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sionnach
23 Aug 2015, 20:54
I do not like the term Shamanism. It was borrowed ( stolen if you like ) to describe and altered state of consciousness in a religious ritual of the Tungusic tribe where a Shaman would use the altered state of consciousness in their religious act. Anthropologists identified similar activity across the world and in all probability in the ancient Germanic and Celtic world. But they should have kept it as altered state of consciousness with the associate pattern for each particular group. Using the word Shaman was a mistake as it became seen as something you could be. I believe we can use altered states of consciousness but that does not make everyone a Shaman. Now I have seen psychologists offering classes to become a Shaman to help you patients by calling on their guiding spirits. You pay for the classes and books and in only a few weeks you to can become a Shaman to help others. Sorry but it was a mistake to apply the word the way it was instead of just describing the technique with the explanation that it is in association with other ritual practices specific to each tribal beliefs.

Medusa
23 Aug 2015, 21:17
uhoh........

Rae'ya
24 Aug 2015, 00:13
uhoh........

Technically, he's mostly correct.

At the very least we should actually say 'neoshamanism'. It's one of the major points of dissention amongst the neoshamanist community. Trust me... shamanists have argued this point FAR more than non-shamanists have.

thalassa
24 Aug 2015, 08:03
Technically, he's mostly correct.

At the very least we should actually say 'neoshamanism'. It's one of the major points of dissention amongst the neoshamanist community. Trust me... shamanists have argued this point FAR more than non-shamanists have.


I think of it like this: What do Kleenex, Band-aids, Tylenon, Motrin, Xerox, and Coke (among others) have in common? Here in the US, the brand name isn't necessairly used to indicate the brand name per se, but the entire product--tissues, peel and stick bandages, acetomenophen, ibuprophen, copy machines, and soda. (These are pretty US specific brands so it may not translate exactly)

English is a borrowing language. There's no handy word in our language for the phenomenon we've organically "decided" to call "Shamanism" after the actual Shaman of a specific culture, so we borrowed the term. Sort of like beserk from beserkers and ninja-ing something from ninjas and assassins... I don't have a problem with the evolution of language in this manner--borrowing terminology from other languages to describe something your own language has no word for is pretty universal. It would be different (IMO) if we already had a word that filled this function.

monsno_leedra
24 Aug 2015, 10:16
I think of it like this: What do Kleenex, Band-aids, Tylenon, Motrin, Xerox, and Coke (among others) have in common? Here in the US, the brand name isn't necessairly used to indicate the brand name per se, but the entire product--tissues, peel and stick bandages, acetomenophen, ibuprophen, copy machines, and soda. (These are pretty US specific brands so it may not translate exactly)

English is a borrowing language. There's no handy word in our language for the phenomenon we've organically "decided" to call "Shamanism" after the actual Shaman of a specific culture, so we borrowed the term. Sort of like beserk from beserkers and ninja-ing something from ninjas and assassins... I don't have a problem with the evolution of language in this manner--borrowing terminology from other languages to describe something your own language has no word for is pretty universal. It would be different (IMO) if we already had a word that filled this function.

I think the idea of borrowing is both true and false regarding Shaman and Shamanism. Figure the early anthropologist started using Shaman and Shamanism as an academic word to group similar concepts together. Didn't matter if the group being observed had unique words for the practice or not. However, today within academia it is more frowned on than accepted. In that regards it is the same as Totemism and how it to is equally frowned upon.

The problem I think lies within the pagan community itself. Many within what might be recognized as shamanic like practices tend to use neo-shamanism or distance themselves from Shamanism as a title all together. Yet the general pagan community found it as a buzz word and now it's used in such a broad sense that it means nothing really.

In that regard it has little to do with being introduced into English as a concept other than a new buzz word or filler material for the many 101 books that sought out something new to make them different. In some regards no different than the English academic notion of "Medicine" and how it was equated to North American supposed shamanic practices. So today you see the word medicine frequently used with totems, power animals, spirit animals and guides, etc.

Not because of being introduced into general language but because some author tried to add an extra buzz word and the academic definition is implied even though not used. In comparison I think it not much different than the current infusion of "Tulpa" as a word for though constructs that has taken hold. It was found to be foreign and added a mystical aspect that Though Form or construct didn't have. Yet they are the same thing.

Rae'ya
24 Aug 2015, 18:01
There's no handy word in our language for the phenomenon we've organically "decided" to call "Shamanism" after the actual Shaman of a specific culture, so we borrowed the term. Sort of like beserk from beserkers and ninja-ing something from ninjas and assassins... I don't have a problem with the evolution of language in this manner--borrowing terminology from other languages to describe something your own language has no word for is pretty universal. It would be different (IMO) if we already had a word that filled this function.

While I agree with your general premise, this is not entirely accurate.

We actually have hundreds of words for 'shaman'... each form of shamanism has it's own terminology from within that culture to describe both it's practices and it's practitioners. Even if we look at a purely English practice, the term 'hedgerider' describes an English folk 'shamanist'.

Michael Harner is responsible for bringing the buzzword 'shamanism' into the neopagan community. I don't deny that it's a useful term which helps neoshamanists recognise each other... and it's certainly useful for helping non shamanists understand what it is that we do. But the ONLY shamanic practice that doesn't have it's own terminology is core-shamanism, as popularised by Harner.

B. de Corbin
24 Aug 2015, 19:47
While I agree with your general premise, this is not entirely accurate.

We actually have hundreds of words for 'shaman'... each form of shamanism has it's own terminology from within that culture to describe both it's practices and it's practitioners. Even if we look at a purely English practice, the term 'hedgerider' describes an English folk 'shamanist'.

Michael Harner is responsible for bringing the buzzword 'shamanism' into the neopagan community. I don't deny that it's a useful term which helps neoshamanists recognise each other... and it's certainly useful for helping non shamanists understand what it is that we do. But the ONLY shamanic practice that doesn't have it's own terminology is core-shamanism, as popularised by Harner.

I think, because of the specific examples used, Thalassa was referring to a general, generic term for a set of items with certain elements in common. The "...hundreds of words for 'shaman'... each form of shamanism has it's own terminology from within that culture to describe both it's practices and it's practitioners" is specific. Useful for a specialist or an anthropologist (who would already be using those terms), but not particularly useful in general conversation where the average person would not be expected to know (or need to use) the specific, technical term.

Rae'ya
24 Aug 2015, 20:13
I think, because of the specific examples used, Thalassa was referring to a general, generic term for a set of items with certain elements in common. The "...hundreds of words for 'shaman'... each form of shamanism has it's own terminology from within that culture to describe both it's practices and it's practitioners" is specific. Useful for a specialist or an anthropologist (who would already be using those terms), but not particularly useful in general conversation where the average person would not be expected to know (or need to use) the specific, technical term.

Which is exactly why I agree with the general premise and think that it's a useful term for helping neopagans know what we're talking about. :)

But that doesn't change that fact that the statement that we have no existing terminology and therefore had to borrow it is not entirely accurate. If you take away core-shamanism, the term 'shamanism' is not one that is particularly useful or accurate to traditional or extant practices. Before Harner popularised core-shamanism and the buzz word (to borrow MonSno's wording) spread within the neopagan community, people used the term that was specific to their practice. It wasn't until core-shamanism that we actually required a word that described a more general concept of these practices... because it wasn't until core-shamanism that we had a non-specific set of practices that were removed from their cultural context (and therefore removed from their original cultural terms).

Obviously, I use the terms 'shamanism' and 'shamanist' myself... they are useful terms within the modern neopagan community. But I am also very aware of the history of the terminology and of the controversy within the neoshamanic community. The reality is that the terms are now ingrained within our modern neopagan usage, and I don't necessarily think that should change.

monsno_leedra
24 Aug 2015, 21:15
Which is exactly why I agree with the general premise and think that it's a useful term for helping neopagans know what we're talking about. :)

But that doesn't change that fact that the statement that we have no existing terminology and therefore had to borrow it is not entirely accurate. If you take away core-shamanism, the term 'shamanism' is not one that is particularly useful or accurate to traditional or extant practices. Before Harner popularised core-shamanism and the buzz word (to borrow MonSno's wording) spread within the neopagan community, people used the term that was specific to their practice. It wasn't until core-shamanism that we actually required a word that described a more general concept of these practices... because it wasn't until core-shamanism that we had a non-specific set of practices that were removed from their cultural context (and therefore removed from their original cultural terms).

