Consider Wallace’s four forms of religious organization and locate each type within one
of our “levels” of social-cultural complexity (foragers, pastoralists, horticulturalists,
chiefdom/states). For each, explain your location, in terms of correlations with features of
Four forms of religious organization are individualistic, shamanistic, communal,
Individualistic cults are the least complex form of religious organization, in which
each person is his or her own religious specialist. Small-scale band societies still
practice it. This is practiced through the vision quest where they establish
relationships with spirits who provide them with knowledge, power and
protection. An example would be the Plain Indian cultures – pregnant woman
fasts and in a vision sees a weed which will give a painless delivery; crow warrior
would go to a place frequented by supernatural spirits, then strip off clothes,
smoke, and abstain from eating or drinking; animal spirit adopted person and gave
Shamanistic cults are forms of religion in which part time religious specialists
(shamans) intervene with the deities on behalf of their clients; this occurs in tribal
areas. Found in arctic and subarctic regions, Siberia, Tibet, Mongolia, etc.
Shamans’ contact spirits while in altered state of conscious brought on by
smoking, taking drugs, drumming, chanting.
Communal cults are societies in which groups of ordinary people conduct
religious ceremonies for the well-being of the total community; found in
horticulture/pasteralism which will be Chiefdom. These rites are performed
occasionally by non-specialists. Example may be ancestral ceremonies among
traditional Chinese, puberty rites found in sub-Saharan Africa, etc. Example may
be rites of passage in Kenya – into adulthood
Ecclesiastical cults are highly complex religious systems, employing full time
clergy; this is found in industrialism, centralized State society. Examples include
societies with pantheons of several high gods (Aztecs, Incas, Greeks, and
Egyptians) or monotheistic religions (Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Judaism).
Priests are part of hierarchical or bureaucratic organization under the control of a
centralized church or temple; often controlled by central government
Discuss three different instances of “baseball magic” and for each, indicate and explain
which of Steven’s “principles of magic” are operating. Then, briefly describe one
example of one of these principles in Stevens’ online article on “urban witchcraft”.
In “baseball magic”, it explains how it is all about luck for pitchers and hitters;
magic associated with luck and chance. Divided into ritual, taboo, and fetish.
Ritual: clothing is often crucial, wear same clothes after a winning game and also