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SHAMANISM IN THE MODERN WORLD
Shamanism today. Shaman practices in the modern worldShamanic practice continues across the world and there is a growing revival of interest in Shamanism in many of the western countries.
Different forms of shamanism are found around the world, and practitioners are also known as medicine men or women, and witch doctors. It has been especially common among circumpolar peoples.
Many Westerners also claim to be shamans. If a self-described shaman isn't speaking of a Tungusic-speaking ethnic group, he or she is probably a huckster preying on New Age followers. Most commonly they will claim Cherokee or Sioux ancestry, the former because Cherokee ancestors are a common story in one's genealogy, and the latter because of all the Westerns, especially Dances with Wolves. The risk for studying under such people varies from simply losing money to rape and even death in an ill-fated sweat lodge. For Indians, the danger is that their voices will be drowned out by self-styled "shamans"; in fact, Lynn Andrews has sold more books than all Indian authors put together.
Core ShamanismMichael Harner synthesized shamanic beliefs and practices from all over the world into a system now known as core shamanism or neoshamanism. It does not hold a fixed belief system, but focuses on the practice of trance travel and may on an individual basis integrate indigenous shamanism, the teachings of Carlos Castaneda and other spiritualities. It is popular within the New Age movement and Neopagan communities.
Specific practices include the use of rapid drumming to attain the SSC or Shamanic State of Consciousness, communication with power animals, and ritual dance. Those who practice core shamanism do not usually refer to themselves as shamans, preferring "shamanic practitioner" out of respect for indigenous peoples. Core shamanic practitioners are usually very careful to avoid ethnocentrism or cultural imperialism.
Recommended Shamanism Reading and Links
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