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Jeffrey Huntsman wrote:

        >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.
>
        Perhaps I'm being too conservative in my approach, but I don't
feel entirely comfortable with assuming that because deities are viewed
one way among groups that are documented to have shamans--such as the NA
groups you cited--that the Celts had a similar view of deity or even
that they had shamans. I prefer to be very cautious about drawing such
analogies between groups, even when both groups are Indo-European, but
especially when they do not have that common heritage. Am I missing
something in the Irish mythology that you have in mind? What evidence do
you see in the Irish mythology to suggest that the battle furies are
humans invested with shamanic powers or some other in-between step
rather than full-fledged deities?

        Francine Nicholson