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Shaman

The term Shaman refers to a man or woman who serves a society as a part time religious practitioner. In many societies the shaman is not required by his profession to do more than perform routine rituals.

Among the Eskimos shamans are numerous almost every family will have one and there may be several in each village. They are paid for their services however there are none who devote full time to shamanism. Shamans are older and highly respected within the village community.

They may be described as part time specialist in religious functions unlike the priest who devote all his working time to these ends. The shaman performs his religious duties in addition to others necessary to make a living.

The shamans receive his power either through direct experience with supernatural beings in dreams or visions or from another shaman who has had such direct experience.

Shamanism involves direct contact with supernatural beings; the shaman is usually a person who is emotionally less stable than his followers and so more than susceptible to visions and dreams.

Shamans usually function in small relatively private ceremonies given at the instance of a single supplicant who is in difficulties.