Material Objects in Divination and Shamanistic Practice

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Sophomore (College 2nd year) ・Biology ・APA ・4 Sources

Shamanism is understood as the exercise of gaining access to and influence the world dominated by both malevolent and benevolent spirits. The humans involved in shamanistic practices usually fall into a state of trance in the execution a ritual with the aim to practice recuperation and divination. The practitioners of shamanism believe shamans to be an intermediary between the human aircraft and the higher planes that control lifestyles events. The exceptional men and ladies who possess the shamanistic power make visits to the world of spirits to petition for healing favor, impact the weather, to cleanse their conscience and to reach out to the deceased ancestors (Harner et al., 20). There are different methods of carrying out shamanistic practices. The primary objective is always to induce an ecstatic state or trance to an individual. That can be achieved by use of material objects or techniques. The Siberian and South American Shamans used potent materials that can cause intoxication and hallucination to an individual. Some of the materials include peyote, mushrooms, alcohol, and ayahuasca.

Main Body

The case study that will be used alongside the points of consideration for this paper is the case study of Shamanism in South. To begin with, the Shamans of South America used various objects to induce the state of ecstasy due to multiple reasons. Whenever a shaman carried out a ritual or ceremony, he would fast strive to attain the state of ecstasy. This is done by preparing tea from Ayahuasca plant. Then the tea is combined with a plant that contains DMT and has the ability to produce intense psychedelic escapades for humans. They would then administer the potent cocktail also to the person seeking healing or any other help from the spirit world. The powerful Banisteriopsis caapi plant and the DMT chemical are specifically meant to put the seeker into an unconscious state so that they will not be able to recall anything that happened during the moment of shamanism (Artigas 120).

Similarly, the material objects still play a significant role in aiding the Shamans in performing their duties as some in South America used Peyote and San Pedro cacti to infuse the shamanistic state into themselves and to seekers the divine world before commencing their rituals. For that reason, it is now clear that material objects are key elements in the execution of shamanistic powers. By inference, it can be argued that the shamans could not reach out to the unseen spirit world without the use of materials that first of all induce a person into a trance before the shamanistic journey begins (Clottes & David 42).

Another critical material object that was used by the ancient South American Shamans to activate the state of ecstasy before embarking on a journey of an imaginary visit to the divine world. They would use drums and to be precise, rattles; as they were considered symbolic because they signified the awakened state in between the world of spirits and the human world. The guard that houses the rattle signified the universe whereas the seeds found inside the gourd signified the ancestral souls. Therefore, the link between the ancestors and the shaman is seen through the handle of the rattle. That in essence also represented earthly tree which also acted as a pathway that links the world to the cosmos or spirit world (Wright 5).

Annotated Bibliography

Artigas, F., M. Riga, and P. Celada. "The serotonergic hallucinogen 5-MeO-DMT disrupts cortical activity in rodents."European Neuropsychopharmacology 26 (2016): S120-S121.

The author makes a description of how the South Americans Shamans used DMT material from plants in conjunction with extracts from the Ayahuasca plant to activate the state of ecstasy among the people seeking their help. That in return helped them achieve their plans.

Clottes, Jean, and J. David Lewis-Williams. The shamans of prehistory: Trance and magic in the painted caves. Harry N. Abrams, 1998: 41-70.

According to Clottes and David Lewis-Williams, the shamans existed a long time ago during the prehistoric period. They claimed to communicate to the spirit world with a view of presenting the petition from the world of the living. The shamans conveyed requests of healing and change of fortune such as seeking an end to the long drought that might have inflicted untold suffering on the people.

Harner, Michael J., Jeffrey Mishlove, and Arthur Bloch. The way of the shaman. San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1990: 20-34

The book illustrates the manner in which the Shamans have managed to use the power emanating from the guardian or tutelary spirit to increase someone’s resistance to diseases. That is attributable to the fact that the spirit provides a powerful barrier that will resist and prevent the external forces against intrusion into an individual. Therefore, their assertion is that the shamanistic power gives no room to manipulation by any other force once someone seeking healing has been fortified.

Wright, Robin M. "The State of the Arts of the Study of Indigenous Religious Traditions in South America." International Journal of Latin American Religions&(2017): 1-15.

The author narrates about the manner in which the shamans resonate with the material objects in the world and how they influence their followers into believing that whatever they offer is absolute truth.

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