The first Goddess
     What Makes Us Human
Cooking
Chattering
Telling Time
The Menopause
Division of Tasks
Choosing to Create Life
     Shamanism and Revelation
     Sex, Sexuality and Social Structure
Contemporary Examples
Polyamory
Moving Inland

Ongoing Research


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  The Foragers

Shamanism and Revelation

In Shamanism, Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy, Princeton University Press 1972, Mircea Eliade writes: A first definition of this complex phenomenon, and perhaps the least hazardous, will be: shamanism = 'technique of religious ecstasy'.

a modern-day shaman
Shamans, Masters of Ecstasy. by David Stern, Photograph by Carolyn Drake.

This article, from National Geographic, provides an opportunity to observe a modern Mongolian shaman. Along with a vivid description of the event observed, Stern says this: "The word “shaman” comes from the Evenki, a Siberian people, but shamans can be found in practically every corner of the planet—including in shamanic centers now in London, Boston, and many other Western cities. Shamans believe that unseen spirits permeate the world around us, act upon us, and govern our fates. By turns doctors, priests, mystics, psychologists, village elders, oracles, and poets, they are the designated negotiators with this hidden reality, and they occupy an exalted position within their societies." Read the article.

Psychologist Anthony Bossis: Can psychedelic drugs help ease the fear of death? Without actually calling it shamanism (but with reference to ancient mystics and their use of 'sacraments') psychologist Anthony Bossis talks with Mary Hynes on CBC's Tapestry program, March 12, 2015. Listen to the interview to get a taste of what that shamanistic experience might be like.

The New Yorker Magazine also ran an article about this. Annals of Mdicine | February 9, 2015 issue. The Trip Treatment: Research into psychedelics, shut down for decades, is now yielding exciting results. By Michael Pollan. "Psilocybin may be useful in treating anxiety, addiction and depression, and in studying the neurobiology of mysical experience." Read the article.

Magic in Anglo-Saxon England June 2015. Carolyn Emerick. "In Germanic societies women held special status as practitioners of magic. In general, women in the broader Northern European culture held a remarkably higher position than their Mediterranean sisters, and magic was one sphere in which they dominated." Read more...