I. S. Sh. R., 2nd Conference = Shamanism & Performing Arts

Main -- Contents



Shamanism among the Komi People


Saga of Forest Siberian Nenets


Trance Dances at Cuyamungue


Contemporary Manchu Shamanism


Musical Efficacy of Blind Female Shamans


Yakut Shamanism


Shamanism & Art


Unpublished Work on Eskimo Shamanism


Music in the Nanasan Shaman Ritual


Ladakhi Shaman as Performer


Korean Shaman Drama


Eastern-H^anty Shamanism


Types of Mansi Shamanism


Hamlet’s Shamanic Origins


Ainu Shaman as Accuser


The Fool in Some Shamanic Rites



pp. 18-19 N. D. Konakov : "Reminiscences of Shamanism among the Komi People".

p. 19 Komi categories of religious practitioners

"The Komi people had sorcerers, which were busy only with treatment,

and the so-called wizards. Among the latter, special role was palyed by

todis (from todni – to know, cp. Karelian tiedajo, Finnish tietaja – a wizard)

and tun (from tunawni = to foretell). ...

The Letka wizards had a special little stick, which they never leave (compared with the baton of wizard in Karelian ...).

According to the legends, the strongest Komi wizards could travel under the water on a long distance ...,

they had animal-assistants (for example, a fox of Pechorian wizard ...). ...

The Komi peoples believed that a wizard can die only if he gives his power to somebody, [whom] he has changed {therewith into another wizard}."


pp. 20-21 Victor Semenov & Dmitri Nesanelis : "Agaric Saga of Forest Siberian Nenets".

p. 20 fly-agaric mushroom : shamanic travel to otherworld; standing on single foot

" "Consecration" was also required for eating fly-agarics, otherwise an ordinary person might not come back from the other world. Eating dried agarics gave the shaman knowledge of the future, which he obtained in the other world having passed its 7 levels."

"the shaman imitated his turning into an agaric : he stood on one foot and from time to time he touched the ground with his clapper as if deriving strength from the earth. At the same time tambourine strokes ... marked passing all the cosmic levels.

The text ... is as follows :

we are all people, ... together we are agarics standing on one foot, and

you, mother-Earth, apply to us in the voice of fire.

Mushrooms are on one foot, and

we, people, in this fragile life are also on one foot."


pp. 37-43 Felicitas D. Goodman : "Masked Trance Dances at Cuyamungue".

p. 38 literature as revelations from spirits

"according to the Tohono O>odham (Papago) Indians ... in Arizona (Underhill 1938), they receive all poetry and songs from their spirit friends in the alternate reality;

the Dine (Navajo) Indians ... were taught their various elaborate healing dances, the so-called "ways" in the same way (Faris 1990)."

Underhill 1938 = Ruth Murray Underhill : Singing for Power. Berkeley : U of CA Pr.

Faris 1990 = James C. Faris : The Beautyway. Albuquerque : U of NM Pr.

p. 39 Inuit (Eskimo) legend of origin of the Wolf Dance [reference : Rasmussen 1937:29-35]

"two strangers wearing fox caps joined him, telling him that they had been sent to fetch him ... . They proceeded at enormous speed, and on the way, they informed him that he would meet a woman ... . ... . the woman turned out to be the mother of the eagle he had killed. She ... said, ... he had treated her son’s soul properly. ... she ... taught him how to celebrate a dance feast ... . ... The steep river bank was full of small holes, and large swarms of swallows ... all slipped into the holes in the river bank. There they changed and in an instant, they came back through the holes in the shape of heads of wolves. ...

Once back home, he kept his promise to the Eagle Mother. He constructed a special drum, the sound of which mimicked her heart beat,

he sent out ... to invite his relatives ..., and the[y] made swallow costumes and masks of wolf heads".

Rasmussen 1937 = Knut Rasmussen : Die Gabe des Adlers.


pp. 47-50 Wang Hong-gang : "Contemporary Manchu Shamanism in China".

p. 48 shamanic text from the Guarjia clan in Huic^un area

"We hold respect for Hehe Manni. She has been made from the mud scrubbed off the body of Abuka Hehe.

