The Nature of Shamanism: Substance and Function of a Religious Metaphor
[The author] explores the core and essence of shamanism by looking at its ritual, mythology, symbolism, and the dynamics of its cultural process. In dealing with the basic elements of shamanism, the author discusses the shamanistic experience and enlightenment, the inner personal crisis, and the many aspects entailed in the role of the shaman.
Michael Ripinsky-Naxon’s The Nature of Shamanism is a masterful reexamination of the roots of shamanism that supplements – and, in some ways, rivals – Mircea Eliade’s classic study Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy.
A comparison to Eliade’s work is unavoidable, partly because both books are monumental scholastic treatises on the universal nature of shamanism, and partly because Ripinsky-Naxon’s central premise – that psychotropic substances are at the root of shamanic metaphor – directly challenges one of Eliade’s principal assumptions – that psychotropic shamanism was a relatively recent, degenerate development…I recommend The Nature of Shamanism both as a valuable counterbalance to Eliade’s Shamanism and as one of the best-documented cross-cultural studies of shamanism available anywhere. — Timothy White, Shaman’s Drum, No. 36, Fall 1994
Publisher: State University of New York Press; F First Paperback Edition Used edition (May 4, 1993)