1. SilverWolf0101
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    SilverWolf0101 Active Member

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    Shaman.... Help?

    Discussion in 'Research' started by SilverWolf0101, Oct 14, 2009.

    I apologize in advance, but this is kinda long, so please bare with me.

    I am currently writing a story about a female character(there is to be another character that comes in a bit later) that has the ability to see the spirits of those who have died. Part of her abilities include:
    1. She can fuse with the spirit (i.e She can become one with the spirit by allowing it into her body so that she may be able to use it's abilities without it taking complete control over her)
    2. She can heal souls that have become "bad spirits"(Or for the Bleach anime fans "Hollows")
    3. She can help souls find peace so that they may move on.
    4. She can use a ghost's power (even if it is not in her body) to assist her whenever she may need it.
    5. She has a contract with a spirit to serve her until she releases it

    Here is where I'm running into problems however, whenever I try to find another term, or the correct term, for someone with these abilities I often come up with the term Shaman. The thing is, the dictionary defines a Shaman as:
    1 : a priest or priestess who uses magic for the purpose of curing the sick, divining the hidden, and controlling events
    2 : one who resembles a shaman; especially : high priest 3

    So I was wondering if anyone could help me out with this one, or if they had any advice as to what my assistant heroine may be?
     
  2. Forgotten_Memories
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    Forgotten_Memories Active Member

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    You can call it a shaman. It doesn't matter what the dictionary says, if you want to call it a shaman, and that's how you explain your 'shaman', then it's a shaman! Everyone who reads it should think, "ahh, okay, this is what a shaman is in this story!"

    Tolkien recreated elves, you can recreate the image/powers of a shaman. Also, these abilities are very much like what shamans in native american culture were believed to do.
     
  3. sirhoot
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    sirhoot Member

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    Seems to me that shaman sums up what you describe the character to be. If you want alternative suggestions why not make up a completely new term, and that will be what these people are known as.

    A look at an online thesaurus came up with the following: healer, medicine man, priest, sorcerer, witch doctor, and in my humble opinion shaman would suit your description better than these.

    Another idea would be to use the society as a basis for the term. If agricultural perhaps Spirit-Weaver, or Ghost-Weaver. If nomadic perhaps Spirit-Herder.

    Though maybe devising a totally original name would be the way to go.
     
  4. Mark R
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    Mark R Member

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    medium? mystic?

    It depends really on the setting. if its modern then something like medium or psychic and so on. if its fantasy or medieval (or older) then go with shaman.

    or like sirhoot says, make one up that fits the society
     
  5. stavious5
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    stavious5 New Member

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    Shaman is a perfect word for what you are describing.
    Originally appearing in Native American communities centuries ago, Shamans are the clan's spiritual healers. They are beleived to be able to talk and connect with the spirits, both of people and of nature and the elements. They do sometimes enter a transe in which they are said to be possessed and they also heal living people's injuries by purifying their spirits. So you definition is nearly exact.
    Just out of interest, Shamanistic rituals often involve drumming, as the rythm of the drums is used to fuse with that of the heart, thus allowing spirit communication to take place. Hope this helped.
     
  6. Irish87
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    Irish87 Contributing Member

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    Well, I hate to say it, but your female character will be arrested if she does not use a proper title to describe herself. Damned Grammar Police...

    sorry...

    Think of it this way, your character (your shaman) probably does not have a dictionary. Anyhow, even if she does, she resides in this world that you have either created or a version of Earth that you have played with like putty. Maybe in her world the definition of a Shaman is exactly all of the things you listed off.

    Just write and have fun :)
     
  7. Tall and Weird
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    Tall and Weird New Member

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    Did your character's version of shamanism exist in the world before she discovered her abilities? If she's the first one who can do what she can do then she can call it what she likes.

    If others know of her abilities, they may start calling her simply by what she does. Spirit walker, soul redeemer, ghost buster... :)

    Of course, the naming of things can come later. Once your heroine has triumphed over the trials which troubled her you can go back and give your shaman (or whatever) the title the story demands.
     
  8. Agreen
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    Agreen Faceless Man Contributor

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    That is a terribly limited definition of a shaman. While there are many different forms of shamanism found throughout the world, interaction with the world of spirits for the purposes of healing, gaining knowledge and for protection is pretty much constant throughout. If I came across what you've described in a book, I would not be put off at all if such a character was described as a shaman.

