"Shamanism in Old Russia"

[cited by p. in S^S, and by p. in the summarized Russian texts]

pp. 43-47 Agapitov & Khangalov : "Buryat Shamanism in Irkutsk Guberniia".



"A descendant of the person "killed by lightning" {some persons survive lightning-strikes -- http://www.ufoarea.com/aas_lightning.html } acquired a shamanic lineage and could become a shaman. Such shamans who originated from ancestors killed by lightning were called nerjer-utkhatai".



"In the past, a mandatory part of the shamanic costume had been a robe called orgoi, which later was used only to cover the body of a deceased shaman. ... It was manufactured from ... material of white color for "white" shamans and of blue color for "black" shamans. What made the orgoi different from everyday wear were their decorations : metallic pendants in the form of disks, human beings, animals or birds.

Shamans also wore caps made of lynx fur {cf. Padma-sambhava as lynx} with tassels at the top. An experienced shaman, who had been through five initiations, received an iron cap in the form of a crown that was decorated by two iron antlers."



"On the eve of a first initiation, shamans usually received two "horse staves." ... A staff was decorated with a horse head carved at the top and a horse hoof carved on its bottom. ... the staff symbolized a horse, which a shaman used to journey ... The staves were made from fresh birch wood. While cutting wood for staves, the Buryat tried not to damage the trunk of the birch tree. ...



Shamans kept all their shamanic items in special wooden boxes called shire".



"Before the first initiation, ... a purification by water. An experience shaman ("father shaman") ... and his nine assistants ("sons of the shaman") brought and consecrated spring water by throwing ... silver birch bark into it. They also cut small pieces of hooves, horns and fur from the ears of a goat ... and threw them into the same water. ... One of the assistants of the "father-shaman" soaked piles of birch-sprouts [sprouting as shoots from the birch-tree’s roots] in the consecrated water and flogged the naked back of the would-be shaman with these wet sprouts."



funeral for dead shaman : "the body was burned in a special shamanic grove on a pyre made from freshly-cut pine logs. After the body was burned, people killed and burned the horse that had carried [the cadaver of] the shaman and hung the drum of the deceased and other sacred items on nearby trees. Horse staves, the shamanic cap, and the khur [bent rectangular musical instrument] were put into a small wooden box, which was placed high up in one of these trees. Then relatives collected the bones remaining from the burned body and stored them in a specially carved hole in the trunk of a pine tree. The hole was covered with a wooden lid and nailed tightly." {did this repraesent marriage to a tree-nymph?}

pp. 50-54 Andrei V. Anokhin : "Shamanism of Siberian Turkic Tribes". [Tuva]



"a spirit called Aina inflicts epidemic diseases such as typhus, scarlet fever, measeles, anthrax, and syphilis."



"an internal force called to:s ... signals to a chosen individual to accept the shamanic vocation."



"... small pieces of iron produced by a lightning strike in the ground ...



These ... are usually called tenerenin kylyzhi, which means the "sky sword" ... The "sky sword" is transferred ... to a person whose is "called" to become a shaman. Shamans are convinced that the "sky sword" allows them to light their paths and protects them from attacks of hostile spirits during their journeys to the country of Erlik."



"The typical shamanic melody is built on the basis of an "ancient Chinese scale," which has only five basic tones and does not contain any half-notes."

pp. 54-61 Andrei V. Anokhin : "Materials on Altaian Shamanism" (Teleut)



"Erlik is .... epidemics of measles, typhus ... Erlik inflicts diseases on people and stock ir oner to extort sacrifices. If people do not respond with gifts, Erlik kills them.

... when people die, Erlik takes their souls to his underworld domain, where he "judges" them and turns them into his servants."



"they ... sacrifice to Erlik sick or crippled stock.

Sometimes natives place sacrificial animals near dog roses or sea-buckthorn bushes".



"Erlik lives in a palace made of black iron with a fence."



"Erlik has ... seven sons ... natives sometimes call Erlik’s sons "police marshalls" (stanovoi pristav)".



