Shamanic Worlds of Korea and Northeast Asia, 4-7


4. (pp. 89-127) Shamanic Worlds of Si-c^uan

p. 100 terms for ‘shaman’ in various languages






wu-s^i (m.); wu-fo (f.)





pp. 101, 104-5 shamanic rite by the Qian of Si-c^uan : including touching of red-hot metal by shaman & by the faithful

p. 101

"The younger of the two shamans ... puts on a monkey headdress with several small, highly valued cowrie shells; and ... begins drumming and chanting. ... . ... the younger shaman takes the red-hot coulter out of the fire, licks it quickly several times with his tongue, and then slides the heel of his bare foot over it. Some guests do the same. ... None were hurt.

{"monkey ... brains, and ... monkeys' penises along with ... Flimani Koku" ("VT")} {"to give honor to Flimani koku ... A man brings a heated knife to his tongue but after several repetitions, his tongue doesn’t even redden." ("VH"; "VR&I")}


A little later, the shaman prepares the Peace Flower Plate (tai ping hua ban), moulding ...


a boat-shaped affair holding twenty-two pieces of dough that stand for various creatures."

{If this boat be conceived as an ocean-going vessel, then cf. the 22 oceans of Zaratustrian mythic geography.}

p. 104

"numerous shamans, drummers in monkey-skin headgear, and bands of male and female dancers follow pipers in procession ... into a sacred realm ... . ... A shaman takes a red-hot coulter from a near-by fire .., and then slides his foot over the coulter for several seconds. He bares himself to the waist and briefly wraps a host chain lightly

p. 105

around his neck and head as all watch intently." {If a pet monkey be kept fastened to a chain, it will wrap the chain around the pole whereto the chain is tethered. (This may lead to death of the monkey by heat-exhaustion, if the pole be in an area exposed to the sunlight.)}

"VT" = "Voodoo in Togo" "VH" = "Voodoo history"

"VR&I" = "Voodoo – Reality and Imagination"

p. 110 pi-mox of the Yi in the Lian-s^an mountains of Si-c^uan

"The main person responsible for preserving Yi culture and rites is the quasi-shamanistic male ritual specialist called bimo in Chinese, pi-mox in the Yi language. He has the assistance of spirit helpers and is said sometimes to perform feats like those of Qiang shamans, touching a red-hot arrow to his tongue, putting his hand in boiling water, or enduring a red-hot coil around his neck without injury."

p. 111 su-nyit of the Yi in the Lian-s^an mountains of Si-c^uan

"the suni (su-nyit) may be male or female and is more clearly shamanistic (Bamo 2004:5-7). He or she deals with the spirit world with the aid of a drum in a trance state."

Bamo 2004 = Ayi Bamo : "The Religious Practitioner Bimo in Yi Society of Liangshan". SHAMAN 12/1-2:3-23.

p. 112 sacred bough in rite of the Yi

"A bimo needs the "spirit branch" (shenzhi) of a forest tree to perform a religious ritual. ... To become present, a god must descend from the heavens via a tree and temporarily become embodied in the "spirit branch". ...

A fir is used when a goat is sacrificed,

willow for a cock."

pp. 112-3 how a bird originated Yi writing

p. 112

"Wondering what he was up to, his mother one day attached the end of a thread to his shoes and followed the thread after he had gone. She discovered that a bird had been teaching him the written Yi language. When she called to him, the bird flew away, never to return again. ... Thus

p. 113

the last pages of a bimo’s books are traditionally blank."

"A chant in the rite ... gave a different version of the origin of the Yi script :

In olden days, a bird descended from the sky to a tree, shook its wings, and let a feather fall. It used the feather to write bimo texts, which it put beneath the tree. A man came, same them, and started performing bimo rites."

p. 120 pi-mox’s vocationary sickness

"The present officiant ... has been ill for some time, but he became a bimo and was cured. He said that he did not want to become a bimo and doesn’t particularly like the life now. The rituals are long and often held at night ... . If he doesn’t perform them, however, he will become sick again."

p. 121 pi-mox’s ritual apparatus; his conversing with spirits

"The bimo ... used a fish-shaped, red wooden tube on top of which are carved a small eagle or hawk (ying), a puma, and a tiger. The tube contains bamboo sticks used to curse persons by rubbing them together. He also has a round, black instrument used for important gods, with a handle on the top are carved a small eagle or hawk, wild dove, puma, and tiger. He uses no drum. ... .

... he converses with the family ancestral spirits and his own ancestral spirit(s); he recounts the origin of grass, trees, water, stones".


