Shaman, Healer, Witch: Comparing Shamanism with Franconian Folk Magic.


Ideal-type shamanism is compared with Franconian folk magic. Franconia, a central province of Germany, experiences the end phase of a tradition of dualistic folk magic, including white and black witchcraft. While there are similarities between shamanism and Franconian magic - good or evil spirits amenable to magical manipulation, psychosomatic effects, "justice magic" -, differences prevail. The shaman's ecstasy, idiosyncrasy, public seance, and "possession" by supernatural entities contrast with the healer's or witch's mechanical magic, privacy and secrecy, and intermediariness between humans and supernatural powers. While shamanism is holistic and ambivalent, Franconian magic is dualistic and predictable; it is an extension of Catholicism rather than a form of shamanism.

How to Cite

Sebald, H., (1983) “Shaman, Healer, Witch: Comparing Shamanism with Franconian Folk Magic.”, Ethnologia Europaea 14(1), p.125-142. doi:



Hans Sebald (Arizona State University)



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