Adjusted Styles of Communication

Adjusted Styles of Communication (ASC) – In contrast with the common claim that shamanism is fundamentally a matter of achieving, controlling, and utilizing altered states of consciousness (also ASC), it may be preferable to think of shamans as adjusting their styles of communication. In animist cultures, shamans are (among other things) ritual leaders who mediate with other-than human persons by means of respectful etiquette. The advantages of this reconfiguration of “ASC” are that it avoids claims about individuals’ immediate experiences (which are likely to be inaccessible) and focuses attention on shamanic practices, actions, or performances— which are central to the concerns of those who employ shamans and may be seen as signs of the relationship between shamans and those who possess or help them.


Historical Dictionary of Shamanism by Graham Harvey and Robert J. Wallis 2007