SHAMAN, Vol. 3 (1995)





Use of Music in the Ritual Practices of the Itako

Takefusa Sasamori


Shamanism in Yughur Folk Tales

Zhong Jinwen


Archaic Rite in Nanai Shaman Ceremonies

T. D. Bulgakova


Some Animal Representations in Mongolian

A`gnes Birtalan


Origins of Order

Gregory Maskarinec


Se’ance Conducted by a Woman in Nepal

Romano Mastromattei



pp. 41-54 Takefusa Sasamori : "The Use of Music in the Ritual Practices of the Itako",

p. 42 qualifications & functions of itako

"The fundamental qualifications of an itako are that she be


trained under a senior itako, and

confirmed through an ... initiation rite."

"The itako’s ritual practices are performed with a view to :

(1) calling down or invoking the spirit of a client’s deceased ancestor : in

hotoke, communicating the instructions and wishes of the deceased to the living relatives;

(2) calling down or invoking the ... spirits in general;

(3) practicing divination for the benefit of her clients".

p. 43 ritual fainting by itako at their own initiation-rite

"the present-day itako ... have mentioned ... that :

(1) when they faint, the god(s) enter into them;

(2) when they come to, they unconsciously blurt out the names of the god(s) that will be their lifetime guardian deity".

p. 44 kuchi yose (spirit-talk)

"The components and procedures of spirit talk are : ...

Summoning the gods (kami yose) ...

Searching for and calling the spirit (hotoke yobi) ...

Declaration by the spirit (kudoki) ...

Sending off the spirit (hotoke okuri) ...

Sending off the gods (kami okuri) ...

rubbing herself with the rosary beads."

p. 45 tutelary deities of the local community

"god Oshira (Oshira saimon) ...

god of Mt. Iwaki (Iwaki-san ichidaiki) ...

god Konpira (Konpira ichidaiki) ...

god Inari (Inari-sama)"


pp. 55-66 Zhong Jinwen : "Shamanism in Yughur Folk Tales". [Yughur = Yellow Uyghur]

p. 57 myth about Mo-la

"the hero ... visits the sun-god (taiyang shen) by the Eastern Sea. Mo-la ... learns how to ... subdue the snow-demon. ... Mo-la borrows from the sun-god a magic fire-gourd, but ... Mo-la can extinguish the fire only by stopping the mouth of the magic gourd with his own body and, on doing so, he is transformed by the fire into a hill of red stones."

p. 57 myth about Sun-Mother (Ri Mu) and Moon-Father (Yue Fu)

"the moon (yueliang) and the sun (taiyang) ... were husband and wife, our ancestors. Their many cattle and

sheep are now the stars.

{the planets being straying sheep to the Sumerians}

After land had been created ...

{cf. S^into myth of creation of land on the sea below by a god and a goddess in heaven},

they drove their flocks down to earth. Later there was a great inundation and

Sun-Mother and Moon-Father

{ S^into likewise having a sun-goddess and a moon-god}

drove their flocks once more back to heaven,

the rainbow in the sky being their whip."

{more commonly, in other mythologies the divine whip is lightning}

p. 58 myth about the Magical Pearls (S^en Z^u)

"in the beginning there was darkness on earth and men had to crawl around ... . ... The god of heaven then threw down two magic pearls ... . ... Noticing the magic pearls, the man happily grasped the yellow one and his wife picked up the white one. They started to play with them and ... all at once they became united with the pearls ...! Both flew up to heaven, where they started to shine and ... the white fireball was named the sun and the yellow one the moon."

