Shamans in Asia, 6-7.


pp. 120-152 – 6. Takiguchi Naoko : "Miyako Theology".

p. 120 geographical location

"THE MIYAKO ARCHIPELAGO consists of one central island, Miyako, and seven smaller islands ... . These constitute the Ryukyus together with the three other island complexes : Amami, Okinawa, and Yaeyama."

pp. 123-125, 134 terminology











niija / gusoo







sacred site (shrine)





yu nu kam




household-protector [spirit]






north star



[religious] duty

pp. 124-125, 134-135 rituals to establish personal relationship with a deity

p. 124

"An individual is not endowed with mau (individual protecting gods) when he or she is born. A person may ask a shaman to conduct rituals that enable an individual to receive mau."

pp. 125, 134-135 rituals to pacify the soul of a dead ancestor




"It is a ... belief among Ryukyuans that ancestors who have not received enough pacification (kuryoo) send misfortunes ... to their offspring ... . In the afterworld, ... ancestors notifying their descendants ... and demand pacifying rituals (kuyoo). They do this by sending misfortunes to their offspring, forcing their descendants to resort to the gods."


"If no one performs kuyoo rituals for them, these souls eventually turn into evil spirits (mazumung) and spread various misfortunes among people. ... However, when misfortune falls on a particular person, he or she ... must realize that the misfortune is a message from his or her ... ancestor and that he or she is responsible for appeasing the ancestor’s soul. (It is his or her bang to pacify that particular ancestor.)"


"Descendants usually conduct kuyoo until the thirty-third year after one’s death." {Would this indicate that the soul of the dead is dissociated from the living by becoming connected with the heaven of the 33 gods (Triya-trims`a)? The 33 years’ commemorations for the dead are also S^in-gon.}

{These kuyoo rituals are aequivalent to the Catholic rites for the benefit of souls in Purgatory.}

p. 127 deities in utaki-s

__ Utaki




Mmanupa Nu Yu Nu Nusu

God of Wealth of the South Axis


Mamts Nusu

Master of the Right Path


Uika Nusu

Master of Success in Life


Ftsukata Kuikata Nu Nusu

Master of Appetite

p. 126 maid-servant goddess

"Ninupa Mma Tida (The Mother Goddess of the North Axis) served a wealthy family as a maid servant. She worked hard and was not allowed to rest ... . One day, she went to the fields and gave birth to twelve eggs. In a few days all the eggs hatched, and twelve deities were born. With these deities, the Mother Goddess retreated deep into the mountains of Karimata."

pp. 129-131 various deities






Eldest son of Ninupa Mma Tida; located "on Ikema Island. ... is responsible for ... lost souls of living people ... . [p. 146, n. 6:16 : "people lose their souls when they are frightened".] If the person, together with the shaman, comes to the god {viz., to the god’s shrine} to retrieve his or her soul, the god returns it to him or her." [if not at Bankuyama (p. 131)]


Mamts Nusu

"directs ships in the right direction."


Masabi Nusu

"determines right and wrong".


Fuzi Nu Nusu

"god of the offshore reef"


Yabisi Nusu

"God of Yabisi, a great reef off Ikema Island"


Mmanupa Nu Yu Nu Nusu

"God of Wealth" {cf. Kuvera}



"community-protecting god"



"god of fate"



"goddess who protects the people and the island from tidal waves"


Akakzak Nu Akaruting ... Mazo Nusu

"the God who Enlightens the World, Blesses the People with Abundance, ... and Protects the Gate." {cf. Vis.n.u}


Uika Nusu

"the third son of the Mother Goddess"


Kinko Nusu Kura Nu Nusu

"the God of the Granary"


Mapaiting Skama Nusu

"the God of Occupation of the South Axis of the Heavens"

pp. 130-131 localities of deities




"Tskasayaa ... is the place to which the progenitor couple, Kuitsunu and Kuitama, descended."


