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Since the rituals of the shaman are very specific and distinctive it is difficult to identify which one deserves restoration. Shamanism is flexible and open, which allowed an interaction between, for instance, Buddhism and shamanism in Mongolia (Witzel 2011: 44). Hence it would nowadays be hard to identify whether the practices of a shaman in Mongolia are inspired by centuries-old Buddhist rituals or whether Buddhist practices are rooted in shamanic beliefs. This paper analyzes the changes that traditional shamanism went through in order to adapt to contemporary needs, and the impossibility of restoring the pure, original form of shamanism. Contemporary Shamanism The 20th-century shamans in Japan or Siberia embrace the belief that they are merely a rough version of past events. The shaman has evolved and thus has his/her advocates and their needs. Shamanism in post-Reformation Europe appears to thrive in its neo-shamanic form because people can create an interpretation of supernatural occurrences which are difficult to understand or explain in the perspective of the Protestant church (Jakobsen 1999: 209). Likewise, as stated in the accounts of Laura Kendall, shamanism attracts mostly Korean housewives. Contemporary shamanism thus has gone through transformations which have matched it to the users’ needs and focuses on prophecy and the family. ...
Coercion of individuals by several shamans is common in all shamanic cultures. A number of scholars, such as Hahm Pyong-choon, emphasize this point since shamanism is threatened by the exact causes of neo-shamanism’s success in the Western world. Apparently, the current threats to shamanism are major perils to its survival. Worldwide occurrences, especially industrialization, urbanization, modernization, technological and scientific progress, the powerful spread of Christianity, and westernization have all created serious threats (Meadows 2011: 105). As the heightening of individualism and disintegration of the family persist shamanism will undoubtedly be threatened further. The dissimilarity between neo-shamanism and contemporary Korean shamanism is that in the latter the bond to the deceased family members and their impact on the lives of the living is the emphasis. The core element is the family. In neo-shamanism the person focuses on those who need attention and it is thus better adapted to contemporary Western urban culture (Gallagher 2006: 82). In South America, certain healers still perform some of the healing methods of the earlier shamans but it is a quite special challenge that shamans have to face in an urban environment. Nowadays, healers act in response to immorality in urban areas, to issues of drug addiction, domestic violence, child abuse, family disintegration, and prostitution. The morality of the healer, his spiritual defenses and his capacity to change the spirit domain for the benefit of his audiences is similar to early Amazonian practices (Adlam & Holyoak 2005: 531). His healing practices definitely are different from those of the mainstream medical procedures offered, for a fee, in urban areas. The urban
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