Shamanism – critical concepts, 5

p. 127 assistance to shaman from dead ancestors

"the ancestors do not play a part at all, and, even if they do take a part, some other spirits are at their backs. ...

Amongst the Buriats for instance, where the ancestor’s part is, nowadays, of great importance, the shamans in olden times are supposed to have received their "utcha" (the shaman’s divine right) from the celestial spirits, while the present ones get theirs from ancestors only; but ... even to the present shamans ancestors are but mediators, from whom they [shamans] acquire the means of communication with the celestial spirits ..."

p. 127 the 2 kinds of spirits useful to shamans of the Goldi

"The protecting spirit (a`yami), who elected the shaman as his chosen one, and

the assistant spirits (sywe`n) subordinated to the shaman and given to him by his patron,

are clearly distinguished."

{with /sywe`n/ (/suwe`n/) cf. Skt. /sevana/ ‘service’, or else Latin /svino-/ ‘swine’}

pp. 128-130 autobiography of a Goldi "siurinka sama`n" from Urmila {name of a heroine in the Puran.a} nigh H^abarovsk on the river Amur




"Once I was asleep ..., when a spirit approached me. It was a very beautiful woman. Her figure was very slight, she was no more than half an arshin (71 cm) tall. ... Other shamans say they have had a vision of a woman with one-half of her face black, and the other half red.

She said : "I am the "ayami" of your ancestors, the Shamans. I taught them shamaning. Now I am going to teach you. ... You are to become a shaman".


Next she said : "I love you, I have no husband now, you will be my husband and I shall be a wife unto you. I shall give you assistant spirits. You are to heal with their aid, and I shall teach and help you myself. ..." ...


She has been coming to me ever since, and I sleep with her as with my own wife, but we have no children. She lives quite by herself without any relatives in a hut, on a mountain, but she often changes her abode.


Sometimes she comes to me under the aspect of an old woman, and

sometimes under that of a wolf, so she is terrible to look at.

Sometimes she comes to me as a winged tiger. I mount it and she takes me to show me different countries. I have seen

mountains, where only old men and women live, and

villages, where you see nothing but young people, men and women : ...

sometimes those people are turned into tigers."


"She has given me three assistants – the "jarga" (the panther), the "doonto" (the bear) and the "amba" (the tiger). They come to me in my dreams, and appear whenever I summon them while shamaning."


"When I am shamaning, the "ayami" and assistant spirits are possessing me : whether big or small, they penetrate me, as smoke or vapor would. When the "ayami" is within me, it is she who speaks through my mouth, and she does everything herself.

When I am eating the "sukdu" (the offerings) and drinking pig’s blood (the blood of pigs is drunk by shamans alone, lay people are forbidden to touch it), it is not I who eat and drink, it is my "ayami" alone.

I also care for the needs of my assistant sprits, but I only scatter meat and gruel for them, and they pick it up themselves."


"There are three degrees of shamans :

1) the "siurlka [read : "siurinka"] sama`n", the shaman who knows only how to heal,

2) the "nyemanti sama`n", -- who performs the commemorative office ["A special ceremony performed over a deceased man’s soul a day or two after his death. (p. 148, n. 3)], and

3) the greatest shaman – the "kassati sama`n", who conveys the souls of the deceased to the other worlds.

The "ayami" teaches them all."


"The "ayami" taught me to make myself a shaman’s garment, but for the present she only allows me to wear an apron, and

she also told me to make a drum; before that I used to borrow one when shamaning.

She has not taught me to make a shaman pole; it is too early, one has to see what is to become of me. ...

Then she told me to make images of my assistant spirits and to wear them on neck. After they had been carved out, as the "ayami" had prescribed, I hung them on the wall and brought them offerings and gave them to eat and burned incense for them; then I beat my drum, summoning the spirits to enter the images, and they obeyed my call."


"There can be no shaman without an "ayami". ... A man’s "ayami" is always a woman, and a woman’s – a man, because they are like husband and wife.

Some shamans sleep also with all their assistant spirits, as with a woman.

There was one great shaman woman who lived without a husband. She had many spirit-servants, and she slept with them all."

[(S&ISh, p. 153) : "the most highly respected shaman among the Entsy (a Samoyed people) was the budtode, who is in contact with the spirits who live in heaven.

The less highly regarded d’ano was able to protect humans from evil spirits, and

the least respected sawode shaman could contact the dead.

In the same way the lowest category among the Nanai (Goldi) was the siurinka, the shaman who cures the sick. {= d’ano, protecting from evil ailment-spirits}

Nemati shamans were able both to cure the sick and to perform the shamanizing at the first festival in memory of the dead. {= budtode, introducing the guardian-angel of the dead to the heavenly spirits, as by the Chinese emplacement in memorial ancestor-name-tablet}

Among the shamans[, those] with the greatest prestige were the kasati shamans, ... who are capable of the most important task of the Nanai shaman, that of accompanying the souls of the dead to the otherworld. {= sawode}"]

S&ISh = Andrei A. Znamenski : Shamanism. RoutledgeCurzon, London, 2004.

