Shamanism as an experiencing of "the Unreal"

  • Odd Nordland
Keywords: Shamanism, Experience (Religion), Shamans, Psychology and religion, Trance, Ecstasy, Altered states of consciousness, Hallucinations and illusions, Brain research, Senses and sensation

Abstract

Our usual conception of the shaman is, indeed, that he employs monotonous effects to fall into ecstasy and arrive at the state of trance: he sings and dances alone, or along with others. The auditory stimulations and the motoric movements, in increasing intensity, and the emotional induction from the crowd around him result in his falling into a trance in the end, and the disconnecting of higher cerebral centers: his "soul" journeys, released from the body. It is now that he is said to be capable of relating experiences which we cannot judge on the basis of our "knowledge", experiences which he and those present, on their part, accept as knowledge. The special position of the shaman, and the specific social and cultural situation which is the background for his contribution, make it extremely difficult to approach phenomena like ecstasy and the trance through observation and experiments. But there are other methods. In our technical and mechanized civilization, monotonous stimulation is steadily increasing, and a considerable number of situations exist which have raised problems for fertile meditation on this subject.
Section
Articles
Published
Aug 1, 1967
How to Cite
Nordland, O. (1967). Shamanism as an experiencing of "the Unreal". Scripta Instituti Donneriani Aboensis, 1, 166-185. https://doi.org/10.30674/scripta.67028