Obviously, I use the terms 'shamanism' and 'shamanist' myself... they are useful terms within the modern neopagan community. But I am also very aware of the history of the terminology and of the controversy within the neoshamanic community. The reality is that the terms are now ingrained within our modern neopagan usage, and I don't necessarily think that should change.

I agree that it has become a term now ingrained in modern neopaganism I just wish it hadn't become so broadly defined by it. It's such a cover or generic term now days that it's not much different than how Wicca has become a generic term for any practice that even faintly resembles certain perspectives and assumed applications. You could place a whole dam full of definitions or presumptions of what a person means behind that wall now regarding what a person means when they say shamanic like practices or procedures.

SonoftheWaters
24 Aug 2015, 22:15
You know, I have been studying a very long time and this argument on Shamanism/Shaman being the correct term or not has been coming up only over the last few years, what does it matter if it gets the message across? I grew up on the Res and all the shamans and elders I have ever talked to just said shaman unless they were speaking their native tongue, which most don't anymore, this goes for the ones in Alaska and the ones in Oklahoma. Where did this argument really come from in the first place?

thalassa
25 Aug 2015, 03:03
But that doesn't change that fact that the statement that we have no existing terminology and therefore had to borrow it is not entirely accurate. If you take away core-shamanism, the term 'shamanism' is not one that is particularly useful or accurate to traditional or extant practices. Before Harner popularised core-shamanism and the buzz word (to borrow MonSno's wording) spread within the neopagan community, people used the term that was specific to their practice.


I got shamanism from anthropology class---we had to read Mircea Eliade's Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstacy. I'd never heard of Michael Harner until I started hanging out around here.

B. de Corbin
25 Aug 2015, 03:10
?..Before Harner popularised core-shamanism and the buzz word (to borrow MonSno's wording) spread within the neopagan community, people used the term that was specific to their practice. It wasn't until core-shamanism that we actually required a word that described a more general concept of these practices... because it wasn't until core-shamanism that we had a non-specific set of practices that were removed from their cultural context (and therefore removed from their original cultural terms)...

In that case, I would like to suggest that developing a general term for a category of practices indicates an advance in knowledge - the realization that a wide variety of practices from a multitude of cultures share a set of similar traits.

In many ways this is a meaningful discovery. It tells us something about how the mind/brain operates and about how it processes certain types ineffable experience, for example.

Terms for categories do not harm specific instances in a well ordered brain. What they do is open new avenues for exploration.

Rae'ya
25 Aug 2015, 06:05
I got shamanism from anthropology class---we had to read Mircea Eliade's Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstacy. I'd never heard of Michael Harner until I started hanging out around here.

Then you got it from an anthropologist, and Monsno has already pointed out the controversy over the term in modern academia. You should then have also read the actual traditional terms for these practices and practitioners (I've read Eliade too and his is the comprehensive of the academic texts on my shelf). Michael Harner was an anthropologist long before he was the father of core-shamanism, and it was his academic background that's responsible for his appropriation of the term.

I'd like to point out again that I'm not disputing the use of the term, nor the validity of using the term (which would frankly be hypocritical of me)... just the idea that we don't already have terms for those practices and practioners. You said that 'it would be different if we already had a word for it'... well we do. We don't have a word for core-shamanism (which is what I was getting at bringing Harner into it) but we have plenty of words for indigenous and traditional forms of shamanism and shamans (extant and otherwise).

Rae'ya
25 Aug 2015, 06:19
In that case, I would like to suggest that developing a general term for a category of practices indicates an advance in knowledge - the realization that a wide variety of practices from a multitude of cultures share a set of similar traits.

In many ways this is a meaningful discovery. It tells us something about how the mind/brain operates and about how it processes certain types ineffable experience, for example.

Terms for categories do not harm specific instances in a well ordered brain. What they do is open new avenues for exploration.

Of course it's a meaningful discovery, and of course it represents an advance in knowledge. I'll never dispute that.

The contoversy over the term lies in the fact that the Tungus speaking people from whom the word 'shaman' was borrowed (the Evenks peoples) are an extant culture with a living, breathing shamanic tradition. Technically, us using the term 'shaman' is no different to us using the term 'Sun Dance' to describe a non Lakota ritual. Cultural appropriation is considered harmful if it involves a living culture.. but no one seems to care about that in respect to shamanism as a term, perhaps because the shamans of Siberia and northern Asia aren't here to point it out.

And yes, at this point I'm pretty much playing Devil's Advocate. I use the terms, but I'm acutely aware of the hypocrisy of that coming from a person who is sensitive to cultural appropriation. I wish we had another term to use to describe these techniques when stripped of their cultural context, but I'm enough of a realist to accept that we never will. It's part of modern usage, and even if academia manages to reverse the trend within anthropology, the neopagan community never will.

thalassa
25 Aug 2015, 06:20
Then you got it from an anthropologist, and Monsno has already pointed out the controversy over the term in modern academia. You should then have also read the actual traditional terms for these practices and practitioners (I've read Eliade too and his is the comprehensive of the academic texts on my shelf). Michael Harner was an anthropologist long before he was the father of core-shamanism, and it was his academic background that's responsible for his appropriation of the term.

I'd like to point out again that I'm not disputing the use of the term, nor the validity of using the term (which would frankly be hypocritical of me)... just the idea that we don't already have terms for those practices and practioners. You said that 'it would be different if we already had a word for it'... well we do. We don't have a word for core-shamanism (which is what I was getting at bringing Harner into it) but we have plenty of words for indigenous and traditional forms of shamanism and shamans (extant and otherwise).

What word do we have for it? What word has a strong history in the English language that is specific to describe shamansim as a trans cultural phenomenon?

Rae'ya
25 Aug 2015, 06:36
What word do we have for it? What word has a strong history in the English language that is specific to describe shamansim as a trans cultural phenomenon?

Spirit worker. Spiritual healer. Witch doctor. Medicine man. Cunning man. Hedgerider.

Most of which were terms used by anthropologists before the term 'shaman' became common in academia.

monsno_leedra
25 Aug 2015, 07:19
In that case, I would like to suggest that developing a general term for a category of practices indicates an advance in knowledge - the realization that a wide variety of practices from a multitude of cultures share a set of similar traits.

In many ways this is a meaningful discovery. It tells us something about how the mind/brain operates and about how it processes certain types ineffable experience, for example.

Terms for categories do not harm specific instances in a well ordered brain. What they do is open new avenues for exploration.

I'd agree to a certain level but then it begins to detract and to my perspective actually reduce vice enhance. Placed in an academic setting and using identifiable and repeatable comparison's I think it can be a valuable tool. Yet once it passes from academia into general usage then it becomes what ever a person wants it to be or believes it to be. Academic Shamanism is often a far cry from how the pagan community in general defines the word much less utilizes it.

Figure within the general pagan community it's hard enough to get a usable definition of things like "Witchcraft", "Wicca", etc when the belief and implied accepted practice is it's what ever you want it to be. So Shamanism becomes conflated with Totemism, Animism, Animatism, and a hundred other "ism's" I can't even think of right now. That doesn't even touch the cultural or ethnic practices that are lumped under it because people think they are close enough such as Hedge Rider, Medicine Person, Berserker (in part how it is used in Nordic beliefs), Skin Walker (not in the Navajo concept) and thousands of other words.

That misinformation I think one of the leading causes of Shamanism within the pagan community being so strongly equated to "Healing" when culturally that was just a small portion of how those things were applied or utilized. Tending to outright ignore the many fertility / fecundity aspects, ignoring the warrior clan aspects of battle and death, ignoring the religious supporting aspect. Figure consider Shamanism is normally a practice not a spiritual pathway as the Shaman follows the spirituality of his / her people and uses the otherwords to aide and assist not to be a spiritual belief of their own.

It's become so corrupt that in many instances it's referred to plastic shamanism or white shamanism in a derogatory usage.

- - - Updated - - -


Spirit worker. Spiritual healer. Witch doctor. Medicine man. Cunning man. Hedgerider.

Most of which were terms used by anthropologists before the term 'shaman' became common in academia.

