from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. The animistic religion of certain peoples of northern Asia in which mediation between the visible and spirit worlds is effected by shamans.
- n. A similar religion or set of beliefs, especially among certain Native American peoples.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- proper n. a range of traditional beliefs and practices concerned with communication with the spirit world
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. The type of religion which once prevalied among all the Ural-Altaic peoples (Tungusic, Mongol, and Turkish), and which still survives in various parts of Northern Asia. The Shaman, or wizard priest, deals with good as well as with evil spirits, especially the good spirits of ancestors.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A general name applied to the idolatrous religions of a number of barbarous nations, comprehending those of the Finnish race, as the Ostiaks, Samoyeds, and other inhabitants of Siberia as far as the Pacific Ocean.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. any animistic religion similar to Asian shamanism (especially as practiced by certain Native American tribes)
- n. an animistic religion of northern Asia having the belief that the mediation between the visible and the spirit worlds is effected by shamans
While rituals and paraphernalia may differ somewhat from one place to another, shamanism is one of the earliest forms of religious experience.
One characteristic feature of shamanism is the "out-of-body" experience, in which the shaman leaves his or her physical body in the material world while the spiritual body travels to the spirit world in search of transcendental knowledge to bring back to the people.
A vitally important aspect of the practice of shamanism is understanding right relationship with power, and the acts and implements of power, such as sage, ceder, feathers, the drum, ceremony, disincarnate spirits, totem animals and allies.
And the shaman -- I did a whole series on shamanism, which is a-- an interesting phenomenon.
This knowledge has been available within various wisdom traditions (such as shamanism and occult and mystery schools) yet kept out of the public domain.
For the record, I'm a Pagan myself, so I'm intimately familiar with Wicca, New Ageism, Native American "shamanism" a misnomer et al.
One untutored, or extremely lazy, might possibly even dispense with that much after a time and play directly with the raw forces, a kind of shamanism, as opposed to the Higher Magic's purity-like that of a balanced equation-producing a maximum effect from a minimum of effort.
I wonder how easily will people be able to use this as their only device and never have to use a computer using a regular operating system with all the issues and 'shamanism' required to run one?
The bibliography that follows is a copy of the listing for books found in the U S Library of Congress Catalog under the heading of "shamanism".
I used the S-word in a column last week ( "shamanism"), and received from my readers so many puzzled queries that I will now try to explain myself further.
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