Shamanism in Eurasia, 4

[/j/ is transcription, as in German, for consonant pronounced as English /y/ (except in transcription of Mongolian)]


pp. 203-213 M. Massenzio : "Variations on the Mythical Origins of Shamanism and Death".

pp. 204-205 [Buryat] mythical origin of shamans




"The Tengris of the West took their decision first to the Pleiades, then to the Moon : ... choosing the eagle. The eagle was a god."


"the eagle saw a woman who was far away from her husband; the eagle had [sexual] intercourse with her and she became pregnant. ...

When the Tengris of the East learned about this, they decided to ... sending down a chulmus ... in the form of a charming woman. This woman forced the Buryat man to get rid of his first wife. {cf. H.awwah forcing >adam to abandon his 1st wife, Lili^t.} However, the eagle came ... grabbing the chulmus and throwing it in the sea of Calcin-Dalai." {cf. the punishment inflicted on H.awwah}

p. 206 [Buryat] creation of child by the 1st shaman Bogoli Qara

he made the __

out of __








70 different flowers

Esege Malan (god of the West), having been informed by 3 winged messengers, "transformed the child’s soul [health] in a fly, closed it in a bottle and kept it plugged with his thumb. ... So, Bogoli Qara transformed himself into a wasp and stung the god, who ... let go of the bottle ...; but God punished him, condemning him to ride a rock {cf. Sisuphos, condemned perpeually to ride the boulder, on account (according to the Odusseis) of his having rescued beings from Thanatos} until .. the rock would be consumed."

p. 209 [Goldi] origin of shamanism from dreamings

The woman Mamilji {cf. [Bodish] MA-mo (goddesses) + MILIngimbi, the sacred site in Arnhemland} said : " "... I will die to show them the road." As she lay dying, she listed some of the animals that hibernate during the winter and return to life in the summer ..." {cf. North American Indian rule to tell myths only when animals are hibernating so that they cannot overhear such divine secrets}

"Ka’do, Ma’milji’s father, ... was the first to enter [by following the road established by Mamilji] into the "buni", becoming lord of it. Kado’s father [Mamilji’s grandfather], hoping to bring back his son, started to look for him. He arrived to the hole that was the entrance to the underworld; but ... he plugged the hole with his clothes in order to stop mortality. {Is this an explanation of why corpses are buried wearing clothing? – or a praescription that they ought to remove their clothing when arriving at that hole?}

"Kado’s father ... fell asleep, and in a dream saw

an immense tree, the roots of which were snakes, the leaves of which were "toli" (copper disk-mirrors), the blossoms were rattles and the top branches were iron horns. ... he took a great number of objects off the tree. {cf. jewel-fruited trees seen by Aladdin (1001 Nights) in the underground realm} Later, these objects spread in a miraculous way among all clans and gave them the possibility to have their own shamans, who could lead the souls of the dead into the other world.

In another dream, Kado’s father met a very old man who ... said :

"Go to the forest and get the furs of a bear, of a wolf and of a lynx; make a special cap out of these. You shall apply the iron horns ... to the cap;

on your chest and on your back, you will hang the toli {cf. Aztec disk-mirror as breastplate} that will protect your body from the arrows {cf. "the arrow that flyeth by noonday"} of the shamans’ enemies [evil archer-spirits?].

Then you will make a belt out of rattles : ... and

the drum will take you to the buni any time you want; you will be helped by the spirit Butchu and by the bird Koori, who will always bring you back from the buni."

pp. 216-217 [Nivkh (Gilyak)] shamanic dreamings




"The spirit announcing to the young man or woman that he/she will have to be a shaman always appears in dreams."


"Of the three methods as the disposal of the Nivkh shamans to cure sick people, two resort to dreams.

The first one consists of hearing the patient and then falling asleep. The shaman sees the solution in a dream.

The second one is ... telepathy : "When a traveller falls sick and there is no shaman around, he ... at night ... shouts as loud as he can : '‘Shaman, I am sick, help me!’ Immediately the shaman initiates a performance and sends his auxiliary spirits. The sick person sees the spirits and hears the beating of the drum. ..." ... It is ... said ... the shaman ... executed his performance in a dream, ... it is clearly said that the sick person called the shaman "by night when the shamans are asleep.""