5. (pp. 129-57) Jeju Family Rite

pp. 130-2 simban on Jeju Island & their performance

p. 130

"Called simbang on Jeju, most shamans there are traditionally male. ...

p. 131

The main officiant begins with a lengthy mythic chant, referred to generically as bonpuri ... . ...

p. 132

While three musicians intone a solemn beat on a drum, a large gong, and a smaller pot-like gong, the ... officiant then sits before his hour-glass drum and begins a slow bonpuri chant, ringing his bell to call the attention of the gods".

pp. 132-3 bonpuri generally

p. 132

"A bonpuri may begin with Yin and Yang forces of creation when

p. 133

earth, human beings, and the four cardinal points get separated from heaven. ... With the blessing of the high god Okhwang, heavenly bodies appear ... . ...

Finally, the gates are opened in all directions. This and that gods enters".

pp. 133-4 "bonpuri for the shrine deities of the seaport city of Seogwipo recorded in Im 2003:195-228"

p. 133

"The make god is Gwan Ilmun, a handsomely dressed deity with a long beard, moustache and sideburns. His consort is Ko Sanguk, but he was originally married to her older sister, also called Ko Sanguk. ... The two elope ... to Seogwipo, but the older sister ... follows ... .

p. 134

The younger sister summons up a mist to hide Gwan and herself, but the older sister magically dispels it ... . ... She gives her sister a new surname, Chi, and leaves. ... They leave and find a cave by a brook in a deep forest. After three months ..., they decide to return to see Gwan’s wife ... . ... When Gwan shoots an arrow that lands at Seogwipo, she says that ... her husband and sister will rule over there ... . ... Gwan and the younger Ko settle there as the gods of Upper and Lower Seogwipo. A goddess suddenly appears and tells them that the area is her domain. ... She goes to the sea palace of the Dragon God to have charge of ships and women sea divers and leave Seogwipo to them ... .


For a partial translation of another bonpuri, see Kim, Theresa 1993:153-160."

Im 2003 = Seokjae Im (ed.) (transl. by Alan C. Heyman) : Mu-ga : the Ritual Songs of Korean Mudangs. Fremont : Asian Humanities.

Kim 1993 = Theresa Ki-Ja Kim : "The Korean Shaman Song of Creation". In :- Daniel Weissbort & Arvind Krishna Mehrota : Pleripus. Delhi. pp. 149-63.

pp. 135-8 immanence of the deities at the rite on Jeju

p. 135

"Through the chanting of bonpuri, the gods are thought to become present at the ritual site. They are commonly said to descend via a high bamboo pole that is set up outside and connected with the ritual altars by a long white cloth (Kim S. 2004:668a). ... . ... the simbang ... summons the deities, dancing counterclockwise and then clockwise on the mat before the altar area to the accompaniment of loud music. ... .

p. 136

... counterclockwise movement in a shaman rite represents movement into the spirit world and clockwise movement away from it. ... . ... gods include ... Daoist Okhwangsangje, or Jade Emperor, a deity that is the equivalent of the traditional Korean Haneunim ... . The next level down ... includes ... Seokga Yeoldaewang (Ten Great Kings) and Buldo Halmeom, the ... Grandma ... . ...

p. 137

In the gut itself, however, the costume ... -- red for the gods, green for ... ancestors – implies a distinction. ... The shaman takes off the red outer garment and is left in the light green garb, in which he summons all family ancestors. ...

p. 138

Divination by tossing knives indicates all the deceased have come".

Kim 2004 = Seongnae Kim : "Cheju-do Island Shamanism". In :- Walter & Fridman (edd.) : Shamanism. ABC CLIO. 2:666-70.

p. 139 benevolent deities

"In Korea, the deities who are thought to have special care for long life are Chilseong, that is the Seven Stars of the Big Dipper ... . ...

As having a care for the birth and life of young children, it is represented as ... Halmang (Grandma). ... . ... her origins are recounted in a bawdy gut tale, the Jeseok Bonpuri, where she is paired with the male god Jeseok ... (see Kister 1997:41-50)."

Kister 1997 = Daniel A. Kister : Korean Shamanist Ritual. Budapest : Akade`miai Kiado`.

pp. 147-8 soul-retrieval

p. 147

"soul recovery, or Neokdeuri, for ... who was thought to have "lost his soul." ... soul loss (neogeul ireuldae) can come about through a sudden surprise. ... " ... The case of soul loss frequently happens to children younger than fifteen years. When a child is frightened often during sleep ..., one of its souls is supposedly lost" ([Kim] 2004:668a). ... the point of the Neokdeuri is to call back the soul that got separated from the man’s person and chase away ghosts (gwisin). ... .

