Gardner, Peter M. 1991. “Pragmatic Meanings of Possession in Paliyan Shamanism,” Anthropos 86: 367-384

Shamanistic beliefs and practices of Paliyans, an enclaved foraging people of south India, are described then analyzed on the basis of observational and interview data from eight bands, and limited comparison is undertaken with shamanism of other south Indian foragers. Interaction with the gods is shown to have many sided significance to Paliyans. Five practical meanings of the gods and their visits are examined closely. Although visiting gods figure in Paliyan decision mak­ing, shamans are found to be prevented from attaining social prominence. [Journal abstract]

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