"Siberian Shamanism" (general)

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


pp. 134-136 V. G. Bogoras : "Shamanic Spiritual Language among Various Branches of the Eskimo Tribe".

allusive term




those with fangs



owner of a drum


one who lieth back on his back

dead person

light [luminous] one




one who walketh on all 4s




small cute soul


sun-ray going through a hole


side-extension to a dwelling


broken one


swollen one

praegnant woman

to fall into a hole

to die

"... illnesses as the result of "hunting" attacks, which spirits organize to procure human souls. ... spirits treat human souls as their hunting catch. Spirits invade human habitats as entire families, bringing their wives and children and carrying various nets and traps. ... Shamans usually beat spirits by dozens and hundreds, and then release human souls, which spirits keep tied and packed in sacks on their sleds."






human souls


pp. 142-144 G. N. Gracheva : "Ethnocultural Connections of the Nganasan : Classification of Shamans".


"(1) "Underworld" ... sambana shamans carried the staff instead of the drum and specialized only in healing.

(2) Diuchily (bakirie) and seimyte shamans shamans were "dream interpreters or seers." Initiation of people into this category was accompanied by painful dreams ...

(3) Khositala shamans ... undertook long spiritual journeys. They were able to pin down a spiritual locality or a spiritual object (in shamanic journeys, objects usually change their ordinary appearance).

(4) Tuopsuti, assistants or students of powerful shamans who did not perform any se’ance without tuopsuti assistance."


"... material objects of veneration (koika). ... koika acted in the same manner as shamans, and shamans were perceived as live koika".


"If a shaman were a man, his chief assistant usually was his wife.

In addition, women "fed" the hearth ...

a shaman routinely asked permission of his wife to summon his spirits."


pp. 160-162 P. P. Khoroshikh : "Shamanic Beliefs of the Irkutsk Buryat".



"Horses were "devoted" to the deity Suberten. A shaman or person who wanted to make a "sacrifice" selected a three-year old horse, which was to be an unbranded stallion rather than a foal or a mare. {cf. the as`va-medha, the immolation of a stallion rather than of a foal or a mare} ... The sacrificial animal was was decorated by multicolored pieces of material attached to its neck."


"Bulls were "devoted" to the deity named Guzhir-tengri, which was responsible for the multiplication of herds of domestic animals. In two or three months the "devoted bull became the object of a special rite," which did not include


the slaughtering of the sacrificial animal. First, people sprinkled a hearth fire with tarasun ..., then the cup with tarasun was ... placed on the back of the "devoted" bull."


"If the "devoted" bull was accidentally killed by a bolt of lightning or devoured by a wolf, its bones were placed on a special platform (aranga), erected on four poles at the spot where the bull died. In case a "devoted" bull died a natural death ..., its head and horn (ongon-bukha) were to be hung on the gates of a stock yard. ...

To safeguard their herds from die-outs, ... the Irkutsk Buryat performed a rite called boinok khetelkhe, which included making small cross-cuts under the throat of a selected animal. ... Buryat shamans stressed that these cross-cuts helped to secure the benevolence of the deity called Bukha-noion. ...

In the time of epizoo:tics, the Alar Buryat ... selected larch or fir trees, which stood close by each other, and then they connected their tops with an aspen pole, while at the bottom the trees were connected by a birch pole. Under the bottom pole, the Buryat made a fire ... of juniper bushes and chips from a tree struck by lightning. Natives drove their [live]stock through this fire three times ... this rite helped to "cleanse the [live]stock from all hostile spirits"."


"... to protect their [live]stocks from starvation, the Buryat performed special tailagan ceremonies in honor of the deity called Guzhir-Sagan-tengri ...

Shamans warned people about coming [live]stockdie-outs ... (1) when dogs in nomadic camps were too joyful and playful; (2) when [live]stock suddenly gathered together and ran around for no reason; (3) when a swallow that made a nest in a your began to throw droppings of its chicks around a


yurt; and (4) when a raven crowed flying over the [live]stock.

When the horned cattle chewed polished bones, it meant that in spring there would be a shortage of forage".


pp. 170-174 Gavriil V. Ksenofontov : "Legends and Tales about Shamans among the Yakut".



