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By Robert J. Wallis

In pop culture, such diversified characters as occultist Aleister Crowley, doorways musician Jim Morrison, and function artist Joseph Beuys were known as shamans. In anthropology, however, shamanism has institutions with sorcery, witchcraft and therapeutic, and archaeologists have advised the which means of prehistoric cave paintings lies with shamans and adjusted recognition. Robert J. Wallis explores the interface among 'new' and prehistoric shamans. The publication attracts on interviews with a number of practitioners, fairly modern pagans in Britain and north the United States. Wallis seems at old and archaeological resources to discover modern pagan engagements with prehistoric sacred websites equivalent to Stonehenge and Avebury, and discusses the arguable use by way of neo-Shamans of indigenous (particularly local American) shamanism.

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Additional info for Shamans/Neo-Shamans: Ecstasies, Alternative Archaeologies and Contemporary Pagans

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An important feature arising from this hermeneutic approach is that the diversity of neo-Shamanic practitioners and perspectives is allowed to ‘speak out’. In direct contrast to the foundationalist approach which ‘exposes’ frauds and makes monolithic judgements, exploring diversity recognises and represents multiple voices. g. g. Dowson 1998c) studies, which move away from generalities towards localised socio-political contexts of shamans, and which require examination of specificity and diversity.

Marcus suggests this moving between sites, or worlds, implicates the ethnographer as a ‘circumstantial activist’. I take this to mean a political explicitness on the part of the researcher, a consistent renegotiating of political and ethical identity wherein each new site reflects and alters the ethnographer’s relationship with the others (and Others). More than being a single ‘boundary crosser’ with ‘dual identity’ (Reed-Danahay 1997: 3) as an autoethnographer, the multi-sited autoarchaeologist of neo-Shamanisms has multiple lines to cross and consciousnesses to inhabit.

Gatens 1991; Haraway 1991; Butler 1993; Dowson 2001a), though such theorists equally tend to be atheistic or at least rational materialist. Post-colonial/neo-colonial concerns Post-colonial theory and the issue of neo-colonialism mark a final line of inquiry which informs my approach to neo-Shamanisms. Neo-Shamanisms are, for example, expressions of the ‘disembeddedness of radical modernity’ (Johnson 1995: 174). g. Heelas 1996). My two geographical foci, North America and Britain, are two loci of the post-colonial empire where neo-Shamanisms are most prominent and polemical, and which compare and contrast in very different ways.

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