S^anar [Buryat]

p. x dedication

my __

is the __


shimmer of waters, rain-drops


echo of forests, howls of wolf


song of bison, water-spring


flight of shaman, land of swan


full moon


morning sun


great earth


high heaven


wild eagle


unbridled horse


blossoms of meadow


antient song

p. 19 "large round tent called a ger"

on __ side of ger’s interior

are __









toli ‘disk-shaped mirror’

p. 33 "From the top of the Tolitin Mountain, ... we would throw a huge toli. ... Then it would circle around and around, turn into a multi-colored lamb and lie down. We would run down to the place where the toli fell, but

{(MT, p. 125) "Xiuyang gong ..., "the Shepherd Sire" : at first he lived on a mountain, subsisting on "yellow essence" or Solomon’s Seal. ... the Sire, on his bed, transformed into a white stone sheep. ... Later this stone sheep was installed on an imperial tower,

it would no longer be there."

[MT, p. 126] whereupon even it disappeared." (item 38; DZ 294:1:18b-19a)}

MT = Robert Ford Campany : Making Transcendents. U of HI Pr, Honolulu, 2009.

77-tongued god

p. 38 "My shaman’s drum stick

Is ruled by Tolgo – the Heavenly Master

With seventy-seven tongues."

(MAHE, p. 42) "Seven are thy kindling-sticks, O Agni, seven thy tongues ... ." (TS 1.5.3h = VS 17.79 = TS 4.6.5n)

(MAHE, p. 42, fn. 7) 7 tongues also in RV 3.6.2

MAHE = Doris Meth Srinivasan : Many Arms, Heads, and Eyes. Brill, Leiden, 1997. http://books.google.com/books?id=vZheP9dIX9wC&pg=PA42&lpg=PA42&dq=

TS = Taittiriya Samhita; VS = Vajasaneyi Samhita; RV = R.c Veda

p. 39 face-covering fringe

"Both Black and White shamans wear a maykhabsha, ... a fringe that covers the face. The headdress also has three long sashes in back. ... Each sash ends with a tassel that has a small bell underneath. ... Both have two large eyes of cloth sewn on the forehead." {Buryat shaman’s "fringe covering the face." (B&MH); also commonly a part of African witchdoctor’s costume}

B&MH = http://www.culturalsurvival.org/ourpublications/csq/article/coming-togetherburyat-and-mongolian-healers-meet-post-soviet-reality

pp. 41-42 ritual whip

p. 41

"Both Black and White shamans have what is called a bardag or shaman’s whip. ... The shaman’s tie it to their hands ... . When the spirits descend, they often use the bardag to bless people."

p. 42

"Good-natured shaman’s whip

Made from eel skin

And the antlers of a three-year-old elk."

"The handle of my shaman’s whip is made of the horn of a three-year-old elk."

p. 43 ritual headdress of antlers

"The orgay, or shaman’s horns, are the most striking part of the Black shaman’s outfit."

p. 44 "Gray-haired father Shambar, ...

Turn into a rainbow and come".

p. 46 nemerge (ritual cape of strips)

"White shamans ... have a beautiful cape of many colors made of strips of brocade."

pp. 47-49 ritual sceptre

p. 47

"Both White and Black shamans have a shaman’s staff.


The Black shaman’s staff is called a horbo ... . It has a horse’s head carved at the top and a set of tiny stirrups towards the bottom. A shaman ... uses them to support himself when the spirit enters him.


The white shaman’s staff is called bayag. It is wooden and has a dragon head carved at the top with a tiny bell underneath the head."

p. 48

Attached to the horbo is a tiny "ladder that resembles the letter "A.""

p. 49

"The Old White Man is a [god] ... traditionally portrayed holding a dragon-headed staff."


p. 61

"Dezhyt, the mistress of the forest."

p. 64

"the Thirteen Northern Spirits ... are considered the protectors of shmanism and live in thirteen specific places near Lake Baikal."

p. 73

"From Ninety-nine Heavens

Come the nine beautiful Sprites." [fn. 2 : "Dangenur, or Nine Sprites, carry the offering into the heavens."]

p. 77 myth of marriage of one of the sons of Heaven to a daughter of Earth

"Earth asked Heaven to give the Sun and Moon as engagement presents. ... When Hedgehog entered, the nine Sons and nine Daughters of Heaven took one look at the funny animal and burst out laughing. Hedgehog ... turned to go back home. So Heaven sent five animals after Hedgehog. They were Rabbit, Deer, Ermine, Squirrel, and Weasel. ... Then vast earth was forced to call her three sons and tell them to capture the echo of the forest and the shimmer of the waters."

pp. 81-82 clew of thread

p. 81

"The shamans placed a small wooden statue of a camel at the foot of the birch ... tied a red thread around its neck ... .

{on May eve in Scotland, to horses’ halters were tied sprigs of rowan (LE)}


Then the assistants tied the thread around each of the eighteen birch saplings ...


took the ball of red thread and tossed it through the round smoke hole at the top of the ger. ... assistants caught the ball of thread inside."

{cf. Irish myth of clew of thread tossed into ship and caught by sailors therein.}

p. 82

"The young camel with the silver harness Transports

The family tree of the gods. ... it blossoms

And flies over the red thread."

{cf. "rowan tree and red thread" of "flying rowan" in Scandinavia (M&FR)}


"she tossed the cup".

