Shamanism is a generic term that describes a broad set of ritual beliefs about the human relationship to other humans and nature. It is linked also to Animism. This lecture introduces the broad parameters of shamanism while also trying to get students to realize that shamanism is not a ‘dead religion.’ In the last few decades, it has even been revived – just think of the so-called neo-pagans who flock to Stonehenge! So what we see today in some parts of the world is a mixture of survival and revival. The lecture covers the idea of Dreamtime, sweat lodges and winter ceremonialism. The idea is to broaden the students’ knowledge about First Society world views. There is then a section of Sacred Landscapes, an aspect of First Society reality that is rapidly disappearing from the modern world. The last section introduces Shintoism. Though a Japanese phenomenon, it is a great way to see a bigger context of animist realities as they apply to the Americas too.
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