From Native American usage I suppose you could add things like Pipe Holder, Keeper of the Sacred Relic, Keeper of the Sacred Bundle, Shirt Wearer though today all those under white usage get lumped into Medicine Person. Then there are the negatives such as Raven Mocker, Skin Walker, etc that apply to people who use those traits for evil as defined in their own cultural parameters.

Gets difficult to give specifics though in that for most of them the "Shaman" person or people live it as an aspect of their culture and society and you can not separate it from it's total presence. It's more than just traits or practices for those are held in place and given meaning by the social, cultural, ethical and moral influences which make up the people. That is the aspect I see most often stripped out by core-shamanism and trying to make it work as an individual belief system. To me sort of like saying these are the bones that make up the body while ignoring all the muscles, tendons, organs, etc that actually are what give the body life and form.

- - - Updated - - -


You know, I have been studying a very long time and this argument on Shamanism/Shaman being the correct term or not has been coming up only over the last few years, what does it matter if it gets the message across? I grew up on the Res and all the shamans and elders I have ever talked to just said shaman unless they were speaking their native tongue, which most don't anymore, this goes for the ones in Alaska and the ones in Oklahoma. Where did this argument really come from in the first place?

I can say this argument from my pathwalk has been around since at least 1977, so for me it's not something that has just arisen. Very closely tied to the argument that went on for a number of years trying to tie Totemism and Shamanism together. Ignoring the perspective that Totem's didn't apply to shamanic work or practices in the manner that the word came to be recognized as, especially as paganism came more into the open in the 90's and later.

I do admit you intrigue me in using elders and reservation's and placing "Shaman" as a word they used. While I have never been on a reservation the Eastern Tsagali (Cherokee) I've know would never use the word Shaman to describe their people or practices. The only Lakota, Dakota, Nakota, Oglala (Sioux nations) I've ever spoken to that used Shaman was a person who wrote books to sell to white people and make a dime off the practice. Pretty much disowned by their elders and heads of those nations. In fact a great many so called Native writer's who use "Shaman" or "Shamanic" or even "Medicine Person" to sell books have been either disowned by their supposed nations and called out for it or lay claim to a nation that can never be proven. Most not even willing to speak to anyone outside of their respective nation about their spirituality and cultural practices as they are all rolled into one. I point out the Tsagali and Lakota as those two nations seem to be the most exploited of the Native American peoples though some other's are hit piece meal like the Zuni and their Fetches.

As for the argument I'd say it started in academia some years ago as the notion of cultural appropriation became more and more debated. Then crossed over into the debate of exploiting people's of color and robbing their cultural faces and words / concepts. The academic debate probably as early as the late 50's early 60's, the cultural and ethnic debate I started seeing in the late 90's though it seem's to have taken hold in my opinion more in say the last 10 - 15 years.

B. de Corbin
25 Aug 2015, 07:41
Figure within the general pagan community it's hard enough to get a usable definition of things like "Witchcraft", "Wicca", etc when the belief and implied accepted practice is it's what ever you want it to be...

Yes! Isn't it wonderful!

No Bible, no preachers, no inquisition, no dead ideas engraved on ancient stone, even the dictionary has been executed in the name of human freedom and unending creativity!

Beauty, pure beauty!

anunitu
25 Aug 2015, 08:08
I would favor you with my beliefs,but I am way to lazy to bother....and you would not understand anyway.

B. de Corbin
25 Aug 2015, 08:11
I would favor you with my beliefs, but ...you would not understand anyway.

I know you, so I know this is a complement...

:rolleyes:

monsno_leedra
25 Aug 2015, 08:13
Yes! Isn't it wonderful!

No Bible, no preachers, no inquisition, no dead ideas engraved on ancient stone, even the dictionary has been executed in the name of human freedom and unending creativity!

Beauty, pure beauty!

Is it though? That's why we have people burning styrofoam ice chests and saying its part of their religious practices and celebrations. Toxic fumes none the less but hey it's their right and religious freedom to do so. It's why most of the so called practices will never gain public or governmental support because there is no structure, codes, etc and no governing body to hold itself accountable. It's so many practices look like some sort of Harry Potter inspired story right along with the usage of muggle as a derogatory slam against people. It's why so many divinity figures, land spirits and such are being painted as some lovey dovey happy go lucky mommy and daddy figure while ignoring the darker aspects of their lore and mythology.

Sorry do not see it as beauty only see it as the demise and watering down of what so many fought for through the 50's to 80's to get some sort of public awareness and distancing from Satanism as it was known. In many ways all I see today is people going to the sprinkle counter bowl on the ice cream counter and saying I found paganism. No ethical influences, no moral questions and revelations, no speculations or pondering of who, what or why regarding life, death, continuation, etc, no mystical explorations, no actual changing of their character. Nope just go to the sprinkle counter, select your god / goddess, spirit type creature, add a bit of this a bit of that without any of the actual filaments that hold the thing together as glue and say I am now a _________. Well that and a lot of laying blame every where except upon themselves for the issues that trouble their lives. After all it's always somebody else's fought as to why they fail, why they struggle, why they can't get ahead, why the world hates them, why the world is against them, etc.

Edited to add though that many of those questions were the domain of the Shamanic like practitioner to see who, what or how a person, people, nation, etc pissed off some entity from the spirit world and how to make amends. Whether amends involved restitution, crossover and purification, removal of foreign influences, etc.

thalassa
25 Aug 2015, 08:16
Is it though? That's why we have people burning styrofoam ice chests and saying its part of their religious practices and celebrations.

SNIP

Well that and a lot of laying blame every where except upon themselves for the issues that trouble their lives. After all it's always somebody else's fought as to why they fail, why they struggle, why they can't get ahead, why the world hates them, why the world is against them, etc.



The Crusades, the Inquisition, the Duggars. You see this with religion that has structure, dogma, definitions, etc.



So, yeah, I'd say stepping away from essentialism is a good thing.

monsno_leedra
25 Aug 2015, 08:21
The Crusades, the Inquisition, the Duggars. You see this with religion that has structure, dogma, definitions, etc.



So, yeah, I'd say stepping away from essentialism is a good thing.

Yeah you see it with governments, social orders within society regardless of religion or spirituality, ethnic groups regardless of religious / spiritual practice, within economic strata again regardless of spiritual / religious practices. So blaming it upon spiritual / religious might have some influences or it might have none but it makes a beautiful justification for why something is a bad thing when used as an argument against or justification for why something exists. Whether it is actually the causes really didn't matter as long as you can say it was religious in justification. Doesn't even have to be the main justification only has to be present in some capacity.

anunitu
25 Aug 2015, 08:21
Short music that was a theme in my youth in the 70's

Buffalo Springfield - For What Its Worth


https://youtu.be/f5M_Ttstbgs

B. de Corbin
25 Aug 2015, 08:23
Burning ice chests? There have always been assholes, and there always will be. One learns to live with it.

Government support? What the fook is the government's business in supporting or not supporting religion. When they reach out their hands to do either, cut them off.

Harry Potter? Children will play, and fantasy is essential to growth.

Lovey Dovey land spirits? If land spirits are real, and if they don't like being seen as lovey dovey, I imagine they will clear it up themselves.

For the whole of the second paragraph, Monsno_leedra, you are observing shallow people in their natural habitat. The shallow will always be like that. If it isn't religion, it will be Kardashians.

anunitu
25 Aug 2015, 08:26
You guys type to fast.....aghhhhhhhhhhhhh

B. de Corbin
25 Aug 2015, 08:31
Short music that was a theme in my youth in the 70's

Buffalo Springfield - For What Its Worth


https://youtu.be/f5M_Ttstbgs

You need to start issuing Flashback Trigger Warnings. Now I have an irresistible urge to wear paisley with a nehru collar...

monsno_leedra
25 Aug 2015, 08:37
Burning ice chests? There have always been assholes, and there always will be. One learns to live with it.

Government support? What the fook is the government's business in supporting or not supporting religion. When they reach out their hands to do either, cut them off.

Harry Potter? Children will play, and fantasy is essential to growth.

Lovey Dovey land spirits? If land spirits are real, and if they don't like being seen as lovey dovey, I imagine they will clear it up themselves.