"A famous shaman was usually buried not in the ground, but in a special structure called arangas, which is erected above the ground. An arangas could be


a simple empty wooden log placed on a forked tree crown. Later when this "casket" rotted and dropped down, people "raised" the bones of a shaman back to the tree three times ..."


"Many legends ... describe some famous shamans of the past wearing iron masks because no living being could bear their deadly looks, capable of killing both people and animals."

"a very beautiful maiden ..., after meeting a man who was riding a white horse {cf. Oirat of Burkhanism}, she gave herself up to him. The man turned out to be the son of a deity and informed her that she would bear two great shamans. ... The woman gave birth to two ravens, which later became boys and eventually famous shamans. The first shaman was able to force a huge pile of hay to fly, while the second could move a moose with her cubs from one place to another".



"Yakut legends picture the acquisition of shamanic powers by a would-be spiritual practitioner as a chain of fits of "hysterical singing." It was believed that in reality, singing was the voices of spirits who moved into a shaman. ...


The Yakut also believed that during this time, spirits dismembered a candidate for the shamanic vocation."


"According to one Yakut legend, spirits performed dismemberment in the following manner. First, they took a candidate with an iron hook, tore him apart, separated all joints, and cleaned his bones from his flesh. Both eyes were taken out and put aside. The spirits put together the bones and sewed then with iron threads and placed the eyes back into the head, and a shaman received back his human body.

... another version of the dismemberment procedure. First, spirits cut and put aside the head of a "chosen one." Although the head was separated, it retained consciousness and was able to observe the entire dismemberment procedure. After hostile spirits cut, shared and devoured his meat, they attached new meat to the bones and placed the head back to the body."

"all shamans had a so-called mother-animal (ija:-kyl), which was sometimes pictured as a large bird with curved grabbing claws and a beak that resembled an iron ice axe. A mother-animal takes the soul of a future shaman and descends to the underworld and raises this soul on a branch of a spruce tree. Souls of powerful shamans are usually raised on the ninth branch counting from the bottom. When a shaman’s soul become mature enough to control itself, the mother-animal ascends to the middle ground, where it dismembers the body of the shaman into small pieces and scatters them


around over all paths leading to death and illness and also divides the meat of the body among hostile spirits. A spirit of each ailment and misfortune is assigned its specific part of the body. It was believed that a future shaman could be successful in curing various illnesses only when all parts of his body were fairly and properly distributed ...


The procedure of slashing means that the meat of a would-be shaman is scattered in the underworld as a sacrifice to all sources of death and ailments. If during the distribution of the shaman’s body, one of the pieces did not reach a designated place or a spirit responsible for a specific ailent, a future shaman would not be able to journey to this spiritual habitat during a se’ance ...


Therefore, a shaman would be able to cure only those ailements which were caused by the spirits who had fed on the parts of his body. Those spirits that were "deprived" of the parts of his body would never respond to his appeals."


"shaman characters ... prophesized, "It is high time for spirits to cut my body, and I will die for three days, then I will resurrect""


"During the dismemberment, spirits count the bones of a candidate, checking whether all of them are in place. If some bones are missing, spirits might require the life of one of a shaman’s relatives as a ransom. ... Usually in legends nine relatives were exprected to die for nine "major" bones : eight tubular bones and a skull".


"A Yakut legend describes the "great tree" as a larch tree ... The bird with iron feathers (mother-animal), hatches its egg in the nest located on the branches of this larch tree. The soul of the shaman comes out of this egg. The "shamanic tree" is filled with nests where the souls of future shamans are raised. Great shamans are nested on top of the tree, average shamans are raised on middle branches, and small


shamans are nested on lower branches".


"A Yakut shaman told ... that those great shamans were usually born three times. [This remark is explained by the statement that (p. 172) "Elders informed ... that in ancient times, the most powerful shamans went through the dismemberment three times to strengthen their medicine."]

... the mother-animal ... might appear not only as a bird but also as a moose or deer. The mother-animal manifests itself three times : first, when it gives birth to the soul of a shaman; second, when spirits complete "building up" a shaman by slashing his body; and third, when a shaman dies".


"In addition, a shaman usually has two invisible spirit assistants who are ... in the form of dogs. ...

