Tuesday, 31 August 2004

James W. Dow (1998) Central and North Mexican Shamans, by James W. Dow, Ph. D.

All things move and act because their animating forces give them the power to do so. In the native worldview, no distinction is made between symbolic and physical effects or between psychological and medicinal causality. All significant actions are the result of animating forces at work. The forces are exist in a hierarchy of power with the sun and moon at the top and stones on the bottom. The animating forces of humans are in between these two extremes. Humans have total power over stones, which have no animating force, but no power to change the motion of the sun or stars, which have powerful animating forces. Humans dominate animals. Beings that are more powerful dominate humans.
Traditional shamans are able to see and manipulate the animating forces. Although this concept also lies behind the work of curandero shamans, the traditional shaman seek knowledge of the forces.

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