There Is a Disruptive Element in Shamanism
In their structural relations [shamans] exercise a dual influence. Within their own group they tend to be a consolidating force inasmuch as they may use their good offices to settle disputes, guide opinion, persuade or coerce the spirits to promote the well-being of individuals and the body politic, and to establish and maintain harmony between the human and the divine orders. On the other hand, they may be malevolent in their intentions towards hostile neighbours, and therefore be regarded by them as a potent source of the evils that befall them. Consequently, there is a disruptive element in shamanism fostering ill-will and not infrequently causing prolonged enmity between opposed groups. But in either capacity, whether consolidating or disintegrating in his influence, the shaman is a central figure in structural relations and in social affairs, both reflecting and producing the existing organization and determining the attitudes of the spirits under his control for good or ill towards friends and foes alike.
Tags: On Magic