    That said, if you haven't yet, research shamanism to get a sense of the beliefs different shamanistic cultures hold, and to learn about the ceremonies they perform. It is a very interesting and deep field of study, well worth the effort even outside what it will contribute to your story
     
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  9. talieseen
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    talieseen Member

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    I might get flamed for this, don't know really.. on other forums I know I would have been and have been. Anyways, "a rose by any other name" comes to mind when it comes to figuring out what to call your character's role. If you do any roleplaying, you will notice that there are a huge array of character roles referred to as shamans (or with shamanistic abilities), just look at White Wolf's World of Darkness series for one, or the DND books for another, or World of Warcraft for yet a third.. a shaman can be someone who does anything involving spirits, or the essences of the souls in my view. To give you an idea, in the story I'm writing a sorcerer is someone who draws power within themselves and damages themselves in the process of casting magic. A wizard on the other hand relies upon their tomes to cast spells and cannot do so without them, a priest is given power directly from their god(s) in which they can cast any spell that their god sees fit to give them, and the last one I have is a sort of elementalist who uses the power of the world around them to cast spells. The last one is my personal favorite and is the one in which the main male character will be focused on, so just because someone else says something like "a sorcerer is just another name for a wizard, they do the same thing" doesn't mean that it has to be that way in my story! Just as it doesn't mean that it has to have the coldly defined shaman in yours!
     
  10. fantasy girl
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    fantasy girl Contributing Member

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    Ditto Talieseen :0)
     
  11. SilverWolf0101
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    SilverWolf0101 Active Member

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    I don't prefer flaming anyone who posts unless I believe I am given a good reason.

    As to your clarity on the word shaman, this was my main reason for creating a forum asking others' their view on it. As I want to ensure that I do not use the term shaman wrongly. I'm going to use an example of your's here if you don't mind. In example, I don't want to use the term sorcerer when I mean a wizard.

    Also, thank you to everyone else for your advice, I'm currently looking deeper into the topic so that I may have more of an understanding to the term shaman and everything comes with it. But I still appreciate any advice on the subject.
     
  12. von Pook
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    von Pook Contributing Member

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    Miko - Female Shaman (Asian)

    Voelva/Volva/Vala/Seidhkona - Female Shaman of Norse Mythology

    Znakharka - Term for female shaman in the Ukraine

    Mambo - Is the name for a high priestess in the voodoo tradition, especially one who keeps the songs and rituals and maintains the community's relationship with the spirits.

    Yachak - Birdman a person who knows how to fly into the other worlds, to connect with spirits and bring messages.

    Angakok - Inuit Shaman.

    Fugara - The Bedouin form of Shamanism.

    Baksylyk - A Muslim Declination of Shamanism.

    Sahir-þairls - Shamans in Turkey.

    Txiv Neeb - Shaman of the Hmong.

    Mondang - Korean Shaman.

    Huna - Hawaiian form of shamanism.

    Babalawo - Shamans of the Yoruba people of Nigeria.

    Dukun - Shaman of Indonesia.

    Baal Shem - Jewish Shaman.

    Tang-ki - The Chinese name for a shaman.

    P'aqo - The Andean word for shaman.

    This is an interesting link on the Norse mythological female Shamans:
    http://www.varunaholzapfel.de/voelva2.html

    hope this is of some help, regards von Pook :)
     
  13. InkDream
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    InkDream Senior Member

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    You know, as a writer, you have the freedom to make up a term for something like that if the term Shaman doesn't do it for you. For instance in the movie Push what most of us would call mind control is called "pushing." So brainstorm ideas. Soulweaver, soulhealer, spirit chaser, whatever. It's your fiction, just be clear what it means when you create something like that.
     
  14. luckyprophet
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    luckyprophet Member

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    -x- ~... -x-
     
  15. tonten
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    tonten Senior Member

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    Have u seen or read Shaman King? Your character has the exact same abilities as Anna Kyōyama in the story.
     
  16. B-Gas
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    B-Gas Contributing Member

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    Call them a necromancer. Shamans tend to deal with spirits of a more fundamental nature- the spirits of earth, stone, fire, something like that. Old necromancers spoke with the dead rather than the usual zombie-raising skeleton-users. That might solve the problem.
     

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