A distinguished anthropologist–who is also an initiated shaman–reveals the long-hidden female roots of the world’s oldest form of religion and medicine. Here is a fascinating expedition into this ancient tradition, from its prehistoric beginnings to the work of women shamans across the globe today. Shamanism was not only humankind’s first spiritual and healing practice, it was originally the domain of women. This is the claim of Barbara Tedlock’s provocative and myth-shattering book. Reinterpreting generations of scholarship, Tedlock–herself an expert in dreamwork, divination, and healing–explains how and why the role of women in shamanism was misinterpreted and suppressed, and offers a dazzling array of evidence, from prehistoric African rock art to modern Mongolian ceremonies, for women’s shamanic powers. Tedlock combines firsthand accounts of her own training among the Maya of Guatemala with the rich record of women warriors and hunters, spiritual guides, and prophets from many cultures and times. Probing the practices that distinguish female shamanism from the much better known male traditions, she reveals: • The key role of body wisdom and women’s eroticism in shamanic trance and ecstasy • The female forms of dream witnessing, vision questing, and use of hallucinogenic drugs • Shamanic midwifery and the spiritual powers released in childbirth and monthly female cycles • Shamanic symbolism in weaving and other feminine arts • Gender shifting and male-female partnership in shamanic practice Filled with illuminating stories and illustrations, The Woman in the Shaman’s Body restores women to their essential place in the history of spirituality and celebrates their continuing role in the worldwide resurgence of shamanism today. From the Hardcover edition.
Shamanism can be defined as the practice of initiated shamans who are distinguished by their mastery of a range of altered states of consciousness. Shamanism arises from the actions the shaman takes in non-ordinary reality and the results of those actions in ordinary reality. It is not a religion, yet it demands spiritual discipline and personal sacrifice from the mature shaman who seeks the highest stages of mystical development.
Drawing on anthropologist Ana Mariella Bacigalupo's fifteen years of field research, Shamans of the Foye Tree: Gender, Power, and Healing among Chilean Mapuche is the first study to follow shamans' gender identities and performance in a variety of ritual, social, sexual, and political contexts. To Mapuche shamans, or machi, the foye tree is of special importance, not only for its medicinal qualities but also because of its hermaphroditic flowers, which reflect the gender-shifting components of machi healing practices. Framed by the cultural constructions of gender and identity, Bacigalupo's fascinating findings span the ways in which the Chilean state stigmatizes the machi as witches and sexual deviants; how shamans use paradoxical discourses about gender to legitimatize themselves as healers and, at the same time, as modern men and women; the tree's political use as a symbol of resistance to national ideologies; and other components of these rich traditions. The first comprehensive study on Mapuche shamans' gendered practices, Shamans of the Foye Tree offers new perspectives on this crucial intersection of spiritual, social, and political power.
Interweaving feminist theological ideas, Asian spirituality, and the witnesses of World War II sex slaves, this book offers a new theology of body. It examines the multi-layered meaning of the broken body of Christ from Christological, sacramental, and ecclesiological perspectives, while exploring the centrality of body in theological discourse.
Shamanism is one of the earliest and farthest-reaching magical and religious traditions, vestiges of which still underlie the major religious faiths of the modern world. The function of the shaman is to show his or her people the unseen powers behind the mere appearances of nature, as experienced through intuition, in trance states, or during ecstatic mystical visions. Shamans possess healing powers, communicate with the dead and the world beyond, and influence the weather and movements of hunting animals. The psychological exaltation of shamanism trance states is similar to the ecstasies of Yogis, Christian mystics and dervishes. Shamanism: An Introduction traces the development of shamanism in its many fascinating global manifestations. Looking at shamanic practices from Siberia to China and beyond, it provides an accessible guide to one of the world's most ancient, notorious and frequently misrepresented spiritual traditions. Placing special emphasis on the climate, geographic and cultural pressures under which shanic customs arose and continue to be observed, Margaret Stutley summarizes and clearly explains the logic of a faith whose fantastical elements hold a special place in popular imagination.
All intellectuals driven by nationalist sentiments directly or indirectly are always preoccupied with searching for the most ancient roots of their budding nations in order to ground their compatriots in particular soil and to make them more indigenous (Znamenski, 2007, p.28). In Chechnya, as in the neighbouring countries of Georgia and Armenia, these roots lie in shamanism and the stories in this collection clearly show this to be the case. The history of the Nokhchii (the name the Chechens have given themselves), and their land, is filled with rich and colourful stories, which have survived for thousands of years through oral traditions that have been passed down generation by generation through clan elders. However, legends have blended with actual events so that the true history is difficult to write. The 1994-1996 war destroyed most of Chechnya's treasured archaeological and historical sites, though fortunately ancient burial sites, architectural monuments and several prehistoric cave petroglyphs still remain in the mountains. These valuable relics, coupled with the histories and stories of the elders, provide the people with virtually the only remaining evidence of who their ancient ancestors were. This book contains both the texts of some of the tales and commentaries on them, focusing in particular on their shamanic elements.
This exceptionally well-written book is good reading, not only for specialists but also for beginning students interested in women, Korean culture, and shamanism. Journal of Asian Studies Kendall maintains a closeness with and respect for her subject that keeps away the chill of academic distance and yet avoids sentimentality. Korean Quarterly, Spring 2001