"Erlik has nine daughters who manifest excessive sexuality ("with vaginas as cracks in the grounds," "with breasts like hills," "with twisting bare butts and breasts") and who



usually try to seduce shamans who journey to the domain of their father". {are these seductions the source of all shamanic power?}


"U:lgen ... resides beyond the sun higher than the stars. {"above the stars of God" (YS^<YH 14:13) resideth Lucifer} ...

While all ... shamanesses are allowed to visit and converse with Erlik, shamaness are not permitted to perform se’ances addresses to U:lgen. {so as to protect shamanesses from being seduced by U:lgen or by his sons?}

U:lgen lives in a golden palace with golden gates." {as Mammo^n ?)



"the se`ances addressed to U:lgen are not so frequent as the ones addressed to Erlik {because U:lgen is too dangerous?} ... the se`ances addressed to U:lgen are usually more solemn" {i.e., more grim?}



"mountain spirits ... are ... the beings who are able to grant people material possessions, and, as such ... earthly".



"the chief spirits crucial for all shamans are the spirits of their ancestors-shamans,



who form their "armor"" {cf. "armor" in Ephesians}.



"U:lgen began creating human beings by putting a blue flower in a golden cup. Erlik, who was actually U:lgen’s brother {is this derived from Bogomil theology?}, stole part of the flower and began creating his own people as well {this is a well-known Daoist myth : in it the thief is benevolent}. U:lgen became angry {disclosing his vicious nature?} ... saying, "My white people will go to the sunrise, and the black people you made will go to the West." {This Teleut assignment to directions is opposite from the Buryat assignment, on p. 80 of S^S} After this, "black people" covered the "circle" (drum) with a skin and started to shamanize". {so, are all shamans "black people’?}



"Shamans use their costumes {in order to shew honorific respect} when they perform se’ances addressed to earthly spirits, Erlik and his sons, clan spirits and other ko:rmo:s.

Se’ances addressed to U:lgen and his sons are conducted without any costumes {in order to shew disrespect & contempt?}; shamans wear regular robes, to the backs of which they attach {in order to flaunt their contempt toward U:lgen?} three white ribbons reaching to the ground" {to convey to U:lgen the messages "Get thee behind me, S`at.an!" and "sink thee into the ground!", i.e., "Go to Hell, O! U:lgen"}



Because the profession of shamanhood is "involuntary, following the calls of their ancestors-shamans, they are not free to design they drums as they wish. ... Sometimes new drums are framed and designed according to the instructions of the spirits of mountains. Such drums are treated as the most honored gifts, and shamans do not miss a chance to report to their audiences that a drum was received from a mountain spirit".

pp. 61-67 V. I. Anuchin : "An Essay on Enisei Ostiak Shamanism". [Ket]



"the creator of the universe, benevolent heavenly god Es (the sky) prefers not to interfere in earthly life and problems. As an embodiment of good forces, Es is opposed by the source of all "evil", the goddess Khosadam {just as in Manda< theology, god Manda< d H.ayya is opposed by the evil goddess Ruh.a}, who feeds on human souls and supervises numerous hostile spirits that harm people".



"A human being has seven souls. The major one is called ulvei. {cf. the /ULWa/ tribe in northern Nikarawa}



... people die simply because the "evil" goddess Khosadam catches and devours their ulvei. Yet eventually, an individual ulvei comes out from Khosadam’s body along with the excrement and "moves" into another human host".



"The Ostiak credit Doh {[Kurdish] Dohuk = [Zaratustrian] god Dahaka}, who is an object of numerous legends, with the creation of "customary law," various "philosophical utterences," and moral code. ...

Once Doh performed a se’ance and had to ascent to the sky. Yet he jumped up so abruptly that his ulvei dropped out from his body. Hostile spirits ... seized his ulvei and delivered it to Khosadam. The goddess immmediately tries to devour his ulvei but broke her tooth. After this, she nailed the shaman’s ulvei to a tree to make sure that the soul would never return to the host. {cf. rN~in-ma nailing of harmful spirits ??} ... So Doh stood on his drum, which turned into a cloud {"and a cloud received him out of their sight." (Acts of the Apostles 1:9)}, and ascended into the sky.

