"Shamanic Practices ... in Northern Asia"

terms in




its meaning

201, fn. 12



heavenly sign (omen)



great shaman

203, fn. 14



adviser, counsellor (= Turkic /tab/ ‘cunning, clever’)




teacher, guru




pole or mast stuck in sacred cairn











"In the heart of winter ... it was his custom to sit naked in the middle of a frozen river, and from the heat of his body the ice would melt and steam would rise from the water."

210, fn. 20


"Even beheaded, the shaman-warrior did not fall down, and the ... emperor then called him weceku (guardian spirit)."



"There were two kinds of yadgan, those called clan shamans (... those whose helper spirits were clan ancestors), and those were independent (... there spirits came to them non lineally ...). There were also female shamans called otoshi who had charge of a group of spirits concerned with childbirth, growth ..."

pp. 218-223 Daur [alias dictus "Dagur"] cosmology & deities


classes of deities

205, fn. 15

"many-leaved tree" (as world-tree), compared with a cairn of stones {to "one of the biggest trees" was fastened (TY, p. 100) the downy bei ke: maki, which "symbolizes the rock ... where dwell the hekura who have no end." (TY, p. 96)}


" "hell" – ... located underground, the world of the dead, which people called ukel-un gurun (the empire of death) ... was reachable by going down through the bottom of wells or through caves. When already underground, one had to cross a river, rowed by a lame boatman, and then to penetrate through the encircling walls, were the gatehouses were guarded by fearsome soldiers. Once inside, there were palaces and prisons, multistory buildings with glass windows, towers, barracks, and cities. The light was dim and yellowish. The state had a ruler, Ilmu-Khan, who was surrounded with numerous ministers and scribes. In the registers of Ilmu-Khan were written the destinies, the years of life, and the numbers of children of all people and animals in the living world. Ilmu-Khan ... put the souls of the dad in prisons or gave them other punishments, or he allowed them to be reborn in the world. Animals



and all living creatures could take their cases to him for judgement. From him or one of his subordinates, the shaman had to beg for renewed life for a dead soul."

"The spirits ... include Tiger Spirit, Fox Spirit, birds, numerous female spirits, and Town Spirit (xoton barka), who possessed soldiers in barracks."


"The main ... ancestor to everyone, was Holieli {cf. the HOLI festival in India}, often called Da Barkan (the "great deity"). People made images of this spirit, which they kept in a box in their houses. ... In a story of the Nonni River Daurs, the Holieli ancestor is an antelope that emerged from a rock split open by lightning. The ... government had it seized, placed in a bag of cow leather, and thrown into the river. It drifted down the river till it met the flood dragon, where the bag burst on the dragon’s horn. ... The ... court again had it seized, placed in a bag, loaded on a horse, and sent off, The horse followed its nose to the Amur River, where it was


captured by a tribe of strange Tungus. They thought there must be something ... in the bag and opened it. The antelope leapt out and took to the forests. It was chased by the lightning, which struck and struck, and many creatures were killed, but it escaped ... It got to the Nonni River, near the Eyiler and Bitai villages. A man was ploughing. When the antelope spirit ran beside the man, there was a great crash of thunder, and everything was smashed into ninety-nine pieces. Since then, the antelope’s spirit and those of all the people and animals killed by lightning joined forces for haunting and possessing people."

"In a shaman’s song for Holieli, the ancestor is smashed to pieces by lightning and becomes the half-people {similar to the supernatural ˝-people (having only one side of their bodies) in <arab & Inuit lore} and crippled people. It starts from one end of the earth, which is at the source of the Ergune {cf. ERGiNos of Orkhomenos, whose horses (GM 121.d) [instead of antelopes] were bound, noses docked (GM 121.e, b) [instead of following their noses]} River. It is an old man, then it becomes a fish, traveling down the Jinchili River, gathering as it goes all the people of the clans and all kinds of animals. ... It raids the city of Peking and occupies the seat of orthodoxy. It is a loud voice yelling in the palace. It is given a jade throne, a pearl restingplace. From there it begins its journey again ...; it reaches the Daur and becomes hidden in the plowblade {cf. the Skuthian legendary ploughshare from the sky (H 4:5-7)} of a farmer. Again it is honored by the people. ... It is given a two-dragon throne on the western wall of the house ... In a robe of grass, it tramples on clean satins. ...


The gold-colored tortoise,

The silver-colored frog,

A buzzing biting wasp,

A creeping spider,


The wriggling lizards and snakes,

The sound of a shaken bell,

A cuckoo calling loudly,

The leopard growling,

The huge and fearless wild boar ...

The ancestor Holieli ... takes to the forest as a wasp,

changes to a spider,

and changes to the sound of a bell."

TY = Jacques Lizot : Tales of the Yanomami. 1985.

GM = Robert Graves : The Greek Myths. 1955.

H = Herodotos : Historiai. http://herodot.georgehinge.com/analog.html

Nicholas Thomas & Caroline Humphrey (eds.) : Shamanism, History, and the State. Ann Arbor : U of MI Pr, 1994. pp. 191-228 Caroline Humphrey : "Shamanic Practices and the State in Northern Asia".