A Study of Shamanism and Spirit Possession
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BACK COVER #Ecstatic Religion
States of spiritual possession in which believers feel themselves to be 'possessed' by the deity and raised to a new plane of existence are found in almost all known religions. Ecstatic Religion offers a comprehensive sociological approach to this experience, drawing an important distinction between central possession cults, dominated by male ecstatics, which reinforce official morality and established power, and marginal cults, which are often a form of protest on the part of the oppressed -- particularly women.
This wide-ranging comparative study looks at the biochemical, psychological, aesthetic, religious, and sociocultural aspects of possession in discussing African shamanism, the classical shamanistic religions of Arctic Asia and South America, Haitian voodoo, the cult of Dionysus, Christian mysticism, and other manifestations of spiritual ecstasy. In this new, completely revised and expanded edition of a classic work, Professor Lewis explores the social and political significance of spirit possession and shamanism, and sets out his position today.
BLURBS #'Well presented and ingeniously argued ... in this excellent book there is much that's lively, sometimes even comic. Not only is Ecstatic Religion well written and lucid: but it states a case with vigour and is quite devoid of jargon'--The Times literary Supplement on Ecstatic Religion (First Edition)