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Flashcards in Religion and Society Final Exam Deck (155)
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  1. Body image: distorted
  2. Altered thinking - concentration, memory
  3. Loss of Control - helplessness
  4. Disturbed time sense - time slows or speeds
  5. Change meaning - significance 
  6. Hallucinations
  7. Ineffable - can't put into words
  8. Change in emotions- moods
  9. Rejuvenation - feel as if reborn



  • Reduced stimulation - sleep, solitary confine
  • Altered body chemistry - fasting, drugs
  • Increased sensory stimulation - possession
  • Decreased alertness - watch tv, daydream
  • Cleansing - alters body chemistry
  • Increased mental alertness -concentration

Examples: fasting, dancing, drumming, pain, peyote, 


Fasting and ASC

  • alters body chemistry
  • disciplines mind
  • cleanses
  • leads to hallucinations


Meditation and ASC

  • Meditation increases: myelin sheath, gaba, melatonin, seratonin, lower cortisol


def'n mysticism

  • internal thing that borders on "union or absorption with a deity"
  • ineffable - cannot be put into words - e.g. ecstatic utterances by people in trances, ASC's
  • mysticism: the unitative experience of the One


def'n ecstasy

  1. Mindlessness - lack of thought
  2. Inebriation - regious intoxication
  3. Madness - acutally mystic thought most sane


Unitary State

  • one with the universe, or supernatural beings or God
  • orientation association structure shuts down; feel as one with the universe/supernatural 
  • loss of separation or distinction
  • blurring of body/space


James's 4 Characteristics mystical experience

  • Passive: surrender
  • Ineffable: cannot express it in words - music
  • Noetic: states of insight into the truth
  • Transiency: mystical states cannot be sustained


Perennialist School

  • all mystical traditions access same universal truth then interpret it within the framework of their own religion 


Constructivist View

  • mystic can't access universal truth, only what they have constructed for themself within their own religious framework


Forman's Pure Consciousness

  • content-less experience
  • state of pure bliss
  • similar to thoughtlessness
  • goes AGAINST constructivism


Def'n religious specialist

  • those who communicate with the supernatural
  • full or part time jobs
  • 2 major categories: shaman and priest


Definition Shamanism

  • communicate with supernatural through trance
  • spirit helpers - meet them in ASC
  • use culturally specific symbols and paraphernalia


How to become a shaman

  • chosen by the spirits
  • have a calling (usually through stress/illness) through an ASC or dream
  • candidate tested by spirits and must "die" before being reborn as a shaman


Characteristics of Shaman

  1. Transform into other beings / genders (Therianthrope: part human/animal)
  2. Enter ASC to communicate with spirit world
  3. Successfully maintain and control ASC (hard to do as obstacles)
  4. Travel to spirit world through Axis Mundi (tree ladder or pole) - links our world to higher and lower realms


Neoshaman/ Tensegrity

  • focuses on the individual (self-help style) vs community
  • Tensegrity - increase awareness of energy fields within humans (said to be fiction)
  • Core Shamanism: (Harner) - no cultural perspective, uses ayahuasca and repetitive drumming to achieve ASC


Priests Def'n

  • Full time religious specialist (key: memorize rituals and perform them properly)
  • Larger, complex societies
  • perform rituals - periodic, rites of passage, occasional, etc.
  • formal training (versus shaman)
  • can be inherited (Levi)
  • Heriarchies


Shaman/Priest Similar

  • both religious specialists
  • both connect normal to supernatural world
  • both sought out for rituals
  • both serve community
  • both have divine callings


Shaman/Priest Different

  • Shaman: part time, training not formal, smaller culture, work alone, called by spirits, power through Spirit 
  • Priest: full time, formal training, industrial culture, hierarchy, personal choice OR divine calling, power through institution


Okinawan Priestess

  • please Kami (supernatural beings) through rituals to avoid misfortune
  • All speciaists women
  • Kaminchu: no rituals but emit good energy 
  • Yuta: rituals and healings, divination



  • use plants and other materials to heal and cure
  • may prescribe or provide the plant (much healing based on magic)



  • specializes in divination (supernatural technique for obtaining information about things unknown - e.g. future events)
  • sometimes enters an ASC, some use cards or oracles
  • usually focus on practical questions (cause illness, identification of a witch, etc.)



  • mouthpiece of the God(s)
  • communicate divine messages to common ppl
  • e.g. Moses, Mohammed
  • Ngundeng: 19C prophet - born with supernatural power, lifegiver & god of death)


Huichol Pilgrimage to Wirikuta

  • religious specialist prepared them for journey and was healer, sang, chanted, received myths from fire
  • Sacrifices and offerings: chicken sacrificed for blood, coins offered for good life, deer offered for the heart, peyote is shared to become one, of one heart
  • prayer arrows: feather take prayers to universe
  • purification: no salt, celibacy, fire cleansing, 
  • offerings left at ocean - respect where ancestors came from
  • confessed transgression into fire
  • peyote: leave roots in earth for future pilgrimages, so can regrow


Definition of Magic

  • ability to compel the supernatural to behave in a certain way
  • rituals that can produce results: e.g. rain dance
  • divination, astrology, incantations, alchemy, sorcery, spirit mediation, and necromancy. 


Magic -Tyler, Frazer, Malinowski

Tyler: said NOT religion cuz no spirits involved

Frazer: (evol) - magic first then religion

Malinowski: used when human beings can't control something important in their lives; find magic where the element of danger is conspicuous


Law of Sympathy

Magic depends on the association or agreement between things

  1. Law of Similarity - (things that are alike are the same) homeopathy/imitative
  2. Law of Contagion - (things that were once in contact continue to be connected after the connection is severed) contagious magic


Law of Similarity

  • things that are alike are the same
  • Imitative or Homeopathic Magic (voodoo doll) - assumes a causal relationship between similar things


What are the 2 types of magic

  • Imitative and Contagious magic


Contagious Magic

  • things that were once in contact continue to be connected after the connection is severed
  • e.g. rabbit's foot for luck
  • rub wart with penny - transfer disease to object
  • Fore thought contagious magic (burying someone's things and saying spell) caused the Kuru
  • more personal objects better