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I think therefore I think. I think too much. Egad! I can’t stop thinking.

Wizards vs Shamans in Wizardry


Any specific culture of wizardry you might like to focus on?

I’d like to hear, at some point, about modern day wizardry. Well, modern day wizardry would perhaps be its own class, but the Wu-jen of China, the Skalds of Norse culture, and the Aboriginal Song Line Walkers of Australia would all be wizards. Though it might be mistaken to confine them to that label as the practice of wizardry didn’t stand entirely by itself, and in some cases wasn’t used much at all.

What is the difference between wizardry and shamanism? Shamans were often non-verbal, visceral, using wordless chant and even a sort of trans-identification to arrive at their insights. Also, the shaman focused on cultivating relationship with a group of assisting spirits, and created their affects through calling on these spirits to take action in the world. The wizard used their own familiar or even possibly nothing at all beyond their mastery of words and song.

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How is wordless chant done? Are words in the mind and just not verbalized or is it something else? It’s something else. The shaman often emulates animal cries and engages in emotional vocalization, yelps and hollers, coupled with instinctively inspired body language. Moderated blows delivered to the person seeking healing, say.

So wizardry is more internal and intellectual, even manipulating one’s own brain? Yes. Shamanism is more primal and immersive in nature, less a product of artifice and art and more a primal interaction.

Like when I howl back at the coyotes, bark with the dogs, and crow with the crows. Yes. Shamanism didn’t progress because the insights it’s based on don’t incorporate what we might consider progressive thought. There isn’t a science to it, just intuitive insights, but not to belittle an intuitively driven path. They have much to recommend them even in comparison to intellectual paths. Intellect has its own often stark shortcomings.

The voices of the assisting spirits coming through the shaman? Yes. That is where their cries come from. If their wolf guide wants to snuffle someone and growl, then the shaman does that.

Shamanism is before words, wizardry is after words, and religion is as old as anything else though it’s oldest forms don’t resemble anything like the institutions we have today. Religion is what gave rise to cities. Today’s cities being raised in honour of the almighty dollar, but the original cities were offering places where often they just offered something they found in their foraging, or some specimen from their flock of herd animals. In extreme cases, enemies or even volunteers from their tribes. Today, people seem keen on offering their souls instead, and not just their bodies.

Your thoughts are welcome. Be well friends.

Travis Saunders
Dragon Intuitive

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