Altaic shamanism in :- Rediscovery of Shamanic Heritage, I







Hung-youn Cho

"Archetypal Myth in Korean Shamanism"



Elvira Eevr Djaltchinova-Malets

"Shamanistic Tradition in Mythosophy of Kalmyk-s"



Pe`ter Simoncsics

"Shaman as Hero of a Kamassian Tale"



Katalin Uray-Ko`halmi

"The Myth of Nis^an Shaman[ess]"



Ulla Johansen

"Ecstasy and Possession"



Da`vid Somfai Kara

"Living Epic Tradition among Inner Asian Nomads"



Miha`ly Hoppa`l

"Shamans in Buryat Sacrificial Rituals"



Dilmurat Omar

"Modern Kazah^ Shamanism"



Seong-nae Kim

"Korean Shamanic Heritage in Cyber Culture"



I.1 (pp. 21-35) Hung-youn Cho : "Archetypal Myth in Korean Shamanism".

pp. 21-5, 27 variants of the "flower-hill" legend

(pp. 21-2 ) Chronicle of the Girimsa Temple

(pp. 23-5) Provenance of Lday Wo#nan

(p. 27) C^eju Igon-bonpuri

(p. 21) "Bo#mmara country’s Imjo#ngsa’s Gwang-yu the sacred ... practiced the maintenance of a flower hill. Hearing that King Sarasu of the So#chon Nation was generous ..., Gwang-yu the Sacred sent a Brahman ... with the message stating that the King should participate in the flower hill maintenance.

(p. 23) "Gwang-yu the Sacred is directing the repair of the hill which faces a crisis because of a seven-year drought."

"Hallaggung-I’s father Kim Jin-guk is commanded by the Supreme Being of So#cho#n to become superintendent of the flower hill."

The King hesitates and Queen Wo#nang says she will join. The three head towards Imjo#ngsa.

The pregnant Queen ... can no longer continue the journey. Upon consulting with the King she decides to sell the soon-to-be-born baby and herself as slaves to Jugrim country’s Elder Jahyo#n. The King names the unborn child Allaggug and departs with Brahman. ...

(p. 24) "Lady Wo#nang’s verses on departure for paradise breathed life into King Sarasu". "Lady Wo#nang ... helped to revive the flower hill by teaching her husband the shaman songs."

Hallaggun-I’s father "answers each of his questions by telling him ... that the flowers have the ability to raise the dead. One of the flowers is for laughter".

[p. 22] When Allaggug meets the Sacred he tells him that his mother has been killed by the Elder and gives him five flowers to resurrect her. ... his mother has been chopped into three parts and thrown into a bamboo garden.

... he recovers his mother’s body and brings her back to life with the flowers. Heaven and earth shake and rain pours forcing mother and son to escape and spend the night on top of a tree."

(p. 25) "Her body, abandoned in a bamboo forest, is dismantled. Her son puts together the bones and flesh, finally reviving her with the flowers the Sacred had given him."

"Then with flowers that give muscles, life to bones, blood, and organs he revives his mother. He then returns to So#cho#n’s hill with his mother."

pp. 21, 24, 27 parallelism with myth of Perseus & his mother



(p. 21) "Elder Jahyo#n inflicts all kinds of hardship on the Queen and her son because she refuses to go to bed with him."

Polu-dektes, king of Seriphos, "with his subjects’ support, had tried to force marriage on" (GM 73.d) Danae the mother of Perseus.

(p. 27) "After cutting one of each Hallaggung-i returns to this world with the flowers and kills everyone in the Elder’s house."

After cutting off Medousa’s head (GM 73.h), Perseus returned to Seriphos with the head, and at the banquet of Polu-dektes and companions "turned them all to stone." (GM 73.o)

(p. 24) "the demise of Jugrim country, represented by Jahyo#n the Elder ... . ... His country is struck by lightning and disappears."

The father of Perseus was (GM 73.c) Zeus, wielder of the thunderbolt.