Each legendary shaman usually has invisible self-shooting bows that are always ready to shoot arrows".

p. 170 for excerpts, translated into English, from the German edition including this book (Adolf Friedrich & George Buddrus : Schamanengeschichten aus Sibirien. Mu:nchen & Planegg: O. W. Barth, 1955.), see also :- http://www.kondor.de/mythes/indekse.html


pp. 174-178 V. M. Kulemzin : "Khanty Shamanism in the Vasiugan-Vakh Area".



"people who performed religious functions, but not ... formally shamans" :- "there were ... arekhta-ku, whose major function was singing various songs or telling tales and epics.

The ulom-verta-ku "decoded" dreams, and

the niukul’ta-ku staged special entertainment performances, which were accompanied by the summoning of spirits, and sometimes soothsaying sessions about [up]coming hunting trips."



"Individuals who were to become isylta-ku usually dreamed that they had been "appointed" by the deity named Torum. Would-be isylta-ku announced to people that they were chosen by Torum. ... The major function of the isylta-ku was curing, the procedure they performed in the course of a special se’ance by extracting hostile spirits from the bodies of patients. Before performing the curing rite Isylta-ku usually planted in their bodies the helping snake spirit {"when he looked upon the serpent ..., he lived." (B-MDBR 21:9)} who "devoured" a hostile spirit. ...


When the helping spirit moved in, isylta-ku healed people in ... extracting of the spirit that inflicted an ailment. Pulled out from the body of a patient in the form of a worm, a lizard or other creature, the spirit was devoured by the isylta-ku. It was assumed that the snake spirit devoured the hostile spirit."


"In addition to curing, isylta-ku were able to bring back to life prematurely deceased people. The Khanty believed that their major deity Torum assigned an appropriate number of years for each individual. Yet people could sometimes die before their "assigned" term expired. In this case, to retrieve the soul, isylta-ku usually travelled to the underworld, the "kingdom of the dead" headed by Kellokh-Torum. {[ibri^] KELaH. ‘full old age’ (Strong’s 3624-5)} The journey was conducted as follows. After ordering everyone [else] to leave a dwelling,


isylta-ku lay down near deceased individuals, covering themselves with the same blankets and remaining there for three days. ... during this time, the soul of the isylta-ku traveled to the kingdom of the dead and asked Kellokh-Torum to release the soul of the deceased person". {if this were successful, then the "deceased" had actually been comatose although alive. effort for possible recovery of persons "dying" before their "assigned" fated time, is Chinese}


"people who belonged to the category of ielta-ku {cf. YaLTA in Krimea} ... manifested all classic attributes of shamanism : ... an ability to communicate with the spirits of different spheres, including Torum, the chief deity of the upper world, ... the special costume and artifacts, and multiple spiritual functions ...


"for the Khanty of the Vasiugan area ... assistants to shamans ... who were able to play musical instruments called panan-ukh could become shamans."


"During their se’ances, Vasiugan ielta-ku ... acted through their helping spirits. To summon helping spirits, shamans usually ate fly-agaric mushrooms, which caused hallucinations, and began beating their drums. ...

... to cure people from a fever, shamans suddenly scared them. ...


During se’ances, shamans imitated sounds and voices produced by different animals, which meant that shamans summoned the spirits of these animals and then learned from these spirits".


"In order to cure a person, ielta-ku of the Vakh area prepared themselves by ... eating a few dried fly-agaric mushrooms. Before beginning a curing se’ance, shamans were expected to establish a contact with Torum. To reach Torum, a shaman usually flew an eagle. {cf. [Sumerian] Ed-anak / E-tana} ... During their talks with Torum, shamans asked permission to extract a hostile spirit from the body of a patient. Torum usually ordered Kyn’-lung, the chief hostile spirit, to recall one of his subordinates that caused the disease. ... Some very powerful shamans were able to implant Kyn’-lung inside their bodies ... at this moment, shamans were able to master any hostile spirit that caused an ailment. Some shamans extracted and "ate" hostile spirits (usually in the form of a worm) {cf. [Chinese, Inuit, and Maran~on river tribes’] earthworm-deities} themselves, while others used helping spirits to "devour" the spirit. The snake-spirit, whose image was depicted on a drumstick, usually "devoured" a hostile spirit. To extract a hostile spirit, shamans touched an ailing spot with a drumstick. {cf. Mos^eh’s rod (wand) which became a snake, as demonstrated at the court of Par<oh} In cases when people approaached shamans to predict the results of ... fishing trips {cf. transmuting, by Mos^eh, of river-water (in Nile), by means of same rod}, spiritual practitioners did ... perform ... soothsaying sessions by throwing up their drumsticks {cf. [Chinese] divinatory yarrow-rods, likewise tossed} and watching the way they fell on the ground".



