"the shaman who made it was a potent magician"

 A shaman is a practitioner of shamanism, an ancient method of spiritual communication—perhaps tens of thousands of years old—that is used for spiritual and physical healing as well as for personal growth.  Shamanic practices exist in many tribal cultures world-wide.

Shamans treat ailments/illness by mending the soul. The shaman enters an altered mental state—typically by using drums or rattles to create a sound field that changes consciousness.  The altered state, called a shamanic journey, is used to gain help and wisdom. In the journey the shaman encounters helping spirits.  These spirits are experienced as a kind of consciousness that does not exist in a body;  when properly approached, the spirits provide help and guidance. The shaman only affects the spiritual world, which in turn affects the natural world. The shaman brings balance to a soul and this will result in creating balance and health for the body.