Core shamanism

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Core shamanism – Term used by Michael Harner and colleagues, including Sandra Ingerman, at the Foundation for Shamanic Studies to define the key features of shamanism, specifically the journey to other worlds in a willfully induced (controlled) altered state of consciousness “in order to acquire knowledge, power, and to help other persons” (Harner 1990 [1980], 20). The emphasis on the shamanic journey derives from Mircea Eliade’s understanding of shamanism as an “archaic technique of ecstasy.” The approaches of both Harner and Eliade are problematic in their universalizing of diverse and discrete, culturally situated shamanisms into a monolithic category to be palatable to Western audiences. Harner has reached tens of thousands of practitioners globally in workshops teaching core shamanism, in which drumming (and other monotonous or rhythmic sounds) is used to induce a shamanic state of consciousness. Core shamanism arguably has the greatest currency as a shamanic practice today, not only among Westerners but also those indigenous communities reviving their own shamanic traditions with the assistance of core shamanists, including some Native American, Saami, Inuit, and Central Asian tribes.


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


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