"If a woman gives birth to twins, the Nivkh are convinced "that a spirit liked her" and had [sexual] relations with her in a dream. The father of one of the twins is said to be "a man of the mountain" or "a man of the sea" ..."

"A woman has a dream in which she is walking with a young man in the forest or the mountain on the edge of a ravine. They build a hut where they ... sleep. Afterwards, when the woman gives birth to twins, ‘one considers that she conceived from an animal’".


"Instead of meeting with a young man the woman may find earrings or an arrow-to-kill-the-bear ["The arrow is brought by the n’ark, the guests at the bear festival, who give it to the owner of the bear"] in the forest. Still dreaming, she picks up the earrings or the arrow and goes back home. The next morning she tells of her dream to friends, then she gives birth to twins. It is then said that she took the children from the people of the mountain ...

Here ... the dream about earrings (or ring or ladle) simply announces the birth of an ordinary human girl, and to dream about a quiver, or a bow ... announces the birth of a boy."

pp. 217-218 [Nivkh] becoming an animal by being killed by that species




"those killed by a bear and those having died by drowning go respectively among the men of the mountain and among the men of the sea. A man or a woman killed by a bear thus becomes ... a bear."


"the Nivkh killed by a bear appears thus as an intercessor between the spirits of the mountain and the men of his clan, who place offerings before the cage ... where the corpse of the deceased has been placed."


"As for the drowned, he changes into a nasty spirit kinr/kins for the year following his death. He haunts the waters close to the village and frightens people and dogs. He is fed once a month with a dish of the kinr – "kinr-nikr" (of drifted wood).

When the year is over, the spirit ... joins the men of the sea. ... a new "sacred dish" uilgar nikr is prepared ..., with which the drowned person is fed twice a year at the opening and closing of the fishing season for the next three years (four in the case of a woman). Having become a man of the sea, the drowned man helps his kin by sending them fish ..."

spirit-owners of animal-species




"The master of each element ... always looks like some kind of animal : a bear for the men of the mountain, a white whale (Delphinaterus leucas) {Moby Dick} for the men of the sea. ... ["When the orc comes to die ashore the Gilyak takes it solemnly to his hut and decorates it with inau (sacred wood shavings)" (p. 226, n. 9)]

Pal-Y,. master of the mountain and the forest who shows himself as a gigantic bear, lives on the highest mountain ... It is he who commands the bear to offer itself properly so that the blow will surely kill it".


"never a single animal would be caught by a Gilyak if it were not the master’s will".

pp. 218-219 souls dying repeatedly within the world of the dead




"On the other hand, those who die a natural death (... of old age) go to the village of the dead mly-vo, ... located underground. ...

[In this Mly-vo, repeated] death itself exists. After this new death the soul goes to a third world and so on. The soul become smaller and smaller until it disappears : it changes from bird to mosquito to dust. ["often a woman" (p. 226, n. 11)] returns among humans and goes through all the transmigrations again.


This transmigration resembles that of the Oroch among whom ... the soul passes from world to world changing its form and getting smaller at each stage until

it reaches the moon from where {according also to the} it falls back on earth where it is reincarnated. ...

the Nivkh ... thought that reincarnation was only a possible fate reserved for women."


"The milk {cf. [S^emitic] /MLK/ ‘king’} (bad spirit) kills people by taking their soul. The soul is sacred and hides itself ... After no more than three years the soul goes down to mly-vo (the village of the dead).

After a new death in mly-vo the soul goes down to another mly-vo. But a woman dies a fourth time and is resurrected".

[Nivkh] shaman’s auxiliary (‘helper’) spirits




"The shaman ..., on the river Tym in Sakhalin, had two main auxiliary spirits :

a woman of the mountain Xuvrguk, and

a man of the mountain, Tuskze:n. His son ... inherited his father’s spirits, but at first only the man of the mountain would help him. It was a tiny spirit with a human face but its body was covered with fur".


