Varieties of Magical Experience, 4






Shaman's Worlds



Detecting a Shaman



Becoming a Shaman









Journeying to the Spirit-World



Contemporary Shamanism



Shaman's Worlds


pp. 59-60 maps to Otherworld

p. 59

"Hutton [2001, p. 60] notes that in the various Siberian ethnographies, each {divine} realm has its own "elaborate geography" that has to be negotiated by the visitor.

pp. 59-60

The journeyer into nonordinary reality may discover that it is possible to revisit the same environs and have special meeting places with spiritual allies."

Hutton 2001 = Ronald Hutton : Shamanism : Siberian Spirtuality in the Western Imagination. London : Hamilton & Continuum.

p. 60 Tree-of-Life or World-Tree of the Yolnu

"A "tree of life," called Waligul by the Yolngu people of Australia, is said to be the communicating link between the earth and spirit{-worlds} ... . After a night of ritual singing by senior men, at that "special time"

just before the first appearance of daylight, it is said that this mythical tree can be seen in a brief, fleeting second." (Wells 1971, p. 55)

{Is the greenery of the tree's leaves aequated with the viridity of the "green flash" of the horizonal sun's upper edge?}

Wells 1971 = Ann E Wells : This Their Dreaming. St. Lucia (Queensland) : Univ of Queensland Pr.


Detecting a Shaman


pp. 61-3 shamanry in Korea

p. 61

"In ... Korea, around Seoul, a person becomes a shaman through what begins as an illness that cannot be explained ... . ...

p. 62

The call to shamanism is recounted through dreams that frequently involve the appearance of a divine being, sometimes bearing a bowl of medicinal water or book of mystical teachings. ... If the call is resisted, they

p. 63

often have very bad luck, become sick, and their illness progresses until they accept their calling." (Kendall 1988, p. 79)

Kendall 1988 = L. Kendall : The Life and Hard Times of a Korean Shaman. Honolulu : Univ of HI Pr.

pp. 63-4 instances of "clever men" (shamans) in Australia

p. 63

"An Australian Aboriginal clever man ... obtained his power in dreams. ... The third time he had the same dream, [in that dream] the old men carried him through the air and set him down ... in front of a large rock with an opening ... and

led him through the rock ... and he discovered that he was in a place "as bright as day."

{This is similar to the classic NDE (near-death experience) of going through a tunnel into the after-death realm, except that the usual NDE version of this is a solitary journey.}

He was shown "shining bright things ...," and told to take some. He did so ... . ... When he woke up from this dream ..., he realized that he was holding the shiny bright thing in his hand. ... From that time on he could "pull things {ailments} out of people, and do other marvellous things." (Cawte 1974, p. 32)

"The Gunwinggu clever man, from western Arnhem Land (Australia), obtains his power mainly

from spirits of the dead. ... a deceased relative

{more experientially, from divinities purporting to be the dead, specifically in the guise of a dead relative}

would "insert into his head a small thin rod, like a bamboo spear and breathe power into all his bodily apertures," which he could subsequently use for healing. The clever man {at first} could not speak; ... he could only nod in reply {while lying recumbent on the ground}. Then the spirit blew into him again to

p. 64

give him extra stength, after which he rose to his feet slow and stiffly ... . [Berndt & Berndt [1965], p. 254] After this event, he became "clever" and could heal people."

Cawte 1974 = John Cawte : Medicine Is the Law. Honolulu : Univ of HI Pr.

Berndt & Berndt 1965 = Ronald Murray Berndt & Catherine Helen Berndt : The World of the First Australians. Univ of Chicago Pr. (reprinted 1977, Sydney : Ure Smith)


Becoming a Shaman


p. 64 Kut caerimony in Korea

"A Korean kut is an elaborate ... dramatic performance ... that can last for hours, during which the mudang goes into a whirling dance, sometimes with an entire slaughtered pig across her shoulders. The kut often culminates in ... the mudang['s] standing barefoot on razor-sharp metal blades, without ill effect.