GM = Robert Graves : The Greek Myths. 1955.

p. 30 variant forms of names in variants of the legend

form in Korean shamanism

usual form

king Narasu

king Sarasu

lady Bic^wi

lady Wo#nan

Narag the son of king Narasu

Allagug son of king Sarasu

pp. 20, 23, 30 parallelism with myth of Yo^sep




(p. 20) Jin-guk (= SaRaSu) expounded "laughter".

SuRaSa’s "mouth opened wide." (PE, s.v. "Surasa")

[cf. mother of ‘Laughter’]

SaRaSu’s son

SuRaSa’s son ("NV")


(p. 30) NaRaG may be

NR.Ga, the "lizard" (BhP 10:64:24 – X-XI, p. 278) ["chameleon" (PE, s.v. "")] who rode in a "distinctive heavenly vehicle" (viz. vimana, BhP 10:64:30 – X-XI, p. 279) : cf. the "Reptilian race" of UFO pilots.

When Yo^sep was imprisoned, "reptiles retired to their holes" (JE, s.v. "Joseph" : citing Genesis Rabbah lxxxiv.15).


"in a waterless well" (BhP 10:64:2 – X-XI, p. 276) was this "lizard that resembled a mountain" (BhP 10:64:3).

Yo^sep was imprisoned in "one of the dry pits, ... dug without finding water." (LB, p. 199)

(p. 23) "seven-year drought."


Yo^sep praedicted a 7-years’ drought (B-Re>s^it 41:54).

PE = Puran.ic Encyclopedia "S"

"NV" = "Naga Vams`a-s"

BhP = Bhagavata Puran.a

PE = Puran.ic Encyclopedia "N"

JE =

LB = Louis Ginzberg : Legends of the Bible. Konecky & Konecky.

p. 30 deities to be worshipped as flowers

"King Narasu, as

the flower of Prunus Mume, and

are placed in their vases in front of the portrait [of the queen who founded the temple].

Lady Bichwi, as


Narag, as

a lotus,

is kept in a pot in front of the eight fairies portrait."


I.2 (pp. 37-43) Elvira Eevr Djaltchinova-Malets : "Shamanistic Tradition in Mythosophy of Kalmyk-s".

p. 38 Kalmyk gods

"Sky Justice – Tenr, ...

the Lord of Underworld and magical knowledge – Erklg Nomn Khan. ...

the Lord of time and space, the Lord of the year – Delkam CaGanO:bGn"

p. 38 Kalmyk religious practitioners

" "j^adc^" ("the man who calls the rains"),

"j^urGac^" (astrologists),

"kelmrc^" (fablers),

"ta:rnc^" (magician ...),

"es^c^" (the seer, the clairvoyant)"

pp. 39-40 vocation into shamanhood by a praeternatural goat

p. 39

" "Yaman ergj^and" ("to be twisted by a goat")" : "The chosen person ... had a lot of visions and dreams in which the White Old Man or Erklg Nomn Khan (they possess the ability to change appearance) give signs of having chosen this person. these are some of them : White Old Man or Erklg Nomn Khan gives a goat : white or black, sometimes both, which will guide the chosen person. The goat suggests how the person must behave. ... Needless to say, guardians are invisible to the unenlightened.


A modern shaman ... told ... his story : It happened near a small village Gu:dg [fn. 6 : "the shamans’ place"] ... one night. ... Suddenly a big Old Man with hair of snakes {"of Thadoda:ho> -- ... his monstrous sexual organs, snake hair, turtle-claw hands, and bear-paw feet" (Iroquois, GL&L, p. 97)} had appeared on the horizon riding a white horse. ... After a few days ... White old Man appeared ... and ... tied the body to a horse tail and dragged him everywhere all night. ... There was only one real bo:o: ..., who "adopted" and taught the young man ... .

p. 40

A woman who was also chosen told another story. ... she saw the White Old Man ... . ... A kind white goat twisted her for a long time.


