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The definitions of shaman: Introduction

Module by: Margaret Jones. E-mail the author

Shaman is not an easy word to define. Sure, it is easy enough to look it up in the dictionary, but the definitions that one will find there do not begin to tell the whole story; Its meaning is much more complex and controversial than a brief dictionary definition might suggest.

In fact, the word's definition is still the subject of a great deal of debate and discussion. People who study, write about, or practice shamanism use the word in so many different ways that someone trying to learn more about shamans is bound to come across conflicting definitions. Therefore, to avoid confusion, it is vital that anyone interested in learning about shamans first learn a little bit about the history of the word itself.

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