p. 63 myth about the Wooden Girl

"the wooden girl (jiao-wa-shi) is a mangus ... . ... when returning to her mother, ... the saddle-bag ... is full of doves ... . On the horse’s return only the two feet of the jiao-wa-shiare found attached to the saddle. According to Yughur tradition, however, ... when someone emits a shrill cry in a gorge, the echo sounds in honour of her soul." {Is she identical with the female "ravine ghost" mentioned in SHAMAN, vol. 2, p. 128, for Nepal?}


pp. 67-79 T. D. Bulgakova : "An Archaic Rite in Nanai Shaman Ceremonies". [/j/ is pronounced as in German; distinct from /j^/]

pp. 68-70 spaces in dream-worlds visited by shamans

p. 68

"while sleeping a shaman is able to enter these concrete locations and find the unreal space within, whose vastness contrasts with the size of the object that contains it. {The same contrast is a theme of some vaipulya sutra-s.} The rites ... are performed by a shaman when he or she enters such a space, which is called a j^okaso or ogj^ian. [fn. 2 : "the souls of the sick can be sent to an ogj^ian by a shaman. ... (Gaer 1978)."] A j^okaso may be located in a cliff or elevation, especially if the elevation is the mound on the site of an ancient settlement, or even inside a fish. One known j^okaso is an invisible town at the foot of a cliff ... at the confluence of the Amur and Sungari rivers. A shaman, penetrating the j^okaso ... in his sleep, sees a big village or town with stone houses. The houses are inhabited by the souls of living people. {or rather, by the guardian-angels of living people?} Each j^okaso has a river and, even if sited underground, has a sky, a sun (only dimmer {cf. Siberian and Aztec "half-sun"} than the genuine one), a moon and stars. Alien spirits cannot penetrate it as it is surrounded by a solid fence and gates {the Vajrayana man.d.ala, based on Taoist models, likewise is a fortress having gates}, which are usually locked fast and will admit only the shaman of the particular j^okaso. A j^okaso is also guarded by spirits – dogs {cf. Kerberos of Haides, and the watch-hound of the Inuit sun-goddess}, tigers and other beasts. One shamaness reported that in a dream

p. 69

she saw eight jackal packs and nine wolf packs around her j^okaso. The masters of a j^okaso are the spirit Father Maito and Mother Maij^a (each has its own Maito and Maij^a). They are some of the shaman’s various ajami, whose wooden figures he keeps at home. Father Maito maintains order in the j^okaso and protects the souls dwelling in it. Mother Maij^a takes care of the souls, treats them, feeds them kidney-beans and gives them tincture of ledum ... to drink. She also suckles the souls of any seriously ill persons in the j^okaso. When the masters of a j^okaso have something important to tell their shaman (if, for example, he is guilty of something {some inadvertent ritual lapse}) they meet him, with crowns on their heads, on the elevation in the eastern part of the j^okaso over which the sun rises.

A shaman inherits a j^okaso from his ancestors and, if this mother’s and father’s families include several shamans, he may come into possession of a number of j^okasos. He acquires his j^okaso while sleeping. He dreams that he is approaching a j^okaso but that spirits, wolves, tigers and dogs will not let him in. The shaman must calm the animals and put collars on the dogs before he can be admitted. {cf. the calming of the bitches of Tailika-pada (Tilo-pa).} Then he has to settle matters with the stern masters of the j^okaso, Mother Maij^a and Father Maito, and win their friendship. If his efforts meet with success, he is considered to be XataXani, the holder of a j^okaso. ... Should he fail to master these spirits at the first attempt, the same dream is repeated several times, as if he were being offered further opportunities to acquire the j^okaso. A shaman does not always succeed. [If a shaman did not succeed in this, he] was therefore obliged, with their consent, to use his brothers’ j^okaso during ceremonies.

J^okasos are located in real areas where the shaman’s forebears dwelt. When, during a ceremony, he sets off for a j^okaso the shaman enumerates the concrete geographical points he passes, and it is possible from these to deduce where this or that Nanai kin lived.

A shaman places the souls of his patients in a j^okaso. If the illness is caused by the fact that the soul (panjan) has abandoned the patient, a shaman performs a ceremony called taoc^iori, during which he follows the soul’s trail, finds it, exorcises evil spirits, swallows it with water prepared in advance and then goes up to the patient and returns his soul by

p. 70

breathing it out at him. However, ... [more usually] the soul was never returned to a patient but was, instead, taken to a j^okaso. I was told that the patients had been ill for a long time and that if their souls were returned to them, they would fail to stay in their bodies for long; they would leave, meet with dangers and the shaman’s efforts would have been futile. It is more difficult for the souls of such patients to leave a j^okaso than their own bodies because a j^okaso is protected by spirits. If, on the other hand, a patient is young and strong ... and fond of traveling ... it is easier to keep his soul in his body than in a j^okaso. A soul placed in a j^okaso is immobile ... . While there a person is not ill and has no dreams.