... the simbang asks high gods to retrieve the soul and send it back. He begins with a chant refrain accompanied by two drummers. ... The shaman

p. 148

dances, faster and faster; and he waves over the [patient] his bell with multicolored ribbons and then small knives with white paper strands. He spurts a mouthful of water on him."

pp. 150, 152 Jeju "Jilchim, the cleansing of the road for the deceased to the other world"

p. 150

"Now it is the Messenger Spirit, whom the Ten Kings send to escort the deceased ... . ... . ... the Messenger Spirit ... has charge of the path to ... the next life ... . ... .

p. 152

... the souls of the deceased depart quickly like butterflies."


6. (pp. 161-82) Healing Dynamics of Korean Rites

p. 163 Jeju possessing-spirit having sexual relations with the possessed

"a dead person’s soul is said to enter the sick person and speak. The simbang must then discern who the spirit is ... . If he does not, the patient may go mad. Sometimes the spirit of the dead person is thought to sleep with a patient of the opposite sex; this can cause marriage problems and even lead to divorce if the patient then refuses to sleep with his or her spouse."

pp. 162, 164 expulsion of daimones for patient’s body; wandering souls

p. 162

H^akass (of Siberia) : "The shaman uses a drum with bells attached. He beats the patient’s back with branches to drive the demon away".

p. 164

Jeju Island : "As the drum beat again gets faster, he uses knives on the [patient] to press on the seventh vertebra, where the soul is thought to return, and on his fingers ... . The simbang ... first retrieves the soul; then, to the fast beat of the drum, he gets rid of unwanted spirits."

p. 168

Yi : "It is believed that during the year, when family members leave home to herd flocks, plant crops, or send off souls (ling) of the dead, their own souls (linghun) may leave their bodies and wander among the mountains, fields, and valleys. For the family to start off the new year ..., these souls must be called back and the patient’s personal wholeness restored."


7. (pp. 183-214) Worlds of Evil

pp. 191-8 Na-xi (of Yun-nan) lover-couple’s joint-suicide; rite assuaging its effects




"the Naxi rite called Jifeng in Chinese and Herlaliken or Halaniken in the Naxi language ... is a world of romance that ends in love suicide. ...


The Chinese word Jifeng literally means "Sacreificial Rite for the Winds." ... . ... it means "Worshipping Wandering Spirits." ... . The soul of the couple who


commit love suicide will be guided by the dongba into the mysterious Jade Dargon Third Kingdom" ... . It is a "paradise of love" ... . ... .

... the original Gods of Love ... are "the first two persons who died for love," Longzuazu and Goutuxiguan; and "they cause the deaths of other lovers" ... . ... .


... the Sacrificial Rite for the Winds takes place in a rather large enclosure within a grassy area ... marked off by small wooden plaque-stakes. ...


At the right, stands a tall pole representing the female deity. It is decked with flags and topped by a branch of shanbaiyang (Henry Wilson Tree) and at the very top [with] bamboo.

At the left is a pole representing the male deity. It is topped with a pine branch and bamboo.


Between the two poles is strung a rope, with little wood plaques and flags hanging on it to represent things that lovers used before their death.

Toward the back of the enclosure is a small pine tree stuck in the ground in a small area marked off by wooden plaque-stakes. The tree stands for Renzhi, the Village of Flying Ghosts ... .


In the middle of the tree is a nest of small eggs that the ghosts lay,

{"When it snowed," You-c^ao-s^i "invented a wooden nest" (HChM, s.v. "Youchaoshi").}

{Oreithuia’s daughter by Boreas was ("Kh") Khione (‘Snow’).}


and at the foot a hen that represents rengui, which ... means "human ghosts." ...

To the left of the Village of Ghosts is the small figure of a woman.


Before her are offerings of ... nuts;

{"mast (acorns)" (VBSF, n. 20:5)}


and behind her are evergreen branches and three painted plaque-stakes. She is Daleasamani, variously called Wind Spirit (Fengshen), God[dess] of Nature’s Winds (Ziranfengshen), or Mother of Wind Clouds (Fengyunzhimu). ... .


... her parents married her to a man in another village; but a big wind blew her

{"Oreithyia was playing with Pharmakeia, when a northern gust carried her over the neighbouring rocks; and this being the manner of her death, she was said to have been carried away by Boreas." (Platon : Phaidros 229sq – "O")}


and her donkey over the cliff to her death. ...

