Regional Characteristics of Mu-ism



Case Histories of S^inbyo#n



Rite of Becoming a Mu



Mu-ism’s View of Gods



Forms of Gods in Mu-ism



Way in which Gods are Viewed



View of the Universe in Mu-ism



Kinds of Human Souls



Place of After Life



Formation of Naesegwan



Place of the C^eu#i



Kinds & Order of C^eu#i





p. 35 I.4 shamanic costume

"The clothing, for kangshinmu in the central and northern regions, is different for each god, and the mu wears 12 to 20 different suits of clothing while presiding over a kut, which as many ... ceremonies (called kutko#ri)." [fn. 6 : "In each kutko#ri a different god appears. Therefore, the mu’s clothing has to change each time the mu is possessed by a different god."]

pp. 36-7 I.4 shamanic music

p. 36

"The songs and dances in a kut performed by kangshinmu have a fast rhythm and beat, mainly with percussion instruments such as changgu (a double-headed drum, "pinched in" in the middle), ching (a gong), kkwaenggari (another gong) and chegu#m (small cymbals)."

"kangshinmu in Kyo#nggi Province adds stringed instruments, as well as "flute type"

p. 37

instruments such as p>iri, cho#ttae and haegu#m, to their usual percussion instruments."

pp. 44-5 II.1.3 s^ibyo#n (vocation) of a particular female mu

p. 44

"she began seeing several paintings of mu spirits passing her when she closed her eyes. ... That night she had a dream in which many shillyo#ng (spirits) riding horses, came to her house, waving flags and swords. ... .

p. 45

... she had a dream in which she received rice from an elderly gentleman ... . She would then fly to heaven with the rice, and give it to the birds and other animals.

She had another dream in which she visited the Sea God’s palace in the Eastern Sea, and walked on the ocean that was glittering with golden colors and went to what was told her was Cheju Island.

On another day, she had a dream in which she received a large book from an elderly gentleman. ...


One night, when she was 52 years old, ... Her body began to tremble and shake ... . ... After this, she set a date and brought a mudang to do kangshingut (Initiation Ceremony) so that she would receive the spirit."

pp. 46-8 II.1.3 s^ibyo#n (vocation) of a particular male mu

p. 46

"One day, in a dream, an elderly female came from Kwanaksan in Kwach>o#n to show him a paper with 30 letters/numbers written on it, asking him to pick one. ...

Afterwards he had another dream in which horse came to his house, swallowed him, causing him to go inside the horse’s body and to see its intestines. As he emerged from the horse, he was wearing a headgear, was holding white and red flags, and then he rode a white horse, shouting, "I am the Paengma Changgun (The White Horse General)." {cf. Kalkin, apocalyptic rider on a white horse (according to the Puran.a-s)}


After this happened, he repeatedly heard a voice telling him he should wear only white clothing. ...

p. 47

One day, he saw an elderly male, wearing white, coming it with a tiger. The elderly man had a flag on which "Paektusan" (the highest mountain in Korea) was written. A few moments later, To#ngmulsan [another sacred mountain in Korea] General Ch>oe Yo#ng, wearing straw shoes and a sword, came in. ... [The shaman-to-be] began dancing and two bolts of silk came down from heaven. A voice from heaven ordered him to come to heaven, as the silk had become a ladder. As he got to the top, two gentle yet majestic kings were sitting in front of him. ... He was "kicked," causing him to fall from heaven. He fell on a beach with white sand. On the beach there were 30 letters. According to him, those 30 letters represent the 30 spirits that he is now serving at the altar in his home. ...

