Transformations in the Field, I









Beyond Our Known Worlds


On Puzzling Wavelengths

Peter M Gardner




On Praesence

Petra Rethmann




Reveal or Conceal?

Barbara Wilkes



Faithfulness to Experience


Ethics of Attention

Deborah Bird Rose




Experiencing Spiritualism

Deirdre Meintel




Prophecy, Sorcery, and Reincarnation

Edmund Searles



Ethical Thresholds


Politics of Ecstatic Research

Bruce Granville Miller




Beyond Culturally-Bound Guidelines

Jean-Guy A. Goulet




Experiences of Power

Guy Lanoue



Keeping Conflict in View


Shamanism among the Mazatecs

Edward Abse




Clothing the Body in Otherness

Janferie Stone




Participation as Transformation

Duncan Earle



Appraenticeship and Research Practices


Embodiment, Dreaming, and Experience

Denise Nuttall




Field of Dreams

Simonelli & McCulley




Dancing Lessons from God

Millie Creighton



1. Peter M Gardner : "On Puzzling Wavelengths". [Northern Dene]

pp. 27-31 aspects of power

p. 27 "Power was a preoccupation. ... I noticed four aspects of it.

pp. 27-31

First, there were creatures in the forest that seemed to be ordinary birds and mammals but were, in reality, spirit beings able to protect particular individuals.

p. 27 an wild bird which "waddled into the camp" and "showed not one trace of fear" was regarded as "a personal protecting spirit."

p. 28 wild birds which accompanied a wounded human were likewise so regarded.

Second, there were truly frightening creatures such as frogs and huge underground beings that, although alive, were incapable of consciousness.

p. 28 "People regarded it empirically attested that animals resembling dinosaurs lived beneath the earth." {actual instances are mammoth corpses, found frozen in the Arctic.}

p. 29 "even bold teenagers would not touch or approach frogs".

Third, people sought spiritual knowledge through dreams ... .

p. 30 "chants" : "each is the personal property of a singer, for it is a text that has been received by that person in a dream."

Finally, there were people who manipulated power ritually".

p. 31 "Some evenings during the summer, elders could be heard drumming and chanting in the woods. People simply said they sought power."

p. 32 dismantlement of camera by magic

"I looked out of my window to see a middle-aged woman ... who was heavily involved with power ..., I picked up the camera and shot the scene. There was a strange noise as I pressed the shutter release. ... the camera stopped working. ... Its entire shutter mechanism lay in a puddle at the bottom of the instrument, every single piece undone. When the film came back from processing, ... over the powerful woman’s head there was a black vortex."


2. Petra Rethmann : "On Praesence". [Koriak]

pp. 48-49 other world

p. 48

"Koriak spirituality involves the existence of "another world" (drugoi svet). In essence, that world is a replica of the world that can and is directly experienced, and it exists in the here and now. When people – or animals – die, the living have to make sure that the dead person reaches the other world. Reaching the other world involves a ten-day-long hike along a treacherous path. Animals and other kinds of beings can attack, and one needs at least a stick and a drum to make it to the other world. Men also often take spears with them, and women are given needles and

p. 49

threads so that they can immediately set themselves up in the other world. [The shamaness] had to make sure that all of this happened. ...

She also taught me something about the proper dealings with (what we call) magic mushrooms (mukhamory) and spirits."


3. Barbara Wilkes : "Reveal or Conceal?". [Kainai (Blood) of Alberta]

p. 57 no co-incidences

"There are no coincidences. Everything happens for a reason."

pp. 69-71 authoress’s lucid dream




"It was a lucid dream, one in which the dreamer is aware she or he is dreaming. ... As I slept, I heard a voice, sharp and insistent. ... The voice was calling me. ... So I rolled over ... toward the sound, and there, at the edge of my bed, to my astonishment (even in my sleep), stood a golden eagle. It spoke to me then in English and simply said : "Come with me." ...