"Among the Nivkh of the Amur Basin the shaman ... also inherited his father’s and grandfather’s spirits :

Mot’ik kyr umgu : a woman of the sea with four breasts (so that she could feed the shaman’s different types of spirits),

At : a tiger ...,

Tly ge^gn : a celestial man,

Toda ge^gn : an ... undetermined spirit,

Karga : stakes with human faces representing a group of minor spirits."


"Thus, when the shaman ... calls the four breasted sea-woman, he evokes her ... :

"O woman of the distant sea whose name is Fyjluk!

Wherever you stand today, rush to me! ...-.""

[Nivikh] humans linked with spirit-animals



227, n. 15

"legends about love between a bear / man of the mountain and a Nivkh woman" :- "a woman who digs up martagon lily with her sister-in-law meets a man of the mountain. He joins her by night, while her husbands, two brothers {Bodish-style marriage} who are hunters are away. After a while the woman leaves with the bear to the mountain despite her sister-in-law’s opposition. During her journey she leaves in the trees her garments one after the other". ["They followed the path {cf. [Cherokee] "where the hound ran" as name for "the galaxy"} of the dog race (which takes place during the bear festival) and saw her legging tied up to a willow tree, then ... they saw her boot tied to another willow tree ..." (p. 221)]


"... a Nivkh woman gave birth to twin four times in a row. Then the Nivkh tied her up between the stakes kargan the way the bear is tied up (during the bear festival) and they shot her with arrows".


"Spirits know how to awaken in their beloved woman by secret ways a particular love nostalgia ... (love between human beings and spirits of the mountain taking on the forms of animals) ..., for instance the woman who continually smells the odour of one animal or another."


"This ... is contracted ... as well ... by men. ... Then, the man looses his appetite and ... he dreams about foxes, he smells their odour everywhere. ... [After] the man dies ... his soul goes to live with the she-fox who loved him".


"Elector spirits are ... of the opposite sex, they want to live with the shaman like, in the myth about Mykrfin, the bear-woman who killed the hunter and took him with her".


pp. 231-241 R. Austerlitz : "On the Vocabulary of Nivkh Shamanism".

p. 231 /QaS/ ‘(shaman’s) drum’

{QeSem (Str 7081) ‘divination’}

p. 233 (in the Poronaisk dialect) CAMn ‘shaman; eagle’

{[Persian] Sam (< *S`AM-) mythic man found in eagle’s nest}

p. 234 (in Savel’eva-Taksami) INAW ‘ritual wood-shavings’ = Ainu INAU

{[Eskimo] INU ‘human’; INU-a ‘soul’}


pp. 242-243 V. V. Ivanov : "On Possible Areal Terms for a Shaman’s Drum".

p. 243

[Nivkh (Gilyak)] qas ‘shaman’s drum’

[Sogdian] /kws (kos)/, [Saka] /kusa/, [classical] Persian /kos/ , [Ossetic] /k’us/ ‘drum’

[Vogul (Mansi)] /koj/, [Ostyak (Khanty)] /kuj, koj/ ‘magic’

[Wintun] /kola/, [Miwok] koja ‘to sing’


pp. 244-252 A. V. Smoljak : "Some Elements in the Ritual Attire of Nanay Shamans".

toli (‘disk-mirror’)




[Nanai (Goldi) at Naikhin] :- "the toli disks were believed to acco[m]modate the spirits of dogs used by the kasaty-shaman to "cart" the dead people’s souls to the abode of the dead. ... the toli disk acco[m]modated the harnessed "lead-dog" followed by other dogs, which ... to the mudge dolls, which were receptacles of the souls of the dead, to the world beyond."


[Kile Nanai] :- "a deer spirit was also inside the toli disk : the shamans of the clan used the deer to dispatch the souls of the dead to the buni, the land of the dead."


[Nanai at Naikhin] :- "the shaman would ... "treat" the sick man by applying the disk to the seat of the pain."


"Nivkhs referred to them [toli disks] as pul’ung, puling".

