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Shamans Through Time

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  162 Ratings  ·  10 Reviews
A survey of five centuries of writings on the world's great shamans-the tricksters, sorcerers, conjurers, and healers who have fascinated observers for centuries.

This collection of essays traces Western civilization's struggle to interpret and understand the ancient knowledge of cultures that revere magic men and women-individuals with the power to summon spirits. As writt
Paperback, 336 pages
Published September 9th 2004 by TarcherPerigee (first published April 23rd 2001)
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May 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
so much knowledge has been lost due to our own indifference to things we have not understood. This book was humbling in the sense that so much of my heritage has been part of the discrimination and destruction of such valuable teachings through the ages.
1) "Devil Worship: Consuming Tobacco to Receive Messages from Nature" (1535); de Oviedo, Gonzalo Fernandez
2) "Ministers of the Devil Who Learn about the Secrets of Nature" (1557); Thevet, Andre
3) "Evoking the Devil: Fasting with Tobacco to Learn How to Cure" (1664); Biet, Antoine
4) The Shaman: "A Villain Who Calls Demons" (1672); Petrovich, Avvakum
5) "The Savages Esteem Their Jugglers" (1724); Lafitau, Joseph Francois
6) "Shamans Deserve Perpetual Labor for Their Hocus-Pocus" (1751); Gmelin, Joha
Jack Barten
Apr 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent book that one can either dip in and out of or go right through the history of how shamanic practices have been represented.

Narby is an anthropologist with extensive knowledge of Amazonian shamanism but the book takes a much broader view by going through hundreds of years of history and offering the reader clear snapshots from different people's perspectives.

These range from early missionary accounts, where the shaman is presented as doing diabolical things on behalf of the
Isobel Atkins
Dec 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
A compilation of the literature about shamans and shamism beginning with authors from the 16th century up until the present day. At first I found the excerpts annoyingly short but as I continued to read an overall picture of the evolution western thought as it related to shamism and traditional societies was painted. So well written and organised that I feel like I have learnt a lot without any effort.
Dec 11, 2016 rated it it was ok
There are tons of glowing 4- and 5-star reviews on this one, and I guess I'm the odd one out, because I (to my surprise) did not enjoy this much at all.

It's a collection of essays throughout the ages about shamanism – but all from outsiders' points of view. It was an especially hard read because it goes chronologically, and essays from the 1500s right up to about the 1950s or so all denigrate the topic and approach it with such disdain and cluelessness. It taught me nothing except how assholish
Feb 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
I had to read this book for my Anthropology class, and I found it quite interesting. It amazing how Shamans have been viewed. Some view them as "actors", others view them as true healers in their societies. This compilation of essays does a nice job of showing you the various views of anthropologists, adventurers and explorers. The early essays show how shamanism is viewed as hoaxes to devil worship; whereas, the later essays show how shamanism is viewed as a "remarkable system of spiritual know ...more
Roger Green
Aug 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is a nice edited collection of of the convoluted writings on "shamans," throughout history. One gets a good sense of the superior attitudes Europeans held for a long time which helps in gleaning the ways those attitudes continue to shape people's current attitudes even when they think they are favorably disposed toward indigenous peoples' practices around the world. The concept remains a problem.
Jul 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: spirit-myth
This was an excellent book, with many accounts of what shamans have said themselves. As it is written for our culture there are, of course, some parts which have a difficult and unhelpful energy for people with psychic/shamanic gifts to read, but on the whole this is one of the best books I've found. I do recommend it highly.
Nov 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
My 4th favorite book about shamans.
Jun 22, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting insight into how the Shamans were viewed in the olden days.
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Jeremy Narby is an anthropologist and writer. Narby grew up in Canada and Switzerland, studied history at the University of Canterbury, and received a doctorate in anthropology from Stanford University. Narby spent several years living with the Ashaninca in the Peruvian Amazon cataloging indigenous uses of rainforest resources to help combat ecological destruction. Narby has written three books, a ...more
More about Jeremy Narby...