I answered Rick's comment with a wider-ranging one of my own using
"shamanic" in a way comparable to his. Francine is of course quite
correct in noting that the "deities" are more like the real thing while
shamans are coming at it from the other side. But I see these as
complements, the human shamans investing themselves (in all and the
fullest senses of this word) with the appearances and powers of the other
entities. So I would view this situation as a continuum with humans on
the one end and the deities on the other. I believe this to be a fairly
standard way of viewing these phenomena--certainly is so among Native
American scholars with respect to shamans proper and others sharing
similar features (such as the Hopi and other SW NAm peoples when they
"become" katchinas). In fact, a common motif involves just the difficulty
of telling them apart--is this a human shaman invested with the power of a
deity or a deity passing, as it were, for a human? Finally, viewed
diachronically, so much of Celtic mythology represents just the shifting
and blurring of these distinctions.
On Mon, 15 Jun 1998, Francine Nicholson wrote:
> Rick Russom wrote:
> >One Germanic valkyrie (Sigrun) has a crow-coat in which she
> flies. Has
> > anyone ever tried to link these types of shamanic skin-changers to the
> > Celtic ones?
> Almost every book I've read on Celtic deities, including all the
> standard ones (Grren, Davidson, Sjoestedt) notes the similarity between
> the Celtic battle furies and those of Norse mythology. Both types are
> shape-shifters, but I would be reluctant to call them "shamanic."
> Shamans are humans who go through transformaitional experiences. These
> battle furies are anything but human. Or were you using "shamanic" in a
> different sense which I misunderstood?
> Francine Nicholson