Anthropology, Shamanism, and Alternate Ways of Knowing–Being in the World: One Anthropologist's Journey of Discovery and Transformation



From over 20 years of working with shamans and their apprentices in northern Peru and the United States, this article describes my own journey from scientist and skeptic to humanist and adept. It tells of the fundamental shift in consciousness I experienced as a result of a specific instance in which the veil between the seen and unseen worlds temporarily lifted, allowing me to engage with Spirit in new ways. It presents, as a result of this shift, the struggles I have faced in redefining my own relationship to my work as an anthropologist. Finally, it suggests some of the advantages to our discipline that can come from thinking outside the paradigmatic box that has, for much too long, kept us disengaged from the world in which we live.