• The wikipedia shamanism entry is a good starting point. I recently got done reading Travelling Between the Worlds by Hillary S Webb and highly recommend it, since it has interviews with many representatives of many old and new traditions around the world. I also found a group that meets locally via google. Your mileage may vary on the latter.

  • Shamanism is a HUGE category. While there are some techniques that many shamans have in common, it is NOT a universal system as some people would have you believe.

    The Wikipedia article on shamanism, located at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shamanism , is a good place to start. Make sure you check out all the “See Also” topics near the end of the page, particularly “neoshamanism” and “plastic shaman”. Most of what is called “shamanism” in books is one of those two things.

    A good introductory book on traditional shamanism is Piers Vitebsky’s “The Shaman” (it has also been reprinted with the simple title “Shamanism”–a search for the author’s name on Amazon will bring up both, if you want to see which version is cheaper used). It covers a lot of aspects of shamanism in indigenous cultures, and only briefly touches on modern neoshamanism.

    Michael Harner’s “The Way of the Shaman” is *neoshamanism*–specifically, a system Harner developed called core shamanism. While it has some good techniques, it is a rather flawed text–you can see a full review I did of it at http://lupabitch.wordpress.com/2007/09/24/the-way-of-the-shaman-michael-harner/

    I would recommend picking up “Exploring Shamanism” by Hillary S. Webb–it’s neoshamanism, but it’s a really solid text. As for websites, here are a couple of good ones:


    Hope that helps!

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