Demystifying Hmong Shamanism is the first book to provide a comprehensive discussion of shamanism as practiced and experienced by Hmong Americans. A broad range of case examples are discussed that not only represent the initiation and maintenance of the shaman's practice, but also a variety of ceremonies performed to promote spiritual health and well-being across the life span. Case examples are described in rich detail and presented within a real-life context. Shamanism as practiced in the United States remains consistent with that practiced in their homeland of Laos, with minor adaptations as described throughout the text. The book is unique in that it addresses a traditional form of shamanism that continues to be practiced widely within Hmong American communities across the United States.
Demystifying Hmong Shamanism provides a comprehensive exploration of the practice and use of shamanism by Hmong Americans that incorporates a first-hand perspective from recipients, family members, shamans, and the shaman assistants.
Demystifying Hmong Shamanism is the result of over ten years of research and close collaboration with Hmong shamans and other members of the Hmong American community. As practicing Hmong shamans advance in age, they have identified the importance of documenting their legacy for future generations.
Their cooperation and collaboration with Dr. Gerdner has provided a unique opportunity for the documentation and recording of ceremonies normally restricted to family members. The shamanic ceremonies and practices reported here reflect the diversity with regard to purpose and performance found within the Hmong shamanic world.
Recorded and presented for the first time, Demystifying Hmong Shamanism is a landmark publication in the field of Hmong and Hmong American studies, shamanism, and religion.