Musics for Inducing Spirit-Possession

[In each instance, songs of invitation (inviting the deity to take possession to human spirit-media praesent) are sung to the accompaniment of the appropriate music.]

timbres of music useful for inducing onset of becoming temporarily possessed by the various categories of possessing-spirits

category of musical instrument

category of possessing-spirits


percussion (drum)


West Africa (and also African Diaspora in Latin America : Cuba, Haiti, Brazil, etc.)

wind (flute)


Japan : stone-flutes are use to induce possession by fox- and badger-spirits

string (lyre)


Makedon (Orphic) : lyre played by Orpheus to induce movement of tree-spirits

N.B. In Siberia (and likewise in some of Amerindia) the spirit-guide (main spirit of the future shaman) for the first few months or years is limited to directly taking possession of the future shaman; not until that future shaman shall have adequately befriended (by means of much advice and encouragement to do so by already-established shamans) will the spirit-guide consent to consort with the hitherto possessed-only medium in such as manner as to make available spirit-travels to both distant regions in the material world and also to regions in non-material (astral etc.) worlds, accompanied [but not possessed] by a retinue of spirit-helpers (generally in animal-form) who are recruited for this function by the spirit-guide – once that mode of operation is achieved, the human involved is considered to be a complete shaman. If enough spirit-helpers have been recruited, it may be unnecessary for the spirit-guide to accompany the human personally in spirit-travels through the worlds.

In Japan, the spirit-possession se’ance is largely limited to chiding the possessing-spirit for not having very abundant knowledge of the material sciences (physics, chemistry, astronomy, etc.) – not passing with a very high score and oral examination administered by the musician on those science --, while at the same time extracting information from that possessing-spirit concerning human affairs here on this planet.

In the Orphic (and also in the Dionusiac of Thraike) rites, the journey is to realm of Haides, ruler of the death-deities[; rather than, as in Siberian rites, to the realm of the divine ruler of the sickness-deities]. Besides in the Makedon- Thraike rites, string-instruments (such as the vin.a ‘lute’) praedominate in Brahmanic music [as contrasting with the flute of Kr.s.n.a, and the d.amaru-drum of S`iva], where Druidic-like worship of tree-spirits (each of the nak.satra-s, e.g., being repraesented on earth by a species of tree) is praedominant. [Other than with a fixed-star, the Bauddha trees-of-bodhi (such as the sacred fig) are associated with the planet Budha (Mercury), catching sight whereof in conjunction with the appropriate tree-of-bodhi is able to induce bodhi in a person whose immediately prior lifetime was passed in the Tus.ita Heaven.]


Curiously, although the Manc^urian term /S^AMAN/ is used mainly in reference to spirit-possession induction with the musical assistance of drumming; yet nevertheless is would appear to be derived from Samskr.ta /S.AMAN/, the initial consonant whereof could derive from a pun on the word /r.s.i/ ‘seer/sage’. /Saman/ (cited by Scandinavian anthropologist as the source of the Tungusic word) is the name of that Veda consisting of songs to be sung to the accompaniment of music (praeferentially the vin.a).