There are academic anthropologists (Phil C Weigand and Jay Courtney Fikes) who would argue that it is highly questionable whether one can separate shamanism from specific culture. He writes:
'Americans lack the group learning process, or shared function (Fikes, 1978) of the Yaqui and Huichol..
'New Age seminars occur within a stratified social system resembling those of India and Europe much more than those in most of aboriginal America.'
page 112 Jay Courteny Fikes, [i:caf712ddf0]Carlos Castaneda, Academic Opportunism, and the Psychedelic Sixties[/i:caf712ddf0].'
Dr Fikes continues:
'For some, emotional needs for self-transcendance (some will say escapism) and larger than life personalities may overpower the capacity for critical thinking. They may well be involved in constructing a quasi-religion, one originally inspired by the charismatic Castaneda. (Beals 1978:361)
'The cultural crisis of the 1960s, which precipitated the demand for gurus and shamans, and the complex relationship between contemporary New Age celebrities and consumers of their seminars on shamanism, are part of a social movement worthy of further investigation.'
Jay Courtney Fikes, [i:caf712ddf0]Carlos Castaneda, Academic Opportunism, and the Psychedelic Sixties [/i:caf712ddf0]pp 143-144.
[b:caf712ddf0]'Carlos Castaneda, Academic Opportunism and the Psychedelic Sixties'[/b:caf712ddf0]
Fikes, Jay Courtney (1993)
Victoria, BC: Millenia Press.
ISBN: 0-9696960-0-0 paperback
Description: Paperback, xxviii + 285 pages
Another book one might look for is 'The Soul of a Shaman' recommended by an acquaintance.
'There is one book that tries to put neo-shamanism into perspective:
The Soul of Shamanism by Daniel C. Noel. He sees neo-shamanism as a projection on the part of European-Americans, rather like Rosseau's "nobel saveage". Interestingly, Noel blames Castaneda for giving impetus to the movement.'
From the various reviews on Amazon.com, it appears Noel's book was written for an academic audience. Noel's contention is that its better for Westerns to use indigenous Western myths, instead of appropriating material from non-Western tribal peoples who have not given full consent to the appropriation process.
Copies can be obtained via Amazon.com.