Shamanism: The Neural Ecology of Consciousness and Healing

By Michael Winkelman | Go to book overview

understanding through metaphoric predication and cross-modular integration of cognitive modules. The spirit world of shamanism provided models for conceptualizing self and other and their interrelationships, playing a fundamental role in self development and transformation. Shamanic healing used these self/other models in the therapeutic processes and in social integration.


NOTES
1
"There is an important spiritual aspect of BPM1, often associated with a profound feeling of cosmic unity and ecstasy, closely associated with experiences we might have in a good womb -- peace, tranquility, serenity, joy, and bliss. Our everyday perceptions of space and time seem to fade away and we become 'pure being.' Language fails to convey the essence of this state, prompting most to remark only that it is 'indescribable' or 'ineffable" ( Grof 1992, 39).
2
One characteristic of early humans was their failure to produce in a medium other than stone (e.g., bone, antler, or ivory) the same type of highly technical artifacts found in stone tools. Mithen ( 1996) suggested that early moderns were not capable of thinking of animal materials as suitable for tools because they thought of them as animals -- part of the domain of natural history intelligence. They were not capable of thinking about animal parts as objects for manipulation with the skills of technical intelligence. Moreover, the stone artifacts produced by early humans were general-purpose tools rather than specialized tools for specific types of tasks. Social strategies did not integrate tool use, nor was social information integrated into toolmaking.
3
"Many of the art objects can indeed be thought of as a brand new type of tool: a tool for storing information and for helping to retrieve information stored in the mind" ( Mithen 1996, 170). Art artifacts, therefore, served as a form of recording environmental events, particularly serving as mnemonics. Mithen suggests that these art forms may have served as a form of "tribal encyclopedia," with the representation serving as a way of storing information about animal behavior. "But they are carefully arranged to act as a mental map for the surrounding environment to facilitate the recall of information about that environment and animal behavior. They thus play an important role in decisionmaking about use of resources and improving the predictions about animal location and behavior" (173).
4
The term shaman was not part of historical English but was borrowed from the Tungus of Siberia. Such derivation suggests that there could be no cognates of the shaman in contemporary English and other I-E languages. But evidence of such cognates exists in many I-E languages. A

-111-

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Shamanism: The Neural Ecology of Consciousness and Healing
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • List of Illustrations ix
  • Preface xi
  • Acknowledgments xvii
  • 1 - Shamanism and Consciousness: an Introduction 1
  • Notes 53
  • 2 - The Nature and Basis of Shamanism: Cross-Cultural and Neurophenomenological Perspectives 57
  • Notes 111
  • 3 - Physiological and Phenomenological Bases of Altered States of Consciousness 113
  • Notes 187
  • 4 - Physiological Bases of Shamanistic Therapies 191
  • Notes 230
  • 5 - Psychophysiological Dynamics of Shamanistic Healing 231
  • Notes 276
  • Bibliography 277
  • Index 307
  • About the Author *
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