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The Quest for the Shamanby Miranda Aldhouse Green
Synopses & Reviews
An informative and entertaining exploring of shamanism and ritual behavior in ancient Europe. The authors draw on the most recent archaeological research to show that shamanism was endemic among ancient European peoples from the Stone Age to the early post-Roman era.
Book News Annotation:
Beginning this treatment with a quote about shamans possibly being the oldest profession and their encounter with modern shamans in Chile, the Aldhouse-Greens (U. of Wales, Newport) trace the powerful role back to early myths and Paleolithic origins. Based on archeological evidence, they discuss shamans as 'the ecstatic ones' who mediate between the human and spirit worlds. Many of the images illustrate their gender- and species-bending nature. Related aspects explored include trance states, healing rituals, and human sacrifice.
Annotation ©2005 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
As this book so ably demonstrates, archaeological remains from cave paintings to bog bodies to Bronze Age vessels show that shamanism was endemic among ancient European peoples from the Stone Age to the early post Roman era. Most shamans occupied a marginal, dual position in their communities and functioned as liaisons with the spirit world throught the medium of france. The authors draw on the most recent archaeological research and support their conclusions with rich evidence, including the 30,000 year old lion human ivory figurines found in southwestern Germany that may represent monsters seen by shamans in altered states of consciousness; the spectacular Nebra sky dise, a lso from Germany, which depicts te sun, moon, and the Pleiades, indicating that Bronze Age shamans were using highly sophisticated objects to explore the heavens; and the "Doctor's Grave" from southeast England, which suggests that a Late Iron Age chieltain was sent to the Otherworld equipped with hallucinogenic drugs, medical kit, and divining tools.
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