He got married ... . From the first night, he did not want to sleep with his wife ... . Then he began having dreams in which he

p. 48

became a female and slept with King T.aejo during his regime and

he had dreams of sleeping with President Rhee (the first President of Korea)."

pp. 54-6 II.1.7 kan-s^in-je (rite of becoming a mu)

p. 54

"When the symptoms of shinbyo#ng ... appear, some people ... go to a mudang or fortune tellers. When they are told that they have "shinbyo#ng," they think that they cannot defy god’s will and therefore go through the ... naerimkut or shingut (initiation ceremony ...). "Naerimkut" is used to mean that a spirit descends and enters into a candidate who is to become a mudang. The meaning of "shingut" includes the "divine matter of kangshingut" ... . ...

p. 55

When entering the naerimkut, the mu-candidate who is to receive the spirit will wear all the mu clothing, which later symbolizes each spirit appearing ... . ... The Presiding mudang then has the candidate stand in front of the altar, while the mudang gives the blessings and plays the changgu and chegu#m excitedly. ... as soon as the spirit is received the candidate’s shoulders shake, and that shaking resonates throughout the body; then he he/she starts dancing madly, for a short period ... . ...


On the shinmyo#ngsang [fn. 10: "shin = spirit, myo#ng = name; sang = table; it is a table set to recognize the possessing spirit."], there are 9 small bowls, each containing grains such as rice, sesame seeds, beans, etc. These bowls are then covered with white paper and tied to the shinmyo#ngsang. At the direction of the Presiding mudang, the candidate chooses one bowl."


the grain __

indicateth the praesence of the deity __









San-s^in ("mountain god")

p. 56

"the candidate considers the mudang, who presided over his/her naerimkut, a teacher and learns the ceremonial procedures ... . ...

The teacher mudang become[s] a "god-mother";

the female person who received the spirit becomes a "god-daughter,"

and the paksu (a male mudang) becomes a god-son."

pp. 90-1 IV.1 total #s of deities

p. 90

"There are a total 273 gods in Muism, which are divided into four categories ... which are :

The ritual gods of the community shrine;

household gods in general;

those for the religious ritual of the village; and

the gods of each house."

p. 91

On the basis of the name of the gods, there are 73 kinds. {73 is the sacred 2-digit # of Chinese numerics}


On the basis of the lineage of the gods, there are :

22 lineages of nature gods ...;

11 lineages of human gods ...;

1 miscellaneous lineage of gods ...;

For a total of 34 types of gods based on their lineage."

pp. 92-3 IV.2 deities governing birth & death

p. 92

"originally there were no human beings on earth until Samshin (the god who govern birth) sent out human beings into this world for the first time. Since then it is customary (for those following the tradition of Muism) to have an image of Samshin in each household of the village, because that god allows babies to be born. In private homes,

p. 93

in the araenmok (The part of a Korean room nearest the fireplace ...) where Samshin is located, a woman who wants to become pregnant, does "che" (prayer service ...). ... It is also believed that Samshin guards the baby for its first seven years of life, when the Ch>ilso#ngshin (the "Seven stars," which is the "Big Dipper") takes over the care and guardianship of the child.


Also, human death depends on the will of the god who supervises ... the underworld ... and who sends a messenger (an Angel of Death) to this world to pull the person to ... the underworld ... by a strap around the neck."

p. 93 IV.2 deities regulating each person’s life

"So#ngjushin (the chief god in the house, who is located under the main pil[l]ar of the house),

O#pshin (the god who controls luck with property in the house and gives good fortune)".

pp. 94-5 IV.2 mutual relationships among deities, 4 groupings (as believed in Hwaso#n-gun Kyongi province) :


class of deities




C^>o#n-s^in (god of sky)

C^>ilso#n-s^in (the 7 stars)

San-s^in (mountain god)



Sahaeyon-s^in (god of 4 seas)



Sambul c^eso#k- s^in (3 mu gods)



C^angun-s^in (General-God)



So#nju-s^in (chief household god)

Taegam-s^in (court official)

C^in-s^in (god of the land)

C^owan-s^in (kitchen god)



Ko#llip-s^in (grain god)

c^apkwi ("miscellaneous spirits of the dead")

pp. 95-7 IV.3 specific deities viewed by shamanesses in their visions or in their dreams




[In Seoul,] "she saw both ... a round sun and a round moon ... on the wall ... . After this incident, she had shingut to a mu, and since has been an attendant of Ilgwangbosal (the sunlight god) and Wolgwangbosal (the moonlight god), who dwell in her body."


