Healers, shamans and sorcerers
Author: Holger Kalweit
Holger Kalweit is one of the very few anthropologists in the world to have carried out thorough research on shamanic practices, and his book is highly revealing, not only because it deals with a vast sample of cross-cultural elements from an ethnopsychological point of view for the first time, but above all for its ability to merge documentation and interpretation in a single transpersonal orientation of exceptional breadth, which involves anthropology, ethnology and psychiatry in equal measure. Kalweit's argument essentially points to a single and revolutionary conclusion: Western man, due to his self-centered prejudices and his limited and illusory vision of reality, is able to exploit only a minimal part of his psychic potential; the shaman, on the other hand, living between two worlds, can commute between the 'normaledaily consciousness and altered states of consciousness and convey an arcane knowledge that is expressed in its healing techniques. The greatest revolution of our century, says Kalweit, will consist in seeing the world of the shaman as real and relevant to our survival and our sense of reality. The ethnologist today must take an active part in the life of tribal societies, both to protect those cultures from ours, and to regenerate ourselves and our civilization through new models of life.