Shamanism in Eurasia, 6

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


pp. 377-390 J. G. Oosten : "The Diary of Therkel Mathiassen (1922-1923)".

p. 379 /inu/


its meaning

inuk (pl. inuit)



human life

inua (possessive of inu)

soul – "Animals have an inua ... An inua is the animal in human appearance. Places, objects etc. all possess inua that can manifest themselves under specific conditions."


important spirits (= deities)

p. 379 inuat

"The spirit of the sea Nuliajuk, the mother of mankind and the most important game, who lives at the bottom of the sea, and

Aninga, the spirit of the moon, a great hunter".

p. 380 internal organ-deity

"Men and animals have a tarneq (derived from a root tar "dark"). This soul is thought to reside in a vital organ (e.g. the liver) of a living and it thought to be a minuscule image of that being. It survives a living being at death and become a spirit ... helping ... the angakkut (sg. angakkoq) or shamans".

p. 381 Southampton i.

The island had been inhabited by the SADLER-miut, until all their adults died of a plague.

{cf. SADLER, author of the Urantia Book}

Then it became inhabited by the AIVILING-miut, who adopted the Sadler-miut children.

{cf. [Norse god] VILI = [Hindu god] VIRIn~Ci}


pp. 391-403 R. Grambo : "Shamanism in Norwegian Popular Legends".

p. 393 krisnik at Rijeka (Fiume) in Yugoslavia

"the Krisnik ... During the night, specifically the Kvatri (fasting days), ... had been transformed into a dog and protected the inhabitants against the Strigas and the Fudlaks."

p. 394 Lapp shaman fetching token

"Olaus Magnus mentions ... that if somebody wants to receive information concerning the whereabouts of friends or enemies who are far away, five hundred or even a thousand miles away, he addresses a Lapp ... who knows about such things. He gives to the witch a gift ... Then the sorcerer enters a room, accompanied only by a friend or his wife, and thereafter he applies a hammer on a toad or a snake of copper in a certain ritual way while he utters some conjuration. Then he falls into a trance and lies on the floor ... However, he is guarded by his friend so that no ... fleas ... may approach him. ... his soul accompanied by an evil spirit will now fetch something, a ring or a knife from someone in the far-away place, as a proof that he has fulfilled his mission. Suddenly he is awake again, and he explains the significance of the object and the circumstances surrounding this expedition (Olaus Magnus, Historia om de nordiska folken MCMIX:161-162)."

"The evil spirit must be the tutelary spirit or guardian spirit of the shaman".

p. 395 the soul of a sleeping person wanders on its own




"someone was out in the open with another man, and being tired fell asleep while they were out hunting. One of them kept awake and he discovered suddenly some small animal coming out of the mouth of the person who had fallen asleep, passing across a brook or into the skull of a horse. It then returned, passing back into the mouth of the sleeper. On awakening the man told his companion of having had a strange dream of passing across a river on a bridge or of having visited a house with many rooms".

Amot, Eastern Norway

"In Osdalen there was a woman making bread. She ... fell asleep. Then they saw a little worm creep out of her mouth, go to the place where the meal was and eat a little of it. Then it returned to the mouth of the woman."

Bo/, Telemark county

"two officers on an excursion. A mouse comes out of the mouth of one of them. The observor places his sabre across the brook as a bridge. On awakening, on awakening the first one says that he had dreamt of wandering on a bridge of iron."

Paulus Diaconus (8th century Chr.E.)

"the Frankish king Guntram one day had gone out hunting, accompanied only by his servant. ... As soon as he had fallen asleep, a small serpent crept out of his mouth and went up to a little river, trying to cross it. The servant ... took his sword and put it down over the creek. The animal now crossed the sword and vanished into a cave in the mountain. After the lapse of some hours it returned over the sword and went into the mouth of the king again. Then the king awoke and said : "I must tell you about the dream ... I had. I saw a great, great stream over which a bridge of iron had been built. I passed this bridge and went into a cave in the mountain where a great treasure lay.""

pp. 395-396 "The shaman falls into ... a very deep sleep, and thus his free soul leave the body in order to make a perilous excursion into the ... beyond."

p. 397 "hamr in the Norse language was the designation of the free soul which was able to leave the body during ecstatic trances."

pp. 397-398 praeternatural book


diabolical book


"the Great Plague (1349) in Norway." :- "People at that time ... identified this virulent illness with a wandering old hag, in Norwegian Pesta (literal translation : the Pestilence). ... In her hand she held a broom or a rake. Where she used her rake, some were graciously spared. Where she used her broom, all died. Sometimes she carried a mysterious book. This book contained the names of all those who were destined to perish during the plague. Where she consulted her book, reading one page after another, people died without any exception. Some records state that the enigmatical and fateful book of the hideous old hag had black and red letters".