"At Nabarudake, the crossing point of the axes [centre between north-south axis & east-west axis], the god Fudzuamiganusu, who controls rain, has his dwelling." {cf. Parjanya the rain-god}


"The goddess Bzumaruting occupies a large cave in Yunangdaki, which falls between Bora and Uruka. From the ceiling hangs a huge stalactite, which signifies the male sexual organ. She is the goddess of fecundity and enables women to conceive and bear children."

pp. 132-133 the afterworld & souls of the dead

p. 132

"as major deities in the afterworld : ... eight Kang-nung deities". {cf. the 8 cemeteries described in the S`mas`ana Vidhi}

"Another shaman ... saw the world of the dead like this :


I stepped down a stair and came to the bottom of a hole. I saw glittering golden deities."

p. 133

"When a person dies, ... his or her souls ... leave the body. The one that represents the bones {cf. South American Indian bones-soul} goes to the grave, which is the entrance to the afterworld ... . Gods stand at both sides of the entrance, protecting the gate to the afterworld. The god of the left side opens the gate and that of the right side closes it. {cf. the 2 Muslim angels who go the grave of a recently-buried corpse in order to collect the soul} The other souls (the seven souls {this is Taoist} that sustain human life during one’s lifetime) lodge on the ipai (ancestral tablet), which represents the physical appearance of the human body.


However, it is a general belief throughout the Ryukyus that the soul of the dead is not aware for a while that its owner {sic : How can a soul’s body be its "owner"??} has died and wants to remain in the world, calling on his or her own family, relatives, and friends. ... As the recently deceased soul moves back and forth between the afterworld and this world, other souls of the dead try to sneak into the world of the living. This is a ... state called busoozu. {Is this providential situation ever utilized for se’ances?} This ... state traditionally lasts for forty-nine {according to Chinese custom} (or sometimes 100) days after one’s death. ... People who are susceptible to this (e.g., shamans, pregnant women) must avoid this ... state. [p. 146, n. 6:24 : "shamans do not attend funerals of even their close friends or relatives."] {Do shamans commonly evade it lest, upon becoming possessed by the ghost of a dead person, they thereafter become spirit-possessed by ghosts whenever seeking to become (for some caerimony) spirit-possessed by the requisite deities?}

pp. 133-134, 146 manipulations by the living of souls of the dead

p. 133

"During the mourning period, the family of the deceased (and people who are visited by the soul of the dead) must conduct a ritual (kamptu bakyaadzu or mizubaki mtsbaki) that tells the dead person, "You cannot come back to this world. You are not a member of my family any more. {How can dying cause the dead not be a member of the family? Would not the making of an ipai imply continued membership? Is perhaps a "spirit-guide", or more likely a "psychic-shell", being addressed here?} Do not call on me. ..." ... .


When people die at places other than their own home, their souls may linger at that spot ... . Their

p. 134

families ask sungam kakarya (or gusoo zas) to draw the souls from the site to the grave and the ipai".

p. 146, n. 6:25

"the soul of the dead is divided into portions. {Are the Taoist 9 shadow-souls indicated here?} The portions remain in ... places ... (e.g., the utaki the dead person frequently visited during his or her lifetime {in widespread African ritual, an extra soul of the living (or some spiritual connection) is assigned to a container within a temple}, the place ... in which the dead person died, the gravel on which the corpse is laid in the tomb). Therefore, the dead person’s family must ... send all the portions of the soul of the dead to the afterworld."

pp. 135-136 transmigration of souls : subtle impartments to foetus; birth




"the sun god of the heavens and the moon goddess of the afterworld ... create new life into which his/her soul will transmigrate. ... By the seventh month, ... gods of the heavens bless the waaifuu (the fate from the heavens) of the fetus. In the eighth month, the ancestors give the ancestors’ destiny (staifuu) to the child. ... In the ninth month, the path of the heavens opens. ... At the time of birth, the god of childbirth covers the maternity room with veils and guards the house from evils. The ukamagam (kitchen gods) and the tukurugam (household protector) protect the lives of the mother and her child. When the child


is delivered, the goddess of Ingaa cuts the umbilical cord. ... The ancestor’s soul transmigrates to become the soul of a baby. ... When a child is delivered, people attach a cross made of bamboo (azi) to each of the four corners of the maternity room. ... On the tenth day, they give the child a divine name."

pp. 136-137 multiple "souls"; how to cancel one’s unfavorable destiny




"the human is protected by souls (tamas), which are life-sustaining forces. ...

one lodges on the fontanel area of the skull,

one on the forehead,

one on each shoulder {this is also Bodish},

one on the chest,

one on the back, and

one on the legs.

The one on the forehead is the most important; its loss is believed to be fatal. ... A tamas easily dislodges itself when its owner is frightened ... .


The owner must conduct a ritual to retrieve a lost soul (tamas uki or tamas ukabi)."


