World religions expert Margaret Stutley provides an authoritative guide to one of the world''s most ancient, notorious and frequently misrepresented spiritual traditions. Stutley unravels the history, ideologies and rites of shamanism, demystifying practices such as:
*how the shaman''s dual souls can roam the world of the dead
*why the Yukaghir people wear ''grandfather'' amulets, made of dead relatives'' flesh and bones
*how the androgynous Chukchi shamans induce ritualistic sex change
*the lost secret language of the Siberian shamans.
Shamanism particularly explores the climatic, geographic and cultural pressures under which shamanic customs arose and continue to be observed.
The fantastical in Shamanism has a special place in the popular imagination: this guide will appeal to those interested in alternative religions and spirituality as well as to students of religion and anthropology.