Vol. I, pp. 149-164. 6. Anna-Leena Siikala : "Siberian and Inner shamanism".

pp. 130-131 account of a Goldi "kassati sama`n"




"Another shaman ... was the greatest of shamans then living in the Amur region. ... he was the only one who ... conveyed the souls of all dead Golds to the "buni" (the other world). ...

Sometimes he was awaited for years, and it happened that, on his coming to a certain place, he found there had gathered many souls waiting for their turn, and ... sometimes he had to take 20 souls at a time, ... one or more are always lost on the way, and he has to come back and look for them.

Such hard labor occupying him incessantly, necessitated the constant help of his "ayami", and she never left him; he was therefore obliged to give her lots of food and drink ..."


"His story was similar to that of the foregoing, inasmuch as it began with a vision. He had ... a vision of a female spirit who appeared to him in a dream inviting him to become her husband.

He has had three "ayamis" : the first one captivated him, when he was quite young; later on he had two others, one of whom he even called Niochta` (wild swine). {"Phaia was a female robber, a woman of murderous and unbridled spirit, who dwelt in Krommuon, was called ‘Sow’ because of her life and manners, and was afterwards slain by Theseus." – Plutarkhos : Lives --Theseus 9.1 (HK)} They were all very pretty ... With Niochta` he continues living as with a wife ...

He also has an earthly wife. ... she is proud of her position, is not jealous of the spirit wife and even goes so far as to feel a real affection for her.

The same "ayamis" who were his wives were formerly wives and inspirers of his father.


Every gens has its own "ayamis". They live ... in a special country on the world’s tree called Kongourdjagda`.

Another such tree grows in the sky, and still another in the under world.

Besides the "ayamis", it is inhabited by many other gens spirits and also by many souls of children in the form of unfeathered ducklings; the Shaman takes those and gives them to mothers whose children have died.


The "ayami" – my informant explained – is his mind,

she sits in his ritual hat, in the little bell "kaurachta`".


The "ayami" gave the shaman five assistants to be at his service :

1) the inda` khochi` – the mad dog,

2) the soli khochi` -- the mad fox,

3) the chakhani` -- the dwarf,

4) the muirikdja` -- the headless man,

5) the akbamani` -- a kind of woodcock. {The woodcock was, in Seneca myth, created out of left-over bird-parts (W), much as in the Kemetian Book of the Dead parts were cited by name in order for "the drawing to become an actual boat" (EM, p. 168), 4 "of the rudders to be painted" (EM, p. 123); "The paint ... was applied with a Hazel Grouse bone." (ShD, p. 195) "Creaked like hazel-grouse the rudders" (Kalevala XXXIX, 317-324 – SHKC) -- ‘hazel-grouse’ = ‘hazelcock’ kapin~jala, the soma-quaffing one out of the 3 heads of Vis`va-rupa in Taittiriya Samhita 2:5:1 (N&FMS)—all 3 were decapitated, suggesting the "headless" man as 4th assistant.}


His father has also given him an assistant spirit – the idjikhi` (a celestial spirit) and a staff (the bolo`) {cf. the kerukeion of Hermes (caduceus of Mercurius)} which helps him to convey the souls into the "buni`" : there in an image of the "neka mafa`" on it – the contemporary of the three suns, the driver of the magical staff."

HK =

W =

EM = Wallis Budge : Egyptian Magic.

ShD = Andrei A. Znamenski : Shamanism. RoutledgeCurzon, London, 2004.

Vol. I, pp. 193-203. 9. Leonid P. Potapov : "Shaman’s drum".



pp. 133-134 abassy-deities of the Yakut




"The head of those "abassy", Ulu Tojo`n, gave men shamans, and also gave men one of the souls, namely the intelligent soul "sur", the one in which the shaman talents and power are concentrated. That soul of the shaman has to go through a course of studies in the Ulu Tojon’s kingdom, and the children of the latter marry human beings."


[At night,] "The abassy-man ... palpably enters ... A whip with fingle-fangles hanging down from the elbow, he opens the door and, treading heavily, goes up to the woman lying on the north side of the hut, and blows hard on her face, upon which she falls asleep. He then penetrates into her ... and makes her love him, and then, ... enters on sexual intercourse with her. {incubus}

The abassy-women come up to men in exactly the same manner, and enter upon a continuous intercourse with them. {succuba}


"If abassy girls fall to making love to a young man who had intended to marry, he begins to feel a repulsion for his betrothed, so that, if an abassy girl is exciting a man greatly, he usually remains unmarried all his life. In their dreams they sleep with very pretty girls, and they love each other (in sexual intercourse). ...