"Because each person’s soul is the transmigration of an ancestor, the person tends to repeat the same mistakes the ancestor made. ... if the ancestor failed ... his/her mmarikaadzu (a descendant into whom the ancestor’s soul transmigrates) is likely to fail ... . To prevent the same mistake again, ... the descendant must find out whose mmarikaadzu he/she is, how the ancestor lived his/her life, how the descendant can pacify and convert the ancestor to a protecting one".

pp. 138-140, 147 vocation of shaman




"Shamans are by nature spiritually oriented (i.e., kamdaka mmari) ... . ... However, potential shamans are not aware of their mission until gods and divine ancestors tell them they are destined to be shamans. Their message is manifested in kamdaari, which involves such symptoms as audio-visual hallucination, violent body shaking and jumping, insomnia, loss of appetite, loss of consciousness, singing, and screaming. ... Kamdaari victims visit many shamans and are told they have to open the path to the gods. However, in many cases, the potential shaman tries to escape from his/her destiny by defying these messages or asking the


gods to wait for a while. This attempted escape leads to aggravation of kamdaari. ... Some ... decide to accept the mission and proceed to select a mother shaman, who will help the apprentice receive mau (individual protecting gods) and orients him/her into shamanhood. ... the mother shaman incorporates divine energy from the sacred places ... . Interactions of the divine energy from various sacred sites produce greater power than their sum. This ritual manipulation is called the process of "multiplication." Next, the mother shaman constructs a path between the crossing point of the axes and each of the major sacred places on the eight axes; this power is transmitted from those sacred places to the crossing point. This procedure is called musubi. Then paths are built between the crossing point and the apprentice’s mau kooru (a vessel in which incense sticks are burnt)." {cf. Aztec censer for incense for fire-god Xiuh-tecuhtli, the god of the centre amid 8 directional gods}


"The apprentice becomes a shaman after opening the path to the gods (mtsaki). The apprentice may have a dream in which he/she is given qualifications (choobo) from his/her tsdz. In the dream, the tsdz may tell the apprentice that the path to the gods is open. ... In [a certain apprentice]’s case, he had a dream in which he was given a book ... by an old man, and after that his mother shaman ... judged that he had opened the path."

147, n. 6:28

"In the Amami case, the rituals involve such activities as identifying an ancestor shaman’s relics {this is, in Tibet, a test for a candidate for recognition as divine incarnation} and searching am apprentice’s protecting god ... .

In Okinawa, an apprentice engages in visiting many sacred sites, pacifying ancestors, identifying the "correct" genealogy".

pp. 140-142 soliciting divine assistance from protective deities


protective deities


"When the Miyako people face difficulties, they seek divine aid ... by means of hanji (divination) and nigadzu (problem-solving rituals)."


"A female and two child deities constitute ... the ukamagam. [p. 147, n. 6:31 : "The word ukamagam is literally translated as hearth gods. ... a primitive hearth made of three stones was believed to represent the ukamagam."] ... The ukamagam are messengers to the gods of the heavens. People can petition the gods of the heavens through the ukamagam ... . [A shaman] could discern domestic problems of a client by communicating with the client’s ukamagam. ... The ukamagam and ancestors are different entities. However, musubi (connection) was to be made between the two using the power".


"The tukurugam also functions as nakadui to the gods of the utaki, sacred wells, the afterworld, and the sea. ... the ukamagam sends human prayers vertically to the gods of the heavens and the tukurugam ... below to those in the afterworld and sea."


"The yu nu kam are a group of gods that insure abundance to the family."


"After the mau is received, the kamdaari symptoms are said to disappear (or subside)."


pp. 153-190 – 7. Takiguchi Naoko : "Liminal Experiences of Miyako Shamans".

p. 187 terms

n. 7:5

kam ‘god’


nus ‘lord/master’

n. 7:13

"Musubi is a ritual act, by which relations between different entities (e.g., the gods and various sites, the gods and shamans) are consolidated and interactions of divine energy are facilitated."

p. 154 relation to clientele

"Successful shamans are very perceptive in grasping the personal relationships in a family and becoming acquainted with its secrets (illicit sexual relations, rape ..., etc.), which would otherwise never be revealed to people outside the household. They confidently sing in divine voices and show signs of divine favor".