Switzerland :- "the devil himself writes down diligently in church the names of those falling asleep. ... the devil writes down their names on a hide. But there are so many names that the devil has to widen the hide. He sizes it by his teeth ... Someone endowed with the second sight sees the whole thing and begins to laugh. In some cases the man who sees the devil is a saint or a holy man surrounded with the odeur of sanctity, but this is lost when he begins to laugh in the holy church".

England :- "In the ecclesiastical history of Bede (the 8th century) there is a story about a man just before dying seeing a book containing all his sins, shown to him by the devil (Ecclesiastical History : 247)."


Bavaria :- "In a prayer book from the 15th century (Munich). there is a miniature showing a devil carrying a scroll. He wants to give it to the archangel Michael, demanding the soul of the dying person. But the archangel pierces it with his rod. The devil is not paid ... his due".


divine book


"the wise man Balinas ... went down into a dark chamber and found an old man sitting on a throne of gold and with a tablet of emerald in his hand. Before him lay a book "The Secret of Creation"."


"Krates ... ascended to heaven and envisioned an old man in white clothes, sitting on a throne. In his hand he kept a tablet containing a record. This is Hermes Trismegistos, the one who revealed astronomy and philosophy to humanity."

p. 399 witch-animals & warlock-animals

"In the Gull-Thoris Saga ... the witch Thurid was responsible for the boar which defended the house, while in a Haldar Saga, Skroppa was similarly protected by a bull. In the Kormaks Saga (XVIII) the witch Thordis appears as a walrus, still recognizable by her human eyes, and when Kormak injures the beast, the injury affects Thordis herself."

"the Lapp wizard who visited Iceland in the shape of a whale to spy for the Danish king, Haraldr Gormsson, ... was threatened and chased away by ... serpents, toads, vipers, small and big birds, giants and other demonic beings. The wizard told the king that it was impossible to invade Iceland on account of these guardian spirits of the land".


pp. 404-422 G. Klaniczay : "Shamanistic Elements in Central European Witchcraft".

Friuli region




"Four times a year, at the so-called quattro Tempora ... on Thursday nights, they fall into trance, and their soul is said to leave their body for several hours to fight with the witches for the crops and for the fertility of the animals. These fights take place ... on remote plainlands, where the benandanti, just like their opponents the witches, arrive ... mostly riding a cat, a rabbit or another kind of animal. ... Both groups have their commanders and captains – they even have their own flags : the benandanti a white silk one with a lion, the witches a red or yellow one with three black devils on it. They fight with sticks : the benandanti with sticks of fennel, whereas the witches with stick of sorghum. If the benandanti win, there will be a good harvest, if they lose there will be scarcity."

"... the benandante can take part in the course of his or her soul-journey in the procession of the dead. This enables them to supply information about dead relatives".


"... one Thursday of the Quattro Tempora, they have an initiatory vision : they are called for their first soul-journey. This time a man (another benandante or an Angel of God) appears to them, beating a drum, and calls their soul to the assembly of the benandanti. ... From this time forward they have to go regularly to fight the witches, they have to endure their blows during the battles and at other times when they speak about them. ... If they speak about the witches, the witches maltreat them with sorghum-stick. The same


thing happens if a dead-conjurer speaks about the dead : he or she gets beaten by the spirit of the dead with sorghum-stick."




"in one valley of Friuli, ... at Epiphany the baladans are seen running around the top of the mountains with a torch in their hands to chase away the evil spirits".

p. 406 "from 1610 on ... (in striking opposition to the benandanti of the 1570s who refused to give the Inquisition the names of the witches ...) ... they make denunciations (long lists of presumed local witches, to which the Holy Office mostly does not pay any attention); and because of this activity they are chased from the village they live it."

Croatia; Slovenia




kerstnik of Fiume (Rijeka) region in Croatia :- "During the night, the kerstnik goes out to fight the witches in the shape of a dog, a horse or a giant, and the attacked witches flee from them in the form of a white sheet ...


