I. S. Sh. R., 1st Conference = Shamans & Cultures.






Shamanism in South-west Korea



Ambiguous Initiation



Naerim Kut






Comic Play in a Korean Shaman Rite



The Land of the Dead in Japanese Shamanism



Puyuma (Taiwan) Shamanism



‘Shamanic Aequation’ among the Hmon of Laos



Structure of Bru Shamanic Caerimonies



Wintu Shaman



Kootenai Shamanism



C^ugas^ Shaman



Sila, the Ordering Principle of the Inuit Cosmology



Shamanism and Pragmatism in Siberia



On the Origin of White Shamanism



Spirit Possession and Shamanism among the Ladakhi



Mortuary Caerimonies of Nepali Shamans



Secret ‘Handbook’ of a Sibe-Manc^u Shaman



Worldview of a Manc^u Shaman



Social Functions of the Man^u Shaman



Studies in Eurasian Shamanism


Part I : "Korea".


I.1 (pp. 3-14) Keith D. Howard : "... Shamanism in South-west Korea". ["Chindo, an island county ... in the extreme South-West of the Korean peninsula." (p. 3)]

pp. 4-5 practitioners of "musok (shamanism)"




"(1) Mudang (or manshin – ‘one who governs 10,000 spirits --,

paksu when male,

son mudang when taking the name of a possessive spirit,

halmo#m/halmo#ni when an old woman [p. 11 : "spirits do speak in Chindo rituals,yet they do so ... through ... typically old women."] ...)

are found in central and northern Korea."


"(2) Myo#ngdu, found most commonly in the southern provinces, but


occasionally encountered as

t>aeju in Ch>ungch>o#ng and Kyo#nggi and

saet>ani further north,

claim to be possessed by a dead child who usually has some claim to kinship." {spirit-possession by a dead child relative is also known in tribal southern India.}

p. 6 increase of ecstatic shamans

"in contemporary Korea, ... shaman ritual is increasingly seen as the culture of the down-trodden masses (minjung munhwa). ... tan’gol in Korea’s southern provinces are today – just as priests are in Okinawa – declining as the expense of ecstatic shamans".


I.2 (pp. 15-26) Laura Kendall : "Ambiguous Initiation".

pp. 20, 22 spirit-medium’s seeing of the possessing-spirit immediately before the onset of spirit-possession

p. 20

"The vision was really clear. The Heavenly King appeared."

p. 22

"The visions take place in their eye, and then even without their realizing it, they’re {the possessing-spirits, speaking through the spirit-medium’s mouth} shouting out ‘I’m so-and-so, I’m such-and-such,’ even though they {the spirit-media themselves} have no idea who the Spirit Warrior is, or the Generals, or Princess Hogu, or the Special Messenger".

n. 5 (pp. 23-4) shamanic divination

p. 23

"Shamans divine (mugo#ri) through the visions and sensations that come to them as they cast rice and coins on the slick surface of a varnished tray. Such a divination may provide the diagnosis that

p. 24

leads a client to sponsor a kut or less elaborate ritual. Some women routinely seek out a shaman and acquire a divination before the first full moon of the hew year".

n. 6 (p. 24) the two categories of kut

"The shaman ... distinguished between

a ho#t>u#n (or ho#ch>in) kut, to drive out malevolent forces so that the purified can receive her spirits, and

a sosul kut to call in the {benevolent} spirits."


I.3 (pp. 27-32) Alexandre Guillemoz : "Naerim Kut".

p. 29 prompt recovery from severe physical ailment upon religious conversion from Christianity to Muism

"During this se’ance for an illness (pyo#ng kut) Kim danced, wore various spirit gowns, took up the bells (pangu#l) and the fan (puch>ae) and uttered words (kongsu)."

"Five days later Kim noted an improvement in his health. ...

The day after the kut, as though on a television screen, four people appeared to him. ... the fourth, who had black hair and a white face, wished him welcome. His spiritual sister declared that it was Grandmother Taesin (the patron saint of diviners and shamans) and that he would henceforth serve the spirits. ...

He associated ... the Protestant church with the beginning of his illness : "... I went once to the Protestant church, and the next day I began to feel ill." At the time he had thought it was because he lacked faith, and so he had begun to go to morning prayer, but thereafter he had begun to have headaches. {Christians (especially Protestants) induce sickness through evil spirits. Christianity is the only real witchcraft.} It was the deterioration of his condition that had led him to try a kut."

p. 31 omens (from his touching of bowls) about a shaman-candidate’s future career as shaman

contents of bowl


ssal (uncooked rice)


c^opssal (millet)

"many little jobs but few big ones"

k>on (white beans)


red beans





"still far off"


" " "

pp. 31-2 culmination of investiture of candidate with shamanhood : advent of possessing-spirits upon descent of the candidate to the level of their netherworld

p. 31

"Kim spoke ... of the successive arrival of five spirits :

the spirit of Mount Samgak,


Grandmother Taesin,

the generals of the five directions, and

the General. ...

"It was not me who spoke, but the thought came and words came out, [indicating the spirit] who had arrived. ...""

p. 32

"in the expression, ‘a paksu has come down,’ ... we are obliged to conclude that the spirits move horizontally and that the naerim kut is characterized by the descent of a shaman".

"The naerim kut is a seance of initiation".


I.4 (pp. 33-9) Meewon Lee : "Shamanistic Elements of ... Kamyo#n’gu#k".

p. 33 the two kinds of extant kamyo#n’gu#k


date (Chr.E.)


