You say it is an artist's representation. What makes you think that? It apparently convinced this scholar of Turkic studies when he placed a copy in his article. If it is an artist's representation, it is a good one. Anyway, that has no bearing on its relevance to the article.
If there were an equal or better illustration of the section's subject matter available, I would have no objection to replacing the image. Otherwise, it seems like a step backwards to remove it. The image is used in many places across the various languages of Wikipedia, and this seems to me to be one of its most apropos placements. AtticusX (talk) 03:46, 1 November 2010 (UTC)

Added the cited #1 attribute. Expecting others to follow.Zulu Papa 5 * (talk) 15:41, 1 November 2010 (UTC)

Clarification[edit]

[2] what was unclear here? Zulu Papa 5 * (talk) 04:40, 14 February 2011 (UTC)

German article[edit]

This article is very short. Look up the german version at http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schamanismus . That's a REAL article!!! — Preceding unsigned comment added by Kritik020194 (talkcontribs) 20:53, 2 April 2011 (UTC)

Shamanic_rituals_pharmacy[edit]

Is there but one source for this table Shamanism#Shamanic_rituals_pharmacy? Additionally, would like edit it and move lower, becasue "pharmacy" may not be a prevalent or significant as the contributor would like. Zulu Papa 5 * (talk) 18:27, 31 October 2011 (UTC)

Shamanism is not a binary ethos[edit]

There is no "Good" and "Evil" dichotomy in shamanism. The purpose of a Shaman is to bequeath malevolent spirits of their anger, grudges, etc... . "Good" is an acceptable word.. Benevolent is a better term. Please when making contributions to this article refrain from inputing mutually exclusive binary terms. There is no cure for 'evil'.

Section critic of the term shaman[edit]

Almost all the the content of this section relates a certain Kohe's critic the work of M. Eliade on S.

I find this inappropriate as the article never mentions Eliade beforehand. Moreover Kohe apparently did not read Eliade's work at all other he would know that E. defines S. very precisely, i.e. a religious complex that entails exctasis, i.e. the flight of the shaman to heaven or the underworld in order to cure or solve a problem, originally with the body itself and later only with the soul (and originally obtained only through spiritual powers, i.e. without the use of any psychoactive substance). This is the essential, the initiatic malady is almost always present but it is not defining of S. since E. states there are cases of individulas who have initiatic maladies but are not shamans under the above criterion.

As things stand clear I find this part out of touch and shall proceed to delete it within two days if there are no objections.Aldrasto11 (talk) 15:10, 12 February 2012 (UTC)


-First of all I can barely make out what you are trying to say. It would be nice if you put more Effort in your grammer and actually spelling out words in full. No reason to be lazy.

Second of all when you say: "Moreover Kohe apparently did not read Eliade's work at all other he would know that E. defines S. very precisely..". It seems to me you never read ALICE Kehoe's material. 1. You refer to ALICE Kehoe as a "he". (With a name like Alice its quite obvious she is a female). 2. Its Kehoe not "Kohe". How could you have mispelled her last name?

[To me it seems like you didnt bother researching or seriously looking into her material to what she was arguing and just went ahead and erased it (giving the benefit of the doubt. I hope this isnt the case). (*The way you went about this whole section makes it difficult to take you seriously).]


It should be noted. Alice Kehoe is an anthropologist. Eliade is not. To remove referenced material by anthropologists and replace it with material written by non anthroplogists doesnt make sense to me. Alice Kehoe's credentials are not lacking. To use Eliade as a Sole definition (or the authoritive definition) of shamanism is unscholary.