"That god experienced by the mudang becomes Momjushin (the mudang’s Lord, who dwells in the mudang). [The same mudan on p. 95] is an attendant of Ilgwangbosal (sun god) and Wolgwangbosal (moon god), as her Momjushin".


Another mudan, from "Inje, encountered god’s entering her body, Ch>ilso#ngshin (the Seven Stars – the Big Dipper) appeared to her in her dream and told her the whereabouts of holy things (such as an hourglasshaped drum, cymbals, a bell and a miniature map). She gained the spiritual power after she found those holy things, and since has attended Ch>ilso#ngshin as her Momjushin."

pp. 102-3 worlds & their gods



its deities



C^>o#n-s^in (the creator god)

Il-s^in (the sun god)

Wol-s^in (the moon god)

So#n-s^in (the stars god)



"nature gods (including such gods as a mountain god)"



"death messengers"


"The distinction between the physical world and the "other world" is described as "going around the corner" (moraeng’i or mot>ung’i)." {The otherworld is at a right-angle to this world – similar to the right-angle relationship between magnetic-field and electric-field lines-of-force.}

p. 103 IV.5 visionary ascent by paksu (‘male shaman’) into heaven

"When the male mu ... experienced god’s coming into his body (kangshin), he saw a vision in which two rolls of silk unrolled from the sky, and he ascended to the-world-above-the-sky, stepping on the silk rolls (as a ladder). {"I see a flying roll" (Zkaryah 5:2) : "a vast scroll of parchment now unrolled, and carried swiftly through the air in open view" (CCHB).} This vision of a mu’s rising to the sky is a usual experience of a mu during kangshinje."

CCHB = Thomas Scott; Matthew Henry; William Jenks : Comprehensive Commentary on the Holy Bible.

p. 109 V.1 soul during sleep

"Drawing a beard on the face of a sleeping person, or covering his/her face with a cloth or paper, the soul (which has left that body, and is wandering around) is thereby prevented from returning to the original body (because the soul is unable to recognize its human body), and enters another body, leaving the original body dead."

p. 115 V.5 this world & the afterworld

"this world is called "isu#ng," while

the Next ... is called "cho#su#ng.""

p. 120 V.7 worlds & unworldly monsters

"ch>o#nsang (Above the Sky),

chisang (the world-on-the-surface-of-the-earth), and

chiha (under the earth)."

"the World-Below-the-Earth (being different from that of this life) ... in which great ... monsters of hagye (the World-Below-the-Earth) are repelled."

p. 132 VI.2 sacred wooden floor (in non-Korean East-Asian cultures)

"In the Orochi tribe, at the entrance to the tent there is a sacred place covered with a wooden floor called "malu" or "malo," where they care for their house god, Ju-borkan ... .

{cf. [Manaia & Maori] /MARae/ ‘sacred enclosure’, [Samoa] /MALae/ ‘public plaza’ (M-PCD)}

The Koldi [= Goldi] tribe also has a space covered with a wooden floor called "maro," where people care for the Borkan God".

M-PCD = Edward Tregear : Maori-Polynesian Comparative Dictionary.

p. 134 VI.3 categories of c^e (performed by mu)




tons^inje "for protection, good weather ... for the village community as an entire unit""


"a special che limited to the mu herself as a ceremony for the mu’s kangshin (the god’s coming into the mu’s body) and so#ngmu (becoming a mu – a festival that occurs for the mu gods in the mu’s family ...)"


(general kut-s)

pp. 137-40 VI.3 at Seoul, C^inogwi caerimony & the procedures specific to it

p. 137

"In front of the god’s room, placed are

a table for the deceased,

a table for the "Standing Rock" General, and

a table for pulsanim.


In front of these are placed

a table for t>o#ttaegam and

a rice-cake table for taegam.


In the god’s room, facing taech>o#ng, in front of its door,

a fmale mu is holding an hourglass-shaped drum;

beside her is another female mu, holding cymbals;

opposite them are sitting the ones who will play a Korean pipe and a Korean fiddle."


