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Siberian Shamanhood



cher sug eelerinden khamnaan khamnar - The shamans of earth- and water-spirits

Eesi chok cher chok - "There is no Earth without a Spirit".
The tribes of which the tuvineans descendet, the cher and sug were divine animals. The worship of water and earth is still a vital part of tuvinean spirituality and usually each family has its own sacred place somewhere in nature. The shamans of eart- and water-spirits descendet from these natural spirits. Once a year at these holy fountains and places a ritual is performed by an invited shaman to ensure a good harvest, health and clean water. Up until the end of the twenties of the 20th. century the algysh (shamanic songs) from the shamans, and especially those from the shamans of earth- and water-spirits, were the highest and most sacred law. What shamans told and performed in their songs was absolute and binding. The soviet-regime supressed this and prohibited this kind of worshipping the nature.

Conversation with Mongush Bora-Khoo, village Khondergej, Dzun-Khemchik-region, recorded at 10th. October 1954:

Her girl's name was Khandyzhap. She was given the honoring name Kahn Kadar, 'Shaman-mother'. It is said that the shamaness Khandyzhap decendet from the earth- and water-spirits. According to the legends she died long ago but she frequently returns at the begin of autumn to her former willow. Even her followers are shy at coming near this willow. On the place where she once performed her secrets, a shamanic larch (kham dyt) grows nowadays. This place she visits as a grey wolf, as a spirit. On the twigs of this shamanic larch the undamaged chalamlar still hangs, so it is said.

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