Bates, Brian

Bates, Brian – Professor of psychology at the University of Brighton and director of the Shaman Research Program at the University of Sussex. Bates is best known as the author of The Way of Wyrd (1983), a novel inspired by historic documents from Northern Europe, particularly Anglo-Saxon England, as well as Carlos Castaneda’s Don Juan mythos, and describing the relationship between an Anglo-Saxon shaman and a young Christian monk. The Wisdom of the Wyrd (1996) and The Real Middle Earth (2002) are follow-up scholarly works that approach the ancient pagan religions of Northern Europe as shamanistic. Of particular note is Bates’s interpretation of the “Night Mare” charm, or charm “against a Dwarf” in the AngloSaxon Lacnunga spell book (British Library manuscript Harley 585, c. 1000 CE), according to which a shaman initiate is ridden into the other world by a wight (spirit). Bates’s work has been influential on contemporary Heathen discourse on shamanistic aspects of Northern religion. Bates is also a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, research director of the Christensen Foundation (Palo Alto) project on recovering the nature-based knowledge of ancient England, and senior adviser to the Council of Elders, a project on worldwide indigenous wisdom funded by the Ford Foundation.


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


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