Judith G. Wolf, Ph.D.
In his final lecture entitled "Conclusions," with its 53 references, the author, Bishop Pat, states that "Researchers have concluded that even after five hundred years of reports of shamanism, its core remains a mystery." What I wonder does he mean by core. This is troubling especially since Bishop Pat has spent the previous 19 lessons presenting every conceivable detail about shamans from so many cultures. We have learned about their journeys to retrieve souls, the variety of accessories they have including masks, drums and ornamentation, which vary by cultures. We have learned of the many, many cultures in which shamans reside, of their histories and their differences. This is an incredibly in depth course which presents Shamanism from every conceivable aspect. How then does the core elude us. Are they any more a mystery than a holy man who prays for the world with great results, or a medium who goes into an alpha state to communicate with the beyond. In some ways the shaman is easier to understand then the later. We can understand the healer and the worshiper. We can understand the use of hallucinating aids to "trip" into a spirit state. What mystery is so beyond us. Perhaps because the author is a Shaman, he supports this conclusion. But because he IS a Shaman, I would think he would understand it better than anyone.
I have to confess, it took me one and one-half years to complete all the lectures. One of the reasons was the organization of the course. At times I found it difficult to follow and at times I felt it bogged down in detail. Also it was not well proofed. In the future I would urge Bishop Pat to reread his course and make sure words, phrases and sentences are not omitted. It is frustrating to read along and upon coming to an important section find that a critical sentence and a-half is missing.
That being said, I would recommend this course to anyone who would like to know everything that is currently known about Shamanism. If it is not covered in the course, there are myriad references.
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