Altaic shamanism in :- Rediscovery of Shamanic Heritage, II-IV


II.2 (pp. 135-52) Ulla Johansen : "Ecstasy and Possession".

p. 139 Yakut se’ance (Vitashevsky 1917-25:179sq)

"he journeyed to the upper world in search of his client’s soul, which had been frightened and fled. He made motions as if he hovered and travelled in a southerly direction and indicated with his arms that he was ascending higher and higher, holding presents for the spirits of the upper world. An assistant accompanied him, imitating the movements of the shaman. They had to pass the dwelling places of nine spirits of the upper world, whom they greeted and presented with tea ... . The shaman repeatedly looked up and down again, because his way was steep. On his way back he had to bend forward. He had been successful in bringing back the soul of the ill person, but he became extremely tired at the end of the se’ance."

Vitashevsky 1917-25. In :- SHORNIK MUZEYA ANTROPOLOGII I ETNOGRAFII 5:1:165-88.

p. 140 Bodish oracles (Schu:ttler 1971:46sq, 68sq, 85sq)

"They declared that when they were dressed in their ritual costumes they felt a sort of formication and pain as if somebody were tightly pressing their body, but once the spirit had entered it, they did not feel anything, even when other people touched them. They could not control themselves, but they saw and heard what happened in the room. Though the oracles spoke, moved and drank liquids sacrificed to the tutelary god residing in their body during possession, they could not remember after the se’ance, which usually ended with a total collapse of the oracle immediately after they felt that the tutelary god had left them. The oracles always needed assistants for making the incantations to invite the god, for dressing them, for interpreting the sentences the god said through their mouths and to attend them when they collapsed."

Schu:ttler 1971 = Gu:nther Schu:ttler : Die letzten tibetischen Orakelpriester. Wiesbaden.

p. 141 se’ance by a shamaness in western Tyva (Ma:nchen-Helfen 1931:116sq)

"She began with invocations of her spirits until she had assembled them in her tent. Then she sent them to the world of spirits to give her information and to help her remove an aggressive spirit from the body of an ill girl. But she did not travel there, herself, she only had the different spirits (and more than one of them) tell of their experiences during the journey through her mouth ... . It was a dialogue between her and the different spirits. At the end of the se’ance, which lasted for hours, ... she was very tired."

Ma:nchen-Helfen 1931 =O. Ma:nchen-Helfen : Reise ins asiatische Tuva. Berlin.

pp 141-2nhaling by shaman of helping-spirits; breathing upon shaman by helping-spirits




According to Jochelson (1926:201sq), "a Yukaghirized Koryak shaman ... opened the door of his hut and inhaled his possessing spirits (not just one spirit) with deep breaths. They spoke through his mouth. At the end of the se’ance, first he exhaled the disease spirit, then he exhaled his helping spirits, outside the hut."


According to Vitashevsky (1917-25:173sq), "a Yakut shaman ... invited the spirit who caused an illness to enter him ... . He inhaled the spirit only for a moment, and then kept it in his drum. the window of the Yakut’s house was opened, and, turning the inner side of his drum so that it faced out the window, the shaman expelled the evil spirit from the house by some heavy strokes upon his drum."


According to Karjalainen (1924:318), Ugrian "spirits


breathed on the shaman during the se’ance. They "inspired" him and whispered the right words to him".

Jochelson 1926 = W. Jochelson : The Yukaghir and the Yukaghirized Tungus. MEMOIR OF THE AMERICAN MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY, NEW YORK IX.

Karjalainen 1924 = K. F. Karjalainen : Die Religion der Jugra-Vo:lker. Vol. III. Helsinki.


II.4 (pp. 179-91) Da`vid Somfai Kara : "Living Epic Tradition among Inner Asian Nomads".

[/j/ is pronounced as in German; /x/ as /h^/]

p. 181 some religious terms




181, fn. 8


baatyr ‘legendary heroes’



arwak "a person who can see and hear the spirit of Manas baatyr" [p. 180 : "Manas is a huge Kyrgyz epic"]



baksy ‘bard’

181, fn. 12


nom ‘religion’ {cf. Latin /NUMen/}

p. 182 dialectal terms for ‘throat-singing’









pp. 182-3, 188 shamanic vocation


[Altai] "only great kajc^ys ... have protector spirits (eelu:u: [fn. 20 : /ee/ ‘possessor’; /eelu:u:/ ‘it hath a possessor-spirit’]) and the kajc^y’s soul must enter the lower world to meet these spirits. ...