If an abassy girl excites a married man, becomes impotent, whenever he wants to "love" his wife."


"The masters and mistresses of the upper and underworld, "abassy", in appearing to the shaman in his dream, do not personally enter upon sexual intercourse with him. This is done by their sons and daughters.

Before the shaman ..., such [a daughter of] an abassy appears to him in his dream. If an [actual daughter-]abassy enters into the shaman’s chest [coffer for dreams ?] under the aspect of a woman he wanted to "love" in the daytime, she laughs and plays with him, and is kind to him, or makes him a present of something, so on waking the shaman feels in high spirits and thinks to himself : "I ... shall certainly have luck"."


"The [daughters of] "abassy" alighting to have a good time with the shaman reside in the so called "ma:na:rikta:hhallan" {cf. [<ibri^] H.Lo^m ‘dream’}, which literally means "the sky with ma:na:riks", i.e. with the spirits of rapture and extasy. One legendary shaman introduced himself saying he got his head {had he been thitherto headless in his dream, like unto the 4th assistant of the Goldi siurlku sama`n ?} in that ma:ana:rikta:hhallan, the mad heaven".

{Since Tithonos when "he could not move nor lift his limbs" (HH 5, l. 218) was in a shamanistic state of "sleep-paralysis", the goddess Auos (Eos) who had him under her control was similar to an abassy; so that a daughter of an abassy would be about aequivalent to Philonis / Khione, who mated (CDCM, s.v. "Philammon") with 2 different gods on the same day (as it could be suspected that a daughter of an abassy may be carrying out simultaneous love-affairs, inasmuch as shamans surely must outnumber abassy-daughters).}

HH 5 = Homeric Hymn 5, to Aphrodite

CDCM = Pierre Grimal (tr. by Maxwell-Hyslop) : A Concise Dictionary of Classical Mythology. 1990.

pp. 135-136 a:ma:ga:t spirit-helpers of Yakut shamans




"If the daughter of the master spirit of the upper "enraptured sky", Ilbis, appears to the shaman in his dream, plays with him and has sexual intercourse with him, the shaman, when waking, interprets his dream as follows "... the daughter of Ilbis has personally appeared to me in my dream, and she went off only after having played with me and made me love her", and, so thinking, the shaman is full of hope."


"That protective spirit without whose help the shaman is not able to accomplish his fundamental function ... bears the special name of "a:ma:ga:t." "Every shaman, down to the feeblest and most insignificant ... possesses an "a:ma:ga:t;" it is his protective spirit ..." ...

what this "a:ma:ga:t" is ... is one of the daughters of the "enraptured heavens", the daughters even of the very chief of the "abassy" spirits, Ilbis himself, ... being with him in sexual intercourse.

[The Yakut] "has never heard of "a:ma:ga:ts" being males; the reason for it being that [the Yakut] did not know of any female shaman, so there was no need whatever for males a:ma:ga:ts."


"The "a:ma:ga:t" of the Yakut takes possession of her chosen one, as the "ayami" of the Golds; ... all the shaman says during the shaman performances, all that is really uttered by the "a:ma:ga:t".

When the shaman has to execute some important commission from a distance, ... he embodies this "a:ma:ga:t" in a suitable image and sends it to its destination. This ... attribute ... that ... bears the same appellation of "a:ma:ga:t" ... is a brass plate with the image of a human being on it, sewed on to the shaman’s garment right over where his heart beats. This image is of such importance that it is affixed by an old shaman on the garment of the neophyte during the ceremony of initiation ..."


"Lastly, it is interesting to note ... that the electing spirit of the shaman, his "a:ma:ga:t", appears in to him in the form of a child, a girl ... With the Goldi the ayami appears also in a childlike form." ["Her figure was very slight" (p. 128).]

pp. 137-139 Buriat shamanism




"A Buriat shaman’s career begins with a call from a shaman-ancestor, who carries his spirit to his abode in heaven, and there he teaches him the art of shamanism, revealing to him the ways and customs of the household of the vast celestial kingdom and its rulers. {such ways and customs being learned also in, e.g., Eckankar}


On his way heavenwards, the spirit of the young shaman makes a halt in the domains of the god of the Middle World, Tekha Shara Matzkala, the yellow billy-goat, the deity of dancing ..., who is living with the nine daughters of Solboni, the god of the dawn. ... {"In Norse mythology these nine females were the daughters of the sea-god Aegir and his wife, the sea-goddess Ran ... in Welsh folklore fishermen are said to have called the ninth wave the ram of Gwenhiddy" (H). [Irish] Ruad, son of Rigdon, discovered under the sea 9 women, and he spent a night with each in turn [Dindsenchas -- EC, s.v. "Numbers" (N) with "Place Name Stories" (P).] The 9 daughters of Aegir & Ran include (Prose Edda, Skáldskaparmál LXXVI -- AeD) ‘Comber’: cf. combing by Inuit shamans (LSSG) of the hair of goddess Sedna.}

Whilst visiting this special, frivolous god of shamanism, the spirit of the young shaman is occupied in wooing the divine maidens, and he is even accorded full rights to enjoy the caresses of the nine wives of the master of the Middle world himself. ...


