pp. 21, 24, 26 pari

p. 21

"the Hunzakutz ... honor the pari, or mountain spirits, and ...

venerate their bitan, the pari’s earthly spokesmen."


"demonic creatures, which the Hunzakutz call bilas {cf. name of /BHILLA/ tribe}, emerging from and re-entering the oddly-shaped boulders". {so likewise in Norse folklore}


"herdsmen ... would casually mention that they frequently heard pari voices and their eerie unhuman music."

p. 24

"Ibex and markhor ..., because they were believed to be the property of the pari, hunter had first to consult the bitan and pray to the spirits to appear to them in a dream, both to grant their permission and to direct the dreamer to where the animals might be found."

p. 26

"the pari also bring good fortune, health and prosperity to those who know how to honor them".

pp. 26, 31-32 bitan

p. 26

"The bitan, human beings able to communicate personally with the pari, were traditionally revered as oracles ... . Through his relationship with the pari, the bitan were able to enter the supernatural world, the realm of ghosts ... and other miraculous beings ... . ... bitan (danyal in the Shina language of Gilgit) ... entered ecstatic trance states, ... and conversed with the pari".

p. 31

"bitan refrained from drinking cow’s milk, eating beef, and having contact

p. 32

with cattle, once thought to be unclean animals, whose presence offended the mountain spirits. ...


The Hunzakutz say that a potential bitan first realizes his calling when pari, in the guise of ... tall, human-like creatures, appear before him and reveal to him that he has been chosen for this role. ... Those who are approached by the spirits in this manner must accept their calling, or else suffer dire consequences. One ... body was pressured by the pari to become their bitan, but the family would not let the boy take up the profession. The price he paid for rejecting the spirits, ... was insanity."

pp. 33-35, 37-38 autobiographical account of becoming a bitan

p. 33

"I found entire fields of flowers. then I had my first encounter with the pari. They were human-like, but taller than any man I know, with fair skin, red cheeks, golden hair, and clad in green garments. Their mouths were wider than human mouths, their noses extended high into their foreheads, and

p. 34

their feet were backwards. ...

The next day there was music and dancing in Altit. ... Just then ... the drummer, said that his drum was "heavy," meaning that there was a bitan nearby. ... When the music started three blue birds {cf. the blue bird-god in Bon} flew down from the sky and sat on my shoulders.

p. 35

... but it was apparent that the birds were visible only to me. ... I began to dance. Everyone concurred ... that they were indeed witnessing the antics of a fledgling bitan. While I danced, the three birds transformed into pari."

p. 37

"While I was dancing, I saw the blue birds again; they told me that I was their bitan, and that they would teach me many things."


"Berishal ... is where the Bericho live ... . Their women are harlots ... . Only a genuine bitan can dance and communicate with the pari in this ... place. ... The king gave me a blue shirt {cf. the blue vestments of the Yazidi priests},

p. 38

white pants, a white robe, and white shoes."

p. 39 s^iatus

"Shiatus are shape-shifters said to be able to instantaneously assume any human or animal form. Such creatures frequent graveyards and abandoned villages ... . They can hide, it is said, by entering into boulders, from which they may reemerge at will. Shun Gukur is said to have trapped a number of these demonic beings by driving iron spikes into the boulders in which they were hiding."

pp. 41-42, 46 musicians & musical instruments

p. 41

"The Bericho – who by tradition serve as Hunza’s minstrels and blacksmiths -- ... speak their own language, known as Dumaki, and live in a segregated village called Berishal. Only they are allowed to play the special music to which the bitan dance. ...

p. 42

The Bericho repertoire includes ... the special "bitan music." The Bericho say their ancestors learned this from a powerful bitan to whom the music had been revealed by the pari themselves. ...


The musical instruments that Bericho play during the bitan’s oracular performance include the dadang, dadamel, and gabi.

The dadang is a two-sided, circular bass drum, nearly eighteen inches in diameter and thirty inches in length, which is beaten by hand.

The dadamel, a pair of kettledrums, are shaped like melon halves, each about

p. 46

seven inches in diameter. These are played with two sticks.

The gabi, a reed pipe, is twelve inches long and has a high-pitched tone."

pp. 36, 48 sacred juniper

p. 36

"gal [juniper branchlets, Juniperus macropoda]. Gal is a sacred tree; it is the food of the pari. ... when its leaves are eaten it is an act of communion with them."

p. 48

"From ancient times there was a juniper in the garden of a man called Kermo Derbesh. They called it the Boyo Juniper. They say that from of old people used to relate that animals like puppies came out under the tree. The people of Hunza used to worship them. They called them Boyo."

pp. 51, 57, 61 pari enter musical instruments; spirits sit on shoulders; pari speak from instruments

p. 51

"The pari ... enter into the dadang and the pipe."


"the bitan enters a mystical state, able to see not only the pari, but also the one-eyed diabolical spirits {also known in the Caucasus mountain region}, the bilas, dangalatas, and futt, creatures said to sit on the shoulders of ... people {in Bodish style} who have been bewitched or who are about to die."

p. 57

"Now the pari, said to be inside the drum, begin to speak to the bitan, who, in a high-pitched chant, conveys their message to the audience."