Henry123ifa (talk) 12:38, 16 March 2012 (UTC)

Seems like the section is good enough to keep; however, I removed the criticism on Eliade so as to highly the criticism related to the term Shamanism. Zulu Papa 5 * (talk) 15:13, 16 March 2012 (UTC)

Some removal[edit]

"some" means being an unknown, undetermined, or unspecified unit or thing <some person knocked>. I removed this misleading word from the article as unspecified original research. If the materiel comes from a reliable source then if can specify which people display the attributed elements. Otherwise, it reads like article is overgeneralizing, which should be avoided in anthropology. Zulu Papa 5 * (talk) 16:21, 27 February 2012 (UTC)

Facts vs. Beliefs[edit]

"Because a portion of the soul is free to leave the body it will do so when dreaming, or it will leave the body to protect itself from potentially damaging situations, be they emotional or physical"

These are not facts and are not supported by any objective evidence.

They are supernatural/spiritual/religious beliefs or superstitions depending on your point of view. No point of view is provable when it comes to the supernatural.

This article is filled with non-neutral statements like the above. Wikipedia is not a religious manual. If these statements are to stand, then they need to be prefaced with "Adherents of Shamanism believe..." ... otherwise this article really needs to be flagged for non-neutral point of view.

In other words, as it is, this article is garbage. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 203.170.146.59 (talk) 10:46, 21 March 2012 (UTC)

Interesting point; however, "your point of view" is largely irrelevant in Wikipedia per WP:OR. Let's just assume, all the facts come from reliable sources and all the beliefs come from unsupported statements in the context of working to improve the article. Additionally, Shamanism is is an anthropological term for a range of beliefs and practices and by definition as a range there is no one factual viewpoint. The key is to best attribute what the sources say about a general group of folks who share a belief and practice. WP:NPOV has to do with balancing the sources, this is in regards to how the sources present multiple POVs on a subject. I wouldn't support changing sourced material just because it's subjective; only where there are multiple sources with a POV, should we have to balance it with due weight to each source. For example, if you have a relevant and reliable source that said, "this article is garbage" then we could address that. Would not be good to make a general point about the facts vs believes argument in this article, except where the sources talk about the issue. For now we have to work in good faith to improve the article to Wikipedia standards. Zulu Papa 5 * (talk) 18:11, 21 March 2012 (UTC)
To the contrary - the article should clearly not describe Shamanistic belief systems as "fact" anymore than we should describe the transubstantiation or creationism as such - they should be described as part of a belief system. The article should make very clear that beliefs are beliefs and whose beliefs it is.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 18:57, 21 March 2012 (UTC)
I didn't mean that subjective Shamistic beliefs are in themselves objective facts. For the purpose of Wikipedia, objective contributions come from reliable sources, somewhat akin to factual reporting, even if it is about a subjective point of view or attributed belief. Yes, the beliefs should be attributed to the group and/or sometimes the author, who may generalize. Zulu Papa 5 * (talk) 19:05, 21 March 2012 (UTC)
I agree that a few things are being put forth as fact when they are just unsupported beliefs. The sources might reliably state what the beliefs are, but the article implies those beliefs are true. Most of the statements are qualified by something along the lines of "it is believed that", as they should be. But a few statements lack any direct qualification, so on their face they seem like staggering, unsupported statements. One example: "This happens for two reasons: 1.The shaman crosses over to the under world...". Another example: "The shaman also enters supernatural realms or dimensions to obtain solutions to problems". There is some qualification *near* those statements, but a simple reading leaves me wondering if the author or source is stating these things actually happen or they are just part of the belief system. Or does everything in the article get an implied "according to this belief system..."? (That seems problematic to me, but if those are the rules then so be it.) 173.172.95.186 (talk) 18:49, 6 July 2012 (UTC)

Etymology[edit]

A very good article on the Turkish root of the word "Shaman"

Laufer, B. (1917). Origin of the word shaman. American Anthropologist, 19(3), 361–371. doi: 10.1525/aa.1917.19.3.02a00020 web source on Wiley

Apiece of text from this source:

At any rate it is obvious that the word Saman has now legiti mately secured an absolute and irrevocable decree of divorce from its pseudo-mate gamapa, samana, or Sa-men, and that this mismated couple cannot live together any longer. Tungusian saman, Saman, xaman, etc., Mongol Saman, Turkish kam and xam, are close and inseparable allies grown and nourished on the soil of northern Asia,-live witnesses for the great antiquity of the shamanistic form of religion.