"procedures which are specific to chinogwigut are as follows : ...

(4) sajesamso#ng;

(5) malmi;

(6) no#kch>o#ng;

(7) twicho#ng’go#ri.


In the fifth procedure, malmi, a muga for Princess Bari [fn. 24 : "Princess Bari was a princess who was born as the 7th daughter of the "First King" (of an unknown kingdom). ... Even though the King had abandoned this Princess, when the king needed "medicinal water" to

p. 138, fn. 24

survive, this Princess was the one who brought that water to him and saved his life." {cf. King Lear’s youngest daughter’s assistance to him}]

p. 138

is sung ... that sends seven souls to ku#ngnak in the Future World.

After sajesamso#ng (the fourth procedure), the mu

wears mongduri (the mu’s costume for the che),

ties ribbons across her chest, then

places a k>u#nmo#ri (crown on a hair-piece ...) on her head, and

puts on hansam (long sleeves of mixed colors).

The mu sings a muga for Princess Bari while

shaking bells in her left hand and

beating with her right hand on an hourglass-shaped drum".

"Then, behind the table for the deceased, a "thorny gate" [fn. 25 : "Only a "dead soul" can pass through this gate."] is erected ... .

The mu, still in the costume for the malmi, goes around the table for the deceased; this is called "toryo#ng tonda." During the toryo#ng tonda, the mu always circles around the table in a counter-clockwise direction {the usual Bon direction of circumambulation}, ... while covering and uncovering with a fan the k>u#nmo#ri (crown on a large hair-piece) that sits on her head. ... The mu raises the taeshin sword above her head, pointing it to the sky and rotates it twice in a counter-clockwise direction".

p. 139

"After the shiwangp>o is separated, the "soul" of the dead person is represented by a folded white paper placed in it. The shiwangp>o is passed through the thorny gate several times, while the mu prays for help for the soul through the thorny gate. ... The reasoning for passing the divided shiwangp>o, containing the soul of the dead person

p. 140

in the white paper, through the thorny gate, is to prevent the soul of the deceased from getting stuck on anything while going to cho#su#ng. ...


Then the sixth step, the no#kch>o#ngbae starts. ... The soul of the deceased is invited to descend on the mudang. The mudang puts the soul of the deceased on the ornamental hairpin of the mu and acts as a dead person. ... .


The next procedure is twicho#ng’go#ri : the mu, standing with three pollacks (fish) ... in her left hand, and in her right hand boiled millet ..., sings a muga for twicho#n ..., leaving the food to feed all the miscellaneous spirits that gather for a kut."

p. 140 VI.3 non-annual caerimonies

"Usually tangje is celebrated twice a year, in the Spring and in the Fall; and

the tangkut is held every other year."

pp. 158-9 (Appendix 1) non-Korean Asiatic transformations

p. 158

[of a Datat shaman] "he felt ... that his body changed into a "guagats" (a duck), while he also experienced ... changing into an eagle or a wolf. Still later, when he was in the mental state which accompanies the process of becoming a shaman, ... his body was cut into pieces.

... he had similar illusions {impressions} when performing rites (ceremonies) after becoming a shaman, when he would call on the animal into which he had been transformed, be it a duck, an eagle or a wolf. This animal would then come to his side and converse with him; or he himself would even become that animal. In the middle of a rite he would ascend to the upper world or descend to the lower world.

When he was rising to heaven, his soul would change into a duck, and he would ask the highest god, Chyobon, about his concerns.

When descending, his soul would change into a wolf."

p. 159

[of an Evnky shamaness] She "made a "chirping" sound and ... Afterwards, when she was asked what the sound meant, she explained that she had become a bird and therefore made the sound of a bird."

KOREAN STUDIES SERIES, No. 9 = Kim Tae-kon (transl., with additions, by Chang Soo-kyung [authoress of doctoral dissertation on Korean female mudan-s]) : Korean Shamanism – Muism. Jimoondang Publ Co, Seoul, 1998.