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Shamanism - Mysteries, Legends, and Unexplained Phenomena

Shamanism - Mysteries, Legends, and Unexplained Phenomena
by Robert M. Place

From School Library Journal

Grade 9 Up—Although its inclusion in a series on unexplained phenomena characterizes shamanism as something other than a religious practice, this is a balanced, worldwide introduction. Place discusses the practice's probable origins in prehistory, elements of it that are common to different cultures, and how shamanism, especially the concept of the journey to the Upper, Middle, or Lower Worlds, has been adopted by Western psychologists and New Age writers. Sidebars include notes on Native Americans' antipathy toward the commercialization of their traditions and the use of sacred herbs and images. The text includes some fictionalized scenarios designed to illustrate different aspects of the ancient religion, and there are several typos. Although the author is careful to point out that practices vary, his effort to highlight commonalities and condense 40,000 years of tradition into a digestible account sometimes creates the impression that shamanic worship is the same everywhere. This title will whet some readers' appetites for more, and may be useful for reports.—Rebecca Donnelly, Loma Colorado Public Library, Rio Rancho, NM
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