S^or Folkloric and Shamanic Texts

pp. 4-5 introduction




"S^ors believe all mountains and taigas ... are shared among the different spirit-masters; the mountains are their homes and the animals are their domestic livestock, ... which they use as a stake when playing cards. ... The masters of the mountains and rivers greatly enjoy listening to stories. ... Thatís why the hunters always make it a point to be accompanied by someone who is good at telling stories. ... Especially welcome by the spirit-masters are Ďtrivialí (qatqi:li:G) stories : it was believed that the more obscene a story was, the more the spirit-masters would be pleased. [cf. p. 21, fn. 22:1]


... dear to the S^or folklore is the bear. It appears ... to women busy harvesting. ... when the woman escapes from the bear who abducted


her, she normally heads for the maternal clan ... (texts 28-33). The child born out of the relationship between the woman and the bear, lives at first with his motherís clan, usually with her brothers, and helps hunting. ...


Many texts tell about the world of animals :

why the otter does not moult (text 35),

why the eyes of the capercaillie are red (text 36), etc.".

pp. 6-24, 30-2, 36-9, 42 folkloric texts






"The Master of Mount [fn. 1:1 : "mountains ... as dwelling places for the spirit-masters ... . ... Mountains get married." ] Padi:Gan had a ... son" who, in order "to propose maiden ... took that bowl, and drank"; whence originated "a brooklet".



"Along the high course of the Abakan [fn. 3:1 : Ďfather-lord; bearís bloodí] on the Qazi:rGan, ... the master of the mountain called ... . ... Answering, he seizes the manís soul and locks it up within the mountain. The man, then, going out of his mind ... ."



"a man called once, he called twice. When he called for the third time, I answered ... .



I say : "Iím coming!" ... The master of the mountain was the one who had called."



"I took a look behind : out of the hollow a man was sticking out his arm. Three times he asked : "If you donít want to give your head-gear, give at least your mittens!" ....

The shaman said : "Long ago, a master of the mountain came from the Abakanís taiga to ... someone. [fn. 5:6 : "Masters of the mountains love playing cards, and normally the loser must hand the winner his own taiga animals, which are then transferred ... . In this way S^ors explained this decrease of animals in one region or another."] While the two were seated, I threw some snow down.



The snow hit the master of the mountain right in the eyes. ...""



" "The master of the mountain called me. I heard his voice.""



"he went past a huge rock ... . The door in the rock was open. ... Inside of the rock ... men were seated playing cards. ... The master of the Qazi:r taiga won, he laughed ... . Out of his laughter a strong wind began to blow in the taiga ... . ... "... the masters of the mountains have been playing cards. By playing cards, they send the animals and the birds ..."."



"a cave appeared at the confluence of the Tiren Su [fn. 8:2 : "Deep (tiren) water (su)"] with the Tom. In order to get into that cave, he carved some steps ... . ... Within the cave, ... a luminous land appeared ... . ...



He meant to go even farther, but a hanging stone was swinging"".



"At night, while I was sleeping and it was past midnight, and maiden appeared ... . ... Later on, when I woke up ..., they vanished. ...

... the mistress of the mountain ... only takes a manís soul, she doesnít take a womanís soul. ... A mistress of the mountains catches a manís soul in order to marry him."



"When the mistress of the mountain calls out, ... If the men who do not know answer her, the mistress of the mountain abducts them."



"The mistress of the mountain has huge breasts. [fn. 11:1 : she is "the female albasti, a demon ... .... etymology of ilbi "magic"... of the word albasti"] At night {during a dream?}, when she approaches a man to marry him, she lies with him hugging him. ... . ... then the mistress of the mountain seizes his soul and abducts it. After this, that man ... starts shamanizing and singing. He goes round and round ... . And he also says : "I go into the mountain!""



"In the taiga someone shouted. Then a woman came to him. It was a naked woman." [fn. 12.1 : "Nakedness is another peculiar characteristic of the albasti".]



"Once, ... on Mount Qazi:rGan, ... I saw : ... a maiden. That girlís naked breasts were pointed ... . [fn. 13:2 : "The female albastiís breasts are huge and pointed".] ...

"Thus this naked woman shows herself to the men ... . No sooner she arrives, she starts arousing them softly, then she forces them to follow her. She abducts them ... . Then, when they are dead, she marries them."



"something whistled. ... . ... (the spirit) said : "I am the master of the mountainís daughter, I want you to be my bridegroom!" ... Later the maiden showed herself : half of her body was in a changing dress, her legs in stone boots. ...



He looked closer : her hands were provided with claws. ... her teeth were like those of a hare."



"a man ... in the Kemc^ik taiga, ... having made a qomi:s [fn. 18:2 : "monochord fiddle"] out of cedar-wood, ... sang in the qay fashion ... . He made a man of cedar-wood and placed it opposite himself."



"A man ... in the Kemc^ik taiga ... made a qomi:s ... . ... he sat and sang in the qay fashion. While he sat singing in the qay fashion, a maiden came from the mountain. ... Later on, that maiden said : "... This mountain has a door, go inside, I shall be sitting there!" ... When he climbed ..., the door was open. Then, he went in and looked : there that maiden was seated. "Do you want to marry me?" Ė she asked." ... While they were going, that maiden was visible to the hunterís eyes, but she was not visible to the



othersí eyes. ... That man became rich. ... Afterwards, when he reached his camp, ... she immediately disappears."



"He ... began to sing in the qay fashion. A midnight a powerful windstorm broke over the taiga. Then a man came to him. ... . ... the gates to the mountain were open. Then they both went inside. ... The interior of that mountain was like the menís houses. In one half, animalsí skins were hanging, in the other half, huge shining stones laid [lay]. ... The master (of the mountain) who had made him come, ... filled the hunter-manís sack with shining stones ... . ...



As soon as he reached the bottom of the mountain ..., he threw the sack full of stones away. ... There was a poor man. He ... found these stones, he took them home and showed them to his neighbors. ...



This mountain is called Tebir TaG." [fn. 21:14 : " "Iron mountain" : tebir "iron" (O. T. temir)."]



"The master of the water [fn. 22 : "SuGdun ezi. ... The most powerful, to whom all the other masters are submitted, is depicted as a very tall woman {once I, in a WILD (wake-induced lucid-dream), saw, across a lake of water, a very tall (hundreds of feet tall) nude woman (goddess) standing}, with long hair, huge breasts and a huge abdomen... . ... . Fishermen, on their way to fish, thought it necessary to extremely obscene tales and to extol the supreme mistress of the waters. Thus they hoped to gain from her, who very much enjoyed tales, a plentiful catch."] went inside the mountain. ... Afterwards, the water stopped flowing ... . The shaman went inside there and filled the lordís head with the water of the spirit-ants. [fn. 22:3 : "Ko:ru:nmes qi:mi:sqa" (/ko:ru:nmes/ is, literally, Ďinvisibleí)] Then, when the shaman, on his way back, wanted to go out, the door he had gone through was locked. The shaman started to wander (in the mountain). He went a long way, he came out from a different land through the tu:ndu:k of the earth." [fn. 22:4 : "C^erdin tu:ndu:k : In S^or, ... the earth has an opening, called tundu:k ..., trough which the shaman goes inside the earth to reach the spirits of the infernal regions. ... Such opening is also called kindik "navel" (Tuvan xin ~ xindik ...)".]



"Water stopped, (the river) swelled and rose. The village was flooded. ... Then, the shaman shamanized; he entered the master-mountain. Once inside, he saw the master of the water ... supine {read "prone"} on the floor. At that point, the shaman collected some ants with which he filled the back of the lord of the water."



"At the time when the ice floats on the river, the master of the water appears like a black horned animal. ... The master of the water, taking someoneís soul under water, locks it up at the foot of a mountain. "



"The mistress of the water appears to man as a naked woman with long golden hair, with a golden comb. ... the mistress of the water appears to man ... floating on an ice block ... while she combs her golden hair. ... If one takes it into oneís hands, the comb disappears. Then the comb takes to its mistress the soul of the man who is holding it in his hands. If one, slowly approaching



frightens (the mistress of the water), she tosses the gold comb into the water throwing it behind her shoulders. Previously, a young man saw the comb of the mistress of the water ..., and he took it into his hands. ... After a while, that young man was once riding and his horse got into a water puddle. Immediately that young man started to sink deeper and deeper along with his horse. When he tried to scream, his voice failed". {"Marcus Curtius, ... mounted on his horse, ... rode into the abyss. It closed above him, leaving only a little lake, to which the name Lake Curtius was given" (CDCM).}



"A man ... heard the voice of the qi:Gi:li:q bird. [fn. 37:1 : "The "miraculous bird" of S^or folklore"] He cried loudly. With tears in his eyes, he reached home. {"the nightingale was singing in his cage. His song was so sad, however, so very sad, that the merchant and his wife also became sad, and their son, their good Ivan, who listened very attentively, was even more affected, and the tears came running down his cheeks." ("LB")} ... When the qan-qi:Gi:li:q bird flies at night, his feathers shine; when he sings, he who hears this song cries."



"Thereís a star called Qan Ergek. [fn. 38:1 : "Qan Thumb"] In ancient times it was a hero. {= Tom Thumb?} ... Once that hero on his ash-grey and white horse was chasing a huge horned elk. He went three times round the earth. Nine dogs were with him. Suddenly that elk leaped toward the sky. Qan Ergek too leaped behind it on his horse and together with three of his dogs.



"men did not have fire. ... Then U:lgen [fn. 39:3 : "He who bestows, who allots". cf. Indoiranian Bhaga (whence Russian Bog) and the Armenian Astuac."] fell asleep. While sleeping, the crane bird, sneaking into U:lgenís house, stole from U:lgen a piece of burning coal and took it to the men."



"In spring, the people, gathering, agree and consecrate an i:zi:x. ... The horse, destined for consecration, is taken from his master. ... Afterwards they take the horse back home and set him free. ... It is not permitted to slaughter such a horse."



"That shaman didnít permit his daughters-in-law to enter his own yurt. ... The youngest daughter-in-law ..., ... entering the yurt, ... passed over the threshold and ... an invisible hand had seized her by the plaits and cut them off. ... Later on, the father said to his sons : "It was the lord of the door [fn. 48:6 : Ez^ik ezi, elsewhere also called pozaGa ezi (lit. pozaGa is "threshold" ...). ... It was the lord of the threshold that the shaman addresses during the kamlanie".], who cut off her plaits ... !""



"There was a shaman. ... That shaman neither worked nor hunted. ... That shamanís daughters-in-law ... were hunting animals and small birds ... . ... Those daughters-in-law ran away. The shaman ... sent the to:s [fn. 49:2 : "Lit. "basis, essence, root" ... . These are the guardian spirits ...; they are, among others, the spirit helpers of the shaman".] (on their tracks); those to:s, after reaching the daughters-in-law along the road, ate them." [fn. 49:4 : "In S^or ... beliefs, spirits can eat or tear men to pieces".]



"When they kill an animal, they donít break his shoulder blades, they bury them in the taiga at the foot of a tree. Should they break the animalís bones, he wouldnít be born any more. ... Long ago the hunters would take the capercaillieís bones and wings with them for the hunt, so that a quantity of animals and birds would fill the taiga." [fn. 50:6 : "A bone of capercaillie (seley ...) was usually carried when hunting in order to guarantee success. Capercaillieís feathers were often stuck to the image of the spirits of hunting. It was also called uc^uGan qan "flying qan" or qanatti:G qan "winged qan"".]



"one fell asleep, the other kept sitting up. As he was ... watching, from the eyes of his comrade two small stars came out and went away. ... As that man kept watching, those two small stars came back and went inside the sleeperís eyes. Then that man woke up. Once awake, he said to his comrade : "I had a dream!"."

CDCM = A Concise Dictionary of Classical Mythology. Basil Blackwell, 1990.

"LB" = "The Language of the Birds", from Folk Tales from the Russian, 1903 http://www.compassrose.org/folklore/russian/Language-of-the-Birds.html

pp. 43-9 souls of the dead






"There were dead peopleís old uninhabited houses. [fn. 58:1 : "S^or people ... deserted their yurts after some family member had died."] When I got closer, a fire was burning. [fn. 58:2 : "in old deserted houses fire shows the presence of the u:zu:ts ... : u:zu:t odi: "fire of the u:zu:ts"). Both the u:zu:ts and the aynas ... who ate them, visit the deserted houses."] ... Afterwards, ... I retrieved my soul from the u:zu:ts and recovered." [fn. 58:3 : "The u:zu:tís soul is the double of the man; at time of death, it doesnít want to leave the body, it wants to stay on earth : itís the shamanís duty to convince it to go to the underworld for good. Although it has left the world of living beings, it often comes back, carried from there by a mole (c^er c^ic^qan), the horse of the underworld." {"O Rudra! the mole is thy animal" (S`B 2:6:2:10 Ė 1882 transl, part I, p. 440).} {"The mole is thy beast, O Rudra" (TS i.8.6 Ė 1914 transl} {"Rudraís animal was the (rat) mole (akhu`-)" (article "medical god", EIC, p. 375a)} {"Rudraís pleasure-ground" is a Ďcemeteryí (S-ED, p 883c).}]



"As I was walking in a deserted place, I met the u:zu:ts. First a cold wind blew. ... When that wind reaches man, it pierces his heart from side to side. ... . ... that wind circles from the right-hand side and comes back from the left. Chatting between them, the u:zu:ts advance with a noise of confabulation."



"The dead manís soul [fn. 60:1 : "Su:ru:ne~su:ne (< Mon. ...), one of the manís souls, that which after death leaves the body and turns into an u:zu:t"] goes with the ayna [p. 14, fn. 15:3 : "Ayna "evil spirit" ..., the word is of Iranian origin (aenah ...)." {cognate with Skt. /enas/ Ďsiní}] that ate it. When they, while walking, meet a living man, they exchange greetings."



"The shaman, in search for the sick manís soul, leaves with his to:s. Firstly, he tries to know which ayna has abducted the sick manís soul. As he follows this quest, along the way he meets several aynas. ... Sometimes the aynas ... tell the shaman which ayna has actually abducted the soul, and where, in which land he has taken it. When an ayna abducts a soul, the shaman chases him, ... doesnít allow him to take it far and retrieves it; then the sick man soon improves. ... When the shaman, shamanizing, goes to the land of Erlik ... (there) he sees that the aynas, after boiling a manís flesh in a cauldron, eat it ... . ... There the aynas attack him. The shaman sends his to:s to fight them. ... When the shaman roams that land, he doesnít show the aynas or Erlik his face. [fn. 61:6 : "Whence the use of a mask during the kamlanie".] ... When the shaman, after retrieving the soul from the aynas, brings it back to {read "from"?} the land of Erlik, he inserts it into the sick manís ear.



At times, when not in a hurry, after, after retrieving the soul from the aynas in the land of Erlik, takes it to the milky Lake [fn. 61:8 : "Su:ttu:g ko:l ... . In the Mongolian shamanic texts we find a "Milky Sea" (su:n dalaj) ... . {One of the 7 seas formed in the chariot-ruts of Priya-vrata, the Ks.ira Arn.ava (ĎMilk Seaí) is the one which was (according to the Skanda Puran.a) churned by means of mt. Mandara.} A "Milky Lake" is present in the Tibetan tradition".]; after washing it, he places it in front of U:lgenís door, underneath the Leafy Birch [fn. 61:10 : "Pay Qazi:n ... the "Rich Birch""], in a rich cradle, and he rocks it until it regains its strength. Then, after bringing the soul back, he inserts it through the ear of the sick man".



"When the shaman chases a dead manís soul, he shamanizes at night. The u:zu:t-soul is chased between the Qanc^ul [fn. 62:3 : "River (c^ul, yul in the other Turkic languages ... of blood (qan)"] and the C^as^c^ul [fn. 62:4 : "River of tears" (c^as^, O.T. yas^). In Iran there is a similar image (in the Arda Wiraz Namag ...)."] rivers. ... The menís u:zu:ts, after the man is dead, catch the fish using the para [fn. 62:2 : "fishing net"]. ...



When the man falls ill, they perform the alas [fn. 62:8 : "Purification rite"]. ... When the u:zuts comes back, the shamans takes them back on a long raft made with the stems of angelica. The avenue along which the u:zu:t arrives is called the "Black avenue" [fn. 62:9 : "Qara c^ol"]."



"When an adult dies, after 40 days the shaman shamanizes. That shaman, showing the way to the soul, goes with it. Before going with the soul, he calls it, near the house. Before going, the soul takes leave of the relatives. The deceasedís relatives follow the shaman outside the al [p. 22, fn. 22:5 : Ďvillageí] toward the west ... . ... That shaman shamanizes with the ozup [p. 28, fn. 31:1 : "a special digging tool" used by women] if a woman dies, with the axe [fn. 63:6 : "Malta (~balta~palta in the other Turkic languages)"], if a man dies. ...



The shaman says to the soul : "... Become a whirlwind, run!". {cf. Death-god as whirlwind according to Carlos Castan~eda?} Along the way that leads to the land of the u:zu:ts are two rivers : the Qanc^ul and the C^as^c^ul, the rivers of the u:zu:ts. Along those rivers the shaman carries the soul. If there is no bridge, the shaman ties up some snakes and throws them across those rivers {cf. use of serpent-rod by Mos^eh to praepare Yam Sup (ĎSea of Endí) for being traversed} :

the red snake across the C^as^c^ul,

the black snake across the Qanc^ul. ...

So then, the shaman does not carry the u:zu:t on the bridge, but he carries it on a boat. {Apparently, the snake-bridges are for the shamanís own personal use, to cross to the opposite river-banks in order to find ferry-boats harbored there for use by ferriers.} Across the Qanc^ul, on a boat barely kept together, hardly sewn together with birch bark; across the C^as^c^ul, on a crooked boat sewn together with birch bark, he carries it. As he carries it, the shaman rows ... with the ozup ... {; steers} with the axe." {cf. god Fosite who steered with a golden axe to Heligoland isle Ė for the law of Fosite "seven would outweigh" ("SS"), much as in the Preidden Annwn (ĎSpoils of Annwní) "except seven, none returned from Caer Sidi" Ė Cymry /SIDi/ being possibly cognate with Frisian /foSITe/}



"When an adult dies, for a few days his soul goes round the house where he lived, unable to leave. After a man dies, in his house at night the fire burns



for seven days. ... Sometimes, at night, while in the house the fire burns, (his soul) comes and looks through the window, it moves the door hook, it touches the clothes it once wore. When (his soul) learns that it will never come back, then it starts for the far away mountains, uttering his name, moaning in the water. ... It cannot ford the rivers. It goes along the bank, sad, weeping and moaning, and it can stay neither here nor there."



"In a dead manís coffin ... Two pairs of boots are placed {the Zaratustrian dead are likewise furnished by the mourners with boots for the soul} so that walking will be possible in the imperfect land lit by the moon. [fn. 65:2 : "While the earth is lit by the sun, the afterworld is lit by the moon."] ... If they donít put sedge [fn. 65:4 : "OzoGat, "hemerocallis flava". This kind of sedge is dried up ... expressly to be used instead of the foot rags."] in his boots, then in a dream they see that (the deceased) ... walks heavily."



"The dead manís relative, each year make a raft with qobraq stems and, after placing a fire on that small raft {cf. Norse setting afire of corpse-containing funerary boats when launched}, at night they let it go down the river. On that raft the dead manís soul sails. The u:zu:ts, after getting on that little raft, go as far as the ocean and across the sea."



"on trees ..., only small children have been hung, after having been wrapped up in birch bark." [fn. 67:5 : "small children, especially those born prematurely, were buried on trees, ... wrapped up in birch bark."

S`B = S`atapatha Brahman.a, Part I. transl by Julius Eggeling. SACRED BOOKS OF THE EAST, Vol. 12. 1882. http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/sbr/sbe12/sbe1261.htm

TS = The Veda of the Black Yajus School, Entitled Taittiriya Sanhita. transl by Arthur Berriedale Keith. 1914. http://www.oration.com/~mm9n/articles/PDF/YajurSamaAtharVeda.pdf

EIC = Mallory & Adams (edd.) : Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture. 1997. http://books.google.com/books?id=tzU3RIV2BWIC&pg=PA375&lpg=PA375&dq=

S-ED = Monier-Williams : A Sanskrit-English Dictionary. 1899. http://books.google.com/books?id=zUezTfym7CAC&pg=PA883&lpg=PA883&dq=

"SS" = "Stiller of Strife" http://www.holyspring.org/Stiller.htm

pp. 51-5 shamanic texts






"Rich birch with golden leaves, / you with six-fold roots, / ...

the snakeís head has folded. / ...

the pure voice of the golden cuckoo [fn. 69:7 : "the cuckoo ... assists the shaman in resurrecting dead people."] /

has spread across the white tasqi:l, / ...

the six doors of golden / mountain have opened".



"My mother-fire with thirty heads, /

mother-fire with forty teeth! / ...



Watch over my baby!"



"with great crash, you chew the qobraqs tips. / ...

Great uncle".



"Becoming a whirlwind, have you whirled, / ...

Say your name and you dwelling abode! /

Donít gnash your teeth!"



"Big and small black duck! /

Big and small grass snake! /

Big and small legless lizard! /

Rich frog with six feet! / ...

My great Kirbi Qan [fn. 73:2 : "Also called YanGi:s Qan"] /

who dwell on the bleeding mountain! [fn. 73:3 : from the blood of the dead."] /

Stuttering ..., / left-handed {cf. Huitzilopochtli?} ..., /

who dwells in the Lennig Si:n! /

Qan messenger of my father PustaG [fn. 73:6 : "Ice (pus) mountain (taG)"], / ...

who dwells in the Milky Lake! /

High course of the Pras, holy mountain with three doors, /

Big and small Kedey Qan! / Big and small naked wolf! /

Big and small woodpecker! / ... Big and small black bear! / ...

Qan of the starsí son! / Yellow qan, lord of the mallet!"



"Mother Ko:netki ...! /

Mother fire with thirty veins /

virgin mother with forty teeth! /

White-U:lgenís youngest daughter ...!"

"Qan, ... whose eyebrows are nine quarters long! [fn. 73:18 : "About thirteen meters"] {superlatively long eyebrows are characteristic of Chinese deities} /

Big and small qan of the doors, / who established your dwelling at the door of the mountain! / ...

Big and small monstrous pike! /

Big and small Munc^uq Qan, / ...

Big and small Ker Omazi: qan! /

You, whose wings are sixty toises long, / grey-white ... soul-horse!" [fn. 73:21 : "Ti:n poGrazi:, where poGra is the equivalent of pura/bura".]

UNIVERSITA` DEGLI STUDI DI NAPOLI "LíORIENTALE", Supplemento n. 95 agli ANNALI (Sez. Orientale) Ė vol. 65 = Ugo Marazzi : From the Literary Heritage of Turkic South-Siberia : S^or Folkloric and Shamanic Texts. 2005.