In the initiatory rite for the god's descent into the shaman[ess], called the naerim-kut, the possessing spirits are officially invited to descend and enter into her body, the point [in time] that marks the transition from [being an] afflicted victim to [being a] mudang." (Kendall 1988, p. 251)

[quoted from Kendall 1988, p. 32 :] "When you start doing your own kut, you just feel your spirits stealing into you and taking over; the sensation is incomparable."

pp. 65-6 how spirits make an Australian aboriginal novice into a "clever man" (shaman)

p. 65

"an Arnhem Land (Australia) clever man ... said that his powers came from spirits, called gulun, who stupified him for five days ... asleep ... . When he awoke, he recognized that he had been "made" because of his ability to see through objects." (Cawte 1974, p. 32)

p. 66

[In the initiatory dream] "in Australia, the novice "clever man" ... might be taken by a spirit into another realm where he undergoes disembowelment and his insides are replaced, usually by substances usch as quartz crystals. In one ... account [of such an initiatory dream], the postulant is cut open "from his neck down the front of the body to the groin;" his heart, intestines, and other organs are taken out, and magical sustances are inserted. His shoulder bones, thigh bones, and ankle bones are removed, and the bones are dried before being put back, along with more magical substances." (Elkin 1977, p. 105)

Elkin 1977 = Adolphus Peter Elkin : Aboriginal Men of High Degree. St. Lucia (Queensland) : Univ of Queensland Pr; NY : St Martins Pr.) (1st edn was 1945)

p. 67 description of healing-activities by an "old Kalahari Bushman healer"

"You breathe with difficulty. You ... see spirits killing people. You smell burning, rotten flesh. Then you heal, you pull sickness out." (Katz 1982, p. 45)

Katz 1982 = Richard Katz : Boiling Energy. Cambridge (MA) : Harvard Univ Pr.

p. 68 seeing by Nanasan shaman

"a Nganasan Samoyed shaman of Siberia reported that during his initiatory dismemberment {being bodily dismembred in a dream}, a spirit also changed his eyes, so that he could see, not {only} with bodily eyes, but {also} with "mystical eyes.""

p. 68 praeternatural seeing by a "clever man" in Australia

"His "shrewd eyes" enabled him to "see" an illness in a person's body, and to see through objects. His special sight also enabled him to see a light about a dead man's grave for up to three days after death. He could speak to the light and it would guide him". (Berndt & Berndt 1977, p. 308)




p. 69 training

"Occultist Israel Regardie [1979] insists on the importance of visualization and mental imagery cultivation before a practitioner in magic can move on to the next stages of training."

"In {her} study of Siberian shamanism, Czaplicka {1884-1921} notes [1914, p. 179] that the mental part of training consists of coming into contact with the "right spirits," those who will become the shaman's protectors."

Regardie 1979 = Israel Regardie : Foundations of Practical Magic. Wellingborough : Aquarian Pr.

Czaplicka 1914 = Mary Antoinette Crispine Czaplicka : Aboriginal Siberia. Clarendon Pr, Oxford.




p. 70 lycanthropy (Riboli 2004, p. 256)

"Huichol ... myths tell of their origins as part-human, part-wolf ..., and

{Therianthrope deities are often encountred in dreams produced by ingesting an entheogen-drug.}

many Huichol shamans train for ... several years, to become wolf-shamans. At the end of his apprenticeship, the wolves themselves enable the candidate

to see visions, and

{including while awake}

the shaman has the ability to transform himself into a wolf."

{particularly in dreams}

Riboli 2004 = D. Riboli : "Transformation". In :- Mariko Namba Walter & Eva Jane Neumann Fridman (edd.) : Shamanism : an Encyclopedia. Santa Barbara (CA) : ABC-CLIO. pp. 255-9.


Journeying to the Spirit-World


p. 71 projection of the astral body by Australian aborigines

""Clever" people can go on journeys while their physical bodies are asleep. This is called "travelling in a clever way."

The person's spirit might exit through the navel and fly away.

{Projection of the astral body is commonly experienced as exit (in an immaterial body) out of the material body, with flying away from that location, and with a connection (betwixt the twain bodies) being maintained, often via the navel.}

During these journeys he might find himself at a ceremony and learn important songs and other information. In 1937, ... Tindale noted that a man could "travel as a whirlwind," leave the supine body, and

fly on a spider web."

[Concerning this visionary "spider web" in Australian aboriginal shamanic practice, cf. infra p. 76.]

Tindale 1937 = Norman B. Tindale : "Native Songs of South-East Australia". TRANSACTIONS OF THE ROYAL SOC OF SOUTH AUSTRALIA 61:107-20.

pp. 71-2 praeternatural travel during dreams by the Mekeo of New Guinea

p. 71

"The Mekeo of New Guinea ... "hidden/dream-self" can leave the body during sleep ... . [Stephen 1995, p. 218] ...