Dalmatica region in Croatia :- "the lagromont or nagromont of Dubrovnik born with a tail, protecting his village from hail and fighting other villages’ lagromonts in the form of wild boars of different colours; ...


the vrimenjaki of South-Croatia who ... fly in the air and protect their village".


mogut of North Croatian Turopolje :- "The moguts ... are born after a prolonged pregnancy or from a dead mother; they can speak immediately after being born; they fight with each other for the crops of their village in the shape of wild boar; and they have good relations with the dragon (pozoj)".


krsnik of Istria / Slovenia


"the krsnik falls asleep before the fight with the witches before the fight with the witches. Then a big black fly called Parina flies out of their throat and leaves to the ninth borderline to fight the witches. If the krsnik wins there will be no hail that year {cf. Bodish hail-hindering magic}

... the krsniks fight the witches in the air with sticks near the crossroads, or they cross the sea in an egg-shell to fight in Venice on St. Mark’s Square in the air".


"the name of the opponent of the krsnik is called kudlak (ukedlak). Every clan has got one krsnik who does good and one kudlak who harms people. These two kinds of sorcerers ... fight each other mostly in the form of goats, bullocks and horses. If the kudlak attacks somebody in the night, the krsnik will defend him ... If a krsnik and a kudlak fight in the shape of an animal, the former is of white or light colours, the latter of black or dark colours".


"Further to the east in Slovenia we still meet the krsniks, but here they are no more the antagonist of the witches, rather they fight with each other. Near Sv. Barbara and Sv. Anton they are held to be the protectors of the different regions who fight in the clouds for the fertility of their region; at such times lightning can be seen without thunder".

p. 410 Serbia, Bosnia, Hercegovina

"The zduhac^ is a male sorcerer ... Every clan, tribe and region has its own zduhac^ ... The zduhac^ should not tell anyone about his magical capacities or else he will lose his power. The zduhac^s of the different clans fight with each other for the fertility of their lands. They fight in the clouds, sometimes in the form of animals, mostly with brooms and milk jars. The one who takes away the broom from the other assures good crops for his region, and the one who can take away the milk jar of the other assures abundant milk for the cows of his clan. The winner punishes the loser with hail.

These fights take place when the zduhac^ falls asleep. His soul then goes away to fight.

Sometimes this fight is performed in groups, for example, between the zduhac^s of the mountains and the zduhac^s from beyond the Adriatic Sea".

p. 410 "the Bularian nestinari" [woman fire-walkers "under the specific uneven rhythm of the drums and bag-pipes" (] [download of that music]

pp. 411-413 Hungary




"the hail-conjuring, wandering scholar called garaboncia`s dia`k (stemming from the Balkanian grabancijas^ dijak) ... just like .... the tudo`s or la`to` (man of knowledge, seer), who is able to see the dead and find lost objects or treasures"


"the Hungarian ta`ltoses ... fight with each other in the shape of bulls of opposing colours (red-blue, light-dark, white-black), sometimes also as stallions, goats, pigs, blue and red fireballs, fire wheels, metal wheels or birds".


"ta`ltoses fighting and the winner punishing the adversary’s village with hail ...

In the South of Hungary, ta`ltoses ... fight for rain riding dragons with sword in the their hands ... In the east of Hungary, in Szatma`r, there is ... a ta`ltos fight where the winner could acquire good crops in his region for seven years ... In Csallo`ko:z ... the ta`ltoses go out to fight with the ta`ltoses of the foreign countries every seven years, and the one who wins can assure fertility for his own country ... In Sa`rre`t there is ... a ta`ltos who claimed to have already fought with three of the seven ta`ltoses who wanted to send a drought to his region, and he had three more to defeat, one each year at different places

... from the shepherds of Nagykunsa`g, ... ta`ltoses had to fight with the ta`ltoses of the neighboring region, who wanted to send the cattle-plague to his territories; the ta`ltoses of these regions have the task of driving the cattle-plague away from their own herds".


"Even if most of the aforesaid personalities have become ... superhuman beings of the folk mythology, it seems obviously that originally they were human beings".


pp. 423-429 T. Do:mo:to:r : "The Problem of the Hungarian Female ta`ltos".

p. 424 gendre of ta`ltos

"male ... ta`ltos who were "able" to manipulate the change of weather, who knew how to avert hail and storm and could control the rain."

