Religion of Mongolian Shamanism

pp. 26-27 goddess Queen of Heaven

p. 26

"In ancient time the shamans, during their shaman making, have reached a Heaven Kingdom of so-called ‘Sumj Zasan’. That Kingdom has got only the large mountain named ‘Artsat or Junipery Sumber’, on which are located the Heaven Spirits ... . Those Spirits (Ongod) are led by a Heaven Goddess – the Queen Mangar of the ‘Ohii Buural Eej’. ...

p. 27

The last shaman who had been able to reach Sunj Zasan, to call in the Queen Mangar of Ohii Buural Eej and to meet Her was so-called Barial Udgan, a shaman-woman and daughter of Jamba lama."

p. 27 legendary shamanesses

"Soyod Eej ... has left her gay-colored gown-armor at the pass of Honi Mailah (Sheep Bleating) near the town of Semiplatinsk, Kazakhstan ...;

Biggee udgan, so-named "Great Holy Thing of Hyar" ["the top part of mountain ranges" (p. 198, n. 10)] ... was born from Heaven and landed on the Earth into an iron cradle".

pp. 29-30 terminology

p. 29

"the women who have conducted leadership activity of the religious affairs, ... were called "Eduggen". ... "The term of ‘Eduggen’ is the name of a female spirit meaning ‘Origin’ ... .

p. 30

... the Shamans of some tribes such as Darhad, Huular etc., that have strictly followed on ancient habitual customs ... up to now, consider that the word ‘Boo’ {cf. [Tajik] /Bon/} is a common denomination of this religion [of Mongolian shamanism] and consequently, the Shamans-men are named ‘Zayran’, ‘Zairan’ or ‘Zaarin’ and the women as ‘Udgan’."

p. 33 the colors of the cardinal directions, according to the Pube tribe


its color









p. 38 the Black Darhad tribes’ Ongon-s

"The Heaven with a thunder-like-sounds,

The Heaven with a tiger-like roars,

The Heaven of majestic silhouettes,

The Heaven who crowded in the western side".

pp. 44, 77-78 cosmogony

p. 44

"at the beginning Earth was just solid; after its destruction {partition},


a part of it rose up becoming sky, and

another part remained at the same place as earth;


between them originated fire, and

around it – human being."

p. 77

"at the beginning the Earth was smaller and

by stratifying with dust it became larger gradually,

during this process there were formed mountains".

p. 78

"The up side Eternal sky was as a trough,

The down side Earth-Mother as a sole,

The Great Sun Ocean as a pool".

"When the Great Sun Ocean was a pool,

When the Great Sumber Mountain was a hill".

pp. 83-86 the 3 cosmic World-Trees, one each in the 3 stacked Worlds (‘Continents’)

p. 83

myth : "A huntsman of mankind’s Middle Continent stayed for a night under a savage Shaman Tree of the Lower Continent and in the morning shot down a deer".

"a larch or cedar which ... had grown with some bent and gathered together branches/twigs is called "Shaman or Udgan Tree" by the Mongols".

p. 84

"Consequently, the "Shaman Tree" of the lower continents is considered the most savage or dangerous, therefore, it is strictly forbidden to be climbed up, break off its branches/twigs, steal away thanksgiving things, and tread on its roots, shade; as well as to sleep at its side and to whistle."

p. 85

A certain young man "saw something brightly sparkling on the root of a "Shaman Tree", [by] which was unavoidable to be attracted the attention of the young man. When he was going to take it up, it became suddenly invisible or disappeared, which meant that a female spirit of this place, so-called Algag, intimated/possessed him. So [he], who was possessed by Algag’s female spirit, was needed to become a shaman".


myth : "A swallow stole fire from the Upper Continents, and on its way to the Middle an archer from the Upper shot it with a bow, but the arrow, passing through its tail, could not hit its body. Swallow, with its in two-parts-divided tail and uncovered anus, felt ashamed to bring the fire to the Lower Continent’s dwellers. So they remained with their own "dying blue" fire ..., which was named "devil’s fire" by the Middles. In another version of some Mongolian parts, concerning so-called "Shaman Butterfly" or "Hoovgono"[, that version] says, "This butterfly, as a weak creature of the Lower Continent,

p. 86

always tries to take away the fire from a candle, but it does not have a proper manner to do so, so it burns down itself to die."


another myth : "Once upon a time there were living people in the Upper-heavenly Continent and all the other kinds of animals in the Lower world. The Top nine Heavens had a younger sister, whom was going to take away by force a teacher ..., and she slipped away to the Lower World, where [she] lived with the animals in a good petting them atmosphere. However, ... both side of herself and her brothers felt miss of each other hardly and at the end she came back to the brothers. After a long consultation they [the brothers] decided together to create a figure of their own Heavenly Sister. So ... everyone of them would make a part of her figure, what was the best for himself to do it and putting each part together should be created the figure as a whole. In this way they began to create every part of the figure, the first trial was unsuccessful, the second also, and so on, and at the 100th trial they were successful in creating a figure just like to their Heavenly sister".

p. 87 terminology













p. 88 the legendary country to the northeast

"To the north-east, in the backside of Hentii Han (the name of Hentii ridge), there exists a Dynasty of Hell king[s] with Basalt Mountains, where the top big Mangases/monsters [which according to the author may be identified with "active volcanoes" (p. 89); cf. the identification of the "fiery" Kheimarrhos as "an active volcano near Phaselis in Lycia" (GM 76.6 -- citing Plinius 2:106 & 5:27)] with ten heads sprinkle with red-hot ashes, which gush out permanently

... there are no men, so that women ... pass the nights with dogs, therefore it is named the country of "Dogs-men".

For this reason the northeast was considered as "Bad side" and for the women, especially in darkness, [each] was forbidden to relieve herself to this direction."

pp. 91-93 habitual paths of Lus (water-spirits), and the necessity for human travelers to shun crossing those paths except during winter; abodes of Sa-bdag (land-spirits)

p. 91

"each [of the] Lus or Water spirits has a direct running route between two concrete geographic points, which is changeless, so that it is possible for people to avoid of falling as subject/victim to this route. But the Lus does not run permanently along its route, ... because of, for example its resting and/or sleeping during the winter season". Heedless travelers’ crossing of "a Lus’s running route ... becomes the main reason to suffer someone from its harm." As for "a Lus’s running route ... its width is relatively restricted, until an "ald" ["Fathom" (p. 200, n. 42)]".

p. 92

"the main location or "home" of the Savdag are mountains or hills, so that it was considered, understood, and imaged that a Savdag, that was walking one the earth, suddenly disappeared by "dissolving" into the soil of a mountain or hill."


"there was a ritualistic custom that before moving away the leaving site of a ger and surrounding places were cleaned

p. 93

up, ... and there was given a special incense to revere the local Savdag.

[Furthermore,] the shamans teach that any human being is closely connected with the Savdag of that place, where he/she was born and therefore he/she should respect and worship the earth and stone of this place in a proper and permanent manner.


... one of the main places, where Lus is located is water or it is its "home", so one should avoid to intermix it with ... excrements, or to pollute it with ... rubbish ... . It is also forbidden to make a fire nearby of a river/creek’s water source, because fire and water are alienable, and to sleep or to set up a ger in a place of rivers[’] junction/confluences."

pp. 95-96 nature and function of Lus

p. 95

"So-called Lusas ... being water Spirits ... have a good appetite for milk products. They are divided into Black, Blue and White ... .

The Lus of a Shaman Tree in Algag to the beginning of the river Ivediin-gol is fond of only some raisins and sweets."

"The one, who became a shaman by intimating with Lus ..., is called "Fortified by Lus" and his/her magical showing or "power" is relatively higher."

p. 96

"The Lus that comes in according to a shaman’s calling is undesirable to go up along his/her body but only up-to the two hollows, back the knees. So, to respect and receive it properly to the shaman’s own heart and to reach the shaman making purpose, he/she has to make shaman show in a set-down position, because the back – [of] the knee – hollows are a temporary location of the Lus in a shaman’s body, from which it may go away [from] ... the shaman him/herself, who did not respect it properly ... . In this regard, ... ritual, during which he sat down kneeling ... and worshipped the spirit ..., ... was also related to this custom concerning call/invitation of the Spirit to his own heart."

pp. 98-99 omen of snake inside a ger


if a __ snake were found inside the ger of a family

what would be expected



"that family would give birth to a child-boy in a near future."


black and/or motley

"damage or trouble to that family."

p. 108 location of ongon

"The ones with __"

"an atmospheric mantle"

"cloud transfer stations"

"a ghost’s Body silhouettes"

p. 109 sites for worship-services

"men ... conducted prayer action on the small cairns, which were set up on the mountain’s foothill.

Shaman believers considered the birch as a "Tree of the Heaven", because it is not struck by a thunder lightning. ... They considered it is the most potent, when a shaman "O:rgo:l" ["A thanksgiving ... making [a] small young tree ... decorated with cloth ribbons or many colors and incensed" (p. 200, n. 52)] was made by a birch."

p. 110 neolithic tools as lightning-relics from heaven

"there was one kind of amulets – "Heaven’s Buumal" ["Its meaning in Mongolian is "Something came/fell down from Heaven" (p. 200, n. 53)] ... . Definitely, a buumal was a kind of labor tools ..., which were manufactured and utilized by the people of bronze age’s period and found ... . So ... believers ... considered it a thing, which was sent down by Heaven ... . ... A bulk ... considered it as ... of the 99 Shaman Heavens".

pp. 112-114 the number of Heavens

p. 112

"The Darhad and Huular ... conception of the Universe’s Three Continents ... considered that each of these Three Continents has Three heavens or in total there exist Nine Heavens". "So the Mongols had a custom to pray to the Nine Heavens using full of milk or tea deej ["The first/fresh/no[t] tasted part of something, especially offered to a deity as a sacrifice (Libation)" (p. 200, n. 55)] into nine sockets of a milk sprinkler or "Tsaltsal"".


"milk sprinklers, which had been used ... by several clans/tribes" :-



# of sockets in tsaltsal



13 {cf. Bon 13 stacked Heavens}



10 {cf. Polynesian 10 stacked Heavens}




p. 113

"it began to consider 3, afterwards 9 Heavens, which was also changed into 13 and in the end even 99".

p. 114

The Buriad "divided them systematically into" :-


__ Heavens of the __

"for praying"

for "worshipping/thanksgiving"


55 West




44 East



p. 129 a shamaness’s account of her own visit to the other world, and its sequel

"when I was calling my ongod, it seemed to me that something invisible embraced me suddenly ... . Afterwards it seemed very easy for me myself[;] and I, riding on a nice horse began to travel through unknown beautiful mountain, plain and river areas. During this time I met a lot of Grand-grand Fathers and Mothers (ongons) in a consecutive way. Unfortunately, I did not know what topics were they talking about. Only after their departure and my return I began to understand gradually, who were in my place, what they were talking of or asking about".

pp. 131-134 from the White Huular : myth of origin of certain constellations




Once upon a time there lived a man so-called Gandan with his brother – a good archer and the eldest, nice-looking sister Dersen Gualii in a ger somewhere on the upper side of the Tuul river, Han Hentii mountain. They had ... a black stallion camel that foresees any evil deed in an advance of three years, and two dogs Hasar and Basar. Gandar was responsible of catching rope of 12 alds ... and ... a white spotted stallion. ... However the sister ... wrote a letter ... and then she threw it in Tuul river ... . ...


Afterwards she wrote a letter to her brothers saying to come back at once and sent it by lark-post. Her brothers ... came back in a week. ... Meanwhile the black stallion camel and the two dogs gave a warning signal by bellowing and barking outside the ger ... . Soon afterwards the soldiers ... killed the drunk brother, and thew his body into a deep hole of 80 alds, but the youngest brother, having moved the spirit/soul of his brother into a stone, succeeded in escaping away ... . But ... the soldiers ... took off all stones, including whetstones of the Billut and red ochre of the Zost passes with them. ...


The Khan promoted Dersen Gualii as his chief queen and his previous chief queen with her own guard servant woman was expelled away from the Palace. However these two women ... went away to the upper source of Tuul River, where Dersen Gualii’s two dogs and stallion camel were left. On arrival they took out the killed body of the dead boy from the hole, brought him back to life by a magic medicine, rehabilitated the camel and dogs by feeding them with the salt-marsh and bones respectively... . Afterwards the archer boy, who was revived, went away to the top of Artsat Sumber (The highest with junipers) mountain where his youngest brother fled. However, his brother there ... had already found five friends, ...

the first of them was an excellent thief (Hulgaich ...), who was able to tear out feathers from a bird without its notice ... .

Likewise the second one – an excellent listener to (Chagnaach);

the third – was able to gulf [engulf, gulp] down all water of a whole ocean (Balgaach);

the fourth – the fastest runner (Guigeech); and

the last one – the most powerful weight-lifter (Urgooch), who was capable of lifting up and moving away a whole mountain. ...


... later the two brothers with their five friends raised [rose] up to the Heaven, and became the seven stars of [Ursa major]; the greedy Khan’s former chief queen with her own guard servant-woman, together with the two dogs and back camel stallion have become so-called "Five-men-stars" (Cassiopeia ...) and the wise boy’s white horse stallion – "herdsman star", which is located in the near-upper side of the Seven [Ursa major]."

pp. 134-135 other caelestial lore

p. 134

"there is a legend that in the very center of the Moon it is visible an image of a girl with her two water pots, who, once upon a time, went out to a river to take water in the dark and was caught by the Moon." {cf. Na Puhi Maori myth : "This is the legend of Rona (confine with cords). One bright moonlight night Rona was sent to fetch water from the stream for her children. In her hand was the basket which contained the gourd in which the water was to be kept. On her way the moon suddenly disappeared behind a cloud. ... This made her angry, and in her rage she cursed the moon, saying, "You cooked-headed moon, not to come forth and shine!" These words displeased the moon very much, who at once came down to the earth and seized her, ... taking Rona, with ... the gourd in the basket, far up in the sky." (AHM, vol 2, p. 26)}

p. 135

"the door of a Zoot ["A mixed origin between the Uygurs and Mongols." (p. 201, n. 65)] family’s ger has to be directed to the stars of so-called "Three Hinds" (Orion ...)."

AHM = John White : Ancient History of the Maori.

p. 138 the 3 souls






"flesh and bloody"







p. 138 "After a person’s death the mortal spirits will remain in his/her body for three years; for example paternal one into the center socket of pelvic bones. When this bone dies out as the last one, the mortal spirits disappear as well and finally the immortal spirit will rise up."

pp. 139-140 the specific locations of the 3 souls





its location in the body










"pelvic bones"



"mental or so-called vital"


"marrow, brain"

p. 140 "The third ... soul is introduced through the left fourth – ring finger of a baby-foetus into his/her mother’s womb ... . But when he/she dies, the soul takes its place between 1st (Atlas) and 2nd (Axis) cervical vertebrae of the neck of his/her dead body. Afterwards, when the body has decomposed entirely, the soul rises up ... for its own eternal existence."

p. 141 commemorative skulls of animals

"during night time a goat or sheep’s meatless skull-bone , with empty eye-sockets ... , ... the eye-sockets should be " :-

treatment for eye-sockets

custom of tribe __

"plugged animal hair or sheep wool"


"broken through"


"skull-bone should be broken off longitudinally in two sides before boiling in order to raise up the souls previously, which were present into the eye-sockets."


p. 141 "meatless skull-bone of a horse should be put on a mountaintop or cairn, ... named "Horse-erdene/treasure"". "Burial of a watch/guard dog is ... by cutting of its tail to put under its head".

pp. 142-143 relocation of bone-soul after death; moving away of soul through fright

p. 142

"In regard to the shamans there is so-called ‘Bone’s soul’, which after his/her death transfers into the ‘Bone’s ongon ... .’

A long time ago a shaman’s drum frame ... was covered by the skin of a dead horse. As a result, ...

p. 143

the ‘Bone spirit’ of that dead horse was remained into its pelvis-socket and with its skin the [flesh-]soul came into the shaman’s drum."


"when someone was started to frighten suddenly ..., his/her soul would move away from his/her body ... . In this occasion the soul moves away or flees through the ring finger of the right hand of its master. Therefore the Mongols put a ring of precious metal such as gold and/or silver, set with precious stones round this finger to close the soul’s escape way".

p. 144 ritual "to "fetch" an escaped soul back to its original master body, which is called the soul’s recalling process"

"The gown belt of the master, whose soul was moved away, was properly knotted and put into the shamaness’ drum. Meanwhile, when she turned her drum in clockwise direction 21 times, [she] called so-named "Lhanag Black Heaven", asked it to bring back the moved away soul of the man/woman of what years according to the 12 years of zodiacal animals system ... . Afterwards, a cup full of milk was taken out of the ger through its roof-ring by the shamaness herself and someone of compatible year with the master’s soul received it in outside."

p. 145 derivations of the 3 souls each of the sons (namely, Buha Hatagi, Buhatu, Bodonc^ar Munhag) of Dobu Mergen’s widow Alangua, according to the Secret History of Mongolia

the __ souls

derived from __


himself (Dobu Mergen)


"a servant young man of Malig Bayut origin"


Alagua herself

pp. 152-153 running of an ongon

p. 152

"the Ongons change their geographical locations temporarily fromone point/place to another, which is named shamanly the running of an Ongon.

There are two kinds of short and long distance running.

The first one is aimed at making a simple visit between familiar and relative ongons themselves and/or their remnants.

But long-way running of an ongon has a serious/specific purpose, which should be reached obligatorily. ...

Moreover short way running of any Ongon has no trace over the water of a river, lake etc., but for the long distance running it is indifferent, because this process is running though atmosphere ... .

p. 153

Between two ends of a likewise long way running there exist some temporary/relief sites, which may be a shaman-tree, sheer-cliff, mountain pass, single three on a steppe and so on.

It says that running of an ongon is sensible for an ordinary man by some drum and/or bell tones. So, as a rule, there is prohibited to hunt and/or sleep nearby the locality of an ongon’s running way-route."

pp. 154-155 varieties of ongon

p. 154

"an Ongon is capable of lifting up any heavy thing, but it is unable for so-called "Treasure/jewel items" such as gold, silver, precious stones and state securities."


ongon-s of with Lus

ongon-s without Lus

have Garab-wanc^ig Deity

have Dunjin-garav Deity

to the western side

to the southeastern side

p. 155

"the Black ongons of Lus or no-soul origin were called "The Black Heavens"".

pp. 156-157, 159 praesence of ongon in shaman during shaman’s trance

p. 156

"But in regard to the entrance way of an ongon into ger some shamans say that it enters through the ger’s roof-ring, comes down by rafters until behind the place of spirit idols or images situated on the upside of lattice wall and after a while transfers to the shaman, who is performing the given show."

p. 157

" "Ongon is a wraith, which becomes visible for a shaman, who fell into a trance" – explains in "Explanatory Dictionary of Mongolian language"".

p. 159

"So an "Ongon" perhaps is a spirit of the higher Descente joined with water and earth "masters" [elemental spirits] (L & S) and intimated to the body/ mind of an alive man/woman – shamaness)."

pp. 156, 159 condition of shaman during trance

p. 156

"When a shaman is possessed by an ongon, he/she does not know what is doing ..., but talking, playing, singing and dancing with his/her ongon."

p. 159

"the genuine shamans ... do not remember his/her own sayings and information after the end of a given show."

pp. 160-161 respect for fire

p. 160

"So there was avoided as taboo even in the 13th Century to touch the fire itself and/or something boiling or roasting on it with a knife or to chop wood near it."

p. 161

"a newly married couple is to pray to the family-fire in wedding-day with a libation item, which develops a fire flame such as ... national butter (shar tos) and animal fat."

pp. 164, 166, 168-170 numerics

p. 164

"the star of so-called in Mongolian "Three Hinds" (The Orion, Astr.) ... was ... a mythical name ..., because "Maral" means "A hind" in Mongolian."

p. 166

"the 29th day of every month was considered as the most ... terrible one, when shamans could only call their ongons".


stellar numerics : "Venus (In Mongolian Evening single Star) – 1,

Orion (T[h]ree Hinds) – 3,

Cassiopeia (Five-Men) – 5,

The Plough or Great Bear (The Seven Burhans/Gods) – 7".

p. 168

"There was built a temple of ‘Old men’ in a distance of 7 gazar from Bayden-shane mountain to the south west of Pinchen town. There is also a Heaven worshipping Tower, on which put 49 (7 times 7) wooden men of a height in two alds and it is worshipped annually on the 4th day of the 4th month ... . It was the expression of ... entrusting the souls of dead men to the "Seven Burhans" or Great Bear."

p. 169

"Moreover there was established custom that in the number of gift items presented to high officials should be nine, such as nine silver cups, nine queen-girls, nine white horses, a load/luggage of nine camels’ capacity .. and so on".

p. 170

"The shaman gown and armors are provided with 81 manjigs ["a snake’s image made of a woolen rope, decorated with some tassels of diverse colors" (p. 203, n. 85)] , which is also a symbol of asking."

p. 172 the proximal and the distal {for the proximal god, cf. [Aztec] Tloque Nahuaque}

"According to Shamanism there are two Heavens that protect the Mongols as a whole. The white one is very close to the people for their everyday protection and the other black one is in a distance".

pp. 174-176 flags; money

p. 174

"each Honshuu has its own banner of high descent and a galloping horseman was forbidden to pass through in the front side of the ger or temple within a distance of 50-100 steps, where the banner was stored. For a pedestrian there was also a taboo while walking near it one with a cap or any head wear on."

p. 175

"Some shamans ... who were able to find out and fetch lost items with their own magic gift/witchcraft, said, "It is possible to bring back anything, which was lost by someone, if it is capable of being lifted up by any ordinary man/woman. But none of the shamans is able to fetch a bank-note or coin, because of the state emblem/figure on it."

So shamans consider it as a taboo to put money on a field ongon and/or cairn as an offering ...; and to keep money and state official documents in a downward position from his/her waist such as into a trousers’ pocket."

p. 176

"apart from state flag, banner, emblem, the ... "Three Props" ["three corner stones as support for a kitchen pot and ... trivets" (p. 163)] and dogs, every kind of tea bricks ... were respected by the shamans as a state idee (food). So a shaman, who has fallen into an ongon’s trance though was capable of bringing anything of a weight 5- 8 kg within a distance of about 10 km away, he/she is unable to fetch or lift up 1/8 part of a Russian tea brick (about 250 gram) because of the State/National Emblem, which is figured on it."

p. 177 absence of personal greed from shamans

"The shamans had a common habit that all kinds of the gifts and things, which were presented by the clients to them, should be divided among the believers ... . So, the shamans in general are unwilling to take over something in a greedy way and store/save up extra possessions but his/her own daily need."

p. 182 miraculous bodily heat vaporizing cold water {this is also Bodish}

"Rashid-ad-Din noted in his "Sudaryn Chuulgan" that, "He [a shaman] sat down completely naked the ice of Onon, Herlen, and due to the higher temperature of his body the ice melted and vaporized upwards. Afterwards he was raised up to the Heaven riding a white horse.’ "

pp. 184-185 emanation of pair of birds from shoulders of a shaman {cf. the 2 ravens, named Hugin & Munin, who were pets of O`dinn}

p. 184

"the zayran, two cuckoos flied [flew] away suddenly from both of his shoulders. It astonished the Manchurian commander".

p. 185

a zayran "told several spells and two eagles flied [flew] away from each of his shoulders".

Purev Otgony (main transl. Purvee Gurbadaryn; assistant transl. Narantsetseg Pureviin) : The Religion of Mongolian Shamanism. GENCO University College, Ulaanbaatar, 2002.