Thursday, April 28, 2011


The shaman I visited the other day is a pretty lady with a husband and children, living in an ordinary apartment. Seeing her transform into a shaman was an extraordinary experience, which started with the intense shaman drum beats and her chanting, all this while the TV was on in the living room. The first spirit she channeled, she channels two, was a very determined gentleman with a liking for snuff. Her voice changed, as did her language, which became a somewhat archaic form of Mongolian. After a break of an hour or so, she channeled her second spirit and turned into a medicine shaman. This gentleman seemed to be a little softer and didn't want any snuff.

The room where the ceremonies took place had a part of it set up with the necessary equipment. It is to be noted that the two spirits use different outfits and also different drums.

It was somehow unreal witnessing these ancient rituals - with the TV commercials and music shows as a faint acoustic backdrop. Culture clash, to say the least.

It didn't feel right to take pictures at the shaman ceremony, so today's illustration has nothing to do with shamanism, on the contrary. It's the Buddhist blue ceremonial scarf, khadag, which is here tied around a tree in Terelj National Park.

If you are curious and want to read more:
Mongolian shamanism I hope the information on this site is accurate, I'm not really a specialist so I can't judge.

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