"As for shamans proper, ... The gifts they received for their se’ances could not feed them and ... the Khanty shamans who had to devote the greater part of their time to hunting and fishing never evolved into a special "social stata [stratum]"".


pp. 192-196 B. E. Petri : "Old Faith of the Buryat People".



general term for ‘spirit / deity’ :- "the Altaians call it ezi while the Buryat define it as ezhin".


"the spirit of Baikal might need milk ... That is why natives sprinkle milk or milk products to the spirit of this lake."


"The major deities are divided into fifity-five benevolent deities ("white" tengerins), who reside on the southwestern edge of the heavenly sphere, and forty-four hostile deities ("black" tengerins), who reside on the northeastern edge of the heavenly sphere. All these deities mainly symbolize various weather conditions".


"The minor or secondary deities are called the "children" of the tengerins. Sometimes they are also called "khans." The chief deity among the northeastern "khans" is Erlen-khan. His activities


are concentrated on sending his assistants to catch human souls. When the assistants catch a human soul, they lcok it in an underworld dungeon ... Simultaneously, a person who loses his or her soul falls ill. People invite a shaman, who ... embarks on a spiritual journey to the kingdom of this deity to retrieve the soul".


"The Buryat picture the spirit of fire as a geezer with bright red hair and wearing a red robe."


"Residing the afterworld and closely interacting with various deities, the ancestral spirits might work on behalf of their descendants who live in the earthly world".


"To keep their ancestral "messengers" satisfied, people are to bring sacrifices because in the afterworld, ancestors always need food".


"all Buryat clans have their territorial patron spirits, who are viewed as masters of specific localities where clans live".


"Before pitching their yurts at a new place, Buryat usually solicit permission from a Mongol, the spiritual master of a specific locality."



"Each person has three souls. The major one, which is called altan, after thye death of a human being goes to the land of the dead, Erlen-khan’s domain, where the soul lives like a human being. It eats, sleeps, and visits its neighbors. The souls use the items that relatives provided for the deceased during their funerals : clothing, jewelry, money, and various household items. {this is also Chinese belief} ... To be exact, ... the Buryat believe that the human souls in the underworld use not the actual items provided by relatives but the souls of these items".


"an altan soul is easy prey for hostile spirits because it leaves an individual’s body during sleep and wanders all over the world. What a wandering soul experiences during its journey is reflected in human dreams."


"Individuals also have a second souls called bokholdoi, which becomes active after death. A bokholdoi soul turns into a "wandering ghost," who is quite harmless but mischievous. {poltergeist}

The third soul, called mu, is a harmful being, which resides in a human body on a permanent basis [i.e., continuing to remain in the corpse after death]. {the Chinese belief is also in these 3 souls} After a while, when a dead body decays, mu turns into a whirlwind which might harm people." {this whirlwind (according to Mongol religion), is in its occult form, a wolf / hound – whence the Japanese Zen koan-answer "Mu" as concerning the after-death status of a hound}


"Shamans are people chosen for this vocation by spirits, with whom they conclude an "agreement about mutual help."" {compact / covenant}



"shamans are not charlatans. They perform "genuine unexplained miracles.""



"After the first initiation, there might be other initiations, which move a shaman to a higher rank. Gradually, with each initiation, shamans receive new accessories of their profession : a shamanic sword, a wooden or iron staff, a drum and a drumstick, items of shamanic clothing, and finally a shamanic headdress ...

" "White" shamans work with the southwestern benign deities and wear white clothing. "Black" shamans serve hostile northeastern deities and spirits of the underworld and wear blue clothing. {cf. Cathar priests’ blue vestments} People approach black shamans in case an ailment or a misfortune was inflicted by northeastern deities".


pp. 196-199 Andrei Popov : "The Cult of Goddess Aisyt among the Yakut". [Yakut = Sakha]



"Goddess Aisyt is considered the patron[ess] of childbirth".