Pyo#lsin kutnori

13th century


Ponsan t>alc^>um

18th century

["actors jumped over the fire" (p. 37)]

pp. 34-35 Pyo#lsin kutnori : attendance; spirit-pole; masks


Pyo#lsin kutnori


"Pyo#lsin kutnori of Hahoe is the earliest extant kamyo#n’gu#k. ... It was believed throughout the area that the dead could not go to the ‘good place in the other world’ if they had not seen this ritual-drama, so once performance began, hordes of people would gather. The mere attendance at Pyo#lsin kutnori was thought to bring people happiness in the next world."


"On the day of the last full moon of the years, Sanju, the master of ceremonies, went to the Sonang (village guardian deity) temple and divined whether Tongje or Pyo#lsinkut should be performed. Sanju announced the will of the goddess to villagers and summoned a carpenter ... to make a sonangdae spirit pole at the shrine. Actors ... could not refuse the call since it was believed to be the goddess’s will. ... On the morning of the second day of the first lunar month, ... the shamans, and actors assembled at the temple to make supplication to the village goddess to [summon her]. The top of the spirit pole bore the bell of the Sonang temple, which rang as the pole shook. This signified the presence of the goddess ... . ... the actors ... danced ... . ... Shamans played music ... . ...


Hahoe people sanctified the masks ... . The masks represented incarnations of spirits".

pp. 35-6 episodes of the Pyo#lsin kutnori




1st episode, the C^uji ("an imaginary animal") : "involves a pair of animals, each two dancers who jump, fight, and imitate sexual intercourse." {some praedatory-beast couples (such as minks), do usually fight each other before copulating.}


2nd episode, the Samsuk : shamans take the dominant ro^le.


3rd episode, the Paekc^o#n (‘Butcher’) : "a butcher sarcastically asks the audience to buy the bull[’]s heart and testicles. His speech includes satire of the nobility".


4th episode, Sallim Sari (‘Old Woman’) : "a poor old woman sings ... while weaving fabric on an imaginary loom.. The audience tries ... appeasing her with donations."


5th episode, Yanban and So#nbi (‘Nobleman and Scholar’).


6th episode, P>agaesu#n (‘Apostate Buddhist Priest’).


7th episode, "the wedding".


8th episode, Sinban.

p. 38 parallelism in episodes between the Pyo#lsin kutnori and the Ponsan t>alc^>um

Ponsan t>alc^>um

Pyo#lsin kutnori

"lion dance"

1st : imaginary animal

Sadan, a "dancing girl"

7th & 8th

"Old Buddhist Priest Episode"

6th : Apostate Buddhist Priest

"Noblemen and their Servant Malttugi", who "continuously makes fun of his masters through audacious remarks and clever double-entendres"

3rd : satire of the nobility

"Old Couple"

4th : Old Woman


I.5 (pp. 40-6) Daniel A. Kister : "Comic Play in a Korean Shaman Rite".

pp. 40-5 farcical skits of the Pyo#lsin kut




"In the case of a Korean shaman ritual (kut), ... exorcistic healing achieves much of its effect through ... ribald, side-splitting laughter ... of comedy. ... A two or three day seasonal festival of ..., the Pyo#lsin kut seeks the aid of the Village Spirit, the Spirit of Childbirth, the Dragon King of the Four Seas, and other major spirits to ward off disease and ensure ... the year’s fishing and farming."


1st skit, the Hunjan (‘Schoolmaster’) kori : "Formerly a prote’ge’ of the heavenly Emperor Spirit, the Schoolmaster has been sent down to earth ... and is now ... giving lessons to ... youngsters of the village. ... When he [the teacher] gets to the mnemonic pair of characters meaning ‘choice’ (koro cho) and ‘sun’ (pet’ yang), he [one of the students] twists the paradigm into a similarly sounding pair that mean ‘whale’s penis’ (korae choji) and ‘100 nyang’ (paek nyang), an old form of Korean currency."


2nd skit, the Kwago (‘Civil Service Exam’) kori : "The Schoolmaster ... meets the Great Kings of the Other World, who give him a chance to take the Kwago Exam in their real,. He passes and accepts the position they offer him, that of feeding ... spirits as officiant of the Kori kut."


"The third kori is a travesty of the solemn Confucian upper class rite of initiation of a young man into adulthood."


6th skit, the Ponsa (‘Blind Man’) kori : "He chants an imaginative catalogue of ways in which he claims the milling women have served the sexual needs of everybody and anybody who comes along ... . Continuing on his way, he happens upon the place where the present kut is being performed. With faith in the power of spirits, he washes his eyes in medicinal spring water and has his sight miraculously restored".


"In the present version, the final six ko#ri are shorter ... than the first six".

7th skit, the Paennori (‘Boat Play’) ko#ri : "the humour turns black; and the climactic surprise springs from ... the sudden intrusion of death."


11th skit : "the Pyo#njo#n (Soldier) ko#ri makes a farce of the training of young recruits".


12th skit : "The final Haesan (Childbirth) ko#ri then makes a comedy of the


trials of childbirth, reaching its comic high point in a poetic lullaby ... : ...

Where have you come from, where have you been?

Did you fall from heaven? ...

Have you come wrapped in the summer clouds that hide steep peaks?"


INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY FOR TRANSOCEANIC RESEARCH Books, Vol. 5 = Miha`ly Hoppa`l & Keith Howard : Shamans and Cultures. Akade`miai Kiado`, Budapest, 1993. [1st CONFERENCE OF THE INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY FOR SHAMANISTIC RESEARCH, held in 1991 at Seoul.]