"On the other hand, females were chiefly considered to be healers, seers or conjurers of the dead."

"In the late medieval texts in Hungary, from the 18th century on {this date could better be described as early modern}, male wizards were called in Latin arioli et magi, female ones phytonissae, or incantatrices."

"... the first Hungarian magician known by name was a woman called Rasdi."

pp. 425-427 specific female ta`ltos-es


female ta`ltos


"In 1626 in ... Debrecen ..., a woman ... stated that she was a ta`ltos and her helper a dragon."

"in 1725 [a woman] ... stating that "she is a ta`ltos and so is her daughter". ... She also declared that the ta`ltos can fly fly like birds and fight in the sky".

"In ... Miskolc ... (1741) witnesses mention again that the female ta`ltoses fight in the sky but are separated from the male ta`ltoses during their duels. Another witness thinks that there might be seven hundred ta`ltoses in the County. The ta`ltoses even have a radiant flag".


"The tiny [girl ta`ltos] could never go by the cemetery without crying because she could see the dead in the ground. ... On the way toward the village Szalka she had to fight in the forest. ... A man will become red flame and she blue flame."

pp. 427-428 boy ta`ltos

In Matolcs, "The ta`ltos child sees the money in the ground. He told his father, "Look, father, I see money.""

p. 428 ta`ltos horse

"the word ta`ltos also figures ... to express the magic power of animals, chiefly the horse with supernatural power.

... the ta`ltos horse is a curious animal is ... a curious animal, fed sometimes on glowing embers and carrying the rider in the air swifter than the wind, but looking like a nag. ... This horse might equally be a stallion or a mare. Also, the ta`ltos-horses fight each other just like their owners."


pp. 430-449 M. Hoppa`l : "Traces of Shamanism in Hungarian Folk Beliefs".

p. 433 other Uralic

"The ancient Finnish and Lappish magicians were named by the words noita and noaide, respectively, which are etymologically identical with the Vogul najt "shaman"."

p. 434 fly-agaric

"Hungarian folk beliefs concerning the usage of "fly agaric" (Amanita muscaria, L. bolondgomba = "mad mushroom"), a mushroom which has hallucinogenic ingredients, and which was widely used to achieve trance state by shamans."

"In Hungarian folklore there is a recurring reference to the ta`ltos’s habit of ... asking for milk. ... This motif ... confirmed that milk is a powerful detoxicant to counteract the impact of fly agaric".

p. 436 magic charms, in North-Eastern region of Hungary

cure of girl from epilepsy :- "Without saying a word I have to take the slip she wore for nine days to a place, where many people pass (e.g. a crossroad). I should not say a word to anybody. I hang it on a brier and leave it there."

love-charm cast upon a cow’s milk :- "If there is no milk, 12 kinds of herbs are needed. If there is no butter, 12 others should be added ... The first egg of a pullet laid in early spring is needed. It should be either an all-white or an all-black pullet. I put it into a pot which was used times and bury it at the threshold or under the manger."

pp. 437-439 leather sieve ["drum-sieves (rosta in Hungarian ...)" (p. 440)]




"his father used a sieve or shifter [sifter], called the "leather sieve" similar to a drum and having the same function." {some Siberian shamankas’ drums are ritually pierced through their drumheads with numerous minute holes}


"A shepherd from Kunszegit ... told fortunes with the help of his sieve. He said, for instance, who the thief was who stole the cattle. Once ... pigs were also stolen. By beating his drum he learned who the thief was. And the pigs were found at that person.

He put white and black beans on the sieve, ... 41 pieces. Then he started to beat one side of his drum with his knife. The beans jumped about on the sieve and at the end [of the drumming] he told fortune from their position. ... He lifted the bewitchment. He beat the rind of the drum".


"Sieve, sieve on Friday

Love on Thursday

Drum on Wednesday."


"There had been learned women before in O:tteve`ny Ikre`ny who told fortune with the help of a sieve, throwing grains of maize on it. They also put embers on the wishbone of a goose, blowing it until the bone cracked. They then told fortune from these cracks.

‘... a ta`ltos shepherd ..., from Cikolasziget, ... put embers on a sieve, strewed herbs on it and smoked the sick cattle. ...


He was also invited to former death-watches. He fumigated the evil spirit from the dead so that they leave it in peace’ ... ‘he put a birch tree’s shoot on the embers which sizzled like fat ...’. He heated around the dead with it murmuring something."


