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Shamanism/Indigenous Peoples
Record Type: Review   ID: 996

The Way of the Shaman: A Guide to Power and Healing

Harner, Michael

 The author, both an anthropologist and a shaman, having been initiated by the Jivaro in South America, has drawn on the worldwide literature of shamanism to supplement his firsthand experience and attempts to introduce Westerners to the practice. He defines a shaman as "a man or woman who enters an altered state of consciousness at will to contact and utilize an ordinarily hidden reality in order to acquire knowledge, power, and to help other persons. The shaman has at least one, and usually more, ‘spirits’ in his personal service" (p. 20). The shamanic state of consciousness is ecstatic, and according to Mircea Eliade is characterized by being a "trance during which his [or hen soul is believed to leave his [or hen body and ascend to the sky or descend to the underworld" (p. 21). Harner points out that shamans are healers, able to see into the past, present, and future on behalf of others, and may engage in clairvoyance. He describes guardian spirit journeys, and notes that they often involve synchronistic happenings. A number of healing techniques are described including the healing of’ persons at a distance. He stresses the compatibility between holistic health principles and shamanic healing methods. Perhaps the shaman is uniquely qualified among the practitioners of the healing arts to "give the doctor inside a chance to go to work" (p. 1351).
Publisher Information:San Francisco, CA: Harper & Row, 1980. 167p. Bibliography: 154-161; Chapter notes; 10 figures; 8 illustrations; Index: 163-166
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