Grandpa Kewl

Book Review – Shamanism, Archaic Techniques Of Ecstacy, Mircae Eliade

From the forward: “To the best of our knowledge the present book is the first to cover the entire phenomenon of shamanism and at the same time to situate it in the general history of religion.”

Not a bad summary of this book. If you have any interest in the topic, this is a must read. Be warned tho – it is not for the casual impatient reader. It is thorough to a fault and spares no detail. A very excellent book.

I don’t recall feeling the need to do this before, but here are the chapter titles:


  1. General Considerations. Recruiting Methods. Shamanism and Mustic Vocation
  2. Initiatory Sicknesses and Dreams
  3. Obtaining Shamanic Powers
  4. Shamanic Initiation
  5. Symbolism of the Shaman’s Costume and Drum
  6. Shamanism in Central and North Asia: Celestial Ascents. Descents to the Underworld
  7. Shamanism in Central and North Asia: Magical Cures. The Shaman as Psychopomp
  8. Shamanism and Cosmology
  9. Shamanism in North and South America
  10. Southeast Asian and Oceanian Shamanism
  11. Shamanic Ideologies and Techniques among Indo-Europeans
  12. Shamanic Symbolisms and Techniques in Tibet, China and the Far East
  13. Parallel Myths, Symbols and Rites

This gives you an idea of the depth of the research. The book is 511 pages in length, not including the indexes and references etc. Very detailed…..

A few quotes:

“The shaman is the great specialist in the human soul”

“That is why the shaman must die that he may meet the souls of the dead and receive their teachings; for the dead know everything


I really, really like that thought…the dead know everything.

“This means that everywhere in the cosmos archaic man recognizes a source of magico-religious sacred…”

I was left with a greater appreciation of my forefather shamans…a very peaceful feeling indeed.

Further threads to trace…

The Myth of Qat
Georges Dumezil…his studies
The story of Odin
The Gisla Saga
Artay Viraf

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