{"the Rowan is connected to a tale about the drinking cup of Zeus, which was stolen from Olympus. An eagle was sent to recover the cup" (RT).}

LE = http://paganismwicca.suite101.com/article.cfm/life_energy_influenced_by_rowan_tree

M&FR = http://www.treesforlife.org.uk/forest/mythfolk/rowan.html

RT = http://www.controverscial.com/Rowan.htm

pp. 86, 88-89 possession of shaman by spirits

p. 86

"The spirits that the shamans called down at the Shanar are called ongons. ... Many of them had once been famous shamans. ... when a spirit comes down, he first comes to the place where his body was buried and from that point goes to the place where he is being called.

At a Shanar the spirits ... travel on the red thread through all the trees, then come to the Offering Tree under which the meat stands."


[statement by shaman] "The spirit comes to the feet first ... . When I am being inhabited I change from the inside out, from the bone out."

p. 88

[when shaman became spirit-possessed in their praesence] "The people who had been gathered scrambled to stand and cover their eyes, holding the tips of their fingers to their brows. ...

Once the spirit sat down and accepted anything that was offered, one of the assistants, called a khelemershen, would speak with the spirit. ... The spirit answered through [the shaman’s] body, but it did not sound like his voice."


[statement by shaman] "With the power of my drum I can take my own spirit out of my body. When my spirit is in this state I can communicate with my ancestors, with one of the shamans from the twelve generations on my father’s side or the seven generations on my mothers side.

p. 89

... the male spirits enter from one direction and female ones come from the other side. Some spirits enter as if they were coming from under a pile of rocks. The rocks fall away and the ongon rises. Then it enters you in a rush. Other spirits come bouncing in like a ball. ...

When I call Harme Zarin ["Zarin is the title of a shaman with the highest rank ... there is only one living Zarin." (fn. 1)] I see sparks first."


"One of the spirits ... called down ... was Harme Zarin. He is a very old man who has no teeth."

pp. 90, 92 replacement of one candidate for consecration (to shamanhood) by another, at the behest of consecrative-spirits themselves

p. 90

"Once when an initiation ritual for a shaman was not working out, [the consecrating shaman’s spirit] said, ‘... pick someone else for this ritual.’ And the people were obliged to find another candidate for the initiation because once a ritual is started it must be completed."


[how a woman was consecrated as shamaness by way of substitution] "She was very sick and had come to a ritual that was being

p. 92

done for [to consecrate] another [candidate to become] shaman. The spirits were not happy with the [candidate for] shaman who was being dedicated and they told the [consecrating] shamans to find another candidate. Much to her surprise, the shamans chose" [as candidate the shamaness who later narrated this].

p. 100 praediction of miraculous powers during possession by spirits

"the weight of his body will disappear. Once the spirits of the White Heavens have entered him,

he will be able to lick hot iron or

walk over burning coals.

He will be able to take out a person’s soul and effortlessly lift their body.

Or he can have his horse run over the surface of a lake, or ... the mighty Onon River."

pp. 102, 115-116, 124-125, 135-136 behavior of spirits during the consecration-rite

p. 102

When the possessing-spirit departed out of the [consecrating-]shaman, "He jumped up and down, round and round according to the sun [clockwise]. He shook and trembled. An assistant held him, as another placed a stool for him to sit on and took off his headdress. A third ... massaged his hands."

p. 115

"The spirit should hit you in the back ...; free you from the weight of your body."

p. 116

"At first the spirit would ... travel through all the trees that were united by the red thread. Then he would come ... through the Ur tree under which the meat offering stood."

p. 124

"The ongon was inquiring about the outsiders who were part of the ritual. ...

p. 125

Then he wanted to know about the other outsider. I was called and knelt in front of the ongon, placing my head under his drum. He hit it and the sound resonated inside my head, which suddenly felt as large as a cavern."

p. 135

"After the ongon had left [the consecrating-shaman], his fingers and hands started cramping. ...

p. 136

The other shamans ... massaged his hands."

pp. 117-118 ritual object worn on shoulders and back

p. 117

"arkhali ... is a special part of the ritual outfit that is worn on the shoulders and back. It consists of a metal frame ... . In front the metal frame supports the heads of two large vipers made of black velvet that stand on both side of the shaman’s face. Their tails, as well as numerous smaller snakes,

p. 118

flow down the shaman’s back." {This is apparently the Black shamans’ aequivalent to the White shamans’ "nemerge" (mentioned on p. 46).}

p. 120 throat-singing

"throat singing ... is a traditional vocal technique that allows one person to make two sounds simultaneously. One sound is a low rumbling drone, while the other is a high-pitched whistle that carries the melody."

pp. 121-122 Thunder Dance songs (invoking, successively, several birds as harbingers)



above __

harbinger of __




good times




khan’s men





pp. 149-153 weightlessness of shaman

p. 149

[personal account by shaman] "During my first Shanar, ... I ... thought I was dying. I had the feeling that my soul flew

p. 153

out. I saw the whole region, the whole local area below me as if I was flying in a very fast plane. ...

During each Shanar I ran up the Father Tree. My robes and instruments themselves weigh over sixty kilos, yet I become weightless in those moments."

Virlana Tkacz : Shanar : Dedication Ritual of a Buryat Shaman in Siberia. Parabola Books, NY, 2002. [authoress is of Ukrainian descent http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virlana_Tkacz ; her husband is Uatoku Ueno, Japanese http://www.nytimes.com/1985/08/24/style/virlana-tkacz-is-wed.html ]