[A certain shaman] told his story too ... . ... the tempest had begun. Suddenly the earth opened and Erklg Nomn Khan appeared with the White Old Man. They gave him white and black goats. ... . ... the goats ... became real guardians and helped him ... to avoid dangerous situations."


"There are many instances ... in the 1970s and 1980s, when chosen people were sent to psychiatric hospitals".

GL&L = William Nelson Fenton : The Great Law and the Longhouse. U of OK Pr, 1998.

pp. 41-2 manufacture of vestments for caerimony of ordination

p. 41

"the dress should be prepared for initiation ... . Old women from the mother’s side have to make the dress with ornaments, which are called "JanGrin j^eg". For 9 days women make the dress and recite prayers all the time. Some ornaments used zoomorphic motifs ... "Gana bu:gu:" ideograms of animals that are totem signs of kin. ... .

p. 42

... the color the dress must be ... depends on the color of the goat. ... On the 9th night ... the old bo:o: ... asks the guardians to bless the dress. ... After that the chosen person becomes a shaman.People call him Janrin j^e. ... Old and new shamans eat the raw heart and liver. ... Kalmyks believed that in another world the goat would live."

p. 42 a shaman in Kalmyk epic

"JanGr ... the hero of Kalmyk epics ... possessed the magical knowledge and abilities to go through all the three world. According to the epics, ... JanGr survived Qonr ..., from underworld. he revived him in a way that is used by shamans in modern times."

p. 42 shamans’ musical instrument

"a shaman ... used a "mo:rinGu:r" (small instrument from wood, with two strings and a small head sculpture on a head of instrument) for his practice."


I.4 (pp. 109-11) Pe`ter Simoncsics : "Shaman as Hero of a Kamassian Tale"

p. 109 the tale

"a poor man whose name was Tarchaba#rdzha ... meat a bear ... a wolf ... water" and put each into his black saddle-pack. "The Tsar let his wild horses run, but our man opened his black sack and let out the black bear. The bear followed the horses and chased them away. ... Our man opened the black sack and released the wolf. The wolf chased away the bulls into the forest. Then the Tsar ordered his men to arrest our man. ... Then he opened the black sack again, ... and poured the water onto the Tsar’s men. The water kept them off him."


1.5 (pp. 113-21) Katalin Uray-Ko`halmi : "The Myth of Nis^an Shaman[ess]".

pp. 114-5 episodes of the legend (as recorded in the Manc^urian manuscripts at St. Petersburg)






"A ragged old beggar ... advises the father to urgently visit Nishan Shaman[ess] ..., as she is capable of bringing souls back from the realm of the dead. Stepping out of the gate, the old man disappears/flies off on a cloud of five colours.



The father ... sees a young woman hanging out clothes to dry. He ... learns that the woman hanging out the clothes was the shamaness. ...



She has her tested assistant, actually her young lover, Nari Fiyanggu, fetched.



The two prepare for the ceremony : a dog born at the same time as the boy, a cock, soy cheese [tofu] and sacrificial paper money are prepared. The shamaness dons the ceremonial clothes, falls into a trance at the drumming of her assistant and her soul travels to the netherworld.



In the company of her helping spirits in the shape of animals, she reaches a river. An ugly, ... one-armed, one-eyed ferryman with a wounded arm takes her across the river for some soy cheese ... . The ferryman tells her that [the sought boy] was taken over by a spirit called Monggoldai Nakc^u the other day. The shamaness crosses the next river with the help of her drum.



First she goes to the palace of Monggoldai Nakc^u and learns that the body has been received by Ilmun khan, the lord of the netherworld ... . The shamaness ... has the soul of the body kidnapped by her helping spirit appearing as an eagle.