... I finally indicated : "Oki`, Pi>ita! I would follow you but I cannot fly." The eagle respectfully but firmly commanded, "Just grab my tail feathers." I did, and we were immediately airborne. Flying at a considerable height over the prairies, we found the wind coming directly at us from the south {a south wind might expectedly have been a hot wind, unless they were in the southern hemisphaire}, becoming increasingly stronger until Pi>ita was struggling, and I could barely maintain my grip on his tail feathers. I called out to him that I could not hold on anymore; it was too difficult, and I was very cold. {cold, indicative, perhaps, of being in the southern hemisphaire : an eagle is emblem of Me[tz]-xico ‘Moon-navel’, and the moon is said to be cold (by the Navaho, intra al.); the psukhe ‘chill’ is said by Middle-Platonic philosophers to dissolve into the moon} ... The eagle then shifted direction radically westward, toward the very edge of the foothills. As we approached the mountains, he turned slightly south again. We were now tucked up close to the mountains, and the wind became a gentle, though still quite cold, breeze. ... Now that the eagle was flying south, the trip became much easier, and I relaxed the hand that had originally seized his tail feathers in a fist, until I barely had a fingertip on a single feather. ... Then, suddenly, my fingertip lost contact with his tail feathers. ... We did not land, nor even attempt to land. We were simply on the ground standing by a Sundance tree in the midst of an abandoned arbor. {cf. the Chinese belief in a "cassia-tree on the moon" (TLL, p. 173)} ...


We were close to a river; I could hear it in the dream. ... He responded by silently reaching for my right hand and ... he closed by fingers tightly around four small sticks. {The sticks may have been those appraehended by, for in folklore, the Man-in-the-Moon is said to be "carrying wood for his own sacrifice on Mount Moriah." (MMI, p. 177) A redolent plant (such as cassia) is suggested by the fact that when mother died of joy on his account (LB, p. 136), in her tomb was "scented the sweet fragrance of Paradise, near the entrance to which it lay" (LB, p. 137).} {For the "Sundance Lodge", of "forked cottonwood tree" "twelve forked posts ... were placed in a large circle twelve paces from the center." (EW, p. 92) The 12th prime is 37; and when he was "thirty-seven years of age" (LB, p. 132) Yis.ha.q was proffered in sacrifice on mt. Moryah.} ... I remember thinking that may they were piercing pegs" {: the "stick ... on its point" (LB, p. 123) of Yis^ma<->el, whose "four sons" matched the quaternity of sticks}.

TLL = Robert Ford Campany : To Live as Long as Heaven and Earth: a translation and study of Ge Hong's ... . U of CA Pr, 2002.

MMI : Jules Cashford : The Moon : myth and image. London & New York, 2002.

LB = Louis Ginzberg : Legends of the Bible. Konecky & Konecky.

EW = Heyoka Merrifield : Eyes of Wisdom. 1997.

pp. 78-79 after-death destiny of soul




"At death, the spirit leaves aka`a>tsis, the body – a temporary "robe" – protection afforded to the spirit – and returns ... . ...


At death, the spirit of a Kainai who had maintained and fulfilled its reciprocal obligations during life ..., was admitted to the Cypress Hills, and there resumed life in all particulars, with ancestors who had gone before".


4. Deborah Bird Rose : "Ethics of Attention". [Yarralin in Northern Territory of Australia]

p. 90 addressing the dead

"she called out to her ancestors. She told them who we were and what we were doing, and she told them to help us. ... Her brother ... explained it in this way : "At night, camping out, we talk and those [dead] people listen. ... When we’re walking, we’re together. ... Even if you’re far away in a different country, you still call out ..., and they can help you for {in a} dangerous place. And for tucker [‘food’] they can help you".


