Alleluia Shamanism

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Alleluia Shamanism – An evolution of Amazonian shamanism (particularly in the eastern highlands) influenced by Christian missionary discourse (e.g., prophetic promises of a new life, a path to creative powers or “God,” and access to new healing cures and powerful chants) that began in the late 19th century in the Guyana highlands. Its name derives from the use of various Christian words and phrases in ritual chants, songs, and dances. Neil Whitehead discusses the rise of this apocalyptic practice in relation to indigenous attempts to deal with the impact of new illnesses like smallpox following colonization and the influx of new cultural, political, and social situations and technologies. In particular, he notes that alleluia’san (practitioners who perform this style of shamanism, especially by singing and chanting) oppose “dark shamans” or kanaimà’san and in the process almost marginalize piya shamans (even though their chief healing role would seem to be required).


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

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