p. 155 nature of shamans

"shamans are innately kamdaka or sadaka (spiritually highborn). ... Although destined to be shamans, they are struck by divine punishment (kamdari) because they either defy their destiny or are not aware of their divine calling. This involved auditory and visual hallucination, insomnia, loss of consciousness, lack of appetite, physical pains ... . During this ... initiation period, novices are exposed to divine teachings and receive various qualifications (chobo ... or cho ...) from the supernatural, such as the ability to pacify recent ancestors, to sing in divine voices, and to interpret dreams directly. At the same time they go to many accomplished shamans for divination and choose one of them as their "mother" shaman. Under their guidance neophytes visit the gods of many sacred sites (utaki) to absorb divine energy, which it to be "integrated into their mau" (individual protecting gods) ... . Having overcome ..., shamans open the path to the gods (mts aki)."

pp. 157-158 relationship with tsdz




"deified ... are ... figures who contributed to ... cultivating the wasteland, unifying the people, inventing something useful ... . {culture-heroes} These divine ancestors , especially divine heroes (tuyumshu) who ruled the island from the fourteenth through the sixteenth centuries, often " {Regarding shamanic possessing-spirits as historical chieftains is likewise characteristic of Vietnamese spirit-possession cults.}


"It is through their tsdz that shamans solicit help from numerous gods, ask the gods for relief for ancestors ..., expel evil spirits, eliminate pollution ... . ... ... just above or inside his head [the shaman] hears his tsdz say, "Take the path to the gods. Stand firm ...," and sees a beautiful goddess with long hair in a colorful kimono accompanied by a girl and a boy {these are evidently the "female and two child deities" on p. 141} ... . He may ... dream a dream in which his tsdz ... teaches him procedures to clear away pollution for a certain ritual. He touches an incense burner for the ukamagam ...


and instantly perceives domestic problems of a client, ... or he senses intuitively the strength of the power a certain shaman or sacred site possesses. Polluted food tastes rotten to him even if ordinary people relish it."

p. 168, 187-188 list of divine heroes







Kinskya Nagitatsu & Kanimudz,


187-8, n. 7:16

"The divine heroes Nakasuni (... fifteenth century) and Migurumudz (... fourteenth century) together with Yunapasiidz are deified as the three pillar gods of Miyako ... . Both Mtabaru and the Kinskya brothers were ... in the sixteenth century, the former on Tarama Island".

p. 171 experience of spirit-possession

"I felt chilled at the awe-inspiring atmosphere of the sacred site. ... the god penetrated into all parts of my body and mind. I was possessed by the god. I was the god. ... I was myself and not myself. The god came into me. ... A priestess said, "The god is very pleased. You must sing and dance ..." ... The gods sang through me."

p. 175, 177-179 dreams by a shaman




"Old [female] shamans are performing rituals ... . ...

I went eastward [upward]. I was told to worship the waterfall there."


"I entered the ancient world. I hid my body and skulked around, trying to escape. {"they couldn’t see me in the dark, ... and I ran fast to the opening." (DE&S, p. 66)}

I sneaked into a certain house, where I saw a large world map. {I have seen in dreams, decades ago, maps of particular countries (Korea & <iraq).} People there were impressed with it."


"I found a tunnel, a road, and a grotto cave. I went into the cave and found a row of white coral."


"I ... entered grotto caves [there were two], which were very long and built up by stones. Through the caves I came to an open place, which was a sacred site."

DE&S = Timothy J. Knab : The Dialogue of Earth and Sky : Dreams, Souls, Curing and the Modern Aztec Underworld. U of AZ Pr, Tucson, 2004.

p. 182 divine tasks for a shaman

"The divine tasks involve the following :

identification of the residences, names, and roles of gods unknown ... or forgotten by the people;

reconstruction of ruined sacred sites and prevention of their destruction;

pacification of the divine heroes ...; and

protection of the entire island by holding a religious office at important sacred sites."

p. 183 a dream by a shamaness

"A female shaman had a dream in which she was sitting naked in the most significant sacred site, Tskasaya Utaki. She ... found a white robe for shamans hanging from the ceiling. She interprets this to mean that she should accept the role of the utaki priestess".

p. 185 a shaman who became the victim of a curse

"[A certain shaman] attributed his involvement in gambling ... to a curse [a shamaness, apparently his mother-in-law] uttered upon him at the four important sacred sites. ... Recently he discovered this curse and the whereabouts of the four sacred sites. As a result of this discovery, ... he has be[en] able to return to the proper course."


Clark Chilson & Peter Knecht : Shamans in Asia. RoutledgeCurzon, London, 2003.