"large" [/bo:o:/ (p. 438)] sieve : "Because it is large, it can contain anything." "there was room for even 100 persons in a sieve."


"at midnight a rolling sieve crossed the river, with 41 pieces of embers on it and this made the cattle run in all directions. ... He took off his magic cracker from his hat. put its snapping end on his whiplash and banged three times on the sieve. All the embers fell into the water and the sieve rolled back to the opposite bank."

pp. 440-441 non-Hungarian shamanism




Uzbek :- "Baksi (baksi meaning "shaman")" "cured" his patients using drum and wearing a woman’s dress".


Hmon (of Laos)


"for seven days. My spirit was gone. ... The journey took me to a king’s palace, Shi Yi the king of the shamans. ... Shi Yi sets tests for each person.

First you must cross a great field of fire.

Second you approach a gigantic creature ...

Third, there is a door with slashing blades like scissors. ... The scissor door is the place of final decision. If you are a bad person, this door will kill you and you will never become a shaman".

p. 442 a praesent-day Hungarian blacksmith-shaman

"The shaman carried on his secret pursuit under the outward guise of ... a blacksmith. ... it was appropriate for the blacksmith to be able to transmute [mould] both metals and human lifes [lives]. The blacksmith, moreover, could make the appropriate images of spirit helpers out of forged iron".


pp. 450-458 A. M. Taksami : "Survivals and Early Forms of Religion in Siberia".

p. 452 Nenets

"The Nenets ... have always worshiped rocks and stones. There are two cliffs on the Vaigach Island – Vesako (old man) and Khadko (old woman) – which they worship in particular. For the Nenets the "master" of Yamal is the Yamal-keh spirit".

p. 452 Tuvin

"heaps of stones ... were erected on the top of each mountain. They were called ... oboo ... According to tradition, a traveller had to put a stone ... on ...

Tuvinians offered their spirits ... tea."

pp. 452-453 Altai (Oirat)


mountains & rivers


"In the past, light-coloured animals were sacrificed to the mountains. Today this rite is manifest in offering the spirit of the mountains meat ...

Crossing the mountains, many Altaians stop to honour the spirit-master of a given crossing to get his approval for continued travels."


"Altais come to the river bank to throw food into the water. In the past, before crossing a turbulent or swift river people found a black stone, wrapped it in a black ribbon (d’alama), threw the stone into the river and asked the spirits to bless their crossing."

pp. 453-454 water-spirits


worship of water-spirits


worship of spirits of water-springs :- "The Altais of the Ongudaisky Aimak prepared cheese figurines of various animals which were placed on a special stone ... These figurines allegedly personified living animals sacrificed to the spirit-master of the arz^an. ... Today, too, people may only come if one of their close relations has died recently. Women during their periods are not allowed at the springs either."


"Old Tuvinians traditionally believe in the existence of the spirit master of water. They build ovaa of dry tree branches and place ... pieces of fabric and horse hair on them. ... Tuvinians ... keep silent when they are near rivers and lakes.

Tuvinians particularly worship mineral springs ... that ... heal people of many diseases. As in the past, they visit spring individually and make collective pilgrimages to them, praying to the spirits. Observing the rite ..., believers told the spirit-master their trouble and pleaded with him to help them. According to tradition, ribbons were hung on trees. The master of the arz^an (spring) was treated to ... cheese, sour cream and butter".


"Among Buryats traditional forms of religious behaviour are observed near the springs. After drinking water, for instance, they bow to the "master" of water."

p. 455 the Kojan Naitantinen festival of the Koryak-Cavcuven

"Women obtain fire in a special manner ... Then the men sacrifice a deer and draw special signs on the faces of their relations with its blood."

p. 456 praesent-day shamans among the Even

"Sometimes shamans ... do ... fortune-telling and interpretation of natural phenomena, dreams and signs. At the same time, these people ... cure the sick. The shaman’s attributes are kept carefully from other people’s eyes in barns or sacks.

When shamans die ... the closest relations of the deceased divided the shaman’s body into parts, separated the flesh from the bones and put the bones and the skull into a bag which was fastened high on a tree in a graveyard."


FORUM 5 = Miha`ly Hoppa`l (ed.) : Shamanism in Eurasia. Edition Herodot, Go:ttingen, 1984. pp. 375-475 = "VI. Traces and Recent Forms of Shamanism".