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Сегодня 28 October 2021 г.
19 September 2010

Will shamans save the world?

VES.LV. Тranslated by Heda Jindrak

Will shamans save the world? Every year, for one week, shamans from various regions of Russia and from other countries gather in Irkutsk region, which borders on Tuva, Krasnoyarsk Krai, Yakutia, Chita and Buryatia. They perform the most powerful of all existing rituals. And the goal is nothing more or less than to save the world! A correspondent of “Vesti” visited the convention this year…The place where the shamans meet is the Olkhon Island in the middle of Lake Baikal. This lake is called “the heart of Siberia”. According to legend, it was here where, long ago, the god of Heaven, Tengri, through his oldest and strongest son Khan Khute-Baabai, divulged the mysteries of shamanism to people.  He chose the sacred Olkhon cape Burkhan as his dwelling place, tamed three eagles, and they carried the mystical knowledge to humans.

Now shamans come here to perform rituals, which have the power to rescue the world from the future catastrophe. The original cause of the catastrophe are people themselves, those who stopped living in harmony with Nature, who disrupted the Earth’s ecology, declared themselves emperors of the planet and angered the gods (scientists also speak of this). The correspondent of “Vesti” turned out to be the only journalist that was invited to Olkhon, and the shamans showed him a little bit of the great mystery…

The breath of god Tengri

Even though shamans from various parts of the world never used to gather together, now the mystics from Siberia, the northernmost regions of Russia, Far East, Central Asia, mountainous India, hot districts of Central Africa, Americas from the Amazon rain forests up to Alaska, have found a common language.

They understand one another without translators, and their rituals are similar – all the shamans pray to the same gods: spirits of Nature, the main of which are Father Heaven - Tengri (that is what people who live in the Near East as well as those from beyond the Polar Circle call him) and Mother Earth – Etugen.

As a matter of fact, the word “shaman” originated from the Evenk “saman”, which in translation means ”person in a frenzy”. This word became adopted even in Alaska. There is an explanation for that: in one version, the Evenks, at one time a very numerous people, who populated Siberia and the Far East, were nomadic. They got to India, and even to North America, and everywhere they went they disseminated shamanism. Well, who knows, the great Mongols also followed the cult of Tengri, and they, in ancient times, during Genghis Khan’s epoch, conquered half the world…

-          Here we are speaking about the very first religion on earth, which everybody on the planet had in common, - Valentin Khagdayev, a Buryat shaman told me (he has six fingers on his right hand, which is considered to be one of the signs: the person is consecrated to the mystical knowledge from birth!). – Even though shamanism – it is not quite accurate to call it a religion. Basically, to be a shaman is to have an absolute love for nature, to live in harmony with it, and then it shares its wisdom…The full name of the god is Khukhe Munkhe Tengri – Eternal Blue Heaven. However, now many different nations of the planet notice that it is becoming more and more rare for the heaven to appear blue. More often it is covered with clouds. The god of Heaven is hiding from people, does not wish to look at them anymore…

-          There are different possible attitudes towards shamanism. For some, it is even a heresy, but…Throughout the Irkutsk region, there was pouring rain these days, and even a cyclone. Most of Olkhon Island was also wet (the island is 70 km long). But in the place where the rituals were being performed, the sun was shining, and the sky was bright blue – literally as if a window opened in the clouds!

-          I came to Olkhon directly after a trek through the mountains on the border between Buryatia and Irkutsk region, where we were caught in a hailstorm, with snow and pouring rain. All my things were drenched through and through, I slept in the mountains for two nights in a row, with teeth chattering from the cold. I got a bad chill; I was dizzy, shivering, tormented by cough at night. And then I got lucky (but at that moment I did not know that) – my friends invited me to Olkhon to participate in a mystical ritual, even though strangers are never allowed here…

-          I will not describe in detail my own feelings during the ritual performed to save the world. That is just a small part of it.

