Chapter 4. Static Shamans: Agency and Iconography

Stag and Stone - Religion, Archaeology and Esoteric Aesthetics - Jay Johnston

Jay Johnston [+-]
University of Sydney
View Website
Dr Jay Johnston (B.A., M.Art Admin., M.Litt(Dist), M.A.Hons, PhD) is an interdisciplinary researcher who utilises her training in religious studies, continental philosophy, gender studies, and art history to investigate theories of the intermediary, or 'in between', and its role in religious belief and practice. In particular she rethinks theories of embodiment, agency, image and materiality and their use in the construction of individual identity, religious belief and the negotiation of cultural difference. Current projects include investigating the proposition of 'prehistoric religion' and the interpretation of artefacts, images and texts of ritual power. Specific areas of interest include cultural exchange in Late Antiquity and Scottish and Norse cultures pre1400. Previous research has focused on energetic concepts of embodiment (subtle bodies), forms of intermediary subjectivity and diverse spiritual epistemologies. Dr Johnston has also undertaken curatorial and research projects that explore religious aesthetics including viewer experience, the cultivation of perception and the interrelation of aesthetics and ethics.


The chapter explores the contested practice of identifying specific images from prehistory and early historic periods as evidence of shamanic practice and belief. In particular it examines picture stones created by the Picts (Scotland) and the Norse (Gotland). Building on the concepts developed in the previous section the issue of materiality and agency is central to the new analysis proposed.

Notify A Colleague


Johnston, Jay. Chapter 4. Static Shamans: Agency and Iconography. Stag and Stone - Religion, Archaeology and Esoteric Aesthetics. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. Jan 2021. ISBN 9781781793381. Date accessed: 18 Feb 2020 doi: 10.1558/equinox.27297. Jan 2021

Dublin Core Metadata