"Siberian Shamanism" (spirit-journeys)

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

pp. 131-134 Avrorin & Kozminskii : "Shamans’ Journeys through the Eyes of the Oroch Natives".


"As soon as Oroch natives die, their souls go to the afterworld (buni) without being accompanied by a shaman. Soon souls reach a small side route that leads to the afterworld of dogs. If these are the souls of thoughtless individuals, they take this route and end up in the dogs’ habitat, where souls of dogs tickle and play with human souls. ...

On the contrary, the souls of good people do not sidetrack but go straight ahead. After three days of travel, souls come to a small table with food. After a meal, they continue their route.

In a day, souls reach a cone-like dwelling, where they stay for a night.

At the end of the next day, they climb a high rock with a vertical hole that goes right through. {cf. [Santa Cruz i. in the Solomons] "the ghosts of the dead go to the great volcano Tamani" (BI&WD, p. 352)} Here souls lose consciousness and drop into the afterworld (buni nani). Finding themselves in buni land, souls regain consciousness and live in that country for five generations.

Then souls leave, going upriver (buni ulini) into the "upper cloud world." At first souls travel in the shape of iron old men with walking sticks {? crabs}, then

they turn into iron arrows {? arrowworms -- http://academic.evergreen.edu/t/thuesene/chaetognaths/chaetognaths.htm}, and then

into iron ducks. Finally, at the very source of the river,

souls turn into iron worms {? caterpillars} and slide right through a hole in the heavenly sphere and continued their journey

as iron butterflies. The butterflies fly over the "coal place road" toward the Moon Land. Before entering the Moon Land, souls have to decide which of two old women living in this land they have to join. To do this, they have to choose one of two rivers :

one that leads to the "tiger" old woman {Chinese White Tigress goddess} or

another that leads to the "bear" old woman {S^into Bear goddess}. When


souls make up their minds, they go over a selected river and live for a while at its source, placing themselves under the supervision of an old woman. An old woman usually nourishes souls by feeding them charcoal {cf. Carbonarii, charcoal-makers in Sardinia, whence came Talos to Krete}. When souls are nourished enough,

they turn into puffballs, and an old woman drops them from the Moon Land back to the earth where they usually penetrate into women’s wombs. As a result, women conceive and give birth.

If in a past life a soul belonged to a man, after it drops back to the earth, it turns into a woman, and vice-versa." {this sex-reversal from one life to the next is tropical-forest South American Indian doctrine}

"Shamans’ souls are created by the supreme sky deity called Khadau {cf. [ibri^] HeD ‘resounding’}, who looks like and old man with a gray beard. Khadau hammers souls of shamans from iron on an anvil shaped like a hornless moose. In addition to shamans’ souls, Khadau hammers sacred shamanic paraphernalia such as the drum (untu), the drumstick, the shamanic costume, the belt with decorations, and also shamans’ helping spirits. When the souls of shamans and all necessary accessories are ready, Khadau sends them to his wife, Khadau Mamachani, who puts the souls in stone cradles. When souls grow up,

she turns them into fish {cf. the fish kiris as "soul" of Skulle (GM 91.d)} and puts them in a river, which starts right at the cradle. Souls go downriver to a lake where all kinds of dangers await them.

First, souls have to face a hostile spirit who waits to attack them with a sharp spear. {cf. Daidalos recovering a corpse from the sea (GM 92.f)}

If shamans’ souls escape this danger, they come to a stone platform with a dog that runs back and forth. {cf. in Krete : Talos, whose duty is "to run thrice daily around the island ... and to throw rocks at any foreign ship" (GM 92.m)} The dog preys on shamans’ souls. {Skulle "a dog-like monster with six fearful heads ... snatched ... sailors off the deck, one in each mouth, and ... devoured them at leisure." (GM 170.t)}

The souls have a chance to turn back, but here again a hostile spirit armed with a stone hammer {cf. "musical stone" of Skulle (GM 91.b)} waits to strike them. If the hostile spirit knocks down a shaman’s soul, it carries it to its dwelling and offers the "prisoner" a treat of human flesh. If the spirit talks its "prisoner" into trying human flesh, the shaman who will receive this soul will feed on human souls and gnaw the dead people. {cf. judge of the dead (GM 31.b) Minos, "which preyed on her vitals." (GM 89.c)} If the spirit fails, it will try to devour a soul.