Hehe Manni picks up a piece of spring as a drum,

takes up a mountain as a drum stick,

while the blue heaven collides with the rocks,

a man, a woman and all the universal objects are born in the earthshaking sound of the drum."

"Abuka means heaven ..., Hehe means woman. ... Hehe is the sound shift of Fofo (meaning vagina)".

p. 49 recorded in the divine message to Fuc^a Hara in Mudanjian area

"When there was a flood everywhere,

heaven and earth were still connected,

man would have had no hope to survive, but for Abuka Hehe who threw the magic willow branch to the earthly world and saved them.

Abuka Hehe taught man to sing Wuchun, the shamanic song."

p. 49 at the foot of C^anbai Mountain and along the upper reaches of the Sonhua River

"a goddess as a heroine named "Odu Mother" ... was excellent at archery and horsemanship with a stature as high as to reach the heaven."

pp. 49-50 cosmology

p. 49

"The heaven has nine levels (or even seventeen levels) at which reside

the heavenly god Abuka Enduri,

the sun, the moon, stars,

wind, thunder, rain and snow. ...

p. 50

In the mid-realm populate the various spirits like

man, animal, bird,

mountain and river,

wood and herb


while in the lower realm live

the great Earth Mother Banaki Emu,

those gods who preside over nights and

the demons."


pp. 51-52 Takefusa Sasamori : "Musical Efficacy in the Ritual Practice of Blind Female Shamans (Itako) in Northern Japan".

p. 51 general aims of itako’s ritual practice

"(1) to call down or invoke the spirit of the client’s deceased ancestor (hotoke) in order to communicate the instructions and wishes of the deceased to the living relatives;

(2) to call down or invoke the more generalized spirits or kami;

(3) to practice divination on the part {behalf} of her clients".

p. 51 musical elements of itako’s ritual practice

"a) the tone system has narrow intervals ...;

b) melodic patterns are ... only of short duration ...;

c) rhythm is organized by ... the number of syllables per word;

d) voice production is characterized by a deep vocal tone, punctuated by exaggerated pitch accents".


pp. 58-59 Platon Sleptsov : "The Yakut Shamanism".

p. 58 hierarchy

qos kuolaidaaq kihi (a man with inner voice),

beietchitteeq kihi (a man who hath a twin),

sha as etteeq kihi (a man with an open body),

tyylleeq kihi (a man who seeth dreams),

tyylgyt (a man who explaineth dreams),

bilgehit (praedictor),

kepbyec^y (a man who seeth & praedicteth),

ic^een (praedictor),

otohut (healer),

algisc^ut (a man who greeteth and welcometh),

olohqohut (reteller),

uus (smith),

udagan (shamaness),

ojuun (shaman)


pp. 67-69 N. A. Georgievich : "Shamanism and Art".

p. 68 influence of shamanic music on modernism

"Intonational tuning of the characters (e.g. abaashi) of the Upper and the Lower Worlds is perfectly reproduced in A. P. Reshetnikova."

p. 69 shamanism as future world-religion

"On a new stage of historical development the idea, proclaimed by . Hoppa`l, "Shamans of the world, unite," must become the basis of world religion".


pp. 69-70 Klaus Georg Hansen : "Svend Frederiksen’s Unpublished Work on Eskimo Shamanism".

p. 70 unpublished manuscripts

title of MS

date of MS

Old Eskimo Beliefs as Stated by Qimukseraq


Studies on the Psychomental Complex of the Eskimos



pp. 77-79 Oksana Dobzhanskaya : The Music in the Nanasan Shaman Ritual".

pp. 78-9 assistants to shaman in ritual


summoning of spirits


"The shaman needs an assistant (tuoptusy) -- ... the participants usually help the tuoptusy. The tuoptusy begins the ritual with a special song calling shaman’s spirits. ... When the spirits appear the shaman begins to sing. He sings a song of that dyamada (helping spirit) which appears. The spirits are of zoomorphical nature ... . ...


Every dyamada has its own song. When a new helper spirit appears the shaman begins to sing a new song. ...