{Some Siberian shamans trap spirits in their drums.}

p. 61

"The oracle alternates between listening to the pipe and to the drum, each time relaying the pari’s messages to the audience."

pp. 84-89 bilas

p. 84

"Bilas are ... female demons. Less common ... are the one-eyed hir bilas, their male counterparts. The latter haunt uninhabited places and call out the name of anyone who approaches them. ...

p. 85

Sometimes the bilas take the shape of ... humans who lack faces. {European cemetery-ghosts sometimes lack faces} ...

p. 86

The bilas roam at night through the villages, throws stones at people’s houses, and make strange sounds {poltergeist}, as if someone were walking around the house."

p. 87

[quoted from Lorimer 1935, vol. 2, p. 193 :-] "There was a tower at Hindi. It name was Jandu Shikari. ... . ... a bitan called Shon Gukur .. looked (he saw that) there was a bilas in the tower; and there were also her seven daughters. Her name was Dadi ... . ... On his approach Dadi and her seven daughters quitted the tower. ... . Shon Gukur ... pegged down the seven daughters in separate boulders. ...

p. 88

And they say that ... the peg used to revolve."

p. 89

"They say that in Berashale [Bericho lands] in Hunza there was a walnut tree, and that on it there used to sit a bilas. ... They felled the tree and then there stood a braying donkey. ... Going on ... they brought it to a boulder ... called Khurias Bun. When they had got it there it entered into the boulder."

{"Walnut oil has been used to expel tapeworms." ("MPWT") Another anthelmitic is ("TB") Terminalia belerica : fire of Vibhitaka tree (Terminalia bellerica) is to be extinguished "with donkey urine" (according to Jayabhadra – CT, p. 200, fn. 15).}

Lorimer 1935 = David L. R. Lorimer : The Burushaski Language. Oslo.

"MPWT" = "Medicinal Properties of the Walnut Tree"

"TB" =

CT = David B. Gray (tr.) : The Cakrasamvara Tantra (S`riherukabhidhana). American Institute of Buddhist Studies, Columbia U, NY, 2007.

pp. 90-92 dangalatas {cf. /DoNGoLA/ in Sudan?}

p. 90

"By day the dangalatas remain in uninhabited places, but by night they come to the villages".

[quoted from Lorimer 1935, vol. 2, p. 199 :-] "Kulio Laskir ... saw that there was a Danglatas. The two began to wrestle and he threw her. There was a dagger ...; she (simply) vanished somewhere. ... . the dagger is sticking (upright)in the ground". {cf. Bodish ritual of sticking a phur-bu (dagger) into the ground}

p. 91

[quoted from Lorimer 1935, vol. 2, p. 205 :-] "a man called Bulchutoko had come from Gilgit ... . ... The Dangalatas, chasing after him, was near to overtaking him ... at the lower end of the Uyum Das ... . The Dangalatas ... said to herself : ‘He has cleft the boulder in two ... .’ ... Her name was Meri Duweni. ...

p. 92

When the Dangalatas came out ... [she] flung them down the mill-race ...; whereupon they became flocks of birds. Their name is Gereltum Hera."

p. 92 pfuts

[quoted from Lorimer 1935, vol. 2, p. 235 :-] "there was a light in the Buri Bun and there were Pfuts dancing. ... There was one rib short. That rib the man, to whom they had given a share, had hidden from them. ... . ... the goat came to life."

{likewise Tja`lfi split one bone of the goat which he ate; so that that goat, when revived, was lame (Gylfa-ginning XLIV – PE, p. 57)}

PE = Prose Edda. Transl. by Arthur Gilchrist Bodeur. 1916.

pp. 93-95, 97 amulets dispensed by bitan

p. 93

"the restless ghosts ... haunt houses, and enter peoples’ bodies ... . ... Only the bitan can see these beings and only after midnight, because that is when evil spirits become active. ... Today the Hunzakutz seek the services of a bitan for a variety of medical problems : ... psychiatric ailments, demonic possession, marital difficulties, ... and so forth. ...

p. 94

The bitan ... enters a trance, and contacts the pari on behalf of his client."


"Bitan are also summoned to counter ... misfortune ... . ... A person ... sends a friend to the bitan’s house. there the friend leaves a .. token and departs . He does not reveal the nature of the client’s problem ... . The bitan must determine this for himself by consulting his pari. One bitan ... puts the token under his pillow and asks his helping spirits to reveal the client’s difficulties to him in his dreams. The next morning, when the client’s friend returns, the bitan divulges what he has learnt and prescribes ... .

p. 95

Bitan also dispense charms of their own, ... to act as barriers against the evil eye, and to ensure success in love, business ... . Such charms ... are effective because of the bitan’s jadu (magic) and because of the powers of his spirit helpers. ... .

p. 97

... the bitan (now with eyes closed) again invokes the aid of the pari. ... Finally he ... gives instructions about making a cloth cover for this charm, naming a suitable color as revealed to him by the spirits".

pp. 132, 142 control of spirits by bitan

p. 132

"the bitan gains control over the spirits, and thereafter anywhere from one to fourteen or more pari become his guardians. The more skilled a bitanis in

p. 134

coaxing and manipulation {of spirits}, the more spirits he can acquire. The greater the number of spirits under his sway, the greater the bitan’s supernatural powers. The spirits under the control of the bitan help him predict the future, tell of events happening in distant places, tell him incantations and procedures for healing the sick, ... and binding (rendering harmless) malignant spirits. Aside from their spirits, most bitan have no other teachers."

H. Sidky & Janardan Subedi : Bitan : Oracles and Healers in the Karakorams. Illustrated Book Publishers, Jaipur, 2000.

{The Burus^aski term /bITAN/ may be the same word as Old English /wITAN/.}