I wonder the structure of the sentence in bold. Can I put it like: The shaman possesses the power. The power is to conjure different collective intensities of being. The being admit transcendence through the metaphor and experience of the ecstatic journey. By the way does 'conjure' mean implore somebody to do something here?

The shamanic spectacle is associated with revelation and rebirth. The ostensible purpose of the spectacle is to achieve social reintegration. The shaman stands out in the tribe as a figure who possesses the capacity for transgression. This is because the shaman possesses the power to conjure different collective intensities of being that, through the metaphor and experience of the ecstatic journey, admit transcendence. (Celebrity, Chris Rojek)

1 Answer 1


Note that "admit" is not a singular verb (it doesn't have "s" ending). So the subject of "admit" is the plural word "intensities".

The head of the noun phrase "different collective intensities of being" is "intensities".

I think that 'conjure' doesn't mean implore here. It's related to doing magical and unusual things. See the first definition here.

When 'conjure' means implore it has the structure

conjure somebody to do something

as in

"I conjure you … to weigh my case well … "

— Sheridan Le Fanu

(example from Merriam-Webster)

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    Thank you! I often forget to pay attention to the singular or plural forms of noun. : ( And I thought ‘being’ here means people, so only 'conjure' means 'implore' that can make sense in this sentence. But you make it clear, and thank you.
    – Y anfanyu
    Commented Feb 20, 2019 at 13:58
  • Sorry, I just tried to edit my comment above and found I can only edit in five minutes. And I missed the chance to do that for my English is really poor. (I typed for 13 minutes and still could not finish one sentence.) I am actually still confused about the meaning of phrase ' intensities of being' , does intensity means strength? I hope it will not bother you. Thanks again!
    – Y anfanyu
    Commented Feb 20, 2019 at 14:26
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    You're welcome @Yanfanyu. :) The level of English of the text you are reading is highly advanced. As far as I know, in some societies when a group of people perform a ritual under the guidance of a shaman, and perhaps by taking things like Ayahuasca and Peyote, they experience what is called "altered states of consciousness". Sometimes what they experience is very intense. People engaged in that rituals collectively (as a group) experience intense states of existence (being). My description may not be precise, but I hope it gives you the general idea.
    – user60033
    Commented Feb 20, 2019 at 16:44
  • Thanks! I get it! I have been reading the book (The Chinese edition) which the text is cited from for a long time, and the translation often makes me confused. But I do comprehend the main idea now. Thanks again for your explanation and patience.
    – Y anfanyu
    Commented Feb 21, 2019 at 9:13
  • bú kè qì @Yanfanyu! Please feel free to contact me whenever you think it may be helpful. (arham.amouei at gmail dot com)
    – user60033
    Commented Feb 21, 2019 at 10:48

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