[Nanai] kasaty shaman’s hat




"The metal plates [c^uruktu] on the hat [of the Nanai "big shaman"] bore such resemblance to the antlers of a moose that the researchers named it so". {but could they repraesent the antennae of a moth instead?}

"c^urekte are long braided strips of fur on the evenki shaman’s kaftan".


"the ornament had another name – suje {cf. [Yucatec, in Books of Chilam Balam] language of SUYua} -- ... (... in ... Naikhin), which means "the roots of the (mythical) tree konuro jagda."" {since a[a Aztec] mythical tree hath as its root a crocodile’s head, the Mixtec crocodile-head-helmeted god is pertiment}


"the ... ornament on the shaman’s hat was ... referred to ... as timo, ... by ... the ... Akkani, distinct from other Nanai". {cf. the TIMucua of Florida, and the AKAN of the Gold Coast ?}


The individual tines ""were inhabited" by seven spirits representing different clans".

Nanai annual undi rite, and its Nivkh aequivalent




"the shaman began to vomit ... and the platters with everything on them were supposed to be left untouched for at least three, sometimes nine days. Then ... the platters would be filled with toli, c^uruktu, bells and other things".

"a metal mirror ... would come out rolled into a tube and hot, and as soon as it fell into the platter it immediately snaps back to its normal shape." {with these rolled-up disk-mirrors, cf. the Hmon disk-moons : "the Moons were in one big roll. ... Unrolling the Moons was just like peeling" (BM, p. 56)}


[Ulchi :-] "the metal objects of the shaman’s "outfit" not at once getting out of the shaman’s mouth. The vomit (solbukhan), left untouched for up to nine days, "settled down" to become this or that object."


"The phenomenon thus described was known among Nivkhs ...

"Before becoming a shaman capable of carrying the soul to the Hereafter ... he ... suffers and ills until he produced a pulk out of his mouth (toli in Nanai) a piece of copper for the shaman’s incense vessel, following which he produces the antlers murc^i and finally a lakhc^ -- ‘a palma knife’""

BM = Mark Bender (tr.) : Butterfly Mother. Indianapolis, 2006.

p. 250 [Nanai] shamanic tree

"A man came across a tree so thick that only nine men holding hands could embrace it. Instead of bark the trunk was covered with frogs, metal toli disks had replaced its leaves, giant snakes were its roots, and little bells, its blossoms."


pp. 253-267 V. N. Basilov : "The chiltan Spirits".




"(chihil tan ... from the Persian and Tajik "forty people") ...

Turkic ... kyrk bir (forty one)"


"They converge in the dark, on deserted graveyards or remote sites around a fire where they discuss they affairs. ... The usual epithet ... is gajib eren (invisible saints) ...

As a Kazak-Uzbek legend explains, chiltans live as a community on an island in the middle of the sea, out of the reach of mortals".


In the oasis of Khorezm, "They are visualized as beings controlling the high water of the Amudarja river and erosion of its banks. ...

In the Khorezm oasis and among Tajiks ... chiltans were also endowed with the role of supernatural patrons of confectioners."


"The Uigur myths claim that chiltans were the founders of shamanism".


According to the Uzbek in the Zeravs^an basin, "they are headed by a White dev."


"There is still another category of spirits known as forty maidens (kyrk kyz or, in some local dialects, kyrkyn kyz)."


"In the Zerafshan valley women shamans pierece the skin of their drums with a needle because there should be forty little holes in the center of the tambourine ... relate the holes to chiltans and the forty maidens : the spirits of the two categories responding to the call of the shamaness and the beat of the tambourine come and place themselves in the holes of the drum where they communicate with the shamaness.


Placed on the altar-cloth for the annual initiation procedure, are :-

"a platter with all types of pancakes (kallama – two pieces, quimoq – two pieces, jaima – 41 pieces), ...

a stack of seven wheat cakes, ...

a wheat cake with a piece of meat on top placed aside on the table ("the shaman’s share"), ...

confectionary {cf. patronage of confectioners}, ...

the shamaness’s mirror "facing the sky" ...

a mound of flour in the middle of the table. ...