{"an old woman riding on a donkey ... is ... very tall and dark with a bluish cast and her donkey is jade colored." (CBL, p. 113)} {Goddess Kala-ratri (‘Dark Night’) "is believed to ride on a donkey at night." S`itala, "the goddess of fever and small pox, is also believed to ride on a donkey." ("DV")}


In front of the overall enclosure is a small area for known lovers who died for love, marked off by plaques. Wandering in the destructive winds {cf. Boreas}, they are said to haunt the living and demand things from them ... . ...


The action begins before the altar with a rite ... that summons the Warrior God Karaoniujiu ... . He is imagined as riding an animal, and he is offered food and the fresh scent of burning cedar and fir ... . ...


In committing suicide, lovers trap themselves in the whirlwinds ... . ...

{"Oreithyia, daughter of Erechtheus ... and his wife Praxithea, was one day whirling in a dance ..., when Boreas, ... brother of the South and West Winds, carried her off to a rock near the river Ergines where ... he ravished her." (GM 48.a)}


The dongba now ... chants the mythic tale of the first lovers lured to their death the Love Gods, a man named Ziguyiluepai and a woman named Kameijiumujin. ... They were lured by the Love Gods with the promise that they would enjoy the paradise of live, literally "ideal kingdom" (lixiang wangguo), the Third Kingdom of the Jade Dragon. It is "a place of white clouds and blue sky, high mountains and running water, green pines and juniper, meadows and flowers.


People there can ride the tiger and

{"FENG PHO-PHO was the goddess of the winds. She was pictured as an old wrinkled woman who rode a tiger on a path of clouds." ("ChP")} {[Ul’c^i of lower Amur] "Duse, the flying tiger ... has wings and a person on the back with the face of a bear." (FT, p. 170)} {"The "Chedipe," was a naked woman (prostitute) who rode a tiger into a house after putting the family into a deep sleep. She would proceed to suck the big toe of the man and drain him of all of his blood." ("N-EFV")}


use the white deer to plough the land. ...

{Amathaon (‘Ploughman’), who stole a "white roebuck" (according to the MA), is identical (according to Robert Graves) with Amuthaon, who celebrated the same festival (GM 138.m) as did Klumenos (‘Honeysuckle’). Klumenos was father of (GM 121.a) Erginos, who "put a new shoe on the battered plough coulter" (GM 121.f) – with a sexual connotation for "coulter" (as in the tale of Heraklees with the dragon-goddess in Skuthia).}


There a couple can love freely, and there is no sadness at all."


"Then there begins ... two climactic dances engaging warrior gods in a battle against destructive ghosts. ...


Spirit battles ... can be found as well in shaman rites along the lower Amur River".

HChM = Lihui Yang & Deming An : Handbook of Chinese Mythology. Oxford U Pr, 2005.

"Kh" = "Khione"

VBSF = Voyage of Bran son of Febal

"O" = "Oreithyia"

CBL = Douglas J. Pennick (transl.) : Crossings on a Bridge of Light. Mill City Pr, Minneapolis, 2009.

"DV" = "Donkey as Vahana"

"ChP = "Chinese Pantheon"

FT = Kira van Deusen : The Flying Tiger. Montreal & Kingston : McGill-Queen’s University, 2001.

"N-EFV" = "Non-European Folklore Relating to Vampires"

MA = Myvyrian Archaeology

pp. 207, 209, 212-3 Yi rite warding-off evil

p. 207

"the bimo ... summons helping spirits from outside : nearby Mountain Gods, the Tiger, Eagle, Bear, Wolf, and Pine Gods. ... He tells all evil spirits to be gone. ...

p. 209

The bimo then rings a bell to summon all gods – his own, the family’s, and those from outside ... . He tosses the knife three times outside the gate to rout evil forces. If the blade falls facing outward, the rout is deemed a success. ...

p. 212

The bimo then rubs a small grass figure and the egg on the left shoulder and arm of each person to signify the rubbing away of illness or anything bad. Each family member blows on the egg to blow away evil in the form of their own disruptive tendencies. The bimo breaks the egg open with the sickle to rid them

p. 213

of such tendencies. He next holds ... knots symbolizing misunderstandings within and evil from without. The family unties the knots. The bimo then washes their hands with clean water and their shoes {cf. Iranian ritual wiping of shoes} with water mixed with ashes"


KOREAN STUDIES SERIES, No. 45 = Daniel A. Kister : Shamanic Worlds of Korea and Northeast Asia. Jimoondang, Seoul, 2010.