"there are benign spirits (ai) and hostile spirits (abasy), which harm people and bring death."

"... Aisyt as the lady who usually sits {is /-syt/ cognate with /sit/ ?} spreading herself. Her fur sable coat is widely open, a cap sits askew, and all laces of her footwear are loosened." {cf. LUSitania & LUSatia}

"Aisyt ... receives the souls of unborn children from Yurun-ai toion aot, the benevolent deity who created the universe, and plants the souls in male


semen. Aisyt delivers the soul of a boy in the shape of a knife {cf. [Ewe of Togo] Koku (‘knife’ [god])}, while the soul of a girl arrives in the shape of scissors". {cf. [scissor-wielding Hellenic goddess] A-tropos; Chinna-masta}


"Aisyt helps pregnant women by visiting them seven days before the childbirth. When Aisyt "comes" to a dwelling, family members are not allowed to quarrel and curse, plates are not allowed to be turned upside down or tilted, and loud talking and knocking are also forbidden. People are required to ... whisper".


"On the third day, ... The ceremony is performed only by women headed by the expecting mother ... Participants in the rite are expected to laugh wildly for as long as possible. ... a woman who is able to out-laugh all others gains attention from Aisyt, who might help the "winner" to conceive".


"Infertile ... couples ask a shaman to "approach" Aisyt and "request" a child’s soul. "White shamans," who work with benign spirits, are the only ones who ... journey to Aisyt".


"A "fertility se’ance" was performed in the spring. Before the shaman arrived, people cleaned their dwelling. All dishes were washed and greased with oil ... people even fed animals ... In front of an open dooer, people planted an alley of small birch trees in two rows, which symbolized the path that Aisyt would use to walk through. Then the shaman selected seven virgin youths and seven maidens". {According to Euripides & Apollodoros, Niobe "had seven sons and seven daughters." (GM 77.1)}


"Having situated himself on the skin of a white horse, the shaman began ... his journey to Aisyt. ... He had to select a correct path among numerous dead ends. Moreover, he encountered an Aisyt pretender[ess] {cf. Artemis}, who tried to offer him a "damaged" soul of a weak and sick child who would die right after a childbirth. After a long and exhausting journey and ... "confession" of his "sins" to guards of heavenly gates, the shaman finally reached the goddess and knelt down in front of her on one knee. ... Then Aisyt ... handed the soul to the shaman, who hid it in his left ear.

Before the beginning of the "fertility se’ance," the couple had made ... a nest. In this "nest" they placed two wooden carved images of wagtails. {in Ainu myth, water-wagtails originate sexual intercourse (for reproductive purposes)} During the se’ance, the couple handed the figur[in]es to the shaman, who pulled the soul of the child from his ear and "implanted" it ..."

GM = Robert Graves : The Greek Myths. 1955.


pp. 211-220 Leonid P. Potapov : "Altaian Shamanism".



"Altaian shamanism ... dwells on the concept of a human "double," which in ethnographic literature is usually called the "soul." ... using the Christian label "soul" to describe the native concept of the spiritual double is misleading." {the [Altaian] "double" would be more similar to a "guardian angel" than to a "soul".}


"Human beings also had "masters" or "doubles." When people were alive, their "doubles" resided in their bodies. Some Altaians believed that after people died, their "doubles" usually left their bodies and returned to the heavenly sphere ..."


" "Doubles" could be separated from human bodies when ... by wandering away from their hosts, "doubles simply could be lost. ... when the "doubles" were lost or stolen, individuals fell ill ... During their se’ances, shamans usually caught "stray doubles" and placed them inside their drums. Then, blowing hard in the drum, shamans drove the "doubles" into the right ears of their patients".



"no shamans could perform without spirit helpers, who safeguarded spiritual practitioners during their difficult and dangerous spiritual journeys ...


There were categories of spirit helpers who protected shamans from hostile spirits ...

Finally, there were spirits that delivered the "doubles" of sacrificed animals to designated spirits or deities. All spirits that assisted shamans consisted of two general categories : patron spirits and helper spirits. Patron spirits were usually high-ranking deities ... such as U:lgen and his sons, the deity of fire, and the masters of sacred mountains ...