41 candles belong to chiltans (the candles are made with a straw with oil-impregnated cotton wool around it) and are placed onto the moundof flour."


"shamanesses are usually said to have "taken the path of chiltans", ... the term miras (inheritance) {[<arabic] yarsan} generically used to describe the set of the shaman’s helper-spirits ... predominantly and sometimes exclusively chiltans. ...

spirits described by the term miras are clearly differentiated from and opposed to paris."


"the shamaness’ reception room bore the name of chiltan-khona".

"whoever accepts chiltans will become a shaman".

"Some well-informed people in their stories describe chiltans as the only helper-spirits of traditional "healers"".


Uzbek female " "healer" (kinnachi)" :-"After the woman cured 3 or 4 children from minor indispositions ..., she would fall ill herself, as she had "taken over" her patients’ illness ... Therefore, she would frequently ask her chiltan spirits to let her have her good health back again. To this end, every Wednesday as dusk was setting in, she would light the candles for the chiltans and offer them food – c^uzma pancakes fried in oil ..., and the food offered to chiltans was always placed on the ... elevated site under a tree. ... chiltans (20 youths and 20 maidens) walk toward the candles playing the drum, partake of the food offering and leave, playing the drum again."


"The beliefs among the Uzbeks of the Fergana valley emphasize chiltan’s love for cleanliness. Usually informers believe that chiltans may be youths and girls. However, one can often hear that they can be only girls, 41 in number."

{Mira (: cf. [Russian] /MIR/ ‘peace’) would be rightfully contrasted Pari (: PARIs-Alexandros, originator of the warfare at Ilion).}

{41 as the # of a Daoist set of deities, may be distinguished from Persian-derived Pari-s – insofar as Dao (Chinese) is distinguished from Bun (Persian for ‘religion’).}


pp. 268-279 N. Alekseev : "Helping Spirits of the Siberian Turks".





"the main helping spirit of their shaman was djaju:k who lived in the sky and who was sent down by U:lgen ... to protect the people on earth"


"the shamans were ... assisted by Sujla also, the spirit who was ... the Earthly protector of man. He "accompanies the shaman to the sky and to the lower world ..." Sujla had his helping spirit Karlik who also accompanied a shaman during his ceremony"


"a sky spirit, Utkuchi ... was sent by U:lgen to meet a shaman when the latter was ascending to the sky. Utkuchi’s function was ... at the fifth sphere of the heavenly space where he accepted a sacrificial animal, ... brought the sacrifice to U:lgen and informed ... of U:lgen’s decision."


"To fight the evil ko:rmo:ses of the lower world, shamans applied for help to the aru ko:rmo:ses, i.e. to the pure spirits into which all deceased shamans turned. As a rule, shamans appealed only to the spirits of dead shamans from their own clans. ... "... Aru ko:rmo:ses invisibly envelop the shaman by sitting on his shoulders, head, arms and feet; they wrap over his body in different directions and are therefore called in their invocations an armor or a hoop (kurchu)"".


[To:lo:s group of the Southern Altaians :-] "shamans had their helping spirits in the shape of bears, wolves, and snakes who made their appearance at the will of the shaman".


[Kumandin group of the Northern Altaians :-] "a new shaman was patronized by ... pajana spirits (i.e. patronizing spirits of the clan)."


[Kumandin] "shamans could be great, medium or weak.

Great shamans had in their possession horses (camels) to ascend to the sky ...

Medium shamans ... owned cher ajakti bura ["bura-horses with earth-treading legs"] only and used them to go to to the spirits of the medium ... worlds."


[C^elkan group within the northern Altai :-] "after a shaman’s death his patronizing spirit pajana remained on earth while the shaman himself turned into a spirit and left for the world of the dead. ...

helping spirits ... were depicted on the outer surface of Chelkan drums in ... form, a mountain goat and an elk."


[address by a Sagai shaman to a mountain-spirit :-] "I am going out from the left door of (your) mountain and have locked behind me the golden doors : ... Oh, you


(patronizing spirits) : Let me free your neck and back, for I have already returned (home) : Keep high the bright banners (of help) and put on strong chain mails".


