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Altered States During Shamanic Drumming: A Phenomenological Study

Author(s): Anette Kjellgren | Anders Eriksson

Journal: International Journal of Transpersonal Studies
ISSN 1321-0122

Volume: 29;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 1;
Date: 2010;
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Keywords: shamanic-like drumming | Altered States

This study investigated the experiences gained from a 20-minute shamanic-like drumming session. Twenty-two persons participated and made written descriptions afterwards about their experiences. A phenomenological analysis was applied which generated 31 categories,that were organized into six themes: 1) The undertaking of the drumming journey, 2)Perceptual phenomena: visual, auditory and somatic, 3) Encounters, 4) Active vs. Passive role,5) Inner wisdom and guidance, and 6) Reflections on the drumming journey. A multitudeof detailed experiences were described such as visual imagery, hearing sounds, encountering animals, as well as gaining insights. Participants generally appreciated the drumming sessionand few negative effects were noted. The conclusion made is that shamanic-like drumming can be a valuable supplement to other psychotherapeutic techniques.

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