Jones, Leslie Ellen

Leslie Ellen Jones – In her volume Druid, Shaman, Priest (1998), Jones discusses the Celtic Druid as a shaman, not only examining ancient evidence but also critically engaging with neoshamanic manifestations of Celtic shamanism. Regarding the former, Jones concurs with other scholars in arguing that the terms Celt and shaman are constructed and problematic, but that shamanistic aspects can reliably be discerned in such literature as the Welsh poet Taliesin and warrior-hero Owein ap Urien. Addressing neo-shamanism, she focuses on the work of John Matthews, commenting especially on the contrast between Matthews’s apparently accessible and “safe” practices vis-à-vis the more challenging, even dangerous path of other, indigenous shamanisms. Jones is quick to dismiss Matthews’s practices as lightweight and New Age, but Celtic shamanism today is by no means singular, and there are practitioners who not only integrate their practices into the challenges of everyday life but also engage with the “dark side” of the shaman, such as Philip “Greywolf” Shallcrass.

SOURCE:

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

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