[Sagai] "in one of their myths, ... shaman Topchan, while shamanizing, met two bulls butting each other. These were a Sagai shaman and a Tuvinian shaman ..., having turned into bulls. ...

Later on, Topchan saw in a dream as two Tuvinian shamans came to him ,,, The dream continued that Topchan came accompanied by only three of his helping spirits in the shapes of a mountain spirit, a raven and a bear to the Urjankhai land in the place where the wounded shaman lived ..."


[Kac^in] a "shaman would risk such a long and dangerous journey as travelling to countries beyond nine fire seas and nine high mountain ridges where the mountain spirit Kubaj-Kan himself lives, who ... was dressed in black velvet and a cap of the Kamchatka beaver and who rested in the shadow of a birch with golden leaves" {cf. the "golden bough" of Aineias and of Muh.ammad}.


[Kizil] "there was an anthropomorphic spirit, Emekei"


[S^or] "kizhi to:s (man-spirit) ... was usually depicted as a horseman with a bow and arrow in his arms."

A shaman may "ride astride a pike or a burbot and may butt with an ox out in the sea".


[Tuvin] "the su:mezin, that is the soul of one shaman, amy install itself in another after his death ... There appear in the sky black clouds (kara terler) and then a rainbow lights up. An end of the rainbow strikes into a man and he is turned into a kham (a shaman). From that moment on, the spirit of the dead shaman patronizes the new shaman".

"The Alash and Kara-Khol shamans were ... patronized by a spirit of the Khoor-Taiga mountain ... The Kara-Khol shamans had their helping spirits ... whom they called ‘erens’. ... An eren of seven swans belonged only to very powerful shamans ...


People believed that the seven swans flied [flew] all over the world as ordered by their shaman to collect knowledge about the fate of some people."


"The drum was called in their invocations a red horse, and they rode it to go to difficult places were people were dying".


"Among the Tuvinians "... the wooden handle (of a drum ...) was ... a cross-piece with two narrow blades on both ends, ... decorated with relief depictions of a mountain goat (te) ... whose skin was used to make the drum, a rider astride the goat, and a snake ... The mountain goat ... was called by a shaman his riding horse (te-khol’ge). A shaman was always on ‘friendly’ terms with his te-khol’ge which ... carried him on its back."

"A snake depiction found on a drum’s handle denoted a shaman’s whip which he used to urge on his driving animals".


"Among the Todz^i-Tuvinians the gift of shamanizing was almost always hereditary, and the spirit of a deceased shaman installed itself into one of his children."

Used during their se’ance were depictions of Todz^i shamans’ helping-spirits : "receptacles of spirits (eren – ribbons of different colors), ... squirrel skins, ... dummies of a sable or an eagle-owl stuffed with dry grass".


"During his action a shaman would address his helping spirits and ask them to turn into various animals or birds and chase an evil spirit. For example :

"Let us turn into a raven ...

Let us turn into a hawk ...

Having turned into a fish, (taimen), Why does this evil spirit (aza) turn back? ...""


[Todz^i :-] "when vivifying his tambourine a strong shaman "imitated the movements and cries of the animal of whose skin the tambourine was made, and told a story of where the elk or the maral grazed, how old it was, what it had thought about, etc.""


[Tofalar :-] "The Tofalar shamans also had their helping spirits, and ... the tassels of a Tofalar shaman’s dress "represent a lizard, a snake, and a frog""


pp. 280-285 U. Marazzi : "The Siberian Turkic Shamans’ Secret Language".




its meaning





gaq gaq

goose’s call



horse’s neighing



horse’s snorting



(denoting impatience)



(expressing consent, by a spirit)



(connoting encouragement)

p. 282 [Teleut]


its meaning

usual word with that meaning





‘shaman’ (= [Mongol] /uduGan/)






FORUM 5 = Miha`ly Hoppa`l (ed.) : Shamanism in Eurasia. Edition Herodot, Go:ttingen, 1984. pp. 203-285 = "IV. Myth and Language in Culture".