Magicology

| April 28, 2012

Countless anthropologists have managed to overlook the ecological dimension of the shaman’s craft, while writing at great length of the shaman’s rapport with “supernatural” entities. We can attribute much of this oversight to the modern, civilized assumption that the natural world is largely determinate and mechanical, and that what is experienced as mysterious, powerful, and beyond human ken must therefore be of some other, nonphysical realm above nature–“supernatural.”

Nevertheless, that which is viewed with the greatest awe and wonder by indigenous, oral cultures is, I suggest, none other than what we would call nature itself. The deeply mysterious powers and entities with whom the shaman enters into a rapport are the same forces–plants, animals, forests, and winds–that to literate, “civilized” Europeans are just so much scenery, the pleasant backdrop of our more pressing human concerns.

via The Ecology of Magic–David Abram.