shaman (adjective, shamanistic): a priestly healer and mediating agent of the spirit world.

Dictionary of Sexology Project: Main Index

An anthropological term referring to a person that is recognized within their culture as having a direct personal connection with the spirit world. Shamans are very common in Arctic cultures, and also in South American cultures.

The word comes from the Evenki (Tungus) language in Siberia. It originally meant something along the lines of "E that knows". It is often said that this word actually comes from Sanskrit, probably a confusion with shramanism. This is not true.

The term "Shaman" is a commonly used term by anthropologists to refer to an individual who has acquired exceptional powers to deal with the supernatural. One usually becomes a shaman after being seized by spirits. The term originates from the Tungus people, reindeer herders of eastern Siberia. Many anthropologists use the term to describe the holy people of Native American cultures but many Native Americans dislike the term because it is of foreign origin and does not encompass the diversity of Native specialists. It is generally best to call these people "holy people" instead.

A hero appearing in Marvel Comics. Shaman first appeared in Uncanny X-Men #120 in 1978.

Michael Twoyoungmen is a Native American (or is that Native Canadian) who was raised with the expectation that he would be trained as a native shaman. However, Twoyoungmen decided that he would pursue a career in medicine, eventually earning his doctorate. Though an extremely successful doctor, Twoyoungmen was unable to save his wife Kathryn when she became seriously ill. Twoyoungmen's daughter Elizabeth blamed him for the death of her mother and a rift entered their relationship that would last for many years.

Distraught, Twoyoungmen became a near hermit, living in the woods. In the depths of his dispair, Twoyoungmen was contacted by the spirit of his grandfather, the former shaman of his tribe. His grandfather's spirit began to guide Twoyoungmen in the ways of their people, eventually helping him master the use of a mystic medicine pouch, which was a portal to many dimensions and allowed Twoyoungmen to pull from it nearly anything he desired as long as he had faith that he could. Need a dust that stops time? In there. Need a staff that causes plants to grow? Got it. Need a Jeep Cherokee with a CD player, leather seats, and fog lamps*? Yep, it's in there, right between the emergency generator and the Tic Tacs.

After he completed his training, Twoyoungmen helped the goddess Nelvanna give birth to her daughter, a human/goddess hybrid who was named Narya. Narya's mission was to defeat the Great Beasts, the ancient enemies of the gods. She would later be known as the hero Snowbird.

Eventually, James McDonald Hudson (Guardian) approached Twoyoungmen and Narya about joining Department H. They became part of his team Alpha Flight and were known as Shaman and Snowbird.

Shaman served in Alpha Flight for many years and his daughter eventually became a hero known as Talisman who possessed great mystical powers. Their relationship was on the mend, when events of a battle turned for the worse. Attacked by Omega Flight, Shaman's medicine pouch was turned outside by one of the villains, releasing the dimensions that were within. Talisman used her powers to save her teammates and began to return the dimensions to the confines of the pouch, trusting her father to pull her free before she was trapped. Shaman hesitated in an attempt to defeat their foes and Talisman was trapped in the pouch. She was freed by the Beyonder, a being of extraordinary power who was on Earth at that point, but the trust between her and her father was broken again. Shaman was overcome with self-doubt and lost the use of the medicine pouch.

He returned to being a hermit and his grandfather's spirit returned and taught him to employ spirits, instead of using the medicine pouch. He returned to Alpha Flight for a time using his new powers, and after a time with them, was able to return to using his medicine pouch.

*Before someone jumps my case about this, it should be noted that only objects small enough to fit through an opening the approximate dimensions of a paperback book would be able to be pulled from Shaman's medicine pouch, so a Jeep Cherokee would not actually be able to be pulled from the medicine pouch. It was a joke, fanboy!

Sha"man (?), n. [From the native name.]

A priest of Shamanism; a wizard among the Shamanists.


© Webster 1913.

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