... To ease their sorrow [to comfort them – cf. the Paraclete ‘Comforter’], Doh took his shamanic cloak and threw it [down from the cloud] to his granddaughter, saying, "Now she will be shamanizing for you"".



"people experience a shamanic call unexpectedly. ... In their dream or just as they awaken {while in the process of awakening, one may hear a voice calling one’s name (most commonly), or uttering some other call to one – qur>an (‘call’)}, the chosen ones usually see a deceased shaman who, silently like a ghost {is a ghost}, walks by or directly orders, "Begin to shamanize!" Then all spirits which had been subjected to the power of this deceased shaman begin to visit and constantly pressure a candidate to accept the shamanic vocation.

An exterior manifestation of this spiritual pressure is a sudden desire of an individual to sing and dance. ... The ones who accept the call are usually defined as dadij, ... "blessed" ...



They are visionaries; they feel "ghosts" or talk to themselves and ... frequently weep for no reason and sometimes laugh wildly or roll on the ground. ... When they find their shamanic path, ... the chosen people "master" their spirits, and eventually become sane again. {Christian "Holy Rollers" never master their spirits, and so continue to roll on the ground insanely?}

Upon "advice" from their spirits, would-be shamans ... make them a drumstick, which places spiritual practitioners in the first category of khynysenin or "ittle shamans." ... The chosen ones usually stay in the rank of "little shamans" no more than a year.

Then, upon receipt of a new drumstick, the headband {cf. miter ‘headband (literally)’ of bishops}, and the breastplate {of the high priest, in the To^rah}, "little ones" {cf. "little ones" who dance, in the Gospel} become senin (genuine) shamans.

Those who reach the highest rank of great shamans (kasenin) usually have two drums ..., and they are usually quite old"."



"During their se’ances, shamans mostly act as soothsayers. {"readers & advisers"} Shamans are expected to explain why people experience personal and communal misfortunes such as lack of children, hunting failures, and losses of various objects. The most crucial job is ... to locate good hunting grounds and wild game."



"In the beginning [of a shamanic se’ance], shamans usually "stick " {insert, as if drumming from the opposite surface of the singled-headed drum, as with Gesar ?} their faces into a drum and sing, summoning their spirit helpers. Shamans lovingly call these spirits by their names and warmly welcome them. Those spirits who arrive "accommodate" themselves inside drums on pendants and on thongs.

Then shamans usually start their dance : jumping on both feet, they whirl around a fire, simultaneously revolving on their axes [bodily axis, whirling {like unto dervishes}]. In the meantime, the spirits raise shamans up under clouds. In their songs, shamans share with their audiences what they see from high above."



"Anuchin ... observed how ... a shamaness ... jumped on burning coals where she danced for about half a minute. ... he did not see any burns.

... a seventy-year-old shaman dressed in a fifty-pound costume is capable of dancing for two hours."



"With each acquired sacred item, the shaman’s power and status increase. Gradually, shamans acquire the drumstick, the kerchief, the breast plate, the footwear, mittens, the drum with the new drumstick, the staff, the cloak along with a head "crown," and, finally, a second drum. Each item is manufactured for shamans according to instructions received from their spirits."



"All drawings on the exterior side of a drum are called the universe"."



"The interior side of the drum is called a "perch". It represents a combination of iron rods and



thongs with attached figurines ... The spirits who are summoned by a shaman during a se`ance usually come and "sit" at this "perch."" {cf. [S^into] tori-i (‘bird-perch’) ?}



"The cloak and the "crown" are the other two highest accessories of the shamanic profession. Shamans usually acquire these items only after accumulating many years of experience. Ostiak shamanic cloaks are tailored in the form a bird ... because the Ostiak believe that shamans had learned about the secrets of their profession from the eagle. ...

In addition, drawings ... depicted on ... a cloak may represent portray ... celestial bodies, the earth, and the seas. Like the drawings ... on the drum, these drawings ... similarly represent the "sketch map that shamans use to navigate themselves during their journeys" ...


A shaman’s "crown" is an iron hoop with two iron arcs that cross each other. One arc is bent in the form of a knife, which serves "to cut" clouds when a shaman "rises" to the sky To the top, where two arcs intersect, iron antlers are attached, because ... shamans have deer spirits at their disposal, which helps them to move fast."

pp. 80-83 M. N. Khangalov : "New Materials on Buryat Shamanism".