However, his soul may fret at the boredom and begin to yearn for freedom. The soul may outwit the spirits on guard and escape. After a while a person whose soul has broken out of a j^okaso begins to have dreams and his illness returns. It is believed that if a shaman makes an error and mistakenly places the soul of a patient in a j^okaso rather than returning it to him, not only this patient but other patients of his whose souls are in the same j^okaso will fall ill. This happens because a soul which should not have been placed in the j^okaso will show others how to escape."

pp. 70-1 shamanic curing by means of the sacred-hoop

p. 70

"A hoop is made from purple-willow branches and threads are tied, criss-cross fashion, from one side to the other. The patient stands on a drum case with his face towards the sun. Starting from his head, the hoop is drawn down over the patient’s body ... . [fn. 3 : "According to E. A. Gaer, the threads should remain intact".] ... When the hoop reaches his feet the patient is lifted slightly and the hoop is pulled away from underneath together with the drum case. The Nanais believe that the illness moves down the body with the hoop and when the hoop is removed the illness leaves the feet and is banished. ... the patient receives the vital force contained in the purple willow ... (Gaer 1984)." {This Tungus/Manchu (mislabeled as "Daoist" in Daoist Magical Transformation Skills, p. 116) curing-hoop is well-known to numerous Amerindian tribes (e.g., SNAP, p. 158).}

p. 71

"Pregnant women and children were usually treated in the same way. The rite influenced a coming birth and indicated how it would go. If the hoop passed freely, without touching the body, the birth would be easy."

SNAP = Thomas E. Mails : Secret Native American Pathways. 1988 (reprinted 2003).

p. 74 entanglement, by shaman, of illness-spirit

"the pue,le,j^iuri rite performed by the spirit Mother Maija in a j^okaso is given : ...

"Drive the illness away to the river mouth and to the source of the river! ...

May it get entangled in the skin of cattle and the fur of wild beasts! ...

May it get entangled in the feathers of flying birds! ...

Drive it to where the sun rises!""

{Would this sort of entanglement imply that the "intact" (p. 70, fn. 3) criss-cross threads of the sacred-hoop were likewise intended to catch illness by entangling it? If so, then would not the function Nanai sacred-hoop would be similar to that of the North American Indian "dream-catcher"?}

pp. 74-5 washing of the soul

p. 74

"the rite of washing the soul with water is performed in a j^okaso : ...

p. 75

"Dip the soul in the purest water with a splash! ...

Pour down healing water!""

p. 75 soul-receptacle

"The treatment in a j^okaso ends with a ceremony in which the spirits place a soul in a special receptacle called an oni. {In many indigenous African religions, external souls (guardian-spirits) of initiates are commonly kept in receptacles (a separate receptacle for each soul) in temples.} Each soul has its own oni. When a patient is treated by a shaman for the first time he has to give him some new dish : a pot or a saucepan, for example. ... The best present is a boat. The saucepan, pot or boat will be the oni for the patient’s soul in the shaman’s j^okaso. When she has finished the healing rites Mother Maij^a and her spirits place the soul in the oni so that the rising sun shines on its face. The soul must keep its balance in the oni because, if it fails to do so, the patient is unlikely to recover."


pp. 99-111 A`gnes Birtalan : "Some Animal Representations in Mongolian Shaman Invocations and Folklore".

p. 102 invocation of deity Xongio (H^ongio)

"blue deer with a blaze"

as mount


on his shoulder


on his forehead

Bal bu:h^i S^arai ridge

dwelling on

northern H^ambu hill

run on

p. 103 invocation of various spirit-animals as assistants

the __

is my __

"black antelope bull"


"vulture black bear"


"black-striped snake"

tie (reins)

xota:-black eagle


"sheep-yellow owl"


spotted lynx


p. 103 invocation of a deity

having __

as __

human meat


bronze and stone


"fire snake"


"rabid wolves"



pp. 113-57 Gregory G. Maskarinec : "The Origins of Order". [Jajarkot. District in Western Nepal]

pp. 136-7 the 9 star-obstructions[see SHAMAN 2:110] & the remedy against them






"the nine star obstructions



... struck Ghat.i {/ghat.a/ ‘quay’} Raja ...