The source and the text should be addedd to the article.--98.196.232.128 (talk) 05:49, 3 April 2012 (UTC)

/* Africa */ African Section[edit]

The African sections says the following on sangomas : "The term sangoma, as employed in Zulu and congeneric languages, is effectively equivalent to shaman. Historically, the sangoma role was the preserve of the black, indigenous ethnicities of Africa, but post-Apartheid white people have also trained as sangomas. John Lockley is reputedly one of the first white men in recent history to become a fully initiated sangoma is the Xhosa lineage of South Africa."

Given that white sangomas make up an insignificant proportion of sangomas, the discussion of white sangomas at this overview level of description of a sangoma is redundant. I am replacing the references to John Lockley & white sangomas on this page as it already has a section for discussion on the article on sangomas. I am replacing the reference to white sangomas with a general sangoma belief in the ancestors and overview of a sangoma. Mycelium101 (talk) 09:40, 12 May 2012 (UTC)

"the sangoma role was the preserve of the black, indigenous ethnicities of Africa..," I have issue with this. Its a sweeping generalization and I think alot of is one's own assertion. Perhaps maybe even revisionism. First of all the Zulus were often at war with neighbouring tribes (eg the Ndwandwe-Nguni people. The Battle of Gqokli Hill, on the Mfolozi river for instance). Various eyewitness accounts can be found with the rise of Shaka Zulu. Second of all there was no cohesion among many indigenous ethnicities of Africa. Differences between languages, customs, cultures, religions etc. Not to mention many had no knowledge of the existence of other indigenious ethnicities far away from their territorial regions. Africa is not an ethnic group.


Henry123ifa (talk) 17:01, 26 May 2012 (UTC)

Please help populate new cat: Category:Shamanistic music[edit]

I recently wrote an article on the kaco, a frame drum used by the shamans of the Sakhalin Ainu people. There appeared to be no clear cat in which to put ritual musical instruments used in shamanism so I created Category:Shamanistic music. Thanks for any help in refining and/or populating this cat. MatthewVanitas (talk) 19:03, 6 July 2012 (UTC)

Deleted paragraph re two-spirit people[edit]

This needs references before it can be restored. I'm particularly sceptical about the "genes for transgendered (sic) individuals" sentence given the current lack of knowledge about the causes of transsexualism. Also, I'm concerned about the relationship implied between two-spirit people and shamanism. Note that the Two-Spirit article doesn't mention shamanism at all. --Pontificalibus (talk) 07:38, 13 September 2012 (UTC)

Inappropriately removed sentence. The sentence should be rewritten to represent faithfully the reputable sources.[edit]

The following sentence was inappropriately removed in this edit:

I suggest the following points should be considered in rewriting the above inappropriately removed sentence.

1) Robert Sapolsky is a respected source for the origins of shamanism.

2) We might refer to Robert Sapolsky's book The Trouble with Testosterone, pp. 248-255, for a useful and accurate summary of anthropological data and hypotheses on the origins of shamanism.

3) On-line excerpts of Robert Sapolsky's book The Trouble with Testosterone can be found at this link.

4) Schizotypal is the appropriate neuroscience label for the gene trait that is the most likely origin of the shaman's power.

5) I copy for you the following quote from Robert Sapolsky's book The Trouble with Testosterone . . . at page 250.

  • (at 250). Rather, there are rules as to how shamans go about being psychiatrically unruly. Kroeber discussed how in endless cultures, young individuals are recognized by the established shamans as showing the first signs of the hallucinations and psychoses and are thereafter trained in the particular patterns of shamanistic experience in that culture. Thus, the schizotypal traits are channeled and standardized.

Feel free to put back in the inappropriately removed sentence if you see a graceful way to do it. I will get back to this when I have more time. Thanks.

--- Rednblu (talk) 00:06, 6 May 2013 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done Andrewaskew (talk) 04:26, 6 May 2013 (UTC)


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