"Their ninety-nine chief deities, who resided in the sky, are called tengeri (tengri) ..., which means "daylight sky." The tengeri are divided into two large groups ... : fifty-five Western ("white") ... and forty-four Eastern ("black") ... The "white" ones live on the Western side of the sky, while the "black" ones reside in the Eastern part. {Is this because white ghosts tend to appear at night, whereas black ones tend to appear during daylight?}

... categories : khaty {cf. <arabi^ >aH^TaTaY ‘chaniging color of one ‘s face from fear’ (LA-L 1:462a)} (children of the tengeri), zaiany (secondary deities) ..."


"Erlen-khan, the chief of the Eastern ("black") tengeri ... has numerous "administrators" and "scribes" who are subordinated to him who serve in special "offices," {Daoist-style divine bureaucracy} where people’s destinies are decided.

In addition, Erlen-khan supervises spirits whom he dispatches to manufacture human souls.

Erlen-khan also controls underworld-dungeons, where the souls of people who are doomed to die live in suffering. ... Yet people believe that an experienced shaman can release a human soul from a dungeon and return it to its owner. In that case an ailing person recovers ..."



" "Black" shamans ... after their deaths ... can defend earthly people by appealing to "black" zaiany {cf. <arabi^ /ZAIN/ ‘beauty’, /ZiYAN ‘ornament’ (such as adorn a shaman’s costume)} on their behalf. ... almost every locality, clan, and community (ulus) {cf. <arabi^ />aWayL/ ‘people’} has its special zaiany in the other world."


"From aspen wood they made a coffin and put [the cadaver of] the shamaness there with her face down." {This is the usual posture for female corpses during Na-xi cremations.}



"The Buryat from the Balagan area believe that the soul can jump out of the body of a person who is suddenly scared. {cf. "shell-shock"}



... to retrieve the souls, they ... perform the khuralkha ritual by luring the stray soul back with its favorite food. During this rite, the person who lost a soul wears the clothing he had on when frightened.



... the shaman sprinkles tarasun to local "mountain elders." After this, the shaman goes to the spot where the soul was lost ..., and tries to time the ritual approximately to the time of day when the soul was lost. The Buryat believe that the soul comes back to the same spot at the same time and cries for its host.

... when a patient weeps and trembles it is a good sign. This means that ... the soul came back to the body, weeping and trembling with joy ..."



"Another rite, called ukhan-tarim {cf. TARIM river of the UiGur}, ... shamans ... first put juniper and thyme grass (chebrets, thymus serpillum) into a kettle with boiling water. Then they sprinkle with tarasun and sour milk



to the patron of the rite, a zaiany named Tarim-Sagan-noion."



"To perform gal-tarim, shamans heat either an iron ploughshare {cf. the ploughshare too hot be touched, which fell from the sky to the Skuthai, according to Herodotos} ..."

LA-L = Lexicon Arabico-Latinum. Beirut, 1975.

pp. 92-94 Pekarskii & Vasiliev : "Cloak and Drum of a Yakut Shaman".



"A disk that depicts the sun is attached to the costume to lighten [illumine] a shaman’s path in the "underworld kingdom" ... A round badge symbolizes a saddle shamans used to descend to the underworld, to the underworld and to ascend to the upper world during their se’ances. A small circle depicts an ice-hole, which is a passage to the underworld, to the "kingdom of hostile spirits." The small circle is paired with the image of a fish, a shaman spirit that is assigned to guard the passage to the underworld to keep the hostile spirits, who torture the sick, from coming back to the earth."



"the shamanic "cloak" has numerous iron plates shaped as bones and joints.



These plates depict the bones of shamans".



"The Yakut believe that the shamanic "cloak" is a living being."

pp. 97-98 Grigorii Potanin : "Shamanic Drums and the Sign of the Cross on Them".



"Inside, a drum has a handle in the shape of two crossbars ...

(1) Altaian and Sayan drums ... In these drums, the horizontal bar is not connected with the handle (the vertical bar) but goes under it. ...

