THE SHAMAN by Piers Vitebsky (9780333638477)
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The shaman occupies a key role as a healer mediating between the world of the living and the world of the spirits in many cultures, from Siberia to the Amazon. The concept of shamanism is also becoming of interest to practitioners of alternative medicine and new religions. Themes explored in this book include visions, initiation rites, shamanic chants, soul journeys, shamanism and mental health, the shamanic use of plants, and the political and social background to the shaman’s work, from the Stone Age to post-Communist Russia. Also covered are the links between the shaman’s sense of the unity of nature and the recent growth of ecological awareness in Western societies. Vitebsky is the author of “Dialogues with the Dead” which examines female shamans in India and compares them to Western psychoanalysts.