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Siberian Shamanhood



Spiridon Samsonov. Marchinian Ulus. March 6th. 1925

    If someone has to become a shaman he must endure the rite of dismemberment. He previously knows when this will actually happen and prepares fresh borkes of a birch or an other tree to rest upon.

    During the dissection the body of the shaman dies and resurrects after one day.

    At first the spirits severs the head and put it between the roof and the joist of the jurt. Then they slash the body into little pieces and distribute these to the evil spirits. If some spirits remain unsatisfied the shaman won't be able to do conjurings against the diseases this particular spirits are causing. He can only cure diseases of spirits which were being fed during the dismembering.

    After dissecting the body they rearrange the bones one after another, new flesh grows on them and they resurrect the shaman. The people and the cattle from which the spirits took this flesh have to die.

    It is said that the bed and the coverlet of the shaman is covered with thick blood. The whole clothing of the shaman has to be burned by himself after the rite of dismembering.

    If a great shaman appears in the family the entire clan has to die; the life of the shaman is being freed with the toll of the lifes of the relatives. The bodies of his relatives are used to build the new body of the shaman, as well. It is being said that the corpses of the people died are used by the spirits to build a weir in the "river of the death and doom". It is built across the river and the corpses are used as piles.

    Famous shamans have to endure the dismemberment three times, lesser ones only once. These shamans which are dismembered three times are leaving to the forest at the third time. There they undergo the rigours of the dissection. They say to their relatives: "Build a cottage for me in the forest and bring me to it." It was necessary for the fullfillment of this special rite.

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