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Siberian Shamanhood



Alexandr Lukin. 11th February 1925

    Shamans are born far in the north at the roots of the horrible diseases. A larch is there, on its twigs many nests can be found at different heights. The greatest shamans are born at the top of the tree, the average shaman is born somewhere half way up and the lesser shamans are born on the lower twigs.

    It is said that at first a large bird, similar to an eagle with iron feathers flies to this tree and lays one egg. Then it breeds the egg. A great shaman needs three years of brooding time, a lesser only one year.

    This bird is called "Tiermutter" (=animal mother) and appears three times. The first time at the birth of the shaman, the second time at the dismemberment and the last time when the shaman is about to die.

    When the shamans soul fletches from the egg the tiermutter brings him to a shaman spirit called Bürgästej-Udagan with only one leg, one eye and one hand left. This shamaness put the soul into an iron cradle and raises him with thick coagulated pieces of blood.

    After the shaman is being raised in this cradle three thin spirits appear and take the shaman with them to slash his flesh into parts. At the beginning they stick the shamans head onto a large pole and then they spread the parts into every direction, just like an offering. Three other spirits throw the jawbone of the shaman as an oracle for the origins of all pains and diseases. If the bone falls into a normal position the shaman can cure this particular disease. Sometimes the shamans flesh doesn't last for all the diseases and pains. He shall shamanize only once against these diseases which received no part of the offering.

    During the dismemberment a shortage on bones of the shaman may appear. For each bone missing one person of his relatives has to die. Sometimes up to nine relatives die for this cause.

    Once a man, Bologur Michail, lived with us. He was called by the spirits to shamanize, too. He said that five bones were missing, therefore five of his relatives would have had to die. He refused the calling because he didn't want to sacrifice so much of his relatives.

    He was struck with blindness thereafter. Later, he was blind already, he felled a hollow larch-tree. From somewhere in the hollow trunk an iron shamanic bird - like the ones on the shamanic costum - tinkled on the ground and sang three times "Coocoo"". Michail bent the wings and the legs of it and threw it back into the hollow trunk. "Therefore the spirits mutilated my arms and legs" he said.

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