Melodies of different dyamada, based on "bright" tunes are opposed by the type of melodic movement."

p. 79 particular spirits & their melodies




"The main spirit ... is named Hotare bia tanu. This dyamada is a reindeer with eight feet {as such, it may be the one which became constellation Ursa Major} and very big antlers."

"The "swinging" of the oligotone second on two sounds in the song of hotare alternates with wide intervals ... from the third to the sexta.

As to structure the melody consists of one line."

"The dyamada ... basa dindua (the copper horse ... {there is a mechanical copper/bronze horse in the 1001 Nights}) appears the first ... .

The melody ... basa dindua is based on the fixed oligotone melody in the ambit of the third.

The stanza consists of two lines with the third between them.

The spirit Hositaly consists of 3 spirits in itself :

the first spirit is blind;

the second one is deaf; t

he third one is dumb.

The spirit Hositaly has the melody which is characterized by the de[s]cending movement in the compass of subquarta and glissando.

... the songs of the spirits differ from each other by the rhythmical beating of the drum which is typical for every spirit."

There are altogether "14 dyamadas."


pp. 80-81 Takako Yamada : The Ladakhi Shaman as Performer of Oneness with Local Gods (Lha)".

pp. 80-1 performance by Ladakhi shaman

p. 80

"Gradually, the shaman starts to get the hiccups, or shrills, which are signs of possession by his god ... . ... He {the deity possessing the shaman} shows his power by putting a red hot knife to his tongue ...;

p. 81

and also does divination by checking the pattern of rice grains scattered onto a small drum. ...

Sometimes he beats himself on the back with his fist as if he is trying to expel the god from his body." {Or doth the god beat the human on his back in order to facilitate his own departure out of the human’s body?}


pp. 81-86 Daniel A. Kister : "Korean Shaman Drama".

pp. 81-5 regional varieties of ritual




"In Korean shaman rituals called kut, ... the shaman, usually a woman, calls on various Gods ... . ...


Essential to a kut for the dead is an episode in which the deceased, through the shaman, exchanges final words with the family."


"A Seoul kut for the dead includes a farcical episode focused on the antics of the Messenger from the ...World of Darkness. ... the fearsome Messenger tries to lasso white papers symbolizing the deceased and snatch him or her ... . ... The family fends the Messenger off in a mock battle ... . ... .


... in the final episode of a Seoul kut, the shaman[ess] dresses in the elegant gown of the Abandoned Princess, ... and escorts the soul of the deceased to the other world in a solemn dance around tables of offerings bedecked with brightly colored paper flowers and a similarly bedecked "gate


of thorns" to the other world."


"In the climax of a Southwest kut, we find ... the kop>uri, a ritual untying of seven large loops knotted in a long white cloth."


"In the climactic gesture of an East-Coast kut, a similar white cloth is stretched out to become the path to the "other shore," ... for ... the deceased ... . The deceased is believed to be present in a small staff, topped with paper flowers, which the shaman[ess] holds near the family in final consolation. Then ..., she uses the flower-covered staff ... to split the cloth, creating a paradoxical image of the rupture of death as a beautiful flowering."


"in the East Coast village celebration of life called Pyolshin-kut ... hereditary shamans call upon the Gods to insure abundance in farming, fishing, and childbearing, all the while entertaining both the Gods and villagers with song, dance, comic skits, and tear-jerking legends. Bawdy jests aimed at village leaders and revered grandmothers shatter decorum ... . ... Toward the beginning of this kut, villagers welcome the Village God in a ritual in which a shaman[ess], punctuating her chant with quick beats on a gong, asks the God what the year holds in store for the village. Believers listen with rapt attention to the God’s responses signaled in the shaking of a bamboo "spirit-pole" and interpreted by the shaman[ess] ... . ... In some instances, ... a male shaman entertains lesser spirits


and remaining villagers with a one-man medley of vaudeville skits in which he mimics the comic ups and downs of

a Confucian school master,

a blind man,

a fisherman,

a woman giving birth, and other figures from daily life. ...