In their turn, spirit helpers were separated into two groups. First, ... to:s spirits, which represented ancestors of shamans, who had been shamans themselves. It was these to:s spirits who actually pressed individuals to accept the shamanic vocation in the first place and [who] endowed candidates with shamanic powers. ... Second, there were all other auxiliary spirits, whom shamans summoned by beating their drums in the beginning of se’ances. The auxiliary spirits arrived, situated themselves, usually inside shamans’ drums, and then accompanied shamans on their journeys to various spheres."



"At the beginning of their se’ances, using drumbeats, shamans summoned the to:s spirits of deceased shamans-ancestors, who usually moved into shamans, immersed them into a trance, and "released" shamans’ doubles for shamanic journeys.

Auxiliary spirits ... situated themselves on shamans’ heads, shoulders, hands, legs, {[in Daoist terminology,] these would be one’s internal bodily deities, induced to emerge from one’s body temporarily}, or, most frequently, inside their drums {[in Puthagorean terms,] these would be deities of the planetary diapason}."


"Spiritual pracitioners had their drums manufactured only after instructions issued by to:s spirits. The anthropomorphic handle of the drum symbolized the "master of the drum."

The second major auxiliary spirit was the "double" (soul) of the animal whose skin was stretched over the frame of the drum. ... During se’ances, spiritual "doubles" of shamans used the "doubles" of these animals to ride to various universal spheres. ... they called their drums by names of the animals whose skins were used to cover the frames. Moreover, in such cases, to the name of an animal they added the word "sacred.""


"among the northern Altaians (the Kumandin and the Shor), shamans ... performed ... covering their heads with kerchiefs."



"Drums could become "sound indicators," indicating that a shaman had reached certain points during a spiritual journey ... Changing the frequency, power, and sound of their drumbeats, shamans portayed a galloping horse, catching a hostile spirit that left a patient’s body, shooting a bow, delivering a sacrifice, finishing a se’ance, and dismissing spirit helpers."


"Shamans inherited designs and drawing of [on] their drums from their to:s ancestral spirits, who barred shamans from arbitrary configuration of their own drums."


"The most widespread were the drawings of deities and spirit helpers. Looking at these images, one could easily identify and category and rank of an individual shaman."



"it was harmful to pull out grasses because grasses were the hair of the earth, and the master of a locality might become angry at people for hurting the earth. For the same reason, the Altaian avoided cutting young trees and polluting water reservoirs with waste".


"The Altaians avoided desecrating the hearth by throwing waste and garbage in a fire or by stepping over a fire or on ashes. People were to "feed" a fire with bits of food and sprinkles of drinks on a daily basis." {similarly as daily fire-ritual in the Vaidik religion}


"Shamans were always able to clearly and rationally play the role of a traveler to a specific sphere of the universe and at the same time to share the impressions from their journey with their audience. This means that shamans always controlled their behavior".


"Altaian shamans ... had regular families, raised [live]stock and hunted like everyone else." {unlike Bauddha bhiks.u-s & Christian monks}



"Notwithstanding the states of their minds during se’ances, shamans always strictly followed the accepted structure of the se’ance."


"The illnesses associated with the disappearance of "doubles" were so widespread that Teleut shamans even made special holes in their drum handles, where they hid retrieved "doubles’ in order to "drive" them back to the bodies through right ears of their patients".



"The most widespread form of the se’ance was a shamanic journey to the underworld, the concentration of all "evil" forces headed by mighty Erlik. The easiest one was a spiritual journey within the limits of the middle world to the deity of the Altai, to various sacred ranges and mountains".


"Erlik was considered the patron of "black" shamans (kara kam), while U:lgen helped "white" shamans (ak kam). Shamans approached Erlik in cases of severe illnesses, when "doubles" (souls) were imprisoned by hostile spirits, the servants of Erlik. ... Shamans usually performed the se’ances addressed to Erlik at night and used most ly damaged animals, for example, a lame sheep or a sheep with broken horns. The road to the world of Erlik was full of obstacles."



"The most visible traces of Tengri worship were found among the Khakass, who conduced regular summer sacrifices to the sky on the top of a sacred mountain".


"Some Altaians believed that Iersu was an earthly deity that resided high in the snow mountains of the Altai".


