The making of a shaman: Calling, training, and culmination

Shamanism and especially the psychological health of shamans remain topics of considerable confusion. This article, therefore, examines the shamanic training process from a specifically psychological perspective. Much in this ancient tradition that formerly appeared arcane, nonsensical, or pathological is found to be understandable in psychological terms. The initial shamanic crisis is seen to be a culture-specific form of developmental crisis rather than being evidence of severe psychopathology. Commonalities are noted between certain shamanic training experiences and those of other religious traditions and various psychotherapies. Psychologically effective shamanic techniques are distinguished from merely superstitious practices and several shamanic techniques are seen to foreshadow ones now found in contemporary psychotherapies.


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