Title:The Rulings of the Night: An Ethnography of Nepalese Shaman Oral Texts
Publisher:Mandala Book Point
Remarks:B&W Illustrations, Acknowledgments, Glossary, Reference and Index.
Size:140 x 208 mm
"The Rulings of the Night offers something new to the anthropology of language and ritual. Built on impeccably careful fieldwork, and beautiful at times in its transparency, the book gets back to the words themselves in crafting an understanding of the deadly important play between shamanic prayers and social reality in the Nepal Himalayas. The author's novel focus on the pragmatics of everday speech is sure to provoke argument (and a much needed one, at that), but, like the Nepali shaman's mythic songs, the book is also sure to intrigue, captivate, and transform."
Sarah Lawrence College
"This is a first-rate account of one of the liveliest places of traditional shamanic practice today. Maskarinec's study, based on extensive fieldwork in a blacksmith community of Western Nepal, enriches the complex of Dhaulagiri Shamanism by a caste perspective and invites a wider comparison both with other Himalayan and with Siberian forms of ritual healing. Regarding shamans' oral expressions, the book comes with a surprise: not only are their mythical chants imbued with meaning, constituting a coherent cosmological system, but their most haphazard utterances, their magical formulas and mantras - often considered meaningless - also carry distinct semantic messages. From his first contacts in the field to the printed book Maskarinec has passed through contrasting stages of an intellectual path. A Peace Corps autodidact in the beginning, he became a faithful recorder and keen calligrapher of shamanic chants; in The Rulings of the Night he emerges as a philosopher of language. In one respect, however, he remained unchanged - in his devotion to ethnographic and linguistic detail."
"Based on exceptionally solid research with fifteen shamans of the Nepalese Himalaya, this innovative book uses meticulously edited texts to reveal the shamanic world and the shaman's expected life course within it. A wide variety of readers in anthropology, religion, folklore, and linguistics will find how language has the power to maintain a seamless universe closely bonding the everyday world and the world of spirits."
John T. Hitchcock
University of Wisconsin