"Umai, the patron[ess] of women" :- "Women approached this goddess when they wanted to avoid stillborns, to ease childbirth, and to solicit fertility. ... Umai was present during childbirth and continued to stay close to newborns, protecting them from hostile spirits until they grew enough to leave their cradles".


pp. 242-245 Mikhail B. Shatilov : "Dramatic Art of the Ostiak People of the Vakh Area". [Ostiak = H^anty]



"It wa assumed ... that the shaman (elta-ku) was flying above."


"one could hear voices of different birds and animals coming simultaneously from various corners of the yurt. There were loongs (spirits) who finally arrived in response to the shaman’s invocations.

At first one could hear a cuckoo’s singing,

then the flapping wings of some giant bird and the sinister "laughing" of an owl.

Then a hoopoe cried,

followed by a duck’s quacking and

a crane’s calling high in the sky.

A characteristic whistling of a chipmunk

was followed by sounds "produced" by a squirrel."



"the bear couring a girl and the appearance of the girl" ["the "bear" also manifested is presence by producing sounds resembling sexual intercourse." (p. 244)] {cf. [Korean myth of] male bear-god married to a woman}


pp. 251-254 Lev (Leo) Ia. Shternberg : "The Veneration of the Eagle among the Siberian Native Peoples".



"The Yakut (Sakha) considered the eagle the master of the sun. ... In Yakut shamanism, ... The eagle "eats" the soul of a child who is designated to become a shaman, carries this soul away, and nests an egg on this sacred tree [larch or birth]. Then the eagle breaks the egg and takes the child down to an iron cradle, which is set in the roots of the tree."

"Buryat ... legend relates how western celestial beings (white tengerins), which had created human beings, saw eastern celestial beings (black tengerins) harming people and sent the sent the shaman-eagle to protect human beings. ... western celestial beings instructed the eagle to endow all his sacred knowledge to ... a woman, with whom the eagle had intercourse. The child that was conceived became the first shaman."



[Ostiak (Khanty) on the Enisei river,] "the eagle as a double-headed bird" :- in "legend, the eagle eventually loses his second head for teaching shamanism to people."

[Kachin (Khakass)] "the art of shamanism at first was reserved exclusively for the people of "golden eagle clan." Yet through the "golden eagle" women, who married men outside their clan, the secrets of shamanism spread among all Kachin people".


The Tungus shamans considered the white-headed eagle {bald eagle} to be their protector and placed its iron image with [out]spread wings on their iron crowns.

The Teleut called the eagle "U:lgen’s large golden eagle" (Ul’gen’ kuzhubai morgut) ... The golden eagle accompanied Teleut shamans in their shamanic journeys to the heavenly sphere and to the underworld and safeguarded shamans from various troubles which they usually encountered en route. The golden eagle was also responsible for the delivery of sacrificial animals to designated deities."


"the Tungus ... considered eagle claws to be the most powerful shamanic tools. ...

The Tungus, the Ostiak, and many other tribes tailored their shamanic costumes in the form of birds. These costumes were decorated with a long fringe {like unto the vestments of >ibri^ priests}, which symbolized feathers and wings."

"Nivkh, Oroch, and Orok shamans had their shamanic trees ... Near their dwellings in fulfillment of the will of their spirits, they erected ... special "totem" poles with carved images of their ancestors topped with huge images of birds. According to a Yakut legend, all shamanis have their own shamanic trees, which grow [sprout] when shamans begin their careers and wither when they die. {dendric life-tokens}


Yakut shamans erected models of "shamanic trees," which were represented by tall poles with crossbars and images of birds on top. During their se’ances, shamans usually "climbed" to the heavenly sphere using these "ladders."

... among the Buryat the core ritual of an initiation of a would-be shaman was the ascending by a candidate ...

Oroch shaman’s costumes ... have images of a larch tree used by a shaman to climb to the upper world. It was believed that if, while climbing, a shaman dropped from this tree, the whole world would be gone".


pp. 263-265 S. I. Vainshtein : "Encounter with Great Shaman". [Tuva]



 "the drum became "alive" and served as "horse" in ... spiritual journeys to the world of spirits. The drumstick served him as a lash. ...

His shamanic costume ... had attached ... fur skins of squirrels, a Siberian weasel, and ducks, which symbolized spirit helpers".



"he conversed with the hostile spirits he met on his way. At first he talked with them respectfully. Then, if they were stubborn, ... challenged them, threatened, and tried to scare them".



