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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Chemehuevi Shamanism, Sorcery, and Charms


Since the pattern for all human behavior was believed to have been set in the mythic era, it follows that the paradigm for every type of magical practice, whether for curing or for cursing, for summoning the forces of nature, for protecting one's self, or for influencing others, must have been established by the Early People. There were indeed shamans in the time when the animals were people, and those who were shamans in that period became the helpers, the indispensable spirit-animal familiars (tutuguuvimi) of human shamans. Who or what, then, were the shamans' helpers in the storytime? Then as now the first step toward becoming a shaman was the acquisition of a song; but whom or what did the songs of the mythical shamans summon?

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