Home Discussion Forum What is shamanism? Is it similar to lycanthropy?

What is shamanism? Is it similar to lycanthropy?


  1. Shamanism refers to a range of traditional beliefs and practices similar to Animism that claim the ability to diagnose and cure human suffering and, in some societies, the ability to cause suffering. This is believed to be accomplished by traversing the axis mundi and forming a special relationship with, or gaining control over, spirits. Shamans have been credited with the ability to control the weather, divination, the interpretation of dreams, astral projection, and traveling to upper and lower worlds. Shamanistic traditions have existed throughout the world since prehistoric times.
    Some anthropologists and religion scholars define a shaman as an intermediary between the natural and spiritual world, who travels between worlds in a trance state. Once in the spirit world, the shaman would commune with the spirits for assistance in healing, hunting or weather management. Ripinsky-Naxon describes shamans as, “People who have a strong interest in their surrounding environment and the society of which they are a part.”
    Other anthropologists critique the term “shamanism”, arguing that it is a culturally specific word and institution and that by expanding it to fit any healer from any traditional society it produces a false unity between these cultures and creates a false idea of an initial human religion predating all others. However, others say that these anthropologists simply fail to recognize the commonalities between otherwise diverse traditional societies.
    Shamanism is based on the premise that the visible world is pervaded by invisible forces or spirits that affect the lives of the living. In contrast to animism and animatism, which any and usually all members of a society practice, shamanism requires specialized knowledge or abilities. It could be said that shamans are the experts employed by animists or animist communities. Shamans are not, however, often organized into full-time ritual or spiritual associations, as are priests.
    And no lycanthropy is not a simlar thing look below
    In folklore, lycanthropy is the ability or power of a human being to undergo transformation into a wolf. The term comes from ancient Greek lykánthropos (λυκάνθρωπος): λύκος, lýkos (“wolf”) + άνθρωπος, ánthrōpos (“man”) (Rose, 230). The word can also be used transitively, referring to the act of transforming someone else into a wolf, or werewolf.
    The word lycanthropy is often used generically for any transformation of a human into animal form, though the precise term for that is technically therianthropy. Rarely, zoanthropy is used instead of therianthropy (Guiley, 192).
    Folk-etymology also links the word to Lycaon, a king of Arcadia who, according to Ovid’s Metamorphoses, was turned into a ravenous wolf in retribution for attempting to serve human flesh (his own son) to visiting Zeus in an attempt to disprove the god’s divinity.
    There is also a mental illness called lycanthropy in which a patient believes he or she is, or has transformed into, an animal and behaves accordingly. This is sometimes referred to as clinical lycanthropy to distinguish it from its use in legends.

  2. Lycanthropy is a psychological disorder where a person might think he/she is an animal, whereas shamanism would be completely different- a religious belief system practiced in Africa and Asia.

  3. Shamanism is a primitive religion as our friend here so well described. On the other hand “lycanthropy” reffers to a desease where its subject turns into a wolfman. So they´re as connected as Santa Claus and a giant green banana.Regards, Gabriel.

  4. shamanism is a religious beleif in spirits and such. lycanthropy is a popular legend of involuntary change into animals under the full moon. lycanthropy is closely related to vampirism

  5. Shamanism:
    The animistic religion of certain peoples of northern Asia in which mediation between the visible and spirit worlds is effected by shamans.
    A similar religion or set of beliefs, especially among certain Native American peoples.
    In folklore, the magical ability to assume the form and characteristics of a wolf.
    A delusion that one has become or assumed the characteristics of a wolf or other animal.

  6. Way back in college, lycanthropy was covered as the answers above: where someone believes s/he changes into an animal.
    It is also considered to be a sub-culture by “furries.” These people range from believing they can physically change into an animal to people who feel an affinity toward a particular animal (real or mythological). Some say that they are “a dragon trapped in a man’s body” or similar.
    I practise core shamanism; lycanthropy does not enter into my beliefs, although animal spirits are a part.


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