 "his vigorous struggle with a hostile spirit, one of his long-term enemies" :- "Using his drum as a shield, [the old shaman] easily ran and jumped all over the yurt with closed eyes, chasing his enemy and, surprisingly, not touching anyone. ... The shaman, who had a hard time chasing it, appealed to his spirit helpers to join the chase. Finally, by producing a sharp and short strike at his drum, [the old shaman] "shot" the spirit with his iron arrow. Yet the shot only wounded the spirit. ... Making quick moves, the shaman was able to pin down the spirit and began rolling over the floor {Holy Roller}, pressing the enemy with his drum. ... The shaman slightly lifted up the drum and peeked under it. ... the shaman kicked the spirit with his foot and then began to trample it down. After a while, [the old shaman] moved the hostile spirit to his mouth, licked it, and swallowed it {Holy Communion}, saying "I have eaten you. I have eaten your lungs and liver! ...""



pp. 266-269 S. I. Vainshtein : "Tuvinian Shamanism".



 "The Tuvinians were familiar with a category of benign spirits called eeren ... Eeren "resided" in the images manufactured ... One group of eeren spirits represented the anthropomorphic images of ancestors. Another group of eeren was spirits of animals, fish, and birds. Images of these eeren spirits were manufactured from wood, felt, fabric, or metal. Eeren of this category could also be represented by stuffed animals or by furs of these animals.

A bronze mirror called



ku:zu:ngu:, which was used only by shamans, was the most powerful eeren. Ku:zu:ngu: were ordinary ancient mirrors, which shamans found ... in old graves."



"The images of eeren, which were attached to the shaman’s robe, embodied spirit helpers."



 [self-description by an old shamaness:-] A shaman can shamanize "only on designated nights. All shamans have their own nights. To cure myself, I performed on the seventh, nineteenth, and twenty-seventh days of each month throughout the whole year. On other days, I can shamanize only at the request of sick people. ... Also, if there is no moon, one must not shamanize at all.


When I start a se’ance, I sit with closed eyes and listen to the music of my mouth harp. Then I begin to sing quietly and softly to summon my eeren.

First, it is all dark in my eyes, then I see white dots {= the "world of punctiliform lights" of the Qabbalah}, while start to gleam like hail. {is this collocation of lights a naks.atra constellation, specific to the night of the month?}

Then the dots are gone, and I can see my eeren. ... But I do not remember what I talk about and what I ask during this time. {this is characteristic of possession by a spirit, and is usual in African spirit-possession, in Haiti, etc.} It is like a dream that you do not remember when you wake up. People tell me that when I perform, I play my [mouth-]harp with closed eyes all the time, even when I walk around. My harp is my Siberian deer stag, which helps me to fly to the upper world. ... I do not ride him. My stag usually flies, and I fly nearby, holding him."


pp. 269-271 Glafira M. Vasilevich : "Shamanic Beliefs of the Evenki".



"a hunting amulet called singken, a bundle of noses of fur animals and lower jaws of hoofed animals, which were strung on a small leather thong. Hunter usually took such bundles on a hunting expedition because they believed that the singken brought luck."



 "a soul (omi) ... was considered ... the source of life (buga) ... Any living thing had its omi. It could exist in ...:

(1) the life before birth or the of the world of unborn souls (ngektar); and

(2) the life in a living being, and

[(3)] the life after a death, in the world of the dead (buni). ... also ... the souls of suicides as beings who could not enter the world of the dead and remained to "wander" over the earth".


 "An elder brother of the creator was always cruel. While "manufacturing" human images from clay and stones, the younger brother usually left these items under the guard of his assistant, a dog, and forbade the dog to show them to his elder brother. Once, the assistant was negligent, and the "mean" elder brother broke all the images and spit [spat] {spitting being a Daoist sacramental blessing}


 on them. Since then, people began to cough and sneeze." {many myths of origin of human life aequate the initial vivification of the first people with their first sneeze – as the commencement (activation) of autonomic nervous system functioning}



"the teachers and major spiritual assistants of the individual shamans were so-called mugd, the spirits of shamans-ancestors or shamans-ancestors themselves."


"For the "upper world se’ances," shamans put on robes made of deer skins, while for "underworld se’ances," shamans put on robes made of bear skins."


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".