This volume offers a new, linguistically and ethnographically oriented approach to the phenomenon usually known and defined as shamanism. The conceptual history of shamanism will show how the word shamanism was created under the influence of the Christian world view. It is necessary for shamanic terminology to be re-elaborated and redefined as it is discussed by Janhunen, Helimski, Taksami and others in this volume. Alternative concepts to shamanism will be proposed to emphasize the importance of the nondogmatic and symbolic aspects of mythical shamanic worldviews. Shamanhood, synonymous with samanstvo, the Russian term preceding shamanism in older sources, is closer to the self-perception of the shamans themselves, since they do not see shamanism as a religion in the western sense of the word.