The centerpiece of the medley is a farce about a Blind Man ... . The Blind Man claims that he has come from afar to see the sun rise, hoping that the Gods will heal him. Chided for his blindness by a milling woman along the way, he chants his bawdy riposte : "Your lips are wine cups that all men have tasted, your tits door handles that all have grabbed, your waist a mortar that all have embraced." Once at the kut site, he washes his eyes in sacred spring water, miraculously regains his sight, and ... gives praise to the Gods."


pp. 97-106 Leonid Mikhailovits Sopotsin : "The Eastern-H^anty Shamanism".

pp. 99, 103 shamans & shamanesses; gradation of shamans according to their spiritual power

p. 99

"The Eastern-Khantys call their shamans tsirte-ho and

tsirte-ne in case the person is a woman."

p. 103

Eastern H^anty "shaman men are usually more powerful than shaman women."


"There are three kinds of shamans among the Khantys :"


the __ most powerful ones

can go __



"into the house of the supreme god, Numi Torum".



as far "as doorstep of the house".



"to the fence of the supreme god’s house."

p. 100 spirit-journey into otherworld by shaman

"once he had to descend to Kliny iki, the Prince of the nether world for a seriously sick man’s soul. ... the shaman’s soul abandoned his body and left for a long and tiresome journey. First it had to reach the entrance of the nether world which is a round hole and leads deep under the ground. Slipping into it, it arrived at a river and it rowed it[s boat] over to the other side. Besides this the shaman’s soul had to overcome six obstacles, among which were

wild animals,

fire, and

wounding, thorny, thick scrub and wood.

Finally he (his soul) got into a lustrous room and there he found himself face to face with the Prince of the nether world and told him that the sick man had a lot to do on earth. He mentioned that he had not finished every task given out to him and the shaman asked the Prince to release the sick man’s soul. The Prince agreed and the shaman returned to the earth together with the sick man’s soul on the same tedious way.

After the ritual the shaman fell asleep for hours because he felt extremely exhausted ... . He did not answer my question in connection with the way he had brought the sick man’s soul because he said that the person in question was alive and his soul was vulnerable. Telling all the details about the journey back to our world could get him trouble."

"The shaman ... has been to the nether world several times so he can get the deceased’s soul there without difficulty."

p. 101 shaman’s ro^le in procuring game-meat

"The Khanty ... believe that a shaman is on good terms with spirits and it is easy for him to obtain [game-animals for] hunter or fisher ... .

However, ... shamans cannot use their knowledge in favour of their own family. They have to ask another shaman to do it or else their helping spirit or spirits get angry[,] leave them[,] and they cannot practise any more. ... The only exception is healing, that is to say he can cure his own family."

pp. 103-4 autobiographical account of vocation into shamanhood by spirits; language of animals




" "Returning home, I was at the Brook Pesika-imi yagun, which is the place of spirits there. It began there. It began dawning, they began to whistle, to shout at me.


... I shivered ... . My reindeers were frightened ... . ... I ... lay down to sleep. Suddenly I woke up for a sound like a thunderclap. I looked ... and everything was filled with a radiant glitter and a very beautiful young man was travelling there. He was sitting on a beautiful white horse and when he was passing in front of me, ... I heard a whistle-like sound. This beautiful young man was no one else but Sorny-han iki, the youngest son of Numi Torum, the supreme god. ... Since then I have been healing and helping people."


... whenever his soul has to fly very far he eats some fly agarics, as a result of which his strength is multiplied. ...

Beside the human language he understands the language of animals. Going in the forests, he often talks to birds flying high and the animals passing by."

p. 104-6 a shaman’s protecting-spirit & helping-spirits; conversing with spirits


shaman’s spirits


"There are two categories of spirits permanently standing around the shaman :

a.) powerful protective spirits and

b.) their inferiors, the helping spirits.

Usually each shaman has only one protective spirit, the one which has chosen the future shaman, assigned his tasks and guided his deeds. It is strictly forbidden for an active shaman to speak about him, to disclose his identity. In case his does it, the spirit


leaves him and he cannot pursue his profession any more. ...

