Shamanism in Anthropology has been an entity in a constant
metamorphosis. It has always been considered exotic and its
existence around the globe was never contradicted. However, over
the years it did not receive the scholarly attention that it so
requires. The age of discovery garnered a multitude of
information on shamanism all over the world. The reporters
invested a great deal of accuracy in the gathering of the
information, but their observational skills were mostly
underdeveloped. Furthermore as could be expected, they saw and
evaluated things solely on the basis of European religion and
social customs (Flaherty, 1992, pp.3) without having it
necessary to view its ramifications to the people who are so
imbued by it. Despite these methodologies which were grave in
nature, matters began to shift during the 1940's and 1950's when
the social sciences were rapidly coming into their own
disciplines. Shamanism, was beginning to be looked upon as a
complex religious notions and modes of behaviour (Lommel, 1967,
pp.8). Although shamanism was beginning to harness scholarly
attention there were still different contradicting theories being
laid out in the scientific community. More recently since the
notion of tribalism has become more prevalent shamanism is
beginning to be recognized as holding the key puzzle in life.
Furthermore, it is growing and encompassing many areas such as
Psychology, Pharmacology, and even believe it or not Physics.
Now before we elaborate on the historical significance of
shamaninsm in anthropology it is imperative that a general
definition of shamanism is established.
In order to study shamanism the shaman must first be
understood. The original word shaman came form the Ural
mountains in Russia. It applied to people who acted in several
'non-ordinary' capacities for their tribes. Shamans may be
defined as man or a woman who through their ability...