Shamanism: A Biopsychosocial Paradigm of Consciousness and Healing

// July 25th, 2017 // Publications

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

Buy Shamanism: A Biopsychosocial Paradigm of Consciousness and Healing

Leave a Reply