David Lewis-Williams - Native American Indians - Rebirth and violence
Type of Spiritual Experience
BackgroundShaman fights out of body were not unknown
A description of the experience
The Mind in the Cave – David Lewis-Williams
An association of fighting with North American shamans is, for instance, suggested by the Yokuts term tsesas which means spirit helper, shaman’s talisman and stone knife.
Moreover among some south central Californian groups the words for shaman, grizzly bear and murder were interchangeable.
The potential violence of trance experience was manifest in the battles and fights that were sometimes seen by shamans in trance.
In Native California rock art, people are shown shooting a symbolic arrow at others, and dangerous animals such as rattlesnakes and grizzly bears, are painted at many sites. Most importantly, shamans are depicted bristling with weapons – bows arrows, atlatls, spears and knives.