To support a learning environment for this board, it has been suggested by a longtime Beliefnet member that this board adopt an 'official working definition' of shaman/shamanism.
To that end, be it right or be it wrong, here is said ‘definition’ (such as it is) ...
Those who participate here, as well as those who might benefit from participating here, can answer yes to at least one of the following three questions ... and they might have interest to explore how to learn to say yes to the others.
These then are the three questions...
1. Can you access NOR* (the method of acquisition is unimportant)? 2. Can you retrieve from NOR and bring back to OR* information useful to either yourself or to another? 3. Have you witnessed fruits of such information manifest enough to impact OR?
*NOR – non-ordinary reality OR – ordinary reality
The more yes answers a person gives, the stronger is the likelihood that that person experiences shamanic tendencies.
Finally... this forum is a multi-faith, mutual learning community, Since past history shows that debate here tends to get heated and does not promote learning, let it be known that disagreement with and debate over the above criteria will not be tolerated on this board – Further, all posts and/or threads violating these local guidelines will be subject to relocation at any given time –
However, and at the same time, all are sincerely invited to post such discussions in the Shamanism Debate Forum.
Lastly, questions and/or comments are welcomed, so if you have any, click here to access the “Taking all questions/comments...” thread.
Quoting Piers Vitebsky in The Shaman, “the word ‘shaman’ comes from the language of the Evenk, a small Tungus-speaking group of hunters and reindeer herbers in Siberia. It was first used only to designate a religious specialist from this region. By the beginning the the 20th century it was already being applied to...[cultures outside Siberia].”
And by the beginning of the 21st century,, the terms shaman and shamanism have been stripped altogether of their original identity with Siberia, to be applied to the cross-cultural phenomena of walking between two worlds, between this world and the spirit world, between Castaneda’s ordinary reality (OR) and non-ordinary reality (NOR), between Harner’s OSC (ordinary state of consciousness) and his SSC (shamanic state of consciousness), between the dreamtime and the awaketime, between sanity and insanity ..
And different though these terms and phrases may be according to their cultural and linguistic origins, they all essentially refer to the same place/destination/objective/perspective ...
Quoting Michael Harner in The Way of the Shaman: “The widespread similarities in shamanic methods and beliefs throughout much of the world have been extensively documented by [Mircea]Eliade in his classic work, Shamanism.” Harner also tells us that, “In addition ...to the famed shamanic journey ... [there are] nonjourneying methods through which one maintains and improves personal power.”
This seems to clarify a previous point of contention in this forum, that ‘the famed...journey’ is not a universal requirement of shamanism.