The less powerful helping spirits take shape in various forms : they may be inanimate objects but most often animals and birds ... . ... Birds are considered the helping spirits of the upper world. A shaman can have several spirits ... . Some helping spirits of [a certain old shaman] live in his wooden box which he always has on him. ... One of his helping spirits, for instance, ... lives in the wooden box in a red cloth ... . ... Some other spirits of his are anthropomorphous wooden idols. These have a face, hands, legs and are dressed in ... clothes. ...


Each spirit has its own calling song or tune, which is only meant for him. The old shaman sings for them ... . The arrival of spirits takes different lengths of time. It depends on whom they call and from where shamans call them. ... The old shaman was talking to them in his own special language which was incomprehensible for the others ... . ... . ... although spirits help shamans a lot, shamans cannot give orders to them. E.g. if they do not like something or somebody


present, they do not appear or they let the shaman know about it in another way."


pp. 107-108 Galina Soldatova & Eugene Komarov : "2 Types of Mansi Shamanism".

pp. 107-8 varieties of the 2 types of Mansi shamanism

p. 107

p. 108

__ p>enGe (forecasting with __)

n>ajt (magic se’ance)

sirajl (‘sable’)

"in a dark house (turman kol) and

with the help of the drum (kojpe#n n>ajt)."

saGrape#l (‘axe’)

kasaj (‘knife’)

a>sin (‘reg’)

p. 108 characteristics of the 2 types of Mansi shamanism



"to recognize the result".

"asks the gods to heal ..., to protect ..., to give luck".

"Shaman communicates with the upper world through the thing-mediator".

"there is kusaj (spirit-owner), who translates the will of gods to magician".

"e~ri#G sob (song’s motiv)".

"kai sob (motiv of appeal)".

"The melodic formula keeps the same in different songs".

"Every spirit has its own melody which is playing the sanku#e#ltap (Mansi zither)".


pp. 108-115 J. A. Dooley : "Hamlet’s Shamanic Origins : North American Ritual".

emulation between denizens of heaven & denizens of earth

p. 108 "Frazer ... on his Appendix to his translation of Apollodorus notes similarities that exist between Greek and North American Indian myths ... between the Earth-born Giants and the gods in Heaven (Frazer 1963:318 ff.)".

{("ShUH", p. 107) "Frazer ... in his Appendix of his translation to Apollodorus; noting the similarities that exist between Greek and Native American ... between the Earth-born Giants and the Gods in Heaven, and

the story of Phaeton {Phae:thon} and the Chariot of the Sun. ...

["ShUH", p. 108] Thus the Kwakiutl ... tells ... of a Phaeton

who is called "Born-to-be-Sun."

Like Phaeton, he too

is mocked by his peers when he claims the sun as his father .

After this mocking, like Phaeton,

Born-to-be-Sun’s mother arranges for him to visit his father.

While the Greek myth shows the son instructed in how to drive the chariot ...,

in the Kwakiutl myth the boy is warned that he must be circumspect in his peeping through to Earth (Frazer [1921] 1963:391 ff.).

Bella Coola ... refer to this Phaeton

as Totqoaya, and this young man ... sets the world ablaze.

However, ... boys return to earth as minks (ibid. 390-1)."

Frazer 1963 = J. G. Frazer :- "Appendix" in Apollodorus : The Library. II. London.

"ShUH" = J. A. Dooley : "The Shamanic Understanding of Hamlet". ÉTUDES MONGOLES ET SIBÉRIENNES, Cahier 26 (1995) = Variations Chamaniques 2. pp. 107-22. http://books.google.com/books?id=Eo92S7EZIwMC&pg=PA107&lpg=PA107&dq=

immersion of hero in cold water after his seeing of naked women

p. 109 "George Dumezil noted ... mythico-ritual connections between the saga of Cuchulainn in the Tain Bo Cualnge and the initiation of the Kwakiutl cannibal berserker. ... both berserkers have their homicidal heat, their ferg, cured by the intervention of vulnerable naked women; the final battle heat being taken out of both men by their immersion in cold water (Eliade 1975:85)."

