Main CategoriesShamanism and EntheogensIndigenous Shamanism and Anthropology Shamans Through Time

Shamans Through Time

Product no.: 1-58542-362-9
A survey of five centuries of writings on the world's great shamans - the tricksters, sorcerers, conjurers and healers who have fascinated observers for centuries.

Product is in stock

Additional product information

Publisher's Synopsis
This collection of essays traces Western civilization's struggle to interpret and understand the ancient knowledge of cultures that revere magic men and women - individuals with the power to summon spirits. As written by priests, explorers, adventurers, natural historians, and anthropologists, the pieces express the wonder of strangers in new worlds.

Shamans Through Time is a rare chronicle of changing attitudes toward that which is strange and unfamiliar. With essays by such acclaimed thinkers as Claude Lévi-Strauss, Black Elk, Carlos Castaneda, and Frank Boas, it provides an awesome glimpse into the incredible shamanic practices of cultures around the world.

"Surprisingly little appears to have changed in shamanic practices throughout the world in the last 500 years. Most rely on plant hallucinogens to communicate with otherworldly spirits for guidance and for enhanced perceptions of diseases and the identities of enemies. And most can choose whether to direct their energies for good or for evil purposes, an ability that provoked much hostility among their early observers.

Scholarly treatments of shamanism, however, have changed dramatically over the centuries. In this excellent volume, anthropologists Narby (The Cosmic Serpent) and Huxley (Affable Savages) have collected observations about and interviews with shamans from more than 60 missionaries, botanists, anthropologists, ethnographers and psychologists spanning from 1535 to 2000."        ~Publishers Weekly

In the early sixteenth century, Spanish navigator and natural historian Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo described old men using tobacco to communicate with spirits among the indigenous inhabitants of Hispaniola (the island currently comprising Haiti and the Dominican Republic). Oviedo, who wrote in Spanish, did not use the word shaman, which would come from Russia later. By the time Oviedo published his book in 1535, the island's indigenous inhabitants had mostly been exterminated. This explains why Oviedo referred to them in the past tense.

"Among other vices, the Indians of this island had a very evil one which consists of taking a smoke they call tabaco, in order to get out of their minds..."

Editor Narby, Jeremy
Coeditor Huxley, Francis
Book Type Trade Paperback
Page Count 321 pp.
Publisher Tarcher/Penguin 2004
Browse these categories as well: Indigenous Shamanism and Anthropology, Kahunas, Native Priests and Pantheism, Neoshamanism and Entheogenic Healing, Medicine Men and Crazy Heyokas, Toltec Sorcery and Nagualism, Noteworthy Releases 2004

We also recommend