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Consciousness: Cultural and Therapeutic Perspectives

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Edited By Dagmar Eigner

In recent years the study of consciousness has gained considerable impulse through interdisciplinary approaches. Modulation and transformation of consciousness have been deployed for tens of thousands of years to obtain knowledge and to enhance well-being and health. In many societies, techniques based on exceptional states of consciousness have been used to maintain ecological equilibrium. The volume deals with historic, social, linguistic, philosophical, psychological, physiological, aesthetic, and creative issues of consciousness research. According to the integrative endeavours of the authors a variety of methods were applied; mostly, not only etic, but also emic perceptions were considered. The work of shamans, artists, and psychotherapists constitutes the main content of this volume, exploring different techniques for the induction of altered states of consciousness.

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Destined for Shamanic Inspiration. An Integrative Study of Buryat (Neo)Shamans. Valentina Kharitonova and Yulia Ukraintseva

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109 Destined for Shamanic Inspiration. An Integrative Study of Buryat (Neo)Shamans Valentina Kharitonova and Yulia Ukraintseva Introduction Altered states of consciousness (ASCs) experienced from time to time by people of creative professions, adepts of different religious and magical- mystical cults, people taking hallucinogenic, narcotic, alcoholic drugs, and individuals with mental issues or diseases, attract more and more interest of researchers in various scientific areas. In this respect the research field of ethnology and folklore studies allows to study (in collaboration with neurophysiologists, psychiatrists, psychologists, etc.) adepts of various religious and magical-mystical practices (including shamanism), performers of epic songs, storytellers – to number several of them. At present this field includes, first of all, neo-shamans1, folk healers and adepts of some neo- religious movements (Kharitonova et al. 2008). All of them quite knowingly resort to ASCs, many of them do this not out of mere curiosity, but feeling a need to experience these states. Among above mentioned practitioners there are people who fall hostage to ASCs, because, on the one hand, their organisms can not function normally 1 In the context of Russia the term neo-shaman is used in relation to representatives of those peoples who have had well-developed shamanism until quite recently. These people, as a rule, resorted to the shamanic practice of their ethnic tradition indirectly in the context of “rebirth of shamanism” by attending courses of healing, magic, bioenergotherapy, or learning from any of the “new shamans”. The term urban shaman is used to refer to representatives of...

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