{("ShUH", p. 108) "the Kwakiutl ... is ... treated by having a woman dance naked before him with a corpse in her arms."}

George Dumezil : Horace et le Curiaces. Paris, 1942.

Eliade 1975 = Mircea Eliade : Rites and Symbols of Initiation. NY.

pp. 110-1 Amerindian "Contrary Societies" of caerimonial performers




"It is Michael Goldman who notes that Hamlet’s behaviour can be compared to the samuna who is found in Orakaivian society in Eastern New Guinea. In rituals he is found always grotesquely dressed, clowning ... . Goldman compares this figure with the Vice in early English drama ... . These broad traits are those of Amleth and the North American Indian ... clown ... . Ojibway contraries, or instance, masqueraded in grotesque costumes and practiced exorcism (Ray 1945:84). ...


As in Australian aborigine rituals ..., spectators are forbidden to laugh when the Pomo and Patwin ... "ghosts" are loose, or when the Kwakiutl Fool Dancers go about in a state ... approaching madness. They have enormous noses which when struck make them frantic."

{The audience, however, is expected to laugh at the antics of clowns at Hopi rituals; and likewise the audience is expected to laugh at the plights of the repeatedly-tricked Coyote-god (as recounted by traditional storytellers of tribes in the Great Basin of North America). Apparently, the Californian and the Vancouver-Islander performers are not thought of as actual clowns, but, rather, as personifying ferocious deities.}


"Thus in contrary societies of the Spokane and Flathead possession comes through the guardian spirit Blue Jay. Once he is possessed the contrary acts as sergeant-at-arms and seer at spirit dances. During these, he perches – like a bird – in the rafters of the lodge – and can be tempted down only by offerings of miniature weapons like bows and arrows, which also constitute his payment for finding objects hidden under the snow. ... The riddling language he uses comprises utterances which mean the opposite of what is said; he eats only pitch {allusion to birdlime for catching birds?} ... (Ray 1945:75-80). ... In the Real Dog Society members practice inverted action in which a brave will do the opposite of what is requested. {Among the Yoruba, the god Es^u is believed to do the opposite of what is requaested.} Another form of unnatural behaviour is to embrace women at random, regardless of closeness of kinship (Ray 1945:92)."

Michael Goldman : The Actor’s Freedom. NY, 1975.

Ray 1945 = V. F. Ray : "The Contrary Behaviour Pattern in American Indian Ceremonialism". SOUTHWESTERN J OF ANTHROPOLOGY 1:75-113.


pp. 143-144 Hitoshi Watanabe : "Ainu Shaman as Accuser of Taboo-Breakers".

pp. 143-4 Ainu shamaness

p. 143

"The Ainu shaman, tusu kuru, ... operates under the condition of spirit possession. The shaman is usually a woman among the Hokkaido Ainu ... . ... The shaman’s seance consists of two parts :

the introductory ritual performed by a male priest, ... to ask for assistance of the spirit helper and

the subsequent performance of the shaman possessed by the spirit to give the client a divine message or oracle in the state of trance."

p. 144

"the Ainu ... shamans ... played a significant part as accusers of offenders against the kamui cults ... believed to be essential to successful hunting and fishing."


pp. 146-147 Anne de Sales : "The Ro^le of the Fool in Some Shamanic Rites (Nepal, Siberia)".

p. 146 ritual jester

"Shamanic rites often include episode during which are displayed sexual jests, ludicrous gesticulations and scatological jokes. These entail ... feelings of amusement ... among the spirits supposed to attend the show. These scenes are performed ... by the shaman himself when he is supposed to embody a fool-spirit among the Yakut of Northern Siberia, and sometimes by a peculiar ritual character such as Koca Kan among the Altaian".


Miha`ly Hoppa`l & Pa`l Pa`ricsy (edd.) : Shamanism and Performing Arts. Ethnographic Institute, Hungarian Academy of Sciences. Budapest, 1993.

[2nd conference (1993) of the International Society for Shamanistic Research, in Budapest, Hungary] main (pp. 1-164).