For the whole of the second paragraph, Monsno_leedra, you are observing shallow people in their natural habitat. The shallow will always be like that. If it isn't religion, it will be Kardashians.


Oh I agree there will always be the playgans out there, the idiots who do more harm than good and use religion / spirituality as an excuse. Whether they fall into the playgan description, fluff bunny description or simply the fool doesn't really matter though until they become the visible face of the beliefs and practices. Unfortunately they will make the visible face far more often than those who practice and are sincere about their beliefs. Sincere not being the correct word but it eludes me at the moment.

Recognition of a spirituality / religion does not mean a government changes, controls or approves of it but it does give it protection and equality. Now as to what equality means well that is a question that's been asked for years. It's like the cartoon often seen of three kids standing outside a ball field trying to see over the fence. One is tall who see's with no problem, one medium who can jump and see and one short who simply can not no matter what he does. Equality is them all a box to stand on with all having the same box but having the same box doesn't mean they have the same results. Thus giving the smallest child two boxes to see over the wall is not equally but it is being fair, as is giving the medium child one box to see over the fence and allowing the largest child to see simply standing there. The government doesn't ensure all will have the same results but does ensure they all get a box and supposedly not punished for asking for their box. Nor should the government be responsible for telling people how the boxes have to be handed out to ensure an implied equality though that does happen.

Regarding the lovey dovey all I can say is when you only see the aspect that you want you'll never see the negative even if it falls upon you like a ton of bricks. Far to many project that I think. Often, in my opinion, creating their own internal landscape creation of supposed entities that only function in the manner they desire and want. Like many of the so called white lighters who think only good will come if all you believe is good of people. makes a nice fantasy world for certain unfortunately real life seldom if ever works that way in my opinion.

sionnach
25 Aug 2015, 18:38
Sorry do not see it as beauty only see it as the demise and watering down of what so many fought for through the 50's to 80's to get some sort of public awareness and distancing from Satanism as it was known. In many ways all I see today is people going to the sprinkle counter bowl on the ice cream counter and saying I found paganism. No ethical influences, no moral questions and revelations, no speculations or pondering of who, what or why regarding life, death, continuation, etc, no mystical explorations, no actual changing of their character. Nope just go to the sprinkle counter, select your god / goddess, spirit type creature, add a bit of this a bit of that without any of the actual filaments that hold the thing together as glue and say I am now a _________. Well that and a lot of laying blame every where except upon themselves for the issues that trouble their lives. After all it's always somebody else's fought as to why they fail, why they struggle, why they can't get ahead, why the world hates them, why the world is against them, etc.
.

How does one contain a religion. The roman Christian church had a solution. You structure your religion after the very successful Roman army with a very structured hierarchy then you wipe out the competition. They effectively eliminated the ebionites, the marcionites, the gnostics, and any others deviating from the true divine path. But they even failed in the long run as the protestant reformation proved that even with a sacred text you can create a full spectrum of beliefs including one where you pass around a live rattlesnake to remove the unfaithful. Having said that I understand the concern of too much diversity. There are pagan forums which rejoice in diversity to the point of chaos as members post of mix and match gods/goddess and beliefs to the point of anything goes. While this is a wonderful create atmosphere it raises a question of does it really mean anything. Does it become more fiction/fantasy than something with a deeper meaning of our relationship to our world. The avoidance of finding common beliefs/practices can be as much of a problem as and enforced rigid system with no leeway for any variation.

In the case of shamanism it had an authentic start as anthropologists used the Shaman model of the Tungusic people and recognized similar patterns not only in Eurasia but all over the world. Many cultures in the present and the past used altered states of consciousness to connect with the spirit world and the similarities of what they had in common were amazing. The fact that so many diversified people could share patterns of practice with the Tungusic Shaman suggests something more meaningful about this pattern but I just think they should have used a word for the technique rather than the name of a specific religious sect. Thus we could have said that the medicine man of Native americans use altered states of conscious in a similar patter to the Sami religious leader or the Tungusic Shaman. In a similar way I can identify with the belief of the Lakota that the other inhabitants of the this earth are all my relations but I do not claim to be Lakota. I also do not know any Native Americans that would call themselves a Shaman even if they may use similar practices. In fact there are many Native Americans who get angry if you mention Shamans or spirit animals.

Medusa
25 Aug 2015, 18:54
Spirit worker. Spiritual healer. Witch doctor. Medicine man. Cunning man. Hedgerider.

Most of which were terms used by anthropologists before the term 'shaman' became common in academia.

Yeah. So when you say those words I immediately think 'Shaman'. :=S:

anunitu
25 Aug 2015, 19:05
You need to start issuing Flashback Trigger Warnings. Now I have an irresistible urge to wear paisley with a nehru collar...


Did I awaken a little bit of the summer of love there baby???Be cool fool,it all good,and chill and hit this bad ass dub....(FLASH!!!!!)

thalassa
26 Aug 2015, 02:51
Yeah. So when you say those words I immediately think 'Shaman'. :=S:

I can't tell if you are being sarcastic or not...because I don't think Shamanism with any of them, except *maybe* witchdoctor/ medicine man. Maybe, but not necessairly. Actually with spirit worker and spiritual healer I think Spiritualism, which is Christian...or maybe Edgar Cayce. Maybe hedgerider...but honestly, that's so far out of the lexicon *unless* you are Pagan (and have been for a while) that I can't see random person being familiar with it. And cunning man/woman, I think witch, and witchcraft can overlap with shamanism in terms of beliefs and technique, but doesn't have to.

anunitu
26 Aug 2015, 03:39
You changed your Aviator...Now how will I know its you???

thalassa
26 Aug 2015, 04:55
You changed your Aviator...Now how will I know its you???

lol...all I did was switch from radium makeup to arsenic facial lotion.

SonoftheWaters
26 Aug 2015, 10:00
I do admit you intrigue me in using elders and reservation's and placing "Shaman" as a word they used. While I have never been on a reservation the Eastern Tsagali (Cherokee) I've know would never use the word Shaman to describe their people or practices. The only Lakota, Dakota, Nakota, Oglala (Sioux nations) I've ever spoken to that used Shaman was a person who wrote books to sell to white people and make a dime off the practice. Pretty much disowned by their elders and heads of those nations. In fact a great many so called Native writer's who use "Shaman" or "Shamanic" or even "Medicine Person" to sell books have been either disowned by their supposed nations and called out for it or lay claim to a nation that can never be proven. Most not even willing to speak to anyone outside of their respective nation about their spirituality and cultural practices as they are all rolled into one. I point out the Tsagali and Lakota as those two nations seem to be the most exploited of the Native American peoples though some other's are hit piece meal like the Zuni and their Fetches.

As for the argument I'd say it started in academia some years ago as the notion of cultural appropriation became more and more debated. Then crossed over into the debate of exploiting people's of color and robbing their cultural faces and words / concepts. The academic debate probably as early as the late 50's early 60's, the cultural and ethnic debate I started seeing in the late 90's though it seem's to have taken hold in my opinion more in say the last 10 - 15 years.

So, it a appears to be a problem with the lower 48 tribes, which would make sense for me, since they took the blunt of white expansion. Though I have heard all the different terms I've never met a real tribal person deny Shaman or if the did they went with Medicine or Wise person until at the 2000's and only then was it the younger ones. Though I have heard those of Sioux nation take offense but don't offer up anything more then medicine man/woman. If this has truly become a problem then hiding behind vague names is part of the problem, though I have yet to hear anyone of the tribes offer up a better name to cover the generic term for spirit leader of the tribe that covers most accurately the style of practice.

sha·man
ˈSHämən,ˈSHāmən/

noun
a person regarded as having access to, and influence in, the world of good and evil spirits, especially among some peoples of northern Asia and North America. Typically such people enter a trance state during a ritual, and practice divination and healing.

It comes from the tribe in Siberia called Tugusian. Which maybe why the Nee'aaneegn (Tanana area Athabaskan) I grew up with never had a problem with it because the general term comes from the general area.

Medusa
26 Aug 2015, 10:01
I can't tell if you are being sarcastic or not...

Nope. Hey there's that shaman I saw on Shaka Zulu. It all means the general same thing to me. I'm random public lady who watches tv and sees that word connected that way or with Native Americans. I would think most random public people probably think the same thing if asked in a sense of 'shaman, one word, what does it mean?' sort of thing.

