Heinz, Ruth-Inge

Heinz, Ruth-Inge – Scholar of comparative religion and psychological anthropology and a research associate at the Center for Southeast Asian Studies, University of California, Berkeley. Heinz authored the volume Shamans of the 20th Century (1991), offering one of the first detailed accounts of neo-shamanic practice alongside that of indigenous shamans, with the intent of demonstrating that shamanism is a vibrant religion thriving in an increasingly globalized world. Heinz characterizes the shaman as a mediator between the sacred and profane, and in locating “trance mediums” alongside shamans and others who alter consciousness, Heinz’s approach aligns with that of Ioan Lewis in broadening the term shaman for application outside the locus classicus of Siberia and the Arctic. More recently, Heinz has proposed a model of “alternate states of consciousness” (2003), based on a scale from dissociation to mind-expansion, with the determining factor of control over the state indicating ability. As such, Heinz includes shamanistic journeying alongside mediumistic and possession trances, and the role of control in her model aligns with Michael Harner’s definition of core shamanism.


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


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