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ANTH-2108 (7)

September 26th notes.docx

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Jane Leverick

Myth, Magic, and Shamanism 26/09/2013 3:02:00 PM Altered states of consciousness  Any mental state that differs from a normal mental state. o Dreams, opiate trips, meditation, mental health, being in an ecstatic space, music  Characteristics of an Altered State of Consciousness o Change in meaning or significance o Sense of the ineffable o Feelings of rejuvenation o Body image change o Change in emotional expression o Loss of control o Disturbed time sense o Alterations in thinking o Perceptual distortions  They don’t all happen at the same time, but they are all linked to an altered state of consciousness  Altered states of consciousness are actually common occurrences. What altered states have you experienced? o Dreams, opiate trips, meditation, mental health, being in an ecstatic space, music  What was the experience like? Did it have any meaning for you? o Self-realization, out of body experience, paralyzation, loss of control, hallucinations, deafening of the senses, hyper- realism, changed reality  Entering an Altered State of Consciousness o Fasting  Sacrifice for the deities  i.e., Lent, Ramadan  Ritual of atonement  Cleansing / purification o Sacred Pain  Punishment  By god, or self-mutilation (such as flagellation), or ritual (marking/burning)  Purifying  The enemy  A transformer  A source of supernatural power  A way make us stronger Etic perspectives  etic is an insider’s perspective  intimate/distant at the same time  we have some control over pain/pain centres  different parts of the brain fire different synapses The Biological Basis for
 Altered States of Consciousness  Culture will impact how we interpret various experiences o Our worldview  Medical condition or mystical experience? o What is going on when other cultures experience mental illness?  i.e., bipolar/schizophrenia/psychotic break?  Less common in other cultures, and response has impact on having manifest in daily life/impact on individual + may not be considered pathological  Must merge belief and behaviours to achieve the full effect o Understanding that there is an experience to be had, and a set of behaviours attached to that belief o i.e., rituals based on ideas about respect and cohesiveness; structure in which to have an authentic sacred experience  Rhythm affects certain parts of the brain
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