My Writings. My Thoughts.
NEW! Altering Consciousness [2 Volumes]: Multidisciplinary Perspectives edited by Etzel Cardeña and Michael Winkelman
From prehistoric caves to current raves and virtual reality technology, humanity has always sought to alter its consciousness. Altered states of consciousness can be achieved through dreaming, drumming, dancing, meditation, hypnosis, fasting, sex, and a number of other human activities. These strategies affect consciousness by mimicking the natural responses of our nervous system.
Altered consciousness is one of humanity’s most mystical and life-altering aspects. These remarkable changes in mental state have understandably been a topic of general interest and scientific inquiry across time. Beyond simply satisfying our curiosity, however, studies focused upon altered consciousness can also bring valuable insights into our experience, biology, and culture.
This unprecedented set of books will intrigue anyone interested in psychology, biology and neurology, science, history, arts and the humanities, and literature on consciousness, from general readers to scholar and researchers. An impressive collection of international contributors address altered states of consciousness from the perspectives of history, evolution, psychology, culture, literature, human biology, contemporary science, and society, seeking to illuminate the causes, effects, and meanings of altered consciousness. The first volume provides an introduction and centers on the importance of altered states in history, culture, and the humanities, while the second volume presents biological and psychological perspectives on altered consciousness and examines their potential for healing and pathology.
Winkelman’s newest book provides an extensive revision of Shamanism (2000) and extends our understanding of the evolutionary origins of humanity’s first spiritual, healing and consciousness traditions. Shamanism A Biopsychosocial Paradigm of Consciousness and Healing (2010, Praeger Press) addresses: cross-cultural perspectives on the nature of shamanism; biological perspectives on alterations of consciousness; mechanisms of shamanistic healing; and the evolutionary origins of shamanism. It presents the shamanic paradigm as a biopsychosocial framework for explaining human evolution through group rituals that provided bases for enhanced group functioning.
The new subtitle emphasizes that what has been conventionally considered a spiritual practice has ancient biological, social and psychological roots. This book distinguishes itself by: 1) addressing shamanism in cross-cultural perspective; 2) explaining the biological roots of shamanism; and 3) providing biological and social evolutionary models of the development of shamanistic healing practices. These approaches illustrate why shamanism was central to ancient societies and provides healing in the modern world. Analysis of the relationship of shamanic ritual to primate rituals reveals the phylogenetic origins of shamanic ritual and illustrates why shamanism must be central to explanation of humanity’s religious impulses.
1. Provides a cross-cultural and biological perspective on the nature of shamanism
2. Presents a shamanic paradigm for interpretation of shamanism in the past
3. Develops biological models to explain shamanic universals
4. Illustrates the biological bases of shamanic alterations of consciousness and healing practices
5. Develops an evolutionary model of shamanic practices
6. Provides a general foundation for understanding the biological bases of religion
“Winkelman’s Shamanism has replaced Mircea Eliade’s classic text as the most authoritative and innovative book on the topic. Winkelman demonstrates shamanism’s adaptive functions and why its study must be central to any comprehensive explanation of humanity’s origins.”
- Stanley Krippner, Professor of Psychology, Saybrook University
“The second edition of Winkelman’s Shamanism is a must read for any serious student of shamanism or the evolution of religious systems.”
- Charles D. Laughlin, co-author of Brain, Symbol, and Experience
“Shamanism breaks new ground in our understanding of the origins of religion, and the qualities that uniquely make us human. Essential reading for anyone interested in shamanism, human evolution, the origin of religion, and traditional healing practices.”
- David S. Whitley, author of Cave Paintings and the Human Spirit
“Shamanism explores how the development of shamanic rituals was a key factor in human evolution.”