I don't look too deep into it to be honest. Like everyone is a heathen who isn't a Christian. But I know it's not Heathen the practice, it's just saying heathen to get the gist across.

anunitu
26 Aug 2015, 10:09
Heathen became a term used by Christians to describe anyone NOT christian,and it also seems to have become any group that is native rather than "City" state kind of European and then being Heathen,ripe for conquest with the reasoning that the Heathen needed the control of Christians to keep them from being "Lost" (make that enslaved by said Christians)

Sorry if I kind of drifted there.

SonoftheWaters
26 Aug 2015, 10:10
I also do not know any Native Americans that would call themselves a Shaman even if they may use similar practices. In fact there are many Native Americans who get angry if you mention Shamans or spirit animals.

Boy, have we had completely different experiences.

thalassa
26 Aug 2015, 10:21
Boy, have we had completely different experiences.

Part of the problem is that there seems to be a tendency to lump "Native Americans" all together like they are one homogenous group.

...and its not just Native Americans, but every single cultural group--whether its on the basis of ethnicity, history, socio-economic status, religion, etc (along with plenty of ideas, concepts, and objects that are not cultures). Humans (in general because there are always exceptions) seem to have an overwhelming desire to see things as monothetic, rather than polythetic.

I'd blame it on Plato, but I think its an idea that is present in cultures beyond contemporary "Western" culture.

monsno_leedra
26 Aug 2015, 10:21
So, it a appears to be a problem with the lower 48 tribes, which would make sense for me, since they took the blunt of white expansion. Though I have heard all the different terms I've never met a real tribal person deny Shaman or if the did they went with Medicine or Wise person until at the 2000's and only then was it the younger ones. Though I have heard those of Sioux nation take offense but don't offer up anything more then medicine man/woman. If this has truly become a problem then hiding behind vague names is part of the problem, though I have yet to hear anyone of the tribes offer up a better name to cover the generic term for spirit leader of the tribe that covers most accurately the style of practice.

sha·man
ˈSHämən,ˈSHāmən/

noun
a person regarded as having access to, and influence in, the world of good and evil spirits, especially among some peoples of northern Asia and North America. Typically such people enter a trance state during a ritual, and practice divination and healing.

It comes from the tribe in Siberia called Tugusian. Which maybe why the Nee'aaneegn (Tanana area Athabaskan) I grew up with never had a problem with it because the general term comes from the general area.

Not sure about it being mostly the lower nations or not. Most of my interactions have been with member's of the two nations I mentioned above but a few member's of other nations I've spoke to about other things seemed to support those positions. Sort of a red herring but one woman I used to speak to who was Piute, she was full blooded, told me the need to try and keep blood lines was so strong now that her husband was actually from what would have been an enemy nation to hers but those disputes sort of paled. Then it also falls into the cultural appropriation thing that was done and is still done to them as a people by the dominate white culture.

One would not use the term "Shaman" at all and only used "Medicine ______" when speaking to people, usually white I was told, who might visit a Pow Wow or maybe a reservation. But then as I was told it usually fell into the jewelry type situation, ie these are made only to be sold to tourist not to other member's of the nation. So you sort of got the story you were hoping to hear from the "Elder" or "Medicine Person" and they catered to your dollar. Yet if you came to them with honor and humility and actually showed you have tried to learn their ways and words then you got a different interaction. Not specifically that you'd get invited to participate or anything until you had been there quite some time and had proved your self or been adopted by some elder or medicine person to vouch for you. Then even all of that didn't mean or imply you'd get involved in the more sacred or hidden rites, ceremonies, rituals, etc.

Not sure again about the Canadian or Alaskan nations but I know many of the nations have their own names for those positions. In that regard I equate it to the concept of the Medicine Wheel and how it varies from nation to nation as to color, influences, animals, etc or even the fact that not all nations actually have one. Regardless of whether they actually call it a medicine wheel or have some other name for that concept. I suppose it could also be compared to the actual ceremony that we tend to call a sweat lodge ritual and how one is actually done. Again material, timing, payment, positional responsibilities vary from nation to nation and even from area to area from what I was told.

I suppose its a poor analogy usage but when I hear people say "Shaman" I always think of the "Hog" notion. The fact a Hog to some is a pig like creature, to some it's a hand gun, to other's it's a type of name for a motorcycle, for others its a slur for a fat or large person. Many definitions and usages that use comparisons or similarities to describe something but the mental imagery and perception can be so far apart that the initial comparison is more destructive than helpful.

Medusa
26 Aug 2015, 10:35
So. We all agree on the word!
Great.

:lol:

oh edit to add:
The issue is that we all have different experiences with hearing that word. Some hear it through their academic studies, some through their personal spiritual studies etc. And some (most) probably learn of the word through media.
So who is in charge of teaching the 'proper' use of that word....and if so, what gives you that authority?

That's what we really need to get to. We all agree, we all have different understandings of it. Now what?

SonoftheWaters
26 Aug 2015, 10:40
Not sure about it being mostly the lower nations or not. Most of my interactions have been with member's of the two nations I mentioned above but a few member's of other nations I've spoke to about other things seemed to support those positions. Sort of a red herring but one woman I used to speak to who was Piute, she was full blooded, told me the need to try and keep blood lines was so strong now that her husband was actually from what would have been an enemy nation to hers but those disputes sort of paled. Then it also falls into the cultural appropriation thing that was done and is still done to them as a people by the dominate white culture.

One would not use the term "Shaman" at all and only used "Medicine ______" when speaking to people, usually white I was told, who might visit a Pow Wow or maybe a reservation. But then as I was told it usually fell into the jewelry type situation, ie these are made only to be sold to tourist not to other member's of the nation. So you sort of got the story you were hoping to hear from the "Elder" or "Medicine Person" and they catered to your dollar. Yet if you came to them with honor and humility and actually showed you have tried to learn their ways and words then you got a different interaction. Not specifically that you'd get invited to participate or anything until you had been there quite some time and had proved your self or been adopted by some elder or medicine person to vouch for you. Then even all of that didn't mean or imply you'd get involved in the more sacred or hidden rites, ceremonies, rituals, etc.

Not sure again about the Canadian or Alaskan nations but I know many of the nations have their own names for those positions. In that regard I equate it to the concept of the Medicine Wheel and how it varies from nation to nation as to color, influences, animals, etc or even the fact that not all nations actually have one. Regardless of whether they actually call it a medicine wheel or have some other name for that concept. I suppose it could also be compared to the actual ceremony that we tend to call a sweat lodge ritual and how one is actually done. Again material, timing, payment, positional responsibilities vary from nation to nation and even from area to area from what I was told.

I suppose its a poor analogy usage but when I hear people say "Shaman" I always think of the "Hog" notion. The fact a Hog to some is a pig like creature, to some it's a hand gun, to other's it's a type of name for a motorcycle, for others its a slur for a fat or large person. Many definitions and usages that use comparisons or similarities to describe something but the mental imagery and perception can be so far apart that the initial comparison is more destructive than helpful.

The problem is that we still do not have a general term other than Medicine _______ or Shaman. If anyone is upset by this then they are going to have to make the effort to make the change by put out their idea of the correct term for themselves and not use the white culture terminology even when selling to the white culture or all they are doing is accepting the term.

My point in this, is that it is their own fault. Instead of correcting the term they accepted it, so now they either have to accept it or fight to correct it because they accepted it to begin with, even if it was to cater to the whites. They have no one to blame but themselves. If you are unwilling to share your knowledge and wisdom with all who come to you, then expect others to give what they deem your knowledge and wisdom to others outside your control.

This is one of the reason I hate the keep ye silent rule. While it does apply to things done specifically for you or group it does not apply to ones wisdom and knowledge gained. If they don't like it then they need to share and correct it.

monsno_leedra
26 Aug 2015, 11:13
The problem is that we still do not have a general term other than Medicine _______ or Shaman. If anyone is upset by this then they are going to have to make the effort to make the change by put out their idea of the correct term for themselves and not use the white culture terminology even when selling to the white culture or all they are doing is accepting the term.

