Dreamtime & Inner Space, 8-9

pp. 76-78 being tormented with illness by spirits as an indication and inducement by them to the tormentee to become a shaman




[Sagay on the river Yes (reference :- Dio`szegi 1968, p. 58)] "he who is seized by the shaman sickness and does not begin to exercise shamanism, must suffer badly. He might lose his mind, he might even have to give up his life. Therefore


he is advised, "You must take up shamanism so as not to suffer!" Some even say, "I became a shaman only to escape illness." ...


[reference :- Dio`szegi 1968, p. 57] The spirits of dead shamans are called black spirits. They make the chosen one ill and then they force him to become a shaman."


[Soyot] "They suffer headaches, nausea, and loss of appetite. When a shaman is called to attend them he says that one of the mountain spirits wants to turn the sick one into a shaman. ... The Soyot call the time during which a spirit torments a future shaman "albys."


This period frequently remains a blank in the shaman’s life; he cannot remember what happened. {This forgetfulness is a sign of having been possessed then by spirits of sorts.} He gabbles confused words, displays very curious habits of eating and sings continuously."


[practice by a Soyot shaman from nigh the Sistig-h^em (quoted from Dio`szegi 1959, pp. 273sq)] "A spirit appeared to him, or rather two spirits :Sa:ra:l c^oydu and Ta:mir qastaj. The first one was what we call a "great spirit" {cf. North American Indian "Great Spirit"} (Uluy aza)."


[Tofa (reference :- Dio`szegi 1963, p. 267sq)] Prospective "shamans become sick before their initiation and are tormented by spirits." One such shaman-to-be "suffered for three years from headaches and pains in his arms and legs. In his dreams the spirits asked him to become a shaman. ... Only when he agreed to the demands of the spirits did his health improve."

Dio`szegi 1968 = Vilmos Dio`szegi : Tracing Shamans in Siberia. Oosterhout.

Dio`szegi 1959 = Vilmos Dio`szegi : "Der Werdegang zum Schamanen bei den nordo:stlichen Sojoten". ACTA ETHNOGRAPHICA, No. 8. pp. 269-291.

Dio`szegi 1963 = Vilmos Dio`szegi : Glaubenswelt und Folklore der sibirischen Vo:lker. Budapest.

pp. 79-80 Kwakiutl out-of-body experience resultant in becoming a shaman

p. 79

"Suddenly he was heard singing a song, and the wolves that began to gather around ... were howling with him. ... when all the people had withdrawn and

p. 80

only the other shamans remained, he began to relate what had happened to him ... . When he died, a man had appeared to him and invited him to go with him. He had risen to his feet and had been surprised to see his body lying on the ground. ... That is how he had become a shaman. The wolves, meanwhile, had changed into humans. ... All the other creatures present then took off their wolf masks and approached..., the wolves licked his body. Before that, they had caused his soul to shrink to the size of a fly. His soul was then reintroduced into his body through his head." [reference :- Boas 1930 p. 46sq]

Boas 1930 = Franz Boas : The Religion of the Kwakiutl Indians. Pt. 2. NY.

p. 81 how a Patvioso (of Nevada) became a shaman

He "dreamt that he visited the realms of the dead. ... During his dreams his body became as rigid as a board, and the souls of the dead came to steal his soul. ... He began to realize gradually that he was meant to be a shaman and that he had to accept the power." [reference :- Park 1934, p. 99]

Park 1934 = Arthur C. Park : "Patvioso Shamanism". AMERICAN ANTHROPOLOGIST, No. 36. pp. 98-113.

p. 81 how shamanhood is attained on the Mentawai isles (off the west coast of Sumatra)

"the calling to shamanism is also preceded by a sickness ... sent by the heavenly spirits. The person destined to become a shaman dreams that he ascended to heaven ... to look for monkeys. {cf. the monkey-people found by Rama-candra} If the spirits abduct someone chosen for shamanism to heaven he is given a beautiful new body like that of the spirit beings." {a special body experienced during such dreams} [reference :- Loeb 1929, p. 66sq]

Loeb 1929 = E. M. Loeb : "Shaman and Seer". AMERICAN ANTHROPOLOGIST, No. 31. pp. 60-84.

pp. 82-84 African dreams as inductions into shamanhood


induction into shamanhood


"Among the Zulus someone destined to become a shaman (Inyanga) suddenly becomes ill, behaves in a curious manner and is unable to eat normal food. He will eat only certain things. He continually complains of pain in various parts of his body and has the most incredible dreams – he becomes a "house of dreams." He is quickly moved to tears, weeping ... loudly for everyone to hear. He hardly sleeps. And if he falls asleep, he soon wakes up and begins to sing even in the middle of the night. He may ... climb onto a roof and jump around like a frog, shaking himself and singing. His helping spirit keeps whispering into his ear and promises him that he soon will be able to give advice to those that come to him. He can hear the whistling of the spirits and converses with them ... . ... The helping spirit (Itongo) is ... perceived ... . ... Soon the Itongo will say, "Go to so-and-so and he will give you medicine." After that the initiate improves." [reference :- Callaway 1884, p. 259sq]


[biography of a particular Zulu shaman] "The first signs of his sickness consisted of a tingling and drawing feeling that spread from his toes and fingers, through his arms and legs, to the whole of his body and made him feel as if there were a heavy weight on his shoulders. {whence the Bodish doctrine of one’s external souls perching on one’s shoulders?}

[statement by the same Zulu shaman (quoted from Callaway 1884, p. 185sq)] ... now there are things which I see when I lie down. ... . ... there is not a single place in the whole country which I do not know; I go over it [the country] all by night in my sleep; there is not a single place the exact location of which I do not know. ... Again I see that I am flying, no longer treading on this earth."