- Paul Devereux, founding co-editor, Time & Mind – The Journal of Archaeology, Consciousness & Culture
Michael Winkelman & Thomas Roberts eds. | Greenwood Publishing 2007
Psychedelic substances present in nature have been used by humans across hundreds of years to produce mind-altering changes in thought, mood, and perception—changes we do not experience otherwise except rarely in dreams, religious exaltation, or psychosis. U.S. scientists were studying the practical and therapeutic uses for hallucinogens, including LSD and mescaline, in the 1950s and 1960s supplied by large manufacturers including Sandoz. But the government took steps to ban all human consumption of hallucinogens, and thus the research. By the 1970s, all human testing was stopped. Medical concerns were not the issue, the ban was motivated by social concerns, not the least of which were created by legendary researcher Timothy Leary, a psychologist who advocated free use of hallucinogens by all who desired. Nationwide, however, a cadre of scholars and researchers has persisted in pushing the federal government to again allow human testing and the moratorium has been lifted. The FDA has begun approving hallucinogenic research using human subjects. In these groundbreaking volumes, top researchers explain the testing and research underway to use—under the guidance of a trained provider—psychedelic substances for better physical and mental health.
Michael Winkelman & John R. Baker | Prentice Hall 2008
This book provides a general introduction to the biological and evolutionary bases of religion and is suitable for introductory level courses in the anthropology and psychology of religion and comparative religion. Why did human ancestors everywhere adopt religious beliefs and customs? The presence and persistence of many religious features across the globe and time suggests that it is natural for humans to believe in the supernatural. In this new text, the authors explore both the biological and cultural dimensions of religion and the evolutionary origins of religious features.
Michael Winkelman | Eddie Bower’s Publishing 2005
This text provides a general orientation to adapting to cross-cultural differences that is applicable across all fields of life, especially in the helping professions such as social work, cross-cultural psychology, medicine, nursing, public health and education. The text provides perspectives that are useful for addressing the adaptations to cultural differences that are addressed in sociology, anthropology, social work, psychology, education and health sciences classes. The text addresses the fundamental aspects of intercultural relations including: race, ethnicity, culture, prejudice, discrimination, and the process dynamics of intergroup relations. Course introduces assessment tools for determining levels of cross-cultural development and specific educational strategies for promoting development of cultural awareness, sensitivity and competence.
Michael Winkelman | CA:Jossey-Bass Wiley 2008
Culture and Health offers an overview of different areas of culture and health, building on foundations of medical anthropology and health behavior theory. It shows how to address the challenges of cross-cultural medicine through interdisciplinary cultural-ecological models and personal and institutional developmental approaches to cross-cultural adaptation and competency. The book addresses the perspectives of clinically applied anthropology, trans-cultural psychiatry and the medical ecology, critical medical anthropology and symbolic paradigms as frameworks for enhanced comprehension of health and the medical encounter. Includes cultural case studies, applied vignettes, and self-assessments.
Michael Winkelman | Praeger 2000
Cross-cultural and neuropsychological perspectives on shamanism reveal that it produces an adaptive integrative mode of consciousness. Shamanic altered states of consciousness (ASC) are related to brain organization and processes, showing shamanism’s concern with socioemotional and self functions of the paleomammalian brain and cognitive capacities based in presentational symbolism, metaphor, analogy, and mimesis. Integration of cross-cultural and neurological perspectives illustrates homologies which reveal the psychobiological basis of shamanism and soul journeys, guardian spirits, death and rebirth, and other universal forms of shamanic cognition.
Shamanic contributions to sociocultural and cognitive evolution are examined. The integrative mode of consciousness produced by shamanic ASC is related to general brain functions. Specific psychophysiological functions of ASC and their variations cross-culturally are illustrated. Shamanic soul journey, possession, and meditative forms of consciousness are examined from phenomenological, neurological, and epistemological perspectives which reveal them to be innate forms of cognition and practices for manipulating perception, attention, cognition, emotion, self, and identity. Shamanistic healing involves physically and culturally mediated forms of adaptation to stress which are reinforced by procedures eliciting opioid release. Therapeutic effectiveness of shamanistic practices are illustrated by clinical research. Shamanistic healing includes procedures for altering physiological, psychological, and emotional responses. Contemporary spontaneous religious experiences and illness characterized as spiritual emergencies have shamanic roots and illustrate the continued relevance of shamanic paradigms.
