Transformation

Transformation – Many shamans are purported to be able to transform themselves, either at will or with the aid of otherworld and other-than-human persons, or spirits, into forms other than their own. They may do so in order to journey. In Amazonia and in many other indigenous and especially animist societies, all powerful persons are able to appear in different material forms, so that shamans are required to alter perspective, to see as others see, in order to know the true nature of an approaching animal, human, or spirit. Theriomorphism, shamanic transformation into certain animal forms, such as bears, is significant, especially where bear ceremonialism is important.
See also Shape-Shifting.

SOURCE:

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

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