Affective atmospheres of shamanic expanded state of consciousness

Authors: Francesca Fois*, Aberystwyth University
Topics: Cultural Geography, Social Geography, Religion
Keywords: Consciousness, Shamanism, Rituals, Affective Atmospheres, Spirituality
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/13/2018
Start / End Time: 3:20 PM / 5:00 PM
Room: Studio 10, Marriott, 2nd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Altered states of consciousness have long been a crucial aspect of shamanic ritualistic practices. Rituals are considered portals that allow the shaman or other shamanic practitioners to directly connect with spirit worlds. Using a neurophenomenogical approach for understanding shamanic experiences, Wilkeman (2010) explains how ritual practices can facilitate healing processes, provide support for the treatment of addictions and stimulate socio-psychological adaptations and integration within increasingly fragmented modern societies. By engaging in ‘spiritual embodied methods’, this research empirically explores how such altered states of consciousness can produce an impact in participants’ everyday habits, choices and perceptions. This research is the result of 6 years of shamanic initiations conducted by the author with the support of XamAM, the shaman of Terra Mirim community in Brazil. In so doing, it employs auto-ethnographic accounts to disclose how embodied affective atmospheres are enacted through human and non-human interactions across a range of shamanic rituals such as Purification Lodge and Ayahuasca ceremonies and how these practices are integrated in everyday life experiences. It shows how intuitive forms of knowledge that go beyond emotionality and rationality are used for spiritual purposes of self-knowledge and healing.

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