Smart and crafty souls are able to escape from this danger to the lake, from which they get into the river that takes them to the final destination, the walrus sea. Yet by this sea, the last and most fearful test awaits shamns’ souls. Khadau himself stands here, aiming his harpoon at swimming souls. {in the praesence of Minos : Theseus recovering a long article from the sea (GM 98.j)} The harpoon is attached to a leather rope held by nine spirits who have cone-shaped heads {squids ?} and nine spirits with round heads {octopodes ?} If it is a weak soul, Khadau kills it.

If a souls is strong, it keeps on moving, even with a harpoon ... in its back dragging all eighteen spirits behind. Eventually, all these spirits become spirit helpers to the shaman who will get this soul.

In the walrus sea, a soul finally acquires a human shape, and Khadau gives it a self-moving boat. {viz., with sails, an invention (according to Pausanias) by Daidalos -- http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A470981} When a


soul reaches the shore, it usually chooses a proper person and settles inside the body of the individual, who is designated to become a professional shaman."

shamans’ cosmic travels : "Between the earth and the Moon Land are three clouds From the earth to the first cloud, souls of shamans fly as swifts {"Cloud-cuckoo-land; ... the King's name was Crookbeak, son of Fitz-Ousel" (TH)} ;

then from the first cloud to the second one, souls fly as bats {"Nightbat, son of Fairweather" (TH)}; and finally

from the second cloud to the third one, as dragonflies. {"Sky-gnats ... in ... great numbers were taken and slain" (TH) – gnats are devoured in great number by dragonflies}

Then shamans’ souls turn into spiders and climb the web that leads them to the Moon Land. {"gigantic spiders, considerably larger than an average Aegean island; these were instructed to stretch webs across from the Moon to Lucifer" (TH)}

Before they enter the Moon Land, the souls turn into grasshoppers. {Immediately before entering the Promised Land, the folk of Yho^s^u<a were viewed "as grasshoppers" by the sons of <anaq (B-Midbar 13:33)}

Shamans ... also can fly to the Sun Land. ... Such journeys are extremely dangerous because each shaman who goes there has to fight a temptation not to look at a girl with a shining face who lives there. As soon as a shaman takes a look at her, he will be blinded forever. {Is she Athene and he Teiresias whom Athene blinded for viewing her (GM 25.g) ?} ...

Shamans who want ... to fly to the Sun Land cannot go there directly. First they have to fly to the Moon Land, and from there they can enter the Sun Land."

BI&WD = James George Frazer : The Belief in Immortality and the Worship of the Dead. Macmillar & Co, London, 1913. http://books.google.com/books?id=wSYwAAAAIAAJ&pg=PA352&lpg=PA352&dq=volcano+Solomon+%22souls+of+the+dead%22&source=bl&ots=OQHhrKbk_-&sig=n8O-wnhEoiv0MJ6CNwEsPlXsz0k&hl=en&ei=uVHuTc_LAYLAgQf367GVDw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=5&ved=0CDIQ6AEwBA#v=onepage&q=volcano%20Solomon%20%22souls%20of%20the%20dead%22&f=false

GM = Robert Graves : The Greek Myths. 1955.

TH = Alethe Diegemata, by Loukianos of Samosate http://oddlots.digitalspace.net/guests/lucian_true_history.html

pp. 151-154 L. A. Karunovskaia : "The Universe as Perceived by the Altaians". ("so-called Milk {cf. Molokan} (White) Faith [Burkhanism]" – p. 152)



"In the center of the earth, there is a mountain called Ak toson altaj sip’ with a milk lake (syt kol) on its top. The soul of a shaman who journeys to the heavenly sphere usually bathes in this lake. In the middle of the mountain there is a navel {volcano??} of the earth and water (Cer tengere kindigi), which serves as the root of the "wonderful tree with golden branches and wide leaves" (Altyn byrly bai terek). The peak of this tree extends into the heavenly sphere. During clan-side sacrificial se’ances addressed to U:lgen or to Kogo-Monko, the chief creator of the [live]stock and human beings, the souls of shamans penetrate to the heavenly sphere by climbing this tree. ...

