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Synopsis

A survey of five centuries of writings on the world's great shamans-the tricksters, sorcerers, conjurers, and healers who have fascinated observers for centuries.

This collection of essays traces Western civilization's struggle to interpret and understand the ancient knowledge of cultures that revere magic men and women-individuals with the power to summon spirits. As written by priests, explorers, adventurers, natural historians, and anthropologists, the pieces express the wonder of strangers in new worlds. Who were these extraordinary magic-makers who imitated the sounds of animals in the night, or drank tobacco juice through funnels, or wore collars filled with stinging ants?

Shamans Through Time is a rare chronicle of changing attitudes toward that which is strange and unfamiliar. With essays by such acclaimed thinkers as Claude Lévi-Strauss, Black Elk, Carlos Castaneda, and Frank Boas, it provides an awesome glimpse into the incredible shamanic practices of cultures around the world.

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