Video Commentaries

What is a Shaman?

“Techniques of ecstasy” is how Mircea Eliade defined “shamanism” in his book entitled Shamanism, first published in English in 1964 (in French in 1951). I found such a definition to be really inaccurate and inadequate relative to my experience with Native American medicinepeople (shamans). The video commentary below presents my definition/characterization of a “shaman.” Focusing on the “unseen” energetic abilities of a shaman, I downplay the external behavior, especially as it is expressed in ceremonies. In this commentary I suggest Carlos Castaneda was not a shaman though a good fictional writer. I also examine the popular form of contemporary shamanism known as journeying.

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