My point in this, is that it is their own fault. Instead of correcting the term they accepted it, so now they either have to accept it or fight to correct it because they accepted it to begin with, even if it was to cater to the whites. They have no one to blame but themselves. If you are unwilling to share your knowledge and wisdom with all who come to you, then expect others to give what they deem your knowledge and wisdom to others outside your control.

This is one of the reason I hate the keep ye silent rule. While it does apply to things done specifically for you or group it does not apply to ones wisdom and knowledge gained. If they don't like it then they need to share and correct it.

Now your crossing into that notion of cultural appropriation and what some call colonialism mentality. We have a right to your knowledge and such, usually by force of power and position, and either give it to us or we will change it to fit our assumptions / presumptions. Placing all the blame and responsibility upon the culture being exploited to either change or give up its identity to appease the group doing the exploiting.

That always reminded me of the ugly American sterotype in Europe and Asia. The ugly American who goes to a foreign place and expects them to speak English and change their ways because the ugly American couldn't be bothered to learn anything of the language, people, culture, etc of the place they were visiting. Then when the people try to accommodate the visitor by using a word close to their usage they are still wrong and should be willing to accept that.

Man saw that same mentality so many times over the years I served oversea's in the military, especially by tourist to many areas.

Regarding wisdom and knowledge I truly believe it depends. SO often, especially for many aboriginal or first nation peoples wisdom and knowledge is so tightly wound into culture and social / ethical beliefs that one is not easily separated or understood without the trappings. It's part of the mystical or spiritual aspects of knowledge and wisdom I suppose, you can read, hear, etc all about it but it means little to nothing unless you live and experience it for yourself. That was one aspect of language that always intrigued and amazed me, many words have more meaning when spoken and / or sung than they ever have when read as the written word or translated into another language. Sad part is far to many people in my opinion expect you to give them everything and put little to nothing into the obtaining of that knowledge and experience.

Sorry drifting off the Shamanism discussion is though perhaps this is a major part as well.

SonoftheWaters
26 Aug 2015, 14:08
Now your crossing into that notion of cultural appropriation and what some call colonialism mentality. We have a right to your knowledge and such, usually by force of power and position, and either give it to us or we will change it to fit our assumptions / presumptions. Placing all the blame and responsibility upon the culture being exploited to either change or give up its identity to appease the group doing the exploiting.

That always reminded me of the ugly American sterotype in Europe and Asia. The ugly American who goes to a foreign place and expects them to speak English and change their ways because the ugly American couldn't be bothered to learn anything of the language, people, culture, etc of the place they were visiting. Then when the people try to accommodate the visitor by using a word close to their usage they are still wrong and should be willing to accept that.

Man saw that same mentality so many times over the years I served oversea's in the military, especially by tourist to many areas.

Regarding wisdom and knowledge I truly believe it depends. SO often, especially for many aboriginal or first nation peoples wisdom and knowledge is so tightly wound into culture and social / ethical beliefs that one is not easily separated or understood without the trappings. It's part of the mystical or spiritual aspects of knowledge and wisdom I suppose, you can read, hear, etc all about it but it means little to nothing unless you live and experience it for yourself. That was one aspect of language that always intrigued and amazed me, many words have more meaning when spoken and / or sung than they ever have when read as the written word or translated into another language. Sad part is far to many people in my opinion expect you to give them everything and put little to nothing into the obtaining of that knowledge and experience.

Sorry drifting off the Shamanism discussion is though perhaps this is a major part as well.

It does have a lot to do with the problem of the term shaman or any culture term, I am not taking this as far as saying give it to all tourist or tourons as local's in New Orleans call them. However, there have been people I know that wanted to know more and have been flat out turned down because they were not already part of the people, one of the only reason I know as much as I do is because I am part Choctaw and this is wrong. This is also no longer the old world were people are trying to take over or control the culture but simply under stand the culture better. There will always be bad apples but by saying you are not one of us so were are not going to help you, you can say or do whatever you want and we will not correct you, is one of the sources of the problems, especially in America were most people have accept the tribes as they are today, even if there is still some prejudices.

monsno_leedra
26 Aug 2015, 15:10
It does have a lot to do with the problem of the term shaman or any culture term, I am not taking this as far as saying give it to all tourist or tourons as local's in New Orleans call them. However, there have been people I know that wanted to know more and have been flat out turned down because they were not already part of the people, one of the only reason I know as much as I do is because I am part Choctaw and this is wrong. This is also no longer the old world were people are trying to take over or control the culture but simply under stand the culture better. There will always be bad apples but by saying you are not one of us so were are not going to help you, you can say or do whatever you want and we will not correct you, is one of the sources of the problems, especially in America were most people have accept the tribes as they are today, even if there is still some prejudices.

I agree it's hard if not out and out difficult to impossible to penetrate some of the barriers. Many times it seem's it's either a deal of your not of the blood, heritage, etc so we can't share. Other times it's a matter of not passing the tests or proving your sincere about actually trying to learn something.

In some ways reminds me of my military experience in that there are many who talk about being an Initiated Chief Petty Officer (CPO), speculate on what it means to be an Initiated Chief Petty Officer (CPO), many who speculate and discuss why it's not open and shared but very few who actually become Initiated Chief Petty Officer's (CPO's). So we tend to speak within our own group as we all have a shared military experience, shared military background and shared life experience's regardless of whether we were Airdale, Submarine or Surface. Yet we still chide each other about our respective "Callings" ie calling Surface ships targets, submariners bubbleheads, brown shoe or black shoe Navy, etc.

There is a great level and degree of knowledge and history that everyone knows but to us it's entirely different. Yet no matter how much you ask to be shown it you'll not grasp and fully relate to it unless you went through it and have done nothing but live, breathe, eat and yes even die under it. That I find is the issue with many family practices, trad practices and lineage'd mystery practices. People expect them to be open and share but you can't share experiences only talk about them and then the shared reality allows you to relate and even empathize / sympathize with those who are experiencing it themselves.

I used to have discussion's about O.B.E.'s (Out of Body Experience) and N.D.E.'s (Near Death Experience) and use it to understand and discuss what it felt like to die. I've had both O.B.E.'s and N.D.E.'s and actually died in my youth so there is some comparison for discussion and relating to the experience. Yet there is also a lot of emotional, cultural, social, ethical, spiritual / religious influences there that can't really be spoken of or explained as to how each impacts upon you. Trying to describe or put it into words doesn't always work to convey the true meaning and depths of the experience. Sometimes living is just as difficult to express as dying when the life style and influences are so strongly tied to culture, social, ethical, ethnic, etc bindings.

I personally think part of the issue surrounding Native American beliefs is so much has been falsely wrapped about the notion of the noble savage and this presumed great pagan like connection to the natural world. Yet that presumption is often severely distorted by both historical misinformation and a certain rose colored tint upon everything. It's like my ancestry is mountain people even back into our ancestry into the highlands of Scotland an such. So how do I convey that via words that another can understand and relate to with all the baggage that accompanies it?

It's all history, knowledge, experience and the stuff that makes it up. Yet if I talk about it all you get are words without any of the emotional and psychological triggers, images and stimulus that goes with it to make it something. That I think is what people never really grasp when they come to anything and say tell me, show me, open it up to me or share it with me.

Consider the so called Sin Eater and how they are sometimes equated to some Shamanic practices. To know both the hatred, disgust and antisocial attitude towards them can not be conveyed without all the emotional imagery and feelings the very idea brings upon people associated with it. Failing to realize that by consuming the sins and and such of the spirit and body they also serve the capacity of psychopomps and Spirit Keepers aiding the spirit to separate from its earthly garb, at times act as a Spirit Keeper in allowing the sins of the flesh as it were to be washed away and removed while the spirit itself unburdens itself.

Sorry off topic again.

NeoPlatonic
26 Aug 2015, 15:25
Many Native Americans get insulted by being called “shamans” because this is a foreign word to them and it does not necessarily define what they are. Just because a tribe has a similar spiritual practitioner in their culture, does not necessarily make them a shaman. Furthermore, it is more respectful of aboriginal peoples to be referred to by their own names and titles from their own language.
Source: http://www.tengerism.org/native_americans.html

Personally, I prefer the more academic terms myself. Polytheist, pantheist, panetheist (yes, there are tribes around the world which have or used to have this later belief). If there is need for me to refer to the specific beliefs of a certain group, then I can always look it up and call them by their chosen name. I.e.: Tengerist Shaman, Umbanda Pai, etc.

