Museum lecture to explore psychedelics, the brain and shamanism

By Carol Clark | eScienceCommons | Nov. 27, 2012

A Nov. 29 lecture related to the "Black Jaguar" exhibit will explore what happens in the brain during shamanic trances.

"Call upon me, for I am the black jaguar. It is me you must evoke if you wish to scare the illness away." These words of a Brazilian shaman describe the ancient practice of creating a charismatic intermediary with the divine.

In the above video, Emory art historian Rebecca Stone gives a brief overview of an ongoing exhibit at the Carlos Museum, "For I Am the Black Jaguar," that explores shamanism through art, zoology, botany, religion and anthropology.

The trances that transformed shamans into totems like jaguars and whale sharks were brought about in part by the ingestion of etheogenic substances. Psychiatrists Katherine MacLean and Charles Raison will discuss what happens in the brain during these trances in a special lecture at the museum, on Thursday, Nov. 29 at 7:30 pm.