Chapter One in the book American Shamans: Journeys with Traditional Healers, published in 2008, and is deposited with permission of Busca, Inc.


The spiritual practice of the Shaman is most likely the oldest spiritual tradition on Earth. Shamanism is a way in which humanity has sought a psychic connection to the world of healing, life and death, as well as a sense of social and individual balance. It is a complex psychological grammar that allows the Shaman to function in both the conventional and an alternative "spirit" view of reality. Shamanisn has been a part of American culture since the colonial settlement and continues today despite technology and modern scientific rationalism. This chapter is a brief social history of the African-American shamanic experience called "Hoodoo" and "Conjure" found in the Southeastern United States.


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