Rae'ya
26 Aug 2015, 19:58
So. We all agree on the word!
Great.

:lol:

oh edIt to add:
The issue that we all have different experences with hearing that word. Some hear it through their academic studies, some through their personal spiritual studies etc. And some (most) probably learn of the word through media.
So who is in charge of teaching the 'proper' use of that word....and if so, what gives you that authority?

That's what we really need to get to. We all agree, we all have different understandings of it. Now what?

The problem is the controversy over modern usage of the word. Because the culture from which it was borrowed still exists. So we are all practicing potentially harmful cultural appropriation by using it, in the same way that it's considered harmful cultural appropriation to use certain Native American terms outside of their proper context.

Unfortunately for this particular term it's too late, we'll never get it out of modern usage now. But it's a big debate in the academic world.

The thing is that the only ones who don't have an alternative term for themselves are core-shamanists and plastic shamans. Everyone else is a seidhkona, a naoide, vegetalista, medicine man, hedgerider, spirit worker, mudang, baksu, yascomo, kadji, sangoma... the list goes on and on and on.

The other thing is that the modern neopagan conception of what a shaman is, is... wonky. Which is why we get into discussions like this one. The different experiences, as you mentioned, pull together people who are sensitive to the cultural issues of the term, people who are shamanists, people who aren't shamanist, people who don't know about the cultural issues and people who just don't care about them. At the beginning everyone thinks they are talking about the same thing, but it's a lot more complicated than that.

Medusa
26 Aug 2015, 21:42
Yeah, I realize now my idea of shaman is incorrect. But then again so is most of the population if pressed. When do you just go along and use the common vernacular? I mean it took people forever to give up Eskimo (sort of). I mean ask random people what an Inuit is. But everyone knows what an eskimo is. :=L:

B. de Corbin
27 Aug 2015, 00:46
The problem is the controversy over modern usage of the word. Because the culture from which it was borrowed still exists. So we are all practicing potentially harmful cultural appropriation by using it, in the same way that it's considered harmful cultural appropriation to use certain Native American terms outside of their proper context.

In what way is it harmful? Be specific.

Words are not sterile, they touch things and contaminate them. Neither are things sterile, they touch words and contaminate them.

Human cultures are not laboratory cultures preserved against contamination. Cultures rub shoulders and mix. Sometimes people from different cultures even have sex, and sometimes that causes children to happen... Does that produce contamination? Which culture are they allowed to be part of?

Sure... I get the idea... "This thought/idea/word belongs to ME and MY PEOPLE, and you can not have it!" But it doesn't make sense... unless some sort of "ethnic purity" is accepted as a goal - and I thought we were all past that kind of madness...

Maybe I should get all pissy because their is a popular Asian cartoon called "Full Metal Alchemist"...

First rule of language - clarity. Use the word your audience understands. Currently, in most contexts, that word is "shaman." If the campaign to change this works, I'll use the word that replaces it in the same way I now say "I used an entheogen" where I used to say "I got stoned out of my head and saw god" (it sounds so much more special that way anyhoo).

:rolleyes:

Rae'ya
27 Aug 2015, 02:19
Yeah, I realize now my idea of shaman is incorrect. But then again so is most of the population if pressed. When do you just go along and use the common vernacular? I mean it took people forever to give up Eskimo (sort of). I mean ask random people what an Inuit is. But everyone knows what an eskimo is. :=L:

That is actually a really good example. I highly doubt that we'll ever be able to replace 'shaman' and 'shamanism' in common vernacular, but we can be sensitive to the issues when we do use them. I really like the quote posted earlier about respecting practioners by calling them by the terms they prefer for themselves. We can also be sensitive to the fact that modern usage has twisted our sense of what many of these practitioners actually do... not just the indigenous ones but also those practicing a traditional or recreated form of these techniques.


In what way is it harmful? Be specific.

Is this a genuine question? Or are you trying to get us into a cultural appropriation debate? I'm just asking because a proper answer with specifics is going to take some time and the PC and I'm not inclined to do it if this is not a genuine discussion point. And I find it very difficult to believe that you have no concept of cultural appropriation and the potential harm it can have on the cultures being appropriated from.

B. de Corbin
27 Aug 2015, 03:16
Is this a genuine question? Or are you trying to get us into a cultural appropriation debate? I'm just asking because a proper answer with specifics is going to take some time and the PC and I'm not inclined to do it if this is not a genuine discussion point. And I find it very difficult to believe that you have no concept of cultural appropriation and the potential harm it can have on the cultures being appropriated from.

It's a for-real question. Yes, I've heard of "cultural appropriation," and that it is evil. I've heard far less (actually nothing) about real harm it causes. Although I have heard a bunch of weak moralizing...

You don't have to take the time to compose an answer, I'll ask questions, and you can respond with a simple "yes" or "no." This will tell me all I need to know.

To keep on topic, ALL of these questions deal SPECIFICALLY with the word "shaman" being used in languages other than the language of origin. These are ALL, except for the last one, YES or NO questions. I have deep respect for the time you put into this conversation and am working to keep it short.

1. Does it cause physical harm, disease, debilitating weakness to any individual or group?

2. Does it take real property, possessions, or earning potential (i.e.: livelihood) from any individual or group?

3. Does it prevent or reduce the autonomy of any individual or group?

4. Does it prevent or reduce the free expression and/or practice (or lack of expression and/or practice) of the spiritual drives/needs of any group or individual?

5. When a word is adopted from one language into another, the meaning always changes - at least slightly (due to the different needs and contexts of the borrowing culture), but generally retains a "meaning link" to the word as used in the original language. This I understand.
The question here is (still on #5): Does the word loose its original meaning in its original culture when this happens (or, to rephrase for clarity: Does the word become unusable for its intended purpose in the original language when used with a different meaning in a different culture)?

6. Does it cause or encourage imperialism (imperialism: a policy of extending a country's power and influence through diplomacy or military force) from other countries against the original group?

7. The word was borrowed because it was valuable in categorizing an emerging concept. Does the recognition of the value of a term used be a specific group devalue any individual group member, or group?

8. I am but an egg. Have I missed some form of harm that needs to be explained to me? If so, can you 'splain?

Rae'ya
27 Aug 2015, 04:23
It's a for-real question. Yes, I've heard of "cultural appropriation," and that it is evil. I've heard far less (actually nothing) about real harm it causes. Although I have heard a bunch of weak moralizing...

You don't have to take the time to compose an answer, I'll ask questions, and you can respond with a simple "yes" or "no." This will tell me all I need to know.

To keep on topic, ALL of these questions deal SPECIFICALLY with the word "shaman" being used in languages other than the language of origin. These are ALL, except for the last one, YES or NO questions. I have deep respect for the time you put into this conversation and am working to keep it short.

1. Does it cause physical harm, disease, debilitating weakness to any individual or group?

2. Does it take real property, possessions, or earning potential (i.e.: livelihood) from any individual or group?

3. Does it prevent or reduce the autonomy of any individual or group?

4. Does it prevent or reduce the free expression and/or practice (or lack of expression and/or practice) of the spiritual drives/needs of any group or individual?

5. When a word is adopted from one language into another, the meaning always changes - at least slightly (due to the different needs and contexts of the borrowing culture), but generally retains a "meaning link" to the word as used in the original language. This I understand.
The question here is (still on #5): Does the word loose its original meaning in its original culture when this happens (or, to rephrase for clarity: Does the word become unusable for its intended purpose in the original language when used with a different meaning in a different culture)?

6. Does it cause or encourage imperialism (imperialism: a policy of extending a country's power and influence through diplomacy or military force) from other countries against the original group?

7. The word was borrowed because it was valuable in categorizing an emerging concept. Does the recognition of the value of a term used be a specific group devalue any individual group member, or group?

8. I am but an egg. Have I missed some form of harm that needs to be explained to me? If so, can you 'splain?

Allowing for the fact that I'm on my tablet and fotmatting is tricky on this thing, I'm just gonna do a list of answers.

