An Encyclopedia of Shamanism: N-Z by Christina Pratt

By Christina Pratt

Shamanism may be outlined because the perform of initiated shamans who're wonderful by means of their mastery of quite a number altered states of recognition. Shamanism arises from the activities the shaman takes in non-ordinary truth and the result of these activities in traditional truth. it isn't a faith, but it calls for non secular self-discipline and private sacrifice from the mature shaman who seeks the top phases of mystical improvement.

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Plateau Experiences The qualities of plateau experiences are known completely, without linear thought, throughout the entire being. In short, they are grokked. The following are the defining qualities of plateau experiences. They are shared by peak experiences: 1. The entire universe is perceived of as an integrated and unified Whole in which the individual recognizes his or her place within that Whole. 2. The quality and quantity of concentration is greater and more focused, resulting in enhanced perception of total sight, sound, and feeling.

In contrast, the state of possession used by the shaman is intentional and controlled. The shaman controls the entry into, duration of, and exit from the altered state. It is induced to serve a particular purpose in the healing ritual and the shaman is able to direct the trance experience toward that purpose. This state of intentional, controlled possession is spirit embodiment. There is an intermediate state of possession which is uncontrolled but intentional and usually induced in a ritual context.

Although the importance of peyote as an entheogen varies among the peoples who use it, the dancing does not vary in importance to the traditional ritual. The Cora, for example, begin by clearing and sweeping a space large enough for all the men and women who will dance. The “leader of the singing” is seated in the center with the lead musician and each of their assistants. Peyote is consumed by all who participate. A tray of peyote and a peyote drink are prepared for the dancers. The dancers dance around the circle or in place marking time with their feet.

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