Experimental study of ostensibly shamanic journeying imagery in naive participants I: Antecedents

Adam Rock, Peter Baynes, Paul Casey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The purpose of the present study was to investigate experimentally the antecedents of ostensibly shamanic journeying imagery associated with the Lower World in naïve participants. Forty six participants completed a composite questionnaire consisting of demographic items and the Tellegen Absorption Scale (Tellegen and Atkinson 1974). Participants were randomly assigned to one of five conditions: Harner's (1990) shamanic journeying to the Lower World instructions coupled with monotonous percussion drumming at either 4 or 8 beats-per-second for either 10 or 15 minutes; and sitting quietly with eyes closed for 15 minutes. Participants' phenomenology was retrospectively assessed using the Phenomenology of Consciousness Inventory (Pekala 1991) and a mental imagery checklist. The results indicated that there was a statistically significant difference between conditions with regards to the number of ostensibly shamanic journeying images. After adjusting for Harner's (1990) instructions, a significant main effect was found for both beats-per-second and time with regards to the number of ostensibly shamanic journeying images reported. There was a statistically significant relationship between condition and the tendency to report mental imagery associated with rocky ravines, predatory creatures, and rivers. Religious devotion was found to be a significant predictor of the number of ostensibly shamanic journeying images reported. Religious exposure and trait absorption were significant predictors of altered experience. Implications of the findings are discussed and suggestions for future research advanced.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)72-92
Number of pages21
JournalAnthropology of Consciousness
Volume16
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2005

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