But he explained how he became a kajc^y, hearing strange voices in the woods when he was young."


[Kyrgyz] "he had gotten lost in childhood, wandering in the mountains. While he was sleeping, an old man with a long white beard and white clothes told him to become a manasc^y. After that, he started to see Manas and hear voices, and when he fell into trance he did not really know what he was actually talking about." {being possessed by spirits, who spoke through him}

pp. 183, 185 ritual & technique in singing




Performing kaj singing, itself, is a sacred thing among the Altai-kiz^i people; you have to purify your instrument and the place of performance with ... juniper (artys^) saying "alas-alas".


"The Sakha olonxo is performed ... with a special technique called "kylyhd" which involves the singer jumping one octave up and down constantly ... . They also have a special way of sitting o a Sakha chair (oloppos), crossing their legs and folding their hands on their knee".

p. 184 dialectal terms for ‘story, tale’







Tyva (Tuva)




Agban-tadar (H^akas)


H^alka (Mongolian)


Buriad (Buryat)


H^alimag (Kalmyk)


pp. 183, 185 specific epics involving journey into the netherworld

p. 183

[Altai] "One of the most sacred epics (c^o:rc^o:k) is Maadai-Kara. {cf. the name of the Maday nation in Iran} In this epic, Maadai-kara’s son Ko:g:dej travels to the lower world and destroys the evil Erlik, Lord of Bad Spirits."

p. 185

[Sah^a (Yakut)] The greatest of the epics, N^urgun Bootur, "tells the story of how N^urgun Bootur, a divine hero, and son of the Upper World (u:ehee tangaralar), destroys the monsters of the Lower World (abaahylar)".

pp. 186-7 musical instruments



national musical instrument



"shatkhan ..., a sort of zither with seven strings".



"two-stringed violin-like instrument called an igil [fn. 35 : "Altai Turkic (ikili)"], similar to the Mongolian morin-xuur".

p. 188, fn. 36 Tyva throat-singing

"Tyva throat singing has three main techniques : xo:o: mej, sygyt and kargyraa. ...

Xo:o: mej is a high frequency style while

kargyraa is low frequency.

Sygyt is produced theough the xo:o: mej style, but with the tongue touching the palate."


III.2 (pp. 211-26) Miha`ly Hoppa`l : "Shamans in Buryat Sacificial Rituals".

p. 216 ritual purifications of participants

"The women had to step over a small fire lest their impurity should jeopardize the success of the rite. ...

Another shaman, who was in charge of conducting the ceremony, held a stick, the end of which was red hot and smoking. With this red hot stick he drew four circles over the heads of the chief shaman and his helper, ... with the aim of purifying them."


III.3 (pp. 227-40) Dilmurat Omar : "Modern Kazah^ Shamanism".

pp. 230-1 ritual paraphernalia

p. 230

at the Centre of Folk Medicine in Alma-Ata : "a horsewhip (khamchy) [fn. 2 : "The rod of this horsewhip ... is made of a piece of Chinese Tamarisk wood ... . The lash is ... made of wolfskin".], a knife (pyshaq), water, matches and khumalaq, the 40 sheep ossicles used for divination."

p. 231

of a shamaness of the Nayman tribe in Semey state : "At the time of her shamanic vocation she dreamt frequently of patients with various diseases. Some of them could be cured ... . ... Her paraphernalia are ... a horsewhip, a knife, a matchbox and a bottle of water."

pp. 232-3 curing caerimony by the Nayman shamaness

p. 232

"She stretched her hands and moved them up and down on the patient’s body ... . ... She took the horsewhip, acting as if she whipped the person ... .

p. 233

She whipped the demon which caused the sickness of the woman. ... She blew several times into the water-bottle and kept water in her mouth. Suddenly she spurted the water on the patient. The woman shivered."

pp. 233-4 curing by a baks^y (‘shaman’) of Alma-Ata

p. 233

"His apparatus comprises ... a horsewhip, and a knife. His medicines are fresh fruits, ... on which he exhales ... . ...

He believes that diseases and bad luck brought by khara kush (black powers). These demonic powers ... fear the shaman’s horsewhip because it can turn out to be a huge python. ... .

p. 234

... he whipped the patient mostly on her back .. . ... Thereafter her asked her to hold a bottle of water in front of her chest and he exhaled into the bottle. Then he instructed her to drink the water. ... Then he asked her to repeat the following words : "The disease is gone. The evil eyes and the malicious tongues are gone. .. Thank arvaq!" He crossed his hand on his chest and prayed, then wrapped the food which she had brought, and urged her to eat it for nine days. The skin of the fruits ... she should put it on her navel and then wrap and bury it at a place where people would not tread."

pp. 236-7 instrument, spirits, and a spirit-possession caerimony of a Kazah^ shaman among the Uygur in Xinjian

p. 236

"His instruments are a pair of fire tongs, a ketman – a hoe-like farm implement, bamboo chopsticks and a bowl filled with water.

He has five arvaq (spirits) : the spirit of his grandfather, an eagle-spirit, a raven-spirit, an ape-spirit, and a snake-spirit. Under the protection of ... his spirits he is able to handle fire without being burned. Since the demons which cause disease are afraid of fire, he can drive them away. ...


While the meat was cooking, he began to invite the spirits. The snake-spirit arrived and got into his body. He shivered, his arms moved like snakes, and his voice changed into the snake’s voice. After the spirit left him he was possessed by each his other spirits in succession. When the eagle-spirit entered he spread his arms as if "flying." When the ape-spirit entered he jumped, scratched, clapped his hands, and laughed like a monkey .. . His eyes opened widely and gave him a horrible expression. After the spirits had paid their visits he asked one of his assistants to put the fire-tongs and the ketman into the fire until they turned red. He

p. 237

asked the patient to lay {lie} on the ground, took the ketman out of the fire saying : "ta, ta, ta, ta." Barefooted he stepped on it and pressed the patient’s body lightly with his feet. ... Then he took the red hot fire-tongs out of the fire and licked them ... . He took water into his mouth and spurted it on the patient several times. ... Everyone sat down and enjoyed the meal after which he invited his spirits once more. ... When each of the spirit entered he once again moved in a way appropriate to the animal. ... After each of his four animal-spirits had visited him he sat down murmuring. Then he blew the water in the bowl and asked the patient to drink it."

p. 238 an instance of shamanic vocation of a Kazah^ brought about by a spirit amongst the Uygur in Xinjian; mode of curing

"One day at noon a little cloud passed over his house and he heard a voice asking him to come out. He did so. Thereafter the cloud came very often and he could not help leaving the house as soon as the voice called him. He was tied to the bed ..., but the bed shook madly each time when he heard the voice. The spirit who called him had a human body but an eagle’s head. At last he decided to leave his home and wander around. ... After a year he returned home ... . ... He then joined the master shaman ... to study his ritual knowledge. ...

When treating a person he shuts his eyes tightly while feeling the patient’s pulse. Then his spirit appears and tells him the cause of the disease and how to treat it. With its help he usually draws different magic figures and prescriptions for his patients. They do not have to buy the medicine, however, because the prescriptions themselves are the medicines. The pieces of paper are folded and secret symbols are written on them. He tells the patients that they have to roll the prescription into a small ball, fasten a line to it and pour boiled water on the ball and then drink this water. He also tells them how frequently he have to take it."


IV.2 (pp. 279-95) Seong-nae Kim : "Korean Shamanic Heritage in Cyber Culture".

pp. 284-6 a cyberspace mudan

p. 284

"The first cyber shaman ... was PUCHE TOSA (Fan Taoist hermit) ... . ... In his dream, an old man appeared and asked him to go up to the mountain, and then the shamanic deities and family ancestors appeared to him. ...

p. 285

His internet site is divided into ... menus : email counseling ("soul counseling"), Korean musok (shamanic folklore), mystic talismans ... . ... The mystic talismans menu is only for display and not for downloading ... . ...

p. 286

He insists that shamanic talismans can be effective only when they are made of proper yellow paper and red letters during the shaman’s prayer."


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