In the geographical centre of Asia - in today's Tuva Republic, within the frame of the Russian Federation - there lives a small ethnic group which the historical and ethnographic literature variously calls Soyot, Uriankhai, Tofa, Todzha. To fully appreciate the work of Mongush Kenin-Lopsan (1997), it is worth getting to know the history of research on Tuva shamanism. We need to do so especially since Hungarian researchers, including Vilmos Diószegi (1923-1972), the teacher of the present author, also collected in Tuva in 1958 and published important studies. This is why we have borrowed, with a slight change, the title of his book published in English (Diószegi 1968) as the title of this overview.
of the body and spirit ( Santos & Soares, 2015 ). There are reports of snuff without the presence of tobacco. However, tobacco is an essential element in traditional snuff. Depending on the indigenous/shamanic or alternative communities
The present article pays homage to Professor Louis Ligeti, founder of Mongolian Studies at the University of Budapest, who passed away twenty-five years ago. He has been known also as one of the first scholars who carried our stationary filed research in Inner Mongolia. His disciples followed this tradition of fieldwork and often visited Mongolia in order to collect written and oral materials among the Mongolian ethnic groups. Since the early nineties a joint expedition — organised by the Department of Inner Asian Studies of the University of Budapest, in collaboration with the institutions of the Mongolian Academy of Sciences — has been working among the various ethnic groups of Mongolia. During the twenty years of fieldwork a large amount of records concerning the dialects, folklore, religious systems, material culture, etc. of these ethnic groups has been accumulated in the archives of the Expedition. The results of the field research have been published in different academic journals and conference proceedings. This time some of the Darkhad shamanic texts, recorded by the author and her research team during several study trips, will be presented in the investigation-frame of the sacral communication.
There are two basic types of Japanese female shamans, representing two different categories regarding their social position and their musical activities. (1) The medium type shamaness, the itako comes from a stratum of the rural society which lives in relative modesty and whose musical activities belong to folk art. The ceremony takes place in the itako’s house, in front of the house altar, kneeling on tatami. She improvises dialogs with previously living persons who speak through her mouth, or recites stories, ballads to “entertain” the deities. Among her musical instruments, the weapon-like catalpa bow holds an outstanding place. (2) The other type of shamaness, the miko is connected with the functions of shrines, their social position is basically on par with that of priests active in Shintô shrines. The miko’s main musical activity is to perform ceremonial dances in front of the shrine. Their dances are accompanied by chant and/or small instrumental groups (flute, drum). The third, indispensable instrument is the sistrum, held by the dancers themselves. The paper is based on the author’s personal field research conducted in 1988 and 1994.
* This paper is a result of a British Academy funded research project entitled “Becoming shamans to be healed – Self healing practices in Horchin Mongolian shamanism in contemporary China”. It focuses
In all major dictionaries the first entry for the Chinese word 'ling' is 'shaman' (wu). This meaning of the word is based on Wang Yi's interpretation of two Jiuge poems in the Chuci collection. The present article investigates the possibility of this identification and concludes that there is no evidence to support Wang Yi's opinion. On the other hand, there is ample evidence to suggest that the accepted meanings of ling (spirit, numinous, magical) and the general characteristics of the Chinese shaman are indeed interrelated in many respects.
One of the purposes of this study is to outline the research problem related to the wizard called táltos and a hypothesized shamanism in the pagan, pre-Christian religion of the Hungarians. Another purpose is to present the results of new research on this issue. The first part of the study is the analysis of the activities of a weather wizard called táltos from the 16th to the 21st century, as well as its related beliefs and narrative motifs. Then I present the process in the course of which researchers of the pre-Christian pagan “ancient religion” – Gyula Sebestyén, Géza Róheim, Sándor Solymossy, Vilmos Diószegi and others – created the fictitious construct of the táltos and reconstructed the Conquest-era shaman in line with the model compiled from the attributes of shamanism of various periods and various peoples. The criticism of Vilmos Diószegi’s construct of the táltos is followed by the introduction of new research results. Their main points: modern táltos beliefs and narratives show many correlations with Balkan – especially Bulgarian – folk beliefs and folk epics. The táltos and táltos-epics show the closest correlation with the beliefs of Bulgarian dragon-men who were fathered by a dragon or eagle and born with wings or other animal traits, as well as with the adventures of heroes of epic songs who slay the dragons of the underworld and are protected by the spirit of the eagle, dragon, rooster, crane, etc. We also need to consider the infl uences of Slavic storm wizard practices and the werewolf beliefs and narratives of the Balkans. The infl uences of Balkan peoples on Hungarian culture are indubitable, partly the result of the Bulgaro-Turkic relations between the 5th and 9th centuries and partly the consequences of Slavic relations after the Conquest. It is likely that at the time of the Hungarian Conquest, there was a weather magic practice similar to those of the Balkan dragon-men, as well as a weather wizard called táltos. However, the construct of the research tradition represented by Diószegi must be refuted: there is no evidence of a shaman-táltos similar to the “classic” Eurasian shaman who was initiated in the world tree and established contact with the spirit world through a ritual performance, in a drum-induced ecstasy.
The assessment of the talent of the Delphic Pythia was ambiguous among Greeks. On the one hand, they emphasized the role of Apollo in the process, saying that becoming a Pythia requires no special ability or education. On the other hand, they admitted that the Pythia infl uences the poetic quality of the oracle. Despite the modern popular view, the Delphic oracles did not require a secondary phrasing by male priests. Pythias presented the oracles in their final form, but in verse or in prose, depending on the poetic talent of the seer. In my paper, I present arguments that the Greeks deliberately underestimated the Pythia’s own eff orts in order to hinder the formation of a spiritual (shamanistic) power which could have been able to overcome secular political power. The enigmatic character of the oracles served the same goal: to maintain the political independence of the Greek states. However, there are traces showing that divination originally had a close connection to poetic inspiration and that both had a slight shamanistic character. I highlight two motives: the existence of poetic as well as divinatory initiation and the role of honey, a food allegedly inducing trance.
could represent the translation into art of Central Asian shamanic traditions, in which the Prophet’s miraculous heavenly ascent was interpreted by the artist in terms of a spirit journey accomplished by the agency of the fly agaric mushroom. The author
This article discusses the interaction of music and storytelling with shamanism in Tuva, when practiced by shamans, and also by other people. The arts form an important layer of the shamanic context, which is today out of balance in part because outsiders focus so strongly on shamans and throat-singing, ignoring other cultural areas. Important aspects of storytelling are imagery, spiritual geography, the soul journey, and the persona of the teller. Music also contributes imagery and sound healing. It creates a bridge to the spiritual world and calls spirits through timbres produced with instruments and the voice.