(2) Tungus (Evenki) drums have two crossbars, which are not directly connected to the frame of the drum, but attached to it with leather thongs.

(3) Samoyed (Nentsy) drums have a horizontal bar that reaches only the middle of the drum, where it is connected to the vertical bar."


"on Siberian drums, handles have names.

The Mongols call them bar, which means tiger;

the Altaians label them mars, which means snow leopard; ... and

the Buryat call handles bar-takhi or baran-geresun (the bear)."

pp. 98-102 V. L. Priklonskii : "On Yakut Shamanism".



"Initiation of novices into the shamanic vocation is conducted in public. Usually an established shaman, who acts as the master of initiation ceremonies, accompanies a novice to a high mountain ..., where the initiated person is dressed in the shaman caftan (kuma) and receives a purple willow branch decorated with horse’s hair. The "master" places nine youths on the right side of the novice and nine maidens on the left side, and after this situates himself behind the novice and utterrs a shamanic oath, which the would-be shaman has to repeat. The novice swears to "become a protector for all unfortunate ones, a father for the poor, a mother for orphans," and to honor spirits and serve them."


"Shamans are usually very poor people. Some of them never acquire households".



se’ance : ":shamans ... situate themselves in front of a fireplace {cf. Zaratustrian sacred fire} on a deer ... skin {cf. yaugik seating on a deer-skin} ..., summoning their spirits by a drawling shout, "Ayi." {cf. [Spanish] /alli`/} Then spiritual practitioners make a loud yawn {cf. [Hellenic] khaos ‘yawning’} and shout three times, imitating birds’ voices."



"in addition to shamans, the Yakut also have shamanesses (udagan), who actually exceed their male colleagues in numbers.

... according to natives, shamanesses are more successful in treatment of mental illnesses. In this case, people favor them over their male colleagues".

pp. 105-108 V. L. Seroshevskii (Sieroszewski) : "The Yakut".



"the spirit of a deceased shaman (ama:ga:t) moves into a member of his or



her own clan and forces that person to shamanize. ...

In addition to ama:ga:t, each shaman has a second major guardian spirit, which manifests itself in the form of an animal or bird (ie-kyla). Shamans carefully guard the identity of their ie-kyla from outsiders. Ie-kyla manifest themselves only once a year in spring, when the ... ie-kyla scour over all the earth. {"From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it." (>YB 2:2)} ... "Dog" shamans {Kaleb (‘Hound’) of S^PT.YM 1:10}, whose ie-kyla is represented by a dog, are usually considered the weakest and most cowardly shamans. ...

Upon their deaths, great shamans sometimes take their ama:ga:t with them to the heavenly world and turn them into celestial spirits."



"great shamans receive their ama:ga:t from Ulu-toen, the celestial deity that created all shamans" [viz., all shamanhood].



"Invited to see a patient, the shaman usually rests until night "when the sorcery becomes possible." ... it gets dark in the dwelling. Then the people close the door of the yurt. {" But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray" (Matthaios 6:6)} After this, nobody is allowed to go in or out. The shaman situates himself on a white horse skin right in the middle of the yurt ..., and puts on a shaman costume. ... after which the shaman starts



to yawn ..., shivering and murmuring".



"When the yurt is completely dark, he begins ... by imitations of voices of various birds, such as the hawk, the seagull, the raven, the eagle, the loon, and the woodcock. ... Then the shaman supplements with his ... invocations of spirits. He asks his ama:ga:t ... to assist him".



"When the ama:ga:t finally descends upon the shaman, he stands up, lights the fire, and begins his dance, accompanied by singing and drum beating. ... He whirls around a dwelling, beating his drum and shaking his ringing costume."



"the Yakut shamanic costume consists of a robe ... The front part of this robe is so short that it does not even cover the knees, In the back, on the contrary, the robe is so long that its edges hang to the ground. ...



