- Shamans can be distinguished from the victims of possession not because they do not become possessed by otherworld persons or spirits (despite the claims of Mircea Eliade) but because they can be called upon to exorcise those who are unwillingly controlled by predatory beings. Shamans are, by definition, people who form intimate (even sexual and/or marital) relationships with otherthanhuman persons who can overwhelm others and inflict illness or bad luck on them. Combat between possessing beings and shamans is, therefore, a key part of shamanic initiation, being, and performance. Ioan Lewis distinguishes between shamanism and possession cults in which no form of possession is welcome. Exorcism can be a part of both religious complexes, but it is more ambiguous in the case of shamans because they exorcise with the aid of beings who are, to some degree at least, in possession of the exorcising shaman.
Historical dictionary of shamanism. Graham Harvey and Robert J. Wallis. 2007.
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