RationalWiki's 2019 Fundraiser

There is no RationalWiki without you. We are a small non-profit with no staff – we are hundreds of volunteers who document pseudoscience and crankery around the world every day. We will never allow ads because we must remain independent. We cannot rely on big donors with corresponding big agendas. We are not the largest website around, but we believe we play an important role in defending truth and objectivity.

If everyone who saw this today donated $5, we would meet our goal for 2019.

Fighting pseudoscience isn't free.
We are 100% user-supported! Help and donate $5, $20 or whatever you can today with PayPal Logo.png!

Donations so far: $6000Goal: $6000
Information icon.svg The 2018 moderator election has started! We are electing 6 moderators and 2 alternatives to serve in 2019. Nominate users here and read their campaign slogans here!


From RationalWiki
(Redirected from Shaman)
Jump to: navigation, search
The dreams of man
Icon religion.svg
Snooze buttons
Disturbing your sleep
Recurring dreams
Boom shakalaka, here comes the spirit man!
—George "Filthy Frank" Miller, [[1]].

Shamanism is an umbrella term, most commonly used to denote religions in which a person (i.e., a shaman) acts as an intermediary between the physical and supernatural realm. The word "shaman" itself originated with the Evenks of Siberia, although there is some dispute as to whether it got to the English language from Russians who reported on Evenks or from the Evenk-related Manchu language. Due to this fact, some anthropologists argue that the idea of shamanism is artificially constructed and its application outside of the Siberian context is misleading.[1] Nevertheless, anthropologists have attempted to define some of the characteristics of shamanism. These common features may include:

Depending on how one defines it, shamanism has likely existed since the Paleolithic period. Cave paintings and other markings provide evidence that shamans may have used certain locations to enter altered states of consciousness and to perform rituals. As hunter-gatherer societies became more complex during the Upper Paleolithic, this may have enabled the formation of roles for part-time religious specialists such as shamans.[2]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. Alice Beck Kehoe. (2000) Shamans and Religion: An Anthropological Exploration in Critical Thinking. London: Waveland Press.
  2. J. David Lewis-Williams. (2002) The Mind in the Cave: Consciousness and the Origins of Art.Wikipedia's W.svg London: Thames and Hudson.