6. Deirdre Meintel : "Experiencing Spiritualism". [Spiritual Church of Healing, Montreal]

pp. 141-143 clairvoyance

p. 141

"We are supposed to go into the aura of the person ... and see something they need."

p. 142

"Spiritualist writers often mention "thought forms," visible manifestations of others’ thoughts that effect the person to whom clairvoyance is given."

p. 143

"Indeed, many people who do not consider themselves clairvoyant have dreamt of people or places before physically seeing them for the first time. ... many have had the experience of suddenly thinking of a person from their past for the first time in years, only to cross paths with the individual shortly thereafter."

pp. 146-147 spiritual hearer’s energy as sensed by others

p. 146

"I feel my hands buzzing. ... the first medium to speak ... goes straight to me. ["]I must tell you, ... your hands were surrounded by blue light.["]"

p. 147

"some people have healing energy that feels cool, ... one person who used to do healing in the church gave off energy that was icy cold."

pp. 147-148 gifts imparted to humans by spirit-guides : healing-energy & clairsentience

p. 147

"From the Spiritualist point of view, healing energy has its origin not in the human body, but elsewhere. Like clairvoyance, it is a divine gift whose positive development is aided by spirit guides."

p. 148

compraehensive clairsentience : "Sometimes he receives odors; for example, the smell of bread baking, tastes, or sounds, images, or visions. ...

I see, hear, feel, all at the same time ... from my guides, from the [spirits of] relatives all around. ... I can describe your spirit guides without seeing them. I can see them with my third eye, and I can tell you what you’re feeling."

p. 157, n. 17 "Margaret Mead ... believed that she had two spirit guides (Howard, 1984)."

Howard 1984 = Jane Howard : Margaret Mead, a life. Simon & Schuster, 1984.


7. Edmund Searles : "Prophecy, Sorcery, and Reincarnation".

pp. 170-171 spirits; re-enchantment [Mandinga of Guinea-Bissau]

p. 170

"we met people who were bewitched by irans (spirits that were invisible to everyone except porteiros or visionaries ...). ...


In Guinea-Bissau, I began to feel that there was more to the world than natural forces and human agency. ...

p. 171

I began to feel re-enchanted and reanimated by a world of mystic presence and spiritual agency. I began to experience the world as saturated with unseen forces, a world suffused with ... invisible beings."

pp. 174-175 beliefs in the spirit-world, by Arctic tribes

p. 174

"Dene Tha ... in northern Alberta ... believe in the reincarnation of humans, in the incarnation of spirit helpers in the form of animals, and in the power of prophet dances and visions."

p. 175

"Anthropologists who study the circulation of names and its overarching cosmology are drawn into the ... mystical aspects of the practice".

pp. 176-177 tarniq & inua [Inuit]

p. 176

"Every being, persons and animals included, possess a tarniq, or that part of the soul that gives life and health. A tarniq might be coaxed into leaving the body through sorcery ... . The loss of one’s tarniq eventuates in death, although shamans have the ability to call back one’s tarniq, or replace it with another. ... The tarniq might linger for a few days with the dead body and then either become reincarnated and/or go to the land of the dead. ...

p. 177

In addition to tarniq and inuusia, there is another mystical presence, namely the inua, or owner of an object. {cf. [<ibri^] /ba<l/ ‘owner’, often regarded as a member of a class of deities} Every object, animate and inanimate, has an inua, a spirit-being that controls the destiny of that object. A knife has an inua {cf. [Aztec] /Itztli/ ‘knife’, the name of a deity}, a person has an inua, and so on. A hunter is successful, it is thought, only when the animal’s inua is complicit. In this way, hunting itself becomes a spiritual act, an act of gift or grace on the part of the inua. Inua are sentient beings, and they study the actions of hunters and their families; they can withhold their gifts from those who are ... disrespectful."

p. 178

"Because children are reincarnated, there is a tacit assumption that they are born with accumulated wisdom that is hidden but that gradually emerges as the child awakens to his reincarnated identities."

pp. 178, 180 visitations by the dead; an out-of-body experience [Inuit]

p. 178

"the choice of a name is often precipitated by visions and dreams, unusually in the form of visitations from deceased relatives."

p. 180

"She had lost all vital signs for several minutes during the birth of her daughter, and she describes having an out-of-body experience in which she was able to pass through walls. In fact, she felt that she had been without a body, merging seamlessly into the tunnel of light in front of her. When she saw her body lying on the gurney [in] the hospital room, it was ... constraining."


Jean-Guy A. Goulet & Bruce Granville Miller : Extraordinary Anthropology : Transformations in the Field. U of NE Pr, Lincoln, 2007.