SHAMANIC GIFT IN THE GLOBAL VILLAGE: SHAMANIC HEALING AND BIOMEDICINE
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Neo-shamanism or urban shamanism is a movement which concentrates on spiritual healing and aims to revive traditional shamanism. The aim of the paper is to explore the legitimation of charismatic neo-shamanic healers in relation to biomedicine which is a dominant authoritative body of medical knowledge in European societies. The paper presents the results of ethnographic research on two neo-shamanic groups operating in Slovakia. In neo-shamanism, the shaman’s abilities are represented either as learned skills, or a special spiritual gift. The latter is characteristic of charismatic persons within neo-shamanic groups. I base my argument on the understanding of charisma as rhetoric and investigate discursive strategies of two charismatic healers who belong to different kinds of neo-shamanic groups. Both support the view that the shamanic practices are compatible with biomedicine; however, they represent this compatibility in different ways. I argue that the rhetoric in the legitimation of the shamanic gift corresponds to the particular social settings and cultural background of a healer. It is manifested in the use of the concept of energy which serves as a bridge between spiritual healing and the natural sciences.
412 – 429
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