Spirit master of various regions of the Altai also like to gather on this mountain. On its flat top {cf. flat-topped sacred mountain in Kommagene ?}, they meet each other and play dice, chess, pebbles, and cards. Spirit master usually gamble the embryo souls of the



[live]stock, children, or hunting animals. When the population of animals in some area of the Altai decreases, people usually say that the spirit master of this area lost to to the spirit-master of another area. On the same mountain lives Ceri-su, the most pewerful spirit on earth. He ... knows what "regional" spirit master lost to another while gambling. During se’ances, when shamans hope to receive the embryo soul (kut) of a domestic animal or the soul (jula) of a child, they come to this mountain and address Ceri-su, trying to find out what "regional" spirit they need to appease with sacrifices and prayers." [They would appease the winning gambler.]



"The sky ... consists of nine layers ... In the center of the last, ninth layer, a fire mountain rises ... This is the "headquarters" of the supreme deity named Kogo-Monko Adaz, who had created the sky and the earth, ... and who controls the spirit of lightning. Kogo-Monko can kill, using his ... bolts of lighting. His "palace" is a yurt made of felt ... On the top of his dwelling there grows a trees with a golden ribbon. Kogo-Monko’s mountain is surrounded by a other few fire sky mountains populated by his children."



"... shamans’ journey to the underworld to Temir-khan, Erlik’s second son. When, during their se’ances, shamans travel to the underworld, at first their souls fly out from a yurt’s smoke hole and then descend inro the "earthly hole," an entrance to the underworld. Having crawled throgh this hole, shamans’ souls at first bow to the guardians of Temir-khan-khan’s door and then enter the underworld, where there is no sun and moon.

Then souls ascend to the top of the "underworld mountain," where they meet Erlik’s daughters, sisters of Temir-khan. These playful and sexually charged girls alway try to seduce shamans’ souls traveling to the underworld. Powerful shamans usually have no trouble in quickly getting rid of their seductive traps. {similarly to the Buddha’s evading being sexually seduced by the daughters of Mara} Weak shamans cannot resist the sexual temptation and lose their souls. It is assumed that in such cases, shamans die. {similarly to the deaths of mariners seduced by the Seirenes goddess}

Having crossed a vast plain, which is located to the right of the "underworld mountain" and which is devoid of any vegetation, shamans



reach a large swamp, where their route is blocked by five she-goats. {cf. Heidru`n, Hyndla, & the sexually promiscuous goddess Freyja, who "wandered the countryside at night, in the form of a she-goat." http://www.ancientsites.com/aw/Post/433645 – as cited from Hyndlu-ljo`d, str. 46-7 (RGA, vol 28, p. 251A)}These animals prey on both shamans’ souls and the sacrificial gifts shamans carry for Temir-khan. ...

Having passed this obstacle, spiritual practitioners enounter the lake of human tears (kostin jaz kara kol), which people of the "real earth" shed for their deceased relatives.

Then shamans meet a so-called red lake (kogys kan kizil kol) filled with the blood of murdered people and suicides. At this place shamans usually can see what murder might be coming soon and ask that the designated misfortune bypass potential victims among their kinfolks.

Beyond the lake, shamans’ souls fly to the pole-shaped structure (siksirgely kara tynos). This is the place where the souls of deceased people usually stop for a rest. At this point, shamans usually learn about the fate of families for which they perform se’ances.

The next obstacle is a dangerous passage through a horsehair "bridge" that threads over a bottomless lake with black water covered slime. Weak shamans slide down from this tiny hair thread and drop into the lake, which results in immediate death of shamans right during the se’ance.

If shamans cross the "bridge," they reach the habitat of their clan ancestors (emeke jaan jer). ... Shamans explain to the ancestors the circumstances that made them descend into the underworld. ... Shamans ask ancestors to keep hostile underworld spirits away from the "middle world," {= Mid-gard} the habitat of human beings.

Finally, shamans reach their destination, the residence of Temir-khan. The souls of shamans leave their drums outside, enter his felt tent, and present gifts ... After this, souls of shamans ask Temir-khan to relieve patents from illnesses which Temir-khan had inflicted through one of his subordinate spirits. Temir-khan usually explains the cause of an illness as the lack of a sacrifice he awaited. To fix the problem, continues Temir-khan, people should deliver the expected sacrifice".

RGA 28 = Reallexikon der Germanischen Altertumskunde. Begr. v. Hoops, Johannes. Hrsg. v. Beck, Heinrich / Geuenich, Dieter / Steuer, Heiko. Red. Müller, Rosemarie. Band 28. "Seddin – Skiringssal". April 2005.


pp. 199-205 Andrei A. Popov : "The Nganasan : social system and beliefs". 