-          It is dusk. The shore of Olkhon. Baikal rolls its translucent waters on the stones on the beach. The shamans are standing next to the stones with special chalices, casting drops of the ritual beverage tarasun (“milk vodka”) onto the stones. They are burning small branches of  “chabrets” a divine plant, they are tying silky ribbons onto sacred spruces, and they are speaking to the powers of nature; they ask for forgiveness for the people whose fault it is that everything on the planet is dying, that the seasons of the year are confused, that the crops do not grow, that animals are disappearing from the forests and the fish from the waters, and in consequence, people will die, too…During the ritual, sparks literally fly from the stones, and shadows circle around in the rays of the setting sun…

-          In the morning, I woke up absolutely healthy – as if I never had a cold at all! Then go and disbelieve in the rituals of shamans, who are sharing their power and energy with everybody around them.

Three shadows of a magus

On the island, I met Lidia Yegorova from Yakutia. She is not only considered one of the strongest shamans of the Northern region, on top of that she is also a Candidate of historical sciences, ethnographer, and works with the Russian academy of sciences, and she is the author of many books. Among them is also – “Man and universe in the context of tengrianism”…

This is Lidia Yegorova’s story for readers of “Vesti”:

-          I started studying shamanism from the point of view of science only after I had already passed through the ritual of consecration. I decided to find out where all this came from, why the rituals have an effect on people, and how they correspond with the powers of nature.

-          Shamans of the whole world, even though they have different names, are in fact a single brotherhood. In Yakutia, male shamans are called “oyun” and women – “udagan”. But you can’t just go and call yourself a shaman – here, I studied, got a diploma, let’s go!

-          In Yakutia, just like in other regions of the planet, a person can become a real shaman only if there already were shamans in his family tree, who possessed the mystical knowledge. It concerns energy, and that, as we well know, never disappears. The energy of a shaman who left for other worlds stays with the family – it is transmitted through blood and milk, it exists at the level of DNA. A baby is born, and up to a certain moment he has no idea that the great power is already in him, until, with years, it wakes up during rituals. Then the power unfolds in full measure.

-          In my maternal lineage, all the women in the family were udagan – grandma, mother. And all of them, until they accepted what was “written in the family”, were persecuted by the one and the same dream. For many years I had a recurrent dream that next to me are three shadows, that sometimes suddenly turned into fire, or were carried away by water. I could not understand what it was.

-          But then I found out from ancient Yakut sacred texts – for example, from olonkho performances (heroic epics, UNESCO heritage of mankind) that only the strongest shaman has three shadows. One of them is produced in this world, the second in the upper, heavenly world, and the third one in the lower world, but all three are visible in all the realities. That means that this person is a shaman not just in our earthly world, but he can control great forces in other realities as well, where he has spiritual existence.

-          A person has three basic essences. Iye-kut (mother soul), that is what is inherited from parents: traditions, culture. Byor-kut (earth soul) is the physical body. Salgyn-kut (air soul) is the intellect, mind, communicative-social, you could say family energy and information of the universe.

-          When I understood that I would have to undergo consecration as a shaman and that I would have to practice shamanism, I decided to “internalize” the spirit of the ancestors, and I started to attentively study the ancient texts. It was necessary, because otherwise I simply could not live in human society anymore. At some point, my senses had become extremely acute to the point that it was very difficult to be around other people. I could see through them, I knew their thoughts and wishes; I automatically took off all their masks that they would put on “in company”. I thought I would lose my mind! But as soon as I started to practice, I recognized what it was that was happening to me. And I accepted it; I stopped fighting it and learned how to control my emotions. When I need to, I can “turn off”, this “seeing through”, and can turn it back on when necessary. There were many other things that were happening with me, but that is already for “internal use only”.

-          There are different possible ways of interacting with inhabitants of parallel worlds and receiving knowledge directly from them. Some people need to enter an altered state of consciousness with the help of the drum. But in Yakutia, udagans do not work with drums. And, in fact, what really is “kamlanie” with a drum? The drumbeats literally wake up the parallel worlds – they are vibrations, distributing information. But kamlanie is also work with the vertebral column. During a ritual with a drum, an “oyun” performs certain movements, swaying the spinal column repeatedly. And the vertebral column is a pillar, through which the energy of the universe and the power of the earth flow. The shamans drive this energy through the vertebral column, and then, when they “charge” it with these repetitive movements, they discharge it in some certain way: they heal people or communicate with spirits, turning to them with requests and questions. But udagans can enter a trance even without a drum – maybe using aromas of herbs (each has her own). We also use different objects. As you see, I am holding a deybir, a horse’s tail, in my hands. It is a very powerful talisman.