1. No

2. Yes

3. No.

4. Yes.

5. Yes it loses meaning but no it does not bevome unusable.

6. Conceptually, yes. But in real, practical terms, probably not.

7. Yes.

8. I suspect you'll want me to prove some of these 'yeses'. I'll dig out some links tomorrow when I'm on the PC. It would be great if I could find copies of some of the articles in "Borrowing Power", seeing as my copy is in storage and you obviously can't read it. Right now I have the stage 'shamans' in Siberia in mind for #2 and #4, which I hope I can find an online link for as I saw them in a documentary on TV. Vitebsky also has some interesting notes on the consequences of non traditional plastic 'shamans' in northern Asia, but I've read those in his published books rather than online. I'll see what I can find that will suit here.

B. de Corbin
27 Aug 2015, 05:08
Huh... I could have sworn that I responded here...

Anyway, yes, if you could explain the yeses, I'd appreciate it, since I can't see immediately how they work.

And don't worry about hunting up links and/or citation. I trust your intelligence, scholarship, and integrity (I also, honestly, won't have the time to read through journal articles :o). Just give a quick summary to get the idea across.

thalassa
27 Aug 2015, 06:51
I don't normally agree with him...but this pretty much sums up my stance: http://www.northernshamanism.org/public-horses.html

IMO--the word is a mispronunciation of a word describing a person that fulfills a particular societal role within the various cultures that make up a particular language family. This role shares many similarities, but is not even the same in the cultures that use the word as their native term for the individual. Using that word to describe similar functions of similar societal roles, or the techniques used by persons fulfilling those roles, is appropriate but not perfect.


Or...Plato strikes again.

B. de Corbin
27 Aug 2015, 07:02
I don't normally agree with him...but this pretty much sums up my stance: http://www.northernshamanism.org/public-horses.html

IMO--the word is a mispronunciation of a word describing a person that fulfills a particular societal role within the various cultures that make up a particular language family. This role shares many similarities, but is not even the same in the cultures that use the word as their native term for the individual. Using that word to describe similar functions of similar societal roles, or the techniques used by persons fulfilling those roles, is appropriate but not perfect.


Or...Plato strikes again.

That was a good read. Thanks!

DavidMcCann
27 Aug 2015, 09:23
Just a subversive thought. If we can only use shaman for Siberians (or just for the Evenki?), then what about other religious terms? "Priest" comes from the Greek presbyteros, a term chosen by the Christians to avoid using the pagan term hiereus. So, only Christians are allowed to have priests. Temple is from the Latin templum, so only Religio Remana can talk about temples.

Jan Bremmer, justifying his use of "soul" in a Greek context, wrote "If every scholar introduces new terms to cover his specific area ... we will end up with a scientific Babel where communication is well-nigh impossible."

Rae'ya
30 Aug 2015, 00:38
Huh... I could have sworn that I responded here...

Anyway, yes, if you could explain the yeses, I'd appreciate it, since I can't see immediately how they work.

And don't worry about hunting up links and/or citation. I trust your intelligence, scholarship, and integrity (I also, honestly, won't have the time to read through journal articles :o). Just give a quick summary to get the idea across.

Aww come on, Corbin. You know I don't do quick summaries! lol.

First, a preface... you and I sitting here talking about shamans and shamanism is not doing any direct harm to the Tungus speaking tribes of Siberia. I absolutely don't claim that and when I talk about "potentially harmful cultural appropriation" I'm talking about the perpetuation of a misunderstanding about a) where the word comes from and b) who is a shaman and what do they do. Every person who blithely throws the term around without understanding where it comes from and why it's become a part of our modern vernacular is perpetuating this misinformation. In the link that Thal provided, Kaldera talks about the price that we pay for using the word... the ways that we can try to pay the originating culture back... by understanding where the word comes from and why we use it in modern neopaganism; by educating others about where it comes from; and by refusing to perpetuate the misunderstandings that surround the terms. This is why I've been sitting on this side of the fence throughout this discussion. Not because I don't think we should be using it, but because I think we need to be sensitive to it's origins and to the culture from which we've taken it (I think I've said that a few times... I'll stop repeating myself now :p).

There ARE places where the misuse of the word does cause direct harm to the shamans of the Tungus speaking tribes, though. And by 'direct harm' I mean loss of income, loss of earning potential and reduction of not only the value of traditional shamans and what they do, but restriction of their ability to perform their traditional roles and duties. There are 'stage shamans' in Siberia (and if I remember correctly, Mongolia), who are basically non-indigenous 'plastic shamans' (if anyone doesn't know what that term means, it's the non-traditional weekend 'shamans' who are a) claiming to be traditional shamans when they aren't and b) using their claims to earn money that would otherwise be earned by actual traditional shamans, medicine people and spirit workers). They travel around and perform corruptions of traditional rites for an audience on stage, for a fee of course. They do work that would otherwise be done by the traditional shamans, because they are cheaper and more accessible than the traditional shamans. There was a story of one who performed a good enough but incomplete copy of a traditional ritual that the 'real' shamans felt that the spirits had seen/heard it and were offended, and then had to be appeased (though I suppose we could consider that creating extra income for the traditional shamans!).

B. de Corbin
31 Aug 2015, 11:58
Yes, I understand.

After the Gordon Wasson Life Magazine article, Mexico got mushroom tourism. Brazil, Peru, Columbia and Bolivia get ayahuasca tourism. Haiti gets Voodoo tourism. Every interesting ethnic thing brings in tourists.

Does it damage the indigenous/authentic practitioners? Well, maybe. But it could also be argued that it brings in more income and respect for "the real deal." The traditional practitioner's traditional "clients" are going to know the difference... unless the "fakes" serve the same purpose equally well - if that's the case... Well, what difference?

It isn't the economics of this that bothers people. There is something else that people avoid saying that troubles them.

Everybody who is interested in "traditional cultures," from anthropologists to armchair amateurs, have a particular bias - they view those "cultures" as important artifacts that, once gone, are irreplaceable. And they are - I agree. It's as if somebody had the only extant copy of The Complete Poems of Sappho, and was using pages to start fires (this actually happened with the Nag Hammadi manuscripts :mad:).

So, in their view, the plastic shamans debase, distort, pollute, defile the pure culture.

But there is a subtle problem here... manuscripts can't decide what they want to become of themselves, so it is fair to enshrine them in museums. Not so for people.

I recall some twenty years ago. McDonald's was opening restaurants in France. There was a big stink about destroying French cuisine via contamination with crappy American food. I was constantly being told by my concerned friends that "the French" did not want McDonald's...

The flaw there is obvious, but I'll state it just for fun. McDonald's is in the business of selling. If they set up shop where nobody wants to buy, they go out of business - problem solved. BUT if they set up shop in France and French people buy, then it can't be true that "the French" don't want McDonald's.

What the statement "the French do not want McDonald's" actually means is "an elite group has decided that French people should not be allowed to eat what they want to eat."

To put this idea into the present context - if the people do not want plastic shamans, they will not go to them. If they do go to them, then either they can't tell the difference (which makes me wonder how effective the traditional shamans are), or they prefer the plastic version.

And - IMHO - it should be the individual who decides. Not the tribal leader, not some government authority, not anthropologists. These people are not children. They need to make decisions, not have decisions made for them. They do not belong in museums.

- - - Updated - - -

A small sample of the economics of ayahuasca tourism:

"I also met B's nephew, an enterprising shaman who earns a couple hundred dollars per month catering to tourists while his neighbors can not even afford a thirty cent taxi ride. He charges thirty dollars to give ayahuasca to a tourist, while the going rate for a Peruvian is about two dollars."

http://www.maps.org/news-letters/v12n2/12236stu.html

Medusa
31 Aug 2015, 14:02
I can't wait for all cultures to fornicate themselves into one big mess of braids, voodoo and sugar skull make up.

Just wait. It's happening.

anunitu
31 Aug 2015, 14:49
Trying to visualize that Duce...really

So,maybe this?
https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/e7/a1/07/e7a107638ea76211fc2eb060f89980cb.jpg

- - - Updated - - -

I just think this...if you want to call yourself "Shaman" more power to you,and if you wish to name your "Messiah" OK,go ahead,BUT when you find yourself nailed to a tree,really perhaps you should have considered the history of naming yourself stuff like that...Some people gonna really expect you to do "Magic" and may be upset when you fail to come through for them...just saying..