"At first there was ice, and ... There was only pure ice everywhere. {this is similar to the Norse cosmogony} At that time, the mother of the ice land ... was a maiden. Once she exposed her behind, and the father of the land, god, saw it and decided to overtake her. After she overook her, the land maiden devil became pregnant, and she gave birth to the mother of trees [Khore] to provide firewood for [as her?] children. {tree-deities are also Hellenic, Orphic, and Druidic} Mama of the land also gave birth to the loon. Then trees became very dense, and food for reindeer appeared. ... The master of water started to provide fish, and the wild deer started to eat the reindeer moss, which is the nipple of the land. On land, people started to eat the fish and the deer. That was people’s nipple of the land." {cf. the [Cymry] "paps of Anu"}


"hostile spirits ... began destroying all living beings on earth. The spirits of loons, who helped to support the harmony of the world, also disppeared along with strong shamans. As a result, Khore, the mother of trees, lost her eyes (it was assumed that her eyes were shamans), and her feet (the loons) became weak. She stopped combating hostile powers and fell asleep."

"to restore ... First, [the shaman] woke Khore, the mother of trees, and by feeding her with sacrifices, he helped her restore her powers and abilities. Then, accompanied by Khore, [the shaman] embarked on a journey, first to the underworld and then to the upper world. Before he started the journey, [the shaman] addressed the mother of trees as follows : "... Here we will enter the mouth of the devil’s land that children and then go gown. Here are the seven loons who had been eaten, too. It is the devouring devil that ate them up. Here we will go into his stomach. ...".



Then they jumped, dropping into the first layer of the underworld. While dropping, Khore hurt herself. So they had to interrupt



the journey, while the shaman healed her. When the mother of trees was healthy, they continued deeper into the underworld, going through the mouth of the spirit of the earth. ... "Here is the mouth of the afterworld, where souls go after people’s death. It is a very dark place. ...""



"Then [the Shaman] and Khore crossed an ice land and reached a newly-built chum, where a servant of some spirit of an undefined ailment resided. To get permission to cross the domain of this spirit, the travelers had to pay a ransom, a piece of calico, which was magically turned into female clothing for this [female?] spirit. {[in Hinduism,] disease-causing spirits are all female} Having paid the ransom, they asked the spirit not to send illnesses to their tribe. {in Bon, payments to spirits are likewise termed "ransoms"}


Eventually the travelers reached the end of the icy land, where they found the sources of seven creeks, which flew {as 7 loons?} into one spring. {bird-bath?} ... when the mama of the land was giving birth to all grass roots, she was urinating into seven creeks. {" Upstream was the giantess Gjalp who strode over the river, one foot on each bank. She was urinating into the river causing it to overflow." To`rr "grabbed a clump of Rowan to help him out of the river and it is for this reason that Rowan is called Thorr's deliverance." (LFO)} Here are the seven wombs, where the souls of all people are born, seven hordes such as ... the Yurak, the Ostiak and others ...



At the place where the seven creeks flew into one spring, there were three trees that sprang up from one root. The three trees were the three ailments sent to people as a punishment for incest committed by two brothers and a sister. Ironically, ... the act of incest was provoked by the same three spirits of the ailments." {is this water-spring aequivalent to the water-well of [Norse] Hjuki & Bil ?}



"After this, the mother of trees and the shaman jumped into the cold water of the spring and washed away all dirt from these ailments.

After a while, [swimming,] they arrived at a narrow spot between two capes. At this point, the weather drastically changed. It was unbearably hot, and sand dunes were turned into a sand storm. Yet here they met a benign god of the underworld.

The swimming travelers proceeded further and finally reached a large lake. There were nine hills right amid the lake. ... the river they were swimming was ... actually ... the womb of the mother earth (land), and the hills were the bellies of nine old brothers. The rocks on top of their "bellies" were actually their penises. Amid these "hills-bellies," the mother of trees spotted an entrace leading to the next layer, to the sphere populated by the deities who grant shamans their powers ...