"The Mundu mugo, the shaman of the Kenyan Kikuyu, receives his calling and his spiritual support from God (Ngai). ... The impulse for the initiation as a Mundu mugo arises from a sickness characterized by dramatic dreams, hallucinations, inability to concentrate, weak eyesight and abnormal forms of behavior. At the same time his family is visited by a series of misfortunes


and accidents. If another Mundu mugo then describes all these signs as meaningful, the initiation is confirmed and publicly sanctioned. ... Thereafter he specializes in particular skills such as prophecy, diagnoses of illnesses, knowledge of herbs, restoration of the fertility of women, or curing mental illness." [reference :- Good 1980]

Callaway 1884 = H. Callaway : The Religious System of the Amazulu. PUBLICATIONS FO THE FOLK-LORE SOCIETY, No. 15. London.

Good 1980 = Good; Kimani; Lawry : "The Initiation of a Kikuyu Medicine Man". ANTHROPOS, vol. 75. pp. 87-116.

pp. 84-85, 92 Korean vocation of shamanesses

p. 84

"the calling of Korean shamanesses expresses itself in ... conspicuous forms of social behavior, outrageous activities, impoliteness, and ... the prospective shamaness may wear winter clothes in summer, bathe in cold water in winter, reveal secrets which are taboo to mention, or begin to tell the fortune of anyone who happens to be passing in the street. This ... is known as Sinbyong, "caught by the spirits" or "the spirits have descended," and may be accompanied by visual and auditory hallucinations {sent by those spirits}. The Koreans believe that the spirits visit especially those whose maum (heart or soul) are "split" {schizophrenia}". [reference :- Harvey 1980]

"In Korea, shamans (Mu dang) ... are ... accorded a ... social status ... together with prostitutes, shoe menders, soothsayers, ... and dancing girls. Many more women than men feel called upon to become a Mu dang ... . ... The behavior and dress of male shamans is extremely effeminate."

p. 85

"The person concerned hears voices, speaks in tongues, can only absorb liquid nourishment, and ... a manic compulsion to dance ... . The sick person goes on long walks into the mountains or to the sea and has dreams in which helping spirits give instructions and reasons for founding a new cult. The novice shaman is overcome by visions of the native pantheon of Gods ... . ... In such cases the spontaneous calling is followed by an apprenticeship, extending over several years, with an older and experienced Mu dang." [reference :- Beuchelt 1975, p. 146sq]


[quoted from Lee 1981, p. 173sq : the vocation of two Korean shamanesses] [one case :] "her dead boyfriend kept appearing to her in her dreams. ... One day she dreamt that she ran barefoot and completely naked to the foot of a mountain where a white-bearded man appeared to her and promised her health and good fortune. ... she was initiated by an old shamaness. ...

[the other case :] She lost her appetite, ... and developed headaches. ... When she was forty years old she dreamt of thunder and lightning and of a pillar of light that struck her head three times. Thereupon three old men from heaven appeared to her in a dream. One day she saw a vision of a great general riding on a white horse who approached her. Thereafter she dreamt many times that she went to bed with this general. ... she was initiated as a shamaness".


"The Koreans talk about a "bridge of people" ... that comes into being when a member of the family is chosen to be a shaman and another member has to die as a result of this. {This is elsewhere commonly attributed to becoming a "witch".} They refer to this process as "spanning a bridge over a human being" {cf. Norse troll under bridge?} (indari nonnunda)." [reference :- Cho Hung-Youn 1982, p. 28sq]

Harvey 1980 = Youngsook Kim Harvey : "Possession Sickness and Women Shamans in Korea". In :- Nancy A. Falk & Rita M. Gross (editrices) : Unspoken Worlds. San Francisco.

Beuchelt 1975 = Eno Beuchelt : "Zur Status-Perso:nlichkeit koreanischer Schamanen". SOCIOLOGUS, vol. 25. pp. 139-145.

Lee 1981 = Jung Young Lee : Korean Shamanistic Rituals. The Hague.

pp. 86-87 Peruvian induction into shamanhood

p. 86

[quoted from Sharon 1978, p. 11 : statement by a Peruvian shaman] "I remember dreams in which I flew, ... and I went to strange places in the form of a spiral. Or I flew in a vertiginous manner ... . ...

{cf. dreams of whirlwind by North American Indian Great-Plains shamans}


I have seen things as if someone opens a door and the door is closed. ... I have seen myself introduced through a hole in the air, and I went through an immense, immense void. I have felt numbