Haunted by the Archaic Shaman, 5-8.


pp. 79-88 Ė 5. "Ornaments and Instruments of the Gods".

p. 80 the 2 types of drums

__ drum

is used in __ Nepal

single-sided [single-headed]

western & south-central

double-sided [double-headed]


p. 80 mythic origin of drum, as made by Maha-deva [quoted from "SJhM", p. 319]

"Mahadeu sent the porcupine quill ... to the Himalayas in search of a deer. ... Mahadeu ... skinned it without killing it. From the skin, he made drumheads. Then he sent the [bell] to fetch [cane] from which he made the straps to brace the drumheads. Mahadeu had an assistant by the name of Sime [... bhume deuta, earth divinities]. He sent Sime" :

to __

to seek __

Modes ([Madhya-des`a] = the plains of India)

dubho (a kind of grass, Cynodon dactylon, used in worship of the god Gan.es`)




rit.t.ho (black seed of Sapindus mukerossi)

"SJhMí = Alexander Macdonald : "Some Jhakri of the Muglan". In :- Hitchcock & Jones (ed.s) : Spirit Possession in the Nepal Himalayas. 1976. pp. 309-41.

pp. 81-83 construction of the d.hya~gro




"The d.hya~gro is approximately seventeen inches in diameter and four inches deep, and consists of a circular wooden frame with a carved wooden handle about eleven inches in length. The handle is attached to the drumís frame and is secured with strips of cane that are connected to the drumís cane rims. The leather membranes covering both sides of the drum are from the skin of the ghoral, the wild Himalayan goat (Nemorhaedus ghoral), a sacred animal associated with Pas`upati ..., "Lord of the Beasts" ... . ... Jha~kris hold the drum in one hand and play it from the front or side with a curved cane drumstick (gajo). ...


During public festivals, flowers decorate the rim. ... Like Siberian shamans, jha~kris also make line drawings of sacred images on the skins of the drums using ... paint ... . ... When constructing drums, jha~kris follow Mahadevís example by placing a rudracche and a rit.t.ho bead inside it."


"As in the case of the Siberian shamans, tutelary spirits disclose the location of the tree from which the jha~kri constructs his drum ... . ... Jha~kris consecrate their d.hya~gros to their tutelary spirits. ... For this reason, jha~kris safeguard the instrument from ritual impurity, such as the touch of a pregnant or menstruating female. The drum is a living thing that must be periodically fed ... during ceremonies honoring tutelary spirits ... . Some jha~kris assert that when they perform, supernatural beings and gods inhabit ... the instrument".

pp. 83-84 description of phurba




"The phurba (Tibetan phur-pa) ... . The Sanskrit equivalent of the term phurba is kila ..., referring to the magic peg or nail used by exorcists to neutralize evil spirits after defeating them by nailing them to the ground ... . ...


The phurbas used by jha~kris are usually made of wood and are about eight inches in length ... . These implements sit upright inside wooden receptacles on the altar ... . ... There are mantras that make the phurba ... activate its power to ... impale evil spirits."

pp. 84, 86 bone trumpets; magical lance

p. 84

"Another implement used by jha~kris is the bone trumpet. One kind is made of a human thighbone (rkai:g-gli:ig), and the other from a tiger bone (stag-gli:ig). ... Jha~kris construct the trumpets themselves ... . ...

The bones of suicides are best because their spirits stay in the bones and this gives the trumpet power. ... We ... protect ourselves with a spell ... the mantra that causes blue flames to fly from our mouths. Only evil spirits and ghosts can see or feel this power. Then at midnight, we strip, cover our bodies with ash and excavate the corpse, reciting protective mantras so that bir masans do not attack us. After cutting the bone, we ... cover the end we blow on with silver."

p. 86

"Included in the jha~kriís arsenal ... is a magical lance. ... It is manufactured from the metal of the khukuri (a male weapon) and a ha~siya, or sickle (a female implement), which are taken from graveyards or cremation grounds where the belongings of the deceased are buried."

pp. 86-87 bandoliers; robe

p. 86

"The ghan.t.a-mala are straps of small metal bells of different sizes attached to strips of goatskin leather or cloth that are worn crosswise like bandoliers, one extending from the left shoulder to the right hip, and one from the right shoulder to the left hip. Like the metal implements on the Siberian shamanís costume ..., these sound off when the jha~kri dances, they especially ring loudly during the powerful trembling when he embodies spirits. The bells invite the gods to come and frighten evil spirits away. Some jha~kris tie horns of the sacred ghoral to these bandoliers".


"When Mahadev fashioned the prototype of the jha~kriís drum he also made

five rit.t.ho-malas and

seven rudracche-malas

for protection against evil spirits.

The black rit.t.ho-mala is used when reciting jap against masan-desan ..., and

the rudracche-mala is used with S`ri Gorkhanath protective jap."


"Another type of necklace is the nag mala, made from the vertebrae of a snake".

"We learn where to look in dreams or when an image enters into our mind . After killing the snake, we stretch its body lengthwise and bury it ... . ... It is important that all the pieces are there and that they are strung together according to their original order. We use the nag mala mainly to circle the altar".

"The snake vertebrae ... vibrate when brought close to a patient suffering from a supernatural attack ... . The type of vibration gives clues".

p. 87

The jha~kriís apparel consisteth of "a long-sleeved white robe (jama), which extends to the ankles and is tied at the waist with a cloth belt."


pp. 89-114 Ė 6. "Altered States of Consciousness".

pp. 97-98 sensin of gewa




"a rite called Sensing, which is an important component of Jirel last rites, called Gewa" : "ensuring that the soul of the deceased person is placated and undertakes the journey to its final destination, eventually to be reborn. Like many other Nepalese people, the Jirels believe that a soul that is not placated ... will remain in the village and is transformed into a malignant and dangerous entity that will attack the living. ... shamans conducted this ceremony ... . ... The observances culminate in the summoning of the deceasedís spirit who is asked to enter the body of a family member and convey its last wishes. The ceremony is conducted ... late at night".


a particular event : "an old woman, the sister of the deceased, ... started trembling. The spirit had arrived. ... Relatives quickly gathered around her ... . They held her hands ... . The spirit began to speak."

p. 101 introspective reports

[Gurun] "When the divine powers and spirits enter my body, I canít feel pain."

[Taman] "When the gods and spirits come, ... then my whole body shakes. It is like a dream, I can see what is good and what is bad. The spirits cling to my back and some sit on my shoulders and I can feel their weight. Some also go inside, they enter my body and our minds are joined."

[S`erpa] "I can hear what the people [patients, spectators] are saying and understand their questions, but when I speak, the voice is that of the spirits and gods".

[Rai] "My skin tingles; it feels like something on my head and back. Sometimes it is as if small insects are crawling over my body".

p. 103 extraordinary feats

"In terms of my own field experiences, I have documented numerous instances of jha~kris displaying extraordinary feats, such as putting their hands in cauldrons of boiling water, ... and dancing on hot coals with their bare feet, exploits the jha~kris themselves maintain they could not accomplish without embodying supernatural beings". {indeed, no human "state of consciousness" alone could produce any such effects, unless it were summoning the deities who actually perform those feats on behalf of humans.}

{author (H.S.)ís desultory remarks (on pp. 107-114, defamatory to shamanhood), are to be ignored.}


pp. 115-134 Ė 7. "The Nature of the Spirit World".

pp. 115, 117 the nature of deities




[S`erpa] "Omnipresent and eternal in nature, Mahadeu gave form to the formless and fashioned the heavens, earth, and the realms of the underworld. ... But when the great god put breath into man and other creatures, the raks.asas swarmed upon them from all sides and consumed them. ... Alarmed at this turn of events, Mahadeu created witches. He taught them incantations and told them to restrain the demons".


According to the "Jirel, "spirits inhabit a parallel reality but the same geographical space people occupy." Although these beings are ordinarily invisible to most people most of the time, jha~kris are able to see, interact, and communicate with them".

pp. 118, 120-122 souls; funerals; spirit-journey




"When people die, their souls must be properly dispatched to their places on the other side, otherwise they will linger behind, turn into evil spirits or shades, and cause havoc as revenants and haunters. ... Among the Jirels, a man wielding a khukuri knife to ward off supernatural attacks leads the funeral procession ... . ... At crossroads, plates containing food serve to honor the dead person and mark the route for his spirit to follow".


"When undertaking journeys to the spirit world, jha~kris will first protect the location in which they are operating. After reining the spirits summoned, the jha~kris ... dance in front of the house and circle the entire building in a clockwise fashion before returning to the room where the patient is sitting quietly. This action creates a "barricade," ... that is intended to protect the souls of all those inside the house from attacks by evil spirits when the jha~kris embark on their journey. ...

[spiritual travel :] "The experience, as described by the jha~kris themselves, is like a "waking dream" during which the shaman perceives vivid images." {A "waking dream" is seen with eyen closed; individual images, rather than complete sceneries, appear (as I myself have witnessed).}


"Starting from his altar, the jha~kri moves along a clearly defined spiritual road map that takes him over a sacred landscape ... . The shaman moves from the clan gods of the patientís household to village deities and to the familiar surround topographical features, such as cliffs, caves, and groves and forests that are the abodes of territorial deities and other spirits. ... As the jha~kri traverses each area, he names the sacred sites and requests the aid of the associated divinities ... . ... The jha~kri finally moves beyond the limits of the groups geographical comprehension, to the highest peaks in Nepal and Tibet".


" "When seeking lost souls that have wandered away during sleep or have been dislodged because of supernatural attacks, ... the jha~kri will rally his accompanying tutelary spirit and other supernatural helpers for the search-and-rescue missions." Together they conduct reconnaissance operations to locate a missing soul across the supernatural landscape. The jha~kri will travel over the pathway that the souls of the dead traverse. He will descend into the land of the dead to retrieve souls snatched away by the spirits of the underworld. ... When he has accomplished his task, the jha~kri will retrace his steps along the same road map through the places he visited, back to the room where the patient is physically located."

p. 126 Parvati as goddess originating harm

"witches obtained their power from Mahadev, but ... it is Parbati, Mahadevís wife, ... who confers upon human witches the ability to cause harm. To counteract his wifeís misdeed, Mahadev teaches the jha~kri mantras to negate the power of witches."

pp. 127-129 categories of evil spirits (including evil ghosts of the dead)


evil spirit


"The bir masan comes from the graveyards and river banks, where cremations take place. ... Some maintain that they are the spirits of suicides ... . ... A few ... believed that bir masan are demons of nonhuman origin who are attracted to graveyards and cremation grounds ... . ...


Bir masan can also possess their victims. Poltergeist activity is attributed to these spirits as well, who are said to come to houses late at night and make strange sounds and throw stones to disturb people.

There are numerous other types of bir, white, black, green, red, or blue". "Karbir masan is the [raja] of these spirits, bir masan is the commander or general".


"Bayu {Vayu} is the spirit of a person whose corpse was touched by a person of a different caste. ... One form, masan-bayu, lingers in cremation grounds and takes the form of wind.


Picas or pis`ac ... is the ghost of someone who died in an accident, such as a landslide. ... These beings ... are appeased by simple offerings consisting of ... black beans ... .


Bhuts (bhuta ...) are the restless spirits of people who have died of ... execution. ... Bhuts roam about nocturnally attacking people at crossroads ... . They linger in ... abandoned houses, and infest the hearths and roofs of peopleís homes.


Pret ... are always hungry and can never be satisfied. They linger in their earthly homes ... . Various misfortunes are attributed to these spirits, including infertility in women, spontaneous abortions, death of children at birth".


"Raks.as ... are demons that ... indulge in wanton destruction, killing ... livestock."


"Murkat.t.o is another malevolent demonic entity. It resembles a man with no head and ... this entity moves about carrying its severed cranium under its arm."

{The author (H.S.)ís desultory remarks (pp. 130-134, in affront to the spirit-world) are to be ignored.}


pp. 135-146 Ė 8. "Implicated by Evil".

pp. 135-136 witches

p. 135

"Witches are called boksi. Sometimes the terms d.akini, d.aini, d.ankini (witchspirit), and kapt.i are used as well. ... However, witches in Nepal are nearly all women. ... there is a masculine for of the word for witch, bokso, ... in Nepal".

p. 136

"They can inflict upon their victims insomnia, hightmares, and nocturnal paralysis (ai~t.han hunu). {"sleep paralysis"}"

pp. 136-137 spirits listed in Jirel anti-witchcraft mantra


"__ spirit"

















pp. 138-139 detection of witches; inhaerent nature of witches

p. 138

[S`erpa] "A boksi is an evil woman ... . I recognize them ... even when I am not performing as a jha~kri. I feel a sensation inside my stomach, like a tingling feeling, and I know that the woman in front of me is a boksi". {this tingling would be a spiritual effect, a godly blessing from her}


[Jirel] "Boksi are living women. ... Sometimes the victims become dumb, some experience terrible headaches, others suffer from dizziness". {temporary dumbness and dizziness may be effects of spiritual blessings; headaches may be due to resistance to the divine authority of the boksi}

p. 139

[Taman] "When the jha~kri is in a trance and trembling, his guru [tutelary spirit] will reveal the identity of the boksi."


[Jirel] "Those who are born witches possess this quality, which ... anchors itself inside the back of [the girl] childís head and is active through her eyes. The boksiís eyes are the source of power."


[Rai] "At midnight, boksi carrying burning candles on their head and go naked to mother goddess temples to worship the wrathful female deities that give them power."


[Gurun] "Late at night, boksis meet just outside the village to offer sacrifice to bir masan ... . Sometimes, you can see the blinking lights of their candles in the distance. Boksi have a special puja for the bir masan."

"Among the goddesses of witchcraft in Kathmandu are Sobha Bhagwati and Mhaipi Ajima (Ho:fer 1994:72)."

Ho:fer 1994 = Andra`s Ho:fer : A Recitation of the Tamang Shaman in Nepal. Bonn : VGH Wissenschaftsverlag, 1994.


H. Sidky : Haunted by the Archaic Shaman : Himalayan Jha~kris. Lexington Books, Lanham, 2008.