Shamanism – is it fashionable?

-          I heard an opinion that shamanism is becoming fashionable in Europe, - Lidiya Yegorova continues. – But you can’t say things with this attitude! It is stupid and dangerous. I, for example, had doubts for a long time – did I need this? It is a very responsible step. Shamanism is not a show. And if you have not decided to go this way to the end, it is better not to play with mysterious forces.

-          Shaman is always on the border between several worlds, in intimate contact with spirits – dark ones and light ones, and at the same time the shaman can’t take sides, it is important to be a kind of a diplomat. And the spirits are like this, they also love to play pranks and to joke; the powers of light can turn dark, the dark ones will pretend to be light. You will be calling one spirit, for example to help a sick person, but another one will show up and will want to take the patient’s life altogether, and yours, too. A person who has not developed inside him the shamanic power completely does not know how to put up a defense, to deflect other people’s disease and negative forces – such a person will very quickly dry out and die… and the shaman has to understand that there is always a high price to pay, even for the best of intentions, for helping others! So, shamanism is not a fashion.

-          On the other hand, I understand why people are drawn to pagan beliefs, to shamanism. They see that many traditional religions like Christianity, Islam and Judaism have become too much contaminated with rule and authorities, with politics and money. Wars are waged in their name, much that is artificial, invented has crept in, a mixture behind which you can’t find god anymore, and even new sects and directions have appeared that just confuse minds. Millions of people have realized that they have become torn off from their roots, that they made a wrong turn when they started on the path of the “civilization” that is destroying the Earth and that is killing nature, (including people and everything else). And as a result, they start to think, analyze, and they come to the core of cores, to the thing which gave birth to all other religions that exist on this planet. They all originated on the basis of paganism – shamanism, which, as a matter of fact, does not contradict any of the religions. On the contrary, it helps people to develop within their religions, to understand them better, to have sharper sensibilities.  It is impossible to really love God, and at the same time to destroy his creation – nature: to poison everything around, earth, rivers, seas, to make endless garbage, to chop down forests, changing life in this way on all the continents.

-          That is why these powerful rituals are performed in places with strong energetics, like on the Olkhon Island, to get people to start to really love nature, to respect the power of all the elements, and to realize that we are a part of one whole. I think that if an Orthodox Christian cultivates this love in himself, he will rise a step higher in his own religion.

-          By the way, as we are speaking about what shamanism and Christianity have in common, for us, Yakuts, (it is believed that we originated from aiyy, the people of the Upper World), one of the holiest things is Aal Luuk Mas (Great Gigantic Tree),  the symbol of the trinity of the world. Again a trinity! True, in shamanism the powers of light are not at all synonymous with “good”. They can punish, too. And the dark ones – that does not mean “evil” either, for example, one calls on the spirits of the Lower world to protect people. But at the same time, absolute evil does exist – lack of love for nature! And very many of the so-called “wild peoples” are much more pure and closer to nature than people which are called “civilized”…

Three worlds

The cult of Tengri is the cult of Eternal Blue Heaven, under which is everything – spirits and people. Tengrians (or shamans0 recognize the three zones of the universe: heavenly, earthly, and under the earth. Each of them, in its turn, is separated into visible and invisible. The invisible heavenly world is like a layer cake consisting of three, nine or more horizontal layers, each of which is the abode of some deity, and Tengri inhabits the uppermost layer. The invisible middle world is inhabited by deities and spirits of the surrounding nature – master spirits of the mountains, forests, water, and others, and also by kams, - beings which govern the visible world and are the closest to humans. The lower, underground world is like the opposite side of a mirror, which reflects the spirits of the heaven and the earth – they are the dark powers, which does not necessarily have negative implications.

Shamanists believe that there is no death, but that there is a continuous circulation and renewal of life in the Universe. For example, people come to the earth, and then their spirits move on to other worlds, always reincarnating and changing. Shamanists are not afraid of death of the physical body, it is simply a natural continuation of life, but in another existence…


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