Batak – Indigenous people from the remaining forests of Palawan, the Philippines. Their shamans share many of the functions of shamans elsewhere, but a principal role is as mediators between human communities and masters of rice, bees, otters, and other other-than-human persons on whose abundance the Batak rely. In regular seasonal rituals, especially the lambay, shamans take samples of the first honey collected in the forest and seek knowledge about the state of honey resources in the area. If it is indicated that they are too low, the shamans dance while in a trance and seek to distribute additional honey. In doing so, they participate in the distributive work not only of bees but also of the Master of Bees, who is ultimately responsible for the dispersal of such resources. Similar engagements with rice and the Master of Rice are equally important and should not be seen as a symbolic function but as a political mediation significant in resource management.


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


Related Articles

Resource management

Resource management – A significant role for shamans in many indigenous cultures, part of their mediatory and political functions. Shamans may engage with particular animals,…


Animals – Shamans engage with animals in a range of significant ways. In societies that live by hunting, shamans may journey beyond their physical location…


Animism – Arguably the proper label for the type of religion practiced among traditional indigenous people who employ shamans. Rather than being “shamanists” or adherents…


Trance – Shamans are sometimes distinguished from other religious or cultural leaders by their ability to deliberately enter altered states of consciousness. A trance may…