Noticing the disappearance of his favourite, Ilmun khan sends Monggoldai Nakc^u after the shamaness. ... The spirit wants the cock and the dog for the soul. The shamaness ... has the promise that the body’s life will be extended. After much wrangling, the shamaness earns 90 years ... . [fn. 1 : "Paralleled by Ath(arvan) 828 and Mahabharata III.293-99 Savitri and Yama."] She plays a trick on the spirit with the voices of the dog and the cock and she resumes her way.



... her dead husband ... is enraged that she freed



someone else from the other world and wishes to throw Nishan into a cauldron of boiling oil. {cf. Siberian accounts of shamans’ attaining spiritual powers through being boiled in cauldron in the otherworld} ... the shamaness keeps explaining that she is unable to bring a soul back to a decaying body ... . Nishan ... with her helping crane spirit ... removes his soul to the city of Fungtu (Ch. Fengdu) in the world beneath from where there is no return. (This episode often follows after the crossing of the river.)



The shamaness Nishan arrives at the splendid palace of Omosi Mama. The souls of children to be born are prepared for life on earth there. Among the goddess’s assistants she meets the wife of Nari Fiyanggu, who died of the plague the year before. ...



The shamaness returns back to earth with the soul and revives the boy. ...



Her mother-in-law learns that she met her husband’s spirit and did not bring him back but cast him into Fungtu. She reports on her to the town court. The case is investigated".

pp. 115-6 varying, and additional, episodes found in the Chinese variant, which "is largely different from the St. Petersburg versions (STARY 1985:1-iv)."






"The shamaness is called Nu:dan. She is a young widow who learns shamanistic practices to keep her old mother-in-law.



She can bring souls back from death ... .



The emperor’s son falls ill and despite the cures of two lamas, he dies.



Someone recommends Nu:dan.



... She is hanging out clothes. ...



The two jealous lamas want to kill her, waiting to ambush her by the palace gate, but she sense danger and



flies over the gate {instead of the 2nd river in the Manc^urian "H"} with the help of her drum, right into the throne-room.



The emperor ... orders her to bring back his son’s soul from the netherworld. The shamaness sets out and meets the spirit of her husband ... .



Then she meets the prince’s soul in a great hall playing with other children.



She brings the soul back and revives the prince ... .



The emperor now orders her to bring back his sister’s soul who had died three years ago. The shamaness refuses as the body has decayed. ...



The emperor casts the shamaness into a deep pit in iron shackles. The shamaness dies.



Suddenly darkness settles on the palace. A huge bird flies over it. An arrow is shot at the bird, a huge falcon {instead of the eagle in the Manc^urian "I"} feather falls down. A councillor of the emperor realizes that it is the helping spirit of the unjustly killed shamaness."

STARY 1985 = Giovanni Stary : Three Unedited Manuscripts of the Manchu Epic Tale "Nis^an S^aman-i Bithe". Wiesbaden, Harrassowitz.

p. 116 Heze "(a Nanai dialect along the Sungari)" variant (Richtsfeld 1989)

"The husband’s spirit appears after the crossing of the first river, but

the spirit of the shamanic drum takes him beyond the mountains in the netherworld, not to Fungtu.

Richtsfeld 1989 = Bruno J. Richtsfeld = "Die Mandschu-Erza:hlung "Nis^an saman-i bithe" bei den Hezhe". MU:NCHENER BEITRA:GE ZUR VO:LKENKUNDE 2:117-55.

p. 117 Solon "(equestrial Tungus people)" variant (Heissig 1997)




"The lord of the netherworld is not Ilmun khan but the Turkic-Mongol Erlik khan.


His old envoy is Mongol Tsagan Ebu:gen. ...


Affluent Bardu Bayan lives in a yurt ... .


The sacrificial animals are a dog and a goat,


the soy cheese gives way to dried noodles.


Upon the mother-in-law’s complaint the shamaness hurls her husband into the navel of the earth, Qormusda sends 9 Jangjun (military dignitaries) to kill her in chains also cast into the navel of the earth.