The plate shaped like a fish (balyk-temir) hangs from the back on a long rope and ... is bait for petty spirits, who usually run after it and try to catch it."

pp. 112-115 Vasilii Sukhovskoi : "On Shamanism in the Minusinsk Area". [H^akass]



[the informant] "was already an old man and was ready to quit his vocation. Yet constantly pressed by hostile spirits ..., who threatened to strangle him {difficulties in breathing being a hazard to mystic practitioners}, he continued to shamanize into old age".



"... "a man without a head but with eyes in his chest," {this is a Chinese deity, mentioned in the Classic of Mountains and Seas} and "a man black ... with iron claws." ... the latter spirit is extremely powerful and ... it is "constructed" by boiling and mixing {Chinese alchemy} in a stone kettle {cf. birth out of Vamana’s kamandula (water-pot) – http://www.sanatansociety.org/hindu_gods_and_goddesses/vamana.htm } the spirits of nine men. {aequivalent to Daoist (and Bon) 9-headed deities}



This "combined" spirit is so mighty and heavy-weighted that no other spirits ... can overpower him. When this "mighty fat spirit" walks, the earth trembles, and his legs are "sinking" in the ground up to his knees". {Vamana "was in the appearance of a hermit. Though he was of diminutive size, yet each of his steps were enough to shake the earth." http://www.bharatadesam.com/spiritual/vamana_purana.php }



"When a hostile spirit (aina) steals the "health" of an individual, it usually leaves behind it a black or sandy red track. Using this track, a shaman’s spirit helpers "sniff" the culprit spirit. ... in the other world, patients’ "healths" usually get into the hands of their deceased relatives, who carefully hide



them from the shamans and their spirit helpers. If shamans, along with their spirit helpers, are able to take away "a health," they wrap it ... and tightly tie it with silver threads and hand it to an eagle that carries the "health" in its claws. The eagle flies to the yurt .... gets inside through a smoke hole, and delivers the health to the spiritual practitioner, who usually comes into the dwelling earlier on the wings of an owl. The shaman gives a cup of milk {element of the communion-sacrament, as per 1st Petros 2:2 -- http://www.molokane.org/molokan/Dogma/1_Peter_2_2.htm } to the patient and ties the "health" by a string to a birch tree".



"Kugurtka`n, the "czar over all spirits," who is able to walk in air resides on the west coast of an ocean, rides a white horse and has a bridle with silver threads [reins?]. When the "czar" walks on the earth, the ground shakes, lightning strikes, and a whirlwind "howls." He wears a white silk cap and white morocco boots and gloves. His clothing is made of pure silver. {identical with Bon silver-armored god?} ...


Hostile spirits ... "stand close to each other ..., their beards are very long, and their claws are bent like the claws [talons] of a predator bird. They are incredibly tall and have huge eyes. Their teeth are black like tar. ... some of them are hairy ... Some have tails ...""

pp. 115-120 V. F. Troshchanskii : "The Evolution of the Black Faith among the Yakut".



"... spiritual practitioners : "white" shamans (ajy ojuna) and "black" shamans (abasy ojuna)."



"The Yakut name for a shaman (ojun) originated from the word "to jump," while the verb "to shamanize" (kyr) means ... "to make erratic jumps."" {Pryguny ‘Jumpers’ being a subsect of the Molokane http://www.molokane.org/molokan/Index.htm#Sub-groups }

pp. 125-30 N. A. Vitashevskii : "A Few Observations of Yakut Shamanic Acitvities".



"olokhho ololor. Sitting on a white horse skin on the floor, the shaman addressed ... all known souls of the dead (oiri’a)".


"... checking where he should look for the hostile spirit that stole the soul of the patient."


"... "moved" a hostile spirit from a patient into himself and then dispatched it to the South. The tool the shaman used to dispatch the hostile spirit was called tsalbyr".



"on his way to the upper world. ... had to pass through a number of localities controlled by specific spirits (olokh). In each olokh, he bowed to a spirit and handed it a present".


"To bring him back, people struck flint stones over him and woke up the shaman with sparks."



another "shaman, famous ...



might "arouse so many powerful spirits that they will be bothering people after the se’ance"".

Andrei A. Znamenski : Shamanism in Siberia : Russian Records of Indigenous Spirituality. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, 2003. pp. 43-130 Chapter 1 -- "Recording Shamanism in Old Russia".