Michael Winkelman and Philip M. Peek | University of Arizona Press 2004
Divination is normally thought of as attempts to tell the future, but it can also encompass any efforts to derive information from an unseen spiritual realm. In cultures all around the world divination has been used for diagnosing ailments, prescribing treatments, and solving all manner of problems. How does divination work in these situations and how effective is it?
Some of the world’s leading authorities draw on their own participation in ritual to present detailed case studies demonstrating that divination can have therapeutic effects. In this wide-ranging volume, readers will find coverage of classic Ifa systems; Buddhist-influenced shamanic practices in the former Soviet Union; the reconciliation of Muslim beliefs and divinatory practices in Thailand; Native American divination used in diagnosis; Maya calendrical divination in Guatemala; mediumistic and chicken oracle divination among the Sukuma of Tanzania; Ndembu divination, focusing on the process of collective healing; and divination among the Samburu (Maasai) of Kenya.
Michael Winkelman | Arizona State University 1992
This book integrates the findings of a cross-cultural study on types of magico-religious practitioners and shamanistic healers within the context of anthropological and sociological studies. The study provides a general framework for explaining magico-religious and shamanistic phenomena through statistical analysis of data from a formal cross-cultural sample. This provides a typology of magico-religious practitioners with universal applicability, distinguishing the shaman from other types of healers. The analysis reveals an empirical structure related to the institutional bases of these practices–altered states of consciousness (ASC), political control, and social conflict. The correlation between types of practitioners and socioeconomic conditions provides the basis for a general theory of magico-religious phenomena, the origins of shamanism, and its transformation under socioeconomic change. These findings are integrated with other studies on magic and religion to provide a general organizational framework for understanding diverse magico-religious phenomena and traditional healing practices. The biological basis in ASC are shown to provide the origins of shamanism and the therapeutic mechanisms of shamanistic healing.
Jill Dubish and Michael Winkelman eds. | University of Arizona Press 2005
Bikers converge at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. Thousands flock to a Nevada desert to burn a towering effigy. And the hopeless but hopeful ill journey to Lourdes as they have for centuries. Although pilgrimage may seem an antiquated religious ritual, it remains a vibrant activity in the modern world as pilgrims combine traditional motives—such as seeking a cure for physical or spiritual problems—with contemporary searches for identity or interpersonal connection. That pilgrimage continues to exercise such a strong attraction is testimony to the power it continues to hold for those who undertake these sacred journeys. This volume brings together anthropological and interdisciplinary perspectives on these persistent forms of popular religion to expand our understanding of the role of the traditional practice of pilgrimage in what many believe to be an increasingly secular world. Focusing on the healing dimensions of pilgrimage, the authors present case studies grounded in specific cultures and pilgrimage traditions to help readers understand the many therapeutic resources pilgrimage provides for people around the world. The chapters examine a variety of pilgrimage forms, both religious and non-religious, from Nepalese and Huichol shamanism pilgrimage to Catholic journeys to shrines and feast days to Nevada’s Burning Man festival. These diverse cases suggest a range of meanings embodied in the concept of healing itself, from curing physical ailments and redefining the self to redressing social suffering and healing the wounds of the past. Collectively and individually, the chapters raise important questions about the nature of ritual in general, and healing through pilgrimage in particular, and seek to illuminate why so many participants find pilgrimage a compelling way to address the problem of suffering. They also illustrate how pilgrimage exerts its social and political influence at the personal, local, and national levels, as well as providing symbols and processes that link people across social and spiritual boundaries. By examining the persistence of pilgrimage as a significant source of personal engagement with spirituality, Pilgrimage and Healing shows that the power of pilgrimage lies in its broad transformative powers. As our world increasingly adopts a secular and atheistic perspective in many domains of experience, it reminds us that, for many, spiritual quest remains a potent force.