After the spirit of the shaman-to-be is sent to heaven ..., he attains to the state of so-called "amdakha", which literally means "opening the mouth" ... {cf. Kemetian "opening the mouth" of the mummy}


After that critical period, manifested by extreme ... gayety, dancing, ... etc., the soul of the shaman finds in the skies its own bride, its future wife with whom it enters into sexual intercourse."


"he collects a contribution of presents consisting of .. ermine skins and ... bells. These gifts ... serve the shaman as the customary bride-price (the kalim) paid in for the celestial wife ...


the so called shaman tree which the shaman ascends on his way to heaven during initiation ... is tied by a cord woven of red and blue ..., symbolizing the umbilical cord and the placenta to another tree ... called "duguin modo`n", a tree planted inside the hut ... so as to make it stick up through the flue of the chimney ..., and a piece of green cloth, to be used for adorning the bed of the bridegroom and his bride, is spread over it."


"Thus every shaman has two wives, one in heaven and another on earth. If there is to be conception from the heavenly wife, the earthly one remains sterile, and vice versa. ...

The heavenly wife often enters the shaman, and announces through him the way she got united to him, and whom she bowed to in heaven during the nuptial ceremony".

H =

EC = Knud Mariboe : Encyclopedia of the Celts. 1994.

N =

P =

AeD =


pp. 139-140 Teleut (Altai Turkish tribe) kam (‘shamnn’)




"every shaman, besides his earthly wife, has a second one, a spirit woman, who lives in the seventh heaven. Her name is Ak-Tshetcher-Jash (the young, the gentle, the eloquent)."


"In the XIV heavenly sphere the shaman meets nine daughters of Ulgen. They help him ... when the soul is departing from the body of a sufferer. They come down to earth like flashes, surround the man, take in their midst the soul ... and preserve it in heaven."



tables & their dishes, of Ak-Tshetcher-Jash (in heaven)



its dish









To his heavenly wife Ak-Tshetcher-Jash, the kam replieth :

"The road of Ulgen will not break off, ...

We shall go up the "tapti" {cf. TAPaTI river in India ?} (the spiral groove cut in the shaman tree)

And give praise to the full moon."

Italic & Gallic

p. 141


"Thus we read in Saint Augustine : "... that sylphs and fauns frequently desired to enter, and often have entered, upon intercourse with women; ... that some demons whom the Gauls call Dusii are very prone to that ..., and in fact are perpetually addicted to it." [the reference is "to Saint Augustine (Dei Ciutate Dei, XV, 23)." -- RG]

"Isidore of Seville (in Gloss) speaks of Dusii as demones. Another ancient authority declares that there are actually women ... so worldly-minded as to solicit the embraces of those demons, quos Galli Dusios nuncupant, qua assidue hanc peragunt immunditiam--"whom the French call Dusii because they so constantly persevere in such impurity." PAPIAS writes: "Dusios nominant quas Romani faunos ficarias vocant" ("They call those Dusii whom the Romans call Faunos ficarios"). THOMAS of CANTERBURY speaks of them as forest or sylvan gods in Prussia, and that the "gentiles" there dare not cut the woods consecrated to them. And a Codex of the eighth century, cited by Du CANGE, speaks of aliqui rustici homines, "some rustics who believe in witches, dusiolas and acquaticas or genisons."" (ERR, p. 127)

[in Italiian folk-belief,] "Dusio is a mischievous little folletto, or goblin. He teases girls, sometimes he acts as a nightmare, very often he inspires lascivious dreams and has connection with women. Sometimes as a little imp not more than three inches high he perches on their pillows. He is not bad, but mischievous. He haunts houses and fireplaces." (ERR, p. 128)

RG =

ERR = Charles Godfrey Leland : Etruscan Roman Remains in Popular Tradition. 1892.

p. 143 myths of heroine’s erotic dreams

"When on the Amur, I have often met clans calling themselves by the name of some particular animal, and this was always explained by a woman of that clan once having born a child by a tiger or a bear, who had appeared to her in a dream."

[The author (Sternberg) was apparently a "university"-professor (p. 137), and editor of the publications of a "Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography" (p. 148, n. 9).]

Andrei A. Znamenski : Shamanism. RoutledgeCurzon, London, 2004. 3 Vols.

Vol. I, pp. 124-148 = 5. Leo Sternberg : "Divine election in primitive religion".