Before she dies, the shamaness spits around and the shamans arise so".


"the husband tears off the drum’s half, that’s why shamans have drums covered on one side only, and that is why they can no longer revive the dead but merely banish demons."

Heissig 1997 = Walther Heissig – "Zu zwei evenkisch-daghurischen Varianten des mandschu Erza:hlstoffes "Nis^an s^aman-i bithe"." CENTRAL ASIATIC J 41:200-30.

p. 117 Mergen Oroc^on (Tunguz in Manc^uria) variant (Heyne 1999)




Nes^un "was alone capable of traversing the entire netherworld, irmunkan {cf. "irmin-road, the way of souls" (A&G, p. 152)}, in her lifetime. She did so when her only son Segune Biango: died at the age of 15.


She got to the netherworld crossing the river on a drum,


he took a hen and dog as animal sacrifices.


In three days she got the child’s soul back from Irmunkan


and bargained for more years as well.


Hearing it, the emperor summoned Neshun to revive his dear daughter dead for three years. The shamaness brought back her soul but when she [the soul] saw her decayed body, she fled back to the underworld ... .


The emperor ... cast her [Nes^un] in a deep well, with iron chains, stones and a curse on paper above her.


Though the shamaness died, a little bell of her clothes – her helping spirit – was freed and has lived to this day."

Heyne 1999 = F. Georg Heyne : "Neshun-Saman – eine Schamanengeschichte der Mergen Oroqen". KLEINE BEITRA:GE AUS DEM STAATLICHEN MUSEUM FU:R VO:LKENKUNDE DRESDEN 17:38-48.

A&G = M. W. MacDowall (ed. by W. S. W. Anson) : Asgard and the Gods. London.

p. 118 Dahur (on the river Nonni, p. 117) variant (Humphrey 1996:306-12, 316-9)




"The son of a rich man, Barlo Bayin, Heregdi Piayanggu ... kills roes. That is taboo to the Dahurs.


The spirits of the animals complain to the lord of death, who seizes the youth’s soul and he dies.


The grieving old father is recommended to see Isan ... Yadgan.


From there, ... is ... the hanging of the clothes.


The shaman’s assistant is called Narati Anggu.


A limp ferryman takes the shamaness across the river.


The body’s spirit is playing ball with the son of Irmu khan. Isan’s Guarad (= Garudi) helping spirit kidnaps him.


Longer life is arranged n an office in charge of life lengths. ...


The shamaness meets her husband’s soul.


... Ome ([=] Omosi Mama) appears ... .


... the Chinese emperor summons her to revive his dead wife. She fails.


The ... ruler hurls her in a deep pit chained.


Before dying, Isan leaves a black glass behind from which shamanic souls appear. In another Dahur variant [published in Mongolian in 1985] the shamans arise from her scattered hair."

Humphrey 1996 = Caroline Humphrey & Urgunge Onon : Shamans and Elders. Oxford : Clarendon Pr.

pp. 118-9 Nanai

p. 118 [from a variant published in Russian translation in 1922]

pp. 118-9 [a variant published in Hungarian translation in 1996]

"Hadau, the world creating Demiurge ..., sees a spirit in his dream who orders him to become a shaman and escort the souls of the deceased to the netherworld. To become a shaman, he needs to seek the tree that grows drums, bells, mirrors, antlers, spirit images and shoot as many with his bow as necessary.

p. 118 "Hadau gets the shamanic objects from a tree called kunguru jagdi,"

whose __

are __






metal mirrors



Hadau finds the tree but shoots too many of the objects which scatter all over the world. From them arise the shamans."

p. 119 At home, they "fly off through the smoke-hole and settle on suitable people who thus become shamans."


BIBLIOTHECA SHAMANISTICA, Vol. 11 = Miha`ly Hoppa`l & Ga`bor Ko`sa (edd.) : Rediscovery of Shamanic Heritage. Akade`miai Kiado`, Budapest, 2003.