Using the "penis" of one of the old men, the travelers entered the next layer that is also described as a bodily part, the belly of the mother of the chum. Inside the chum, they



saw nine daughters of this mother. {cf. the 9 sisters (including Gjalp) named in HL 38} The hostess turned out to be the mistress of the fire, while her daughters were responsible for providing food to all newborn babies. During his stay at this chum, the shaman ... asked them to help his tribe. The next morning, the hostess gave the shaman eternal fire, fish, and a herd of reindeer. Having received gifts, the travelers returned to the lake of nine grandfathers.

They kept on moving down river, which was also an artiery, and Khore continued to act a navigator ... Thus, travelling inside the body of the mother earth, they found the gut [vein] that led to her heart. Behind the heart, there was a chum where the spirit of war resided. ... The spirit informed them that there would be no war. {"neither shall they learn war any more." (MYKH 4:3)} The travelers wanted to proceed, but the spirit tried to lock them up. At this point, ... By plunging a knife inside himself, the shaman ... "cut" an opening in the door and escaped ...

Finally, they reached the tip of the mother earth’s tongue, where they met a ... woman who was sitting there. When they inquired who she was, the woman answered, "... I am ... the mother of shamans. When new shamans or new spirits are made, I provide them with iron skins. That is why I am the mother of iron ... I lost my man, who [is] a Samoyed god, from whom I conceived. He began fighting the spirit of war but did not have enough power and ran away. Now I became the servant of the spirit of war. I do what he forces me to do. He tells me, ‘You live by the end of the tongue of the mother earth. So stay there and scratch the tongue.’" {cf. [Yoruba] hen-goddess scratcbing the ground}



"Night descended, and next morning, the spiritual travelers returned to the point where they started their journey, the mouth of the mother earth.



Yet now the landscape looked different. From the mouth, they swam in the water, which carried away the souls of the dead, and reached the first layer of the underworld, where they spent the first night of their journey. The road went through the icy barren land. [The shaman] and Khore reached three hills, which were the foreheads of three ailments that were very hostile to the shaman." {cf. the hone-stone embedded in the forehead of To`rr (CP, p. 13; H) – this hone-stone was attended to by Gro`a the wife of O,RVandil : [Hellenic] ORWos ‘mountain’}



"At first, hostile spirits tricked the shaman into hunting two false deer ("grandfather hunger" and "grandfather louse") that could poison people to death. Yet Khore helped the shaman to avoid the trap. She found the "mama of the deer food," which looked like a stem of grass {is this grass [the Aztec day-sign] Malinalli ‘grass’, depicted along with gouged-out eyen?}, and instructed the shaman, "... You should shoot with your eyes closed. ..."" {cf. the [Norse] shooting of Baldr by the sightless Ho,dr}



"In the morning, the journey resumed and, moving by water, the travelers reached two hills. Above the hills they noticed seven penises of the crescent hanging from up above. This was the entrance to the upper world. To ascend to the upper world, the shaman harnessed a so-called winged devil and began climbing a penis of the crescent ...



At the spot from which all these penises grew, there stood a naked man who was the spirit that spoiled the birth process.

After they passed this spirit, they reached the "mother that gives eyes to newborn human and animal beings."

Then they swam upriver, which was the streaming urine of a crescent penis. En route they found two boxes with eyes, which the mother of the crescent used to provide eyesight to various beings, and



they eventually reached the dwelling of the "mother of eyes," who sent them [shaman & Khore] to the father god of shaman-healers. ... The father of shamans responded, "... I will give you medium power. I will give you a future; you will live to your gray hair." ...

Right after the receipt of the power, the passage to the middle world opened, and Khore instructed the shaman, "Now when you start curing your people, before going to the spirit of an illness, you should ask for power through this hole. You should shout into this hole, ‘Father, mother, give power!’ and power will come to come to you though this hole"."


"The travelers ... dropped to the principal layer of the underworld to the mouth of the earth, where they had started their journey. Here the travelers went by a river and again encountered various obstacles before they finally returned to the middle world."

LFO = http://www.northvegr.org/northern/book/loki002.php

HL = Hyndla-ljo,d http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/poe/poe15.htm

CP = Corpus Poeticum Boreale. Vol. 2 = "Court Poetry". Oxford, 1883.

H = http://www.hurstwic.org/history/articles/mythology/myths/text/hrungnir.htm


Andrei A. Znamenski : Shamanism in Siberia : Russian Records of Indigenous Spirituality. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, 2003. pp. 131-278 Chapter 2 – "Siberian Shamanism in Soviet Imagination".