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Hallucinogens and Shamanism [Anglais] [Broché]

Michael J. Harner

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Biographie de l'auteur

Michael J. Harner is at The Foundation for Shamanic Studies.

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Dans ce livre (En savoir plus)
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ONE of the last remaining areas of the world where hallucinogenic drugs are used under essentially aboriginal conditions is the upper Amazon rain forest of South America. Lire la première page
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Couverture | Copyright | Table des matières | Extrait | Index | Quatrième de couverture
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Amazon.com: 4.7 étoiles sur 5  3 commentaires
31 internautes sur 32 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 One of the few excellent sources for this subject 9 juillet 2006
Par Brian P. Akers - Publié sur Amazon.com
It is high time (ahem) this collection of writings receive the praise it is due. Offerings on this subject have proliferated in recent decades, but far too many of them have little to offer those seeking genuine knowledge and understanding. Here, packed in one volume, is an assortment of excellent articles exploring various aspects of how hallucinogenic plants and fungi figure in ritual uses across culture. This is a work of anthropology, not lightweight stuff for those who want to beat their own drum playing "New Age shaman" (instead of learn about shamanism as an aspect of other cultures to which such practices actually belong). Later in his career, Harner abandoned this type of scholarly work and went with a more commercialized route that was far less interesting (unless, again, you want to become a Harner Core Method ® Shaman yourself). But this volume amply testifies that in his early career Harner did some excellent work, such as his field studies among the Shuar Indians (popularly known as the Jivaro), whose culture is steeped in shamanism and applications of hallucinogenic plants. (Incidental irony: many of the Shuar shamans state that they took up their practice in order to get rich!)

One of the most fascinating and informative pieces in this book is Harner's article on the use of belladonna and related plants by peasant herbalists accused of witchcraft in mediaeval Europe. The evidence he presents is strong and persuasive, but watch out! It tends to demolish more fashionable and ideologically polarizing interpretations of history, such as (a) there were no "witches," the very idea is preposterous, the whole notion just a paranoid projection from the hysterical imaginations of superstitious people in a pre-scientific age; (b) witches were real, and Evil!, worshippers of Satan, even if they didn't exactly fly on broomsticks; and (c) witches were real and Good!, noble practitioners of an ancient pagan goddess-worship religion. No, its all much more interesting than any of that, turns out.

The selections in this volume are generally well written, although in the scholarly-academic sense, i.e., with the intention of informing, not merely entertaining, the reader. A favorite, unique highlight herein is "The Mushrooms of Language," which astutely interprets Mazatec Indian customs concerning psilocybin mushrooms. The final section of the book raises an interesting question, of the extent to which experiences with hallucinogenic drugs may tap into something beyond cultural soft-wiring of perception, although none of the evidence offered could be described as conclusive, only suggestive.

This book came out in the early 1970's, before the discussion and exploration of this subject got derailed by the "Castaneda effect" and similar "New Agey" influences. It is founded not upon exploitation and sensationalism, but intellectually open-minded curiosity and a desire to explore and learn with feet planted firmly on the ground. "Hallucinogens and Shamanism" is baby without dirty bathwater, and as such is highly recommended for those with serious interest.
13 internautes sur 17 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Good topics, drab writing 22 mars 2000
Par C. Walsh - Publié sur Amazon.com
Despite the fact that I am absolutly facinated with Shamanism (more so Ethnobotany than the new age stuff) I found this work to be more of a textbook in the school sense and at times really dragged on. I do recommend this work for the content. Getting through the content can be a little arduous though
6 internautes sur 32 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Entheogens: Professional Listing 29 avril 1999
Par Un client - Publié sur Amazon.com
"Hallucinogens and Shamanism" has been selected for listing in "Religion and Psychoactive Sacraments: An Entheogen Chrestomathy" [...]
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