This other self

{actually, "dream-body", not "other self". [There is only one "self" (consciousness), which may reside in various different bodies (as is well-known to students of occultism).]}

is truly ... hidden ..., since it is usually invisible to the

p. 72

waking perception of others,

{Though it may be visible to their dreaming perception (but only in mutual/shared dreams).}

but it is hidden even from one's own waking awareness ... .

Mekeo take care to distinguish between what they experience in their physical bodies (imauga) and what they experience as {i.e., "in"} their dream-{bodies} (lalauga) ... .

{This is quite superfluous to state in so many words, for every last person in this world who hath dreams is of course aware of this distinction.}

The ... "hidden self" ... is now everyday talk in the West, where it is referred to as the "astral body"

{The astral body (achieved in astral projection) is usually distinguished from the ordinary dream-body, though (as the authors, L.H. & N.D. are apparently intending to suggest) in reality the astral body may simply be an enhanced form of the dream-body.}

or "soul body.""

{The term "soul body" would more usually refer to the causal body, which is quite distinct and different from the astral body.}

Stephen 1995 = Michele Joy Stephen : A>aisa's Gifts. Berkeley : Univ of CA Pr.

p. 73 imitation of animal-calls in Korean shamanry

"in ... shamanic performance ... some performances incorporate whistling ... and other acoustic effects that mimic [Avorgbeder, pp. 179-80] "bird calls ... and voices of domestic animals.""

{In Siberian and in AmerIndian shamanic performances, such calls are often believed to be made by arriving disembodied animal-spirits themselves (as may well sometimes be the case).}

Avorgbeder = D. K. Avorgbeder : "Music in World Shamanism". In :- M. N. Walter & E. J. N. Fridman (edd.) : Shamanism : an Encyclopedia ... . Santa Barbara (CA) : ABC-CLIO. pp. 179-86.

p. 73 S^ipibo-Konibo song-designs {seen under the influence of a psychedelic drug}

"The Shipibo-Conibo shaman of eastern Peru might perceive pulsating designs that float downwards to his lips during a healing ritual. ... The power of the design-songs is said to reside in their "fragrance," thus giving them a multisensorial flavor." (Lewis-Williams 2004, p. 147, citing Gebhart-Sayer 1985)

Lewis-Williams 2004 = David Lewis-Williams : The Mind in the Cave. Thames & Hudson.

Gebhart-Sayer 1985 = A. Gebhart-Sayer : "Geometric Designs of the Shipibo-Conibo in Ritual Context". J OF LATIN-AMERICAN LORE 11.2:143-75.

p. 74 [a San shaman's dream, quoted from Biesele 1993] shamanry among the San (Bushfolk) of the Kalahari

[quoted from Biesele 1993, p. 72 :] "We traveled until we came to a wide body of water. ... Kaoxa ["his spirit helper"] made the waters climb ... . ... Then I entered the stream and began to move forward. ... Metal things fastened to my sides. ... And the spirits were singing. ...

[quoted from Biesele 1993, p. 73 :] We danced ... . ... Then ... my protector spoke to me, saying that I would be able to cure. ...

[quoted from Biesele 1993, p. 74 :] When we emerged ["from the ground"], we began to climb ... the thread of the sky! ... Now up there in the sky, the people up there, the spirits, ... sang for me so that I can dance."

Biesele 1993 = M. Biesele : Women Like Meat : ... Ideology of the Kalahari Ju//hoan. Johannesburg : Witwatersrand Univ Pr.

p. 75 summon supernatural forces : power cometh

"Pitjantara women in the Musgrave Ranges, central Australia, told [Payne 1993, p. 18] ... that they can "summon" or "pull" ancestral spiritual forces or "supernatural forces" through ritual enactment."

"A medicine man called Rolling Thunder once said : [Swan 1987, p. 145] "It's a power which comes to you which you have to honor, respect and use; otherwise it can make you sick.""

Payne 1993 = Helen Payne "Presence of the Possessed : a Parameter in the Performance Practice of the Music of Australian Aboriginal Women". In :- Kimberly Marshall (ed.) : Rediscovering the Muses : Women's Musical Traditions. Boston : Northeastern Univ Pr, 1993.

Swan 1987 = J. Swan : "Rolling Thunder ar Work". In :- Shirley J. Nicholson : Shamanism : an Expanded View of Reality. Wheaton (IL) : Theosophical Publ House, 1987.

pp. 75-6 miwi of Australian aborigines

p. 75

"the power of the miwi (... the mind ...) ... is developed and strengthened through concentration and willpower, and has a strong visual element. ...

p. 76

Some experiences while employing the power of miwi might be ... : one might see

monstrous creatures with human heads and animal bodies, or

{These are known in Latin as ("F1C") "grillae (human heads and animal bodies)." Aleut and western Eskimo deities are often depicted by ("PPL") "a singular combination of human heads and animal bodies." Mesopotamian deities often "had human heads and animal bodies, unlike Indian (and Egyptian) animal deities who had animal heads and human bodies." (SAI, p. 253)}

disastrous physical calamities such as ... whirling waters, and trees shaking.

The things seen are described as being constructed upon a spider's web and suspended within the web.

{Cf. akas`a "substance which was the aka of Huna, and using the symbol of the spider’s web strands in the “thread souls”, and its function as a “net”" ("CIC").} {Cf. also the Old English "threads of wyrd" ("WWW").}

If fear is not controlled, the "threads" of the web are broken, and to reconstruct them a person would need to work through a series of trances that gradually rebuild the web and the image suspended from it.

{"with ... the sacred technologies of trance ... Wyrd is also a vast web of living fibers ... similar to ... the web of aka threads used by the Hawaiian kahuna." (ESh"W", p. 546b)}

Having undergone completion of such experiences, one was said to be ... "perfect as a spider's web."" (Berndt & Berndt 1993, pp. 246-7)

"F1C" = "The Fate of One Collection".

"PPL" = "Professor Putnam's Lecture".

SAI = Nanditha Krishna : Sacred Animals of India. Penguin Books India, 2010.

"CIC" = "Class In “Credo”", HUNA VISTAS BULLETIN 46 [1963].

"WWW" = Galina Krasskova : "The Way Wyrd Works".

ESh"W" = article "Wyrd" in :- Christina Pratt : An Encyclopedia of Shamanism. Rosen Publ, NY, 2007.

Berndt & Berndt 1993 = Ronald Murray Berndt & Catherine Helen Berndt (ed. by John E. Stanton) : A World That Was : the Yaraldi of the Murray River and the Lakes, South Australia. MIEGUNYAH PRESS SER, no. 11. Vancouver : Univ of BC Pr, 1993.


Contemporary Shamanism


p. 76 animism

"The term "animism," being relational, is conducive to ... consciousness, environment, and ethics, ... suggests Harvey [2005, pp. 139-42]."

Harvey 2005 = Graham Harvey : Animism. London : Hurst.

p. 77 the Otherworld, according to a "Contemporary Scottish shaman"

"The Otherworld, writes MacLellan [1999, p. 25], ... can be experienced as "a blend of the dreams ... of other beings ...," where one can meet "talking foxes and watch the shapes of stone people unfold from the rocks on a hillside." Dreams, nightmares, or magic can access the Otherworld."

""Spirits," he says, "touch us with premonition ... or a passing dream" :

[quoted from MacLellan 1999, p. 26 :] ... There is more than one spirit world ... the spirit world being close beside us and being able to influence what happens in our physical world. The shaman moves between the worlds and can act in all of them."

[quoted from MacLellan 1999, p. 42 :] "I become all the spirits that I work with. I see with all their eyes ... . I feel a {spirit-}world that thinks ... and sets me free {from the material world}. This is bliss."

MacLellan 1999 : Gordon MacLellan : Shamanism. London : Piatkus.

pp. 78-9 becoming, and traveling in the embodiment of, a wolf

p. 78

"Another contemporary practitioner who employs shamanic practices is Greywolf (Philip Shallcrass), the joint head of the British Druid Order. ... Having associated himself with the wolf spirit {in dreams}, he discovered that {in such dreams} he could slide his consciousness

p. 79

into the body of the wolf and that this ability facilitated his journeying in the spirit world." (Wallis 2003, p. 87)

Wallis 2003 = R. J. Wallis : Shamans and Neo-Shamans. London : Routledge.


Lynne Hume & Nevill Drury : The Varieties of Magical Experience : Indigenous, Medieval, and Modern Magic. Praeger (an imprint of ABC-CLIO), Santa Barbara (CA), 2013.