- This religion is rarely perceived to have shamanic elements, although those who confuse mysticism and shamanism may consider the Kabbalah to be shamanic. Ecstatic visionary journeys to Judaism’s equivalent of an upper world, that is, heaven, were commonplace in ancient Jewish literature. However, Rabbi Gershom Winkler claims to have learned from Native Americans in the southwestern United States and discovered parallels between their shamanism and large areas of traditional Judaism, if understood in a new way. Largely he means that Judaism celebrates earthly life, recognizes a wider-than-human community as significant, and can include, if not an entirely animist, at least a pantheistic worldview. Winkler’s “shamanic Judaism,” taught through retreats and workshops of his Walking Stick Foundation, is in most respects quite similar to other forms of neo-shamanism, even if it refers to ancient and medieval Jewish mystical and magical texts; it is all about “sacred circles,” “animal totems,” and the use of feathers. Other similarities include his association with David Carson, whose Medicine Cards offer a form of Tarot with Native American symbolism.
Historical dictionary of shamanism. Graham Harvey and Robert J. Wallis. 2007.
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