One moment he was pierced, ... he was dying ... . ...



Mahadev ... put on his head a tiger’s skin, ...



held in his hand a thunderbolt staff [vajra-t.hinga] ...



put on his ankles heavy anklets, wooden sandals on his soles ... . ...



gave nine sacks, nine packs, gave them at Crossroads of Avenging Spirits [p. 136, fn. 24 : of "the Nine Little Sisters, ... witchcraft."] ... .



He ... distanced the nine star obstructions,



the seven times of natural death ...,



the fourteen times of unnatural death".

pp. 144-5 the daughter (Candravati)’s dowry & the receptacle for carrying it






"Father Bhagavan



... gave her a dowry of nine moons, ... nine suns. ... .



He made a bowl of gold, made a lid of silver,



put in snow storms, foggy patches, cyclonic dashes,



put in lightning flashes, total darkness splashes."

p. 145 release of the 9 sun & of the 9 moons

l. 171

"From a high ridge the nine moon, the nine suns

{cf. SHAMAN 2:120, l. 23 "there are nine moon, there are nine suns"}

l. 172

she released in the eastern direction."

pp. 145-6 lentil-bush; departure of 8 suns & of 8 moons upon daughter-in-laws actions at the behest of her father-in-law {cf. SHAMAN 2:120-1, fn. 5}






"The stupid race of man sat in the shade of a lentil bush."



"Address your elders abusively!"



"To a guest arriving at dusk, say that there’s no place to stay!"



"Hit a dog sitting in a doorway with a stick ...!"



"With uncombed hair go in and out of the house!"



"Comb your hair backwards with a wooden comb ...!"



"Beat together two pots!"



"Rub your right foot with your left foot ...!"



"Spit atop the drying shelf ...!"

pp. 146-7 survival (after destructive heat from the 9 suns) of the eldest in each category






"grass, Soft Trail Grass" [fn. 37 : "Dhuwa naram is a grass that grows in small clumps on trails"]



"thatch, Dumb Thatch" [p. 146, fn. 37 : "lat.o babeyo the longest variety of thatching grass"]



"stone, Black Ammonite Fossil" [p. 146, fn. 37 : "chambered fossil shells of a cephalopod mollusk"]



"tree, Black Oilwood" [pp. 146-7, fn. 37 : "kali telpari is a small hardwood that grows along river banks."]

p. 153 sites traversed "on the path eastward that dead souls travel as they leave this world"






"Eye of Needle,

Slippery Slope,

Shadow Pass ... .



Ciplai Gauri, and



He danced and drummed to the crossroads and back"


"This line has the simultaneous meaning : "he was possessed by Alang, was possessed by Malang.""

p. 153, p. 49 "Alang and Malang are female spirits of the high ridges who drive people crazy."


pp. 167-76 Romano Mastromattei : "A Shamanistic Se’ance Conducted by a Woman in Nepal". [Taman tribe]

p. 168 sacrificial offerings

"the objects placed on and around the altar are mainly ...

seeds of Oroxylum Indicum mounted on slender slivers of bamboo,

Tagetes erecta flowers ..."

p. 172 shamaness’s divine praeceptrix

"I have no flesh-and-blood guru but ..., when you hear tek-tek-tek from the jungle, she – she is the goddess who is called ban-devi (the goddess of the forest) – she is my guru."

p. 173 divine forest-crones

"a group of supernatural females, the ban ko burheni (old women of the wood). These female beings ... are seven and ... kidnap girls – who worship them as deities – and carry them off to the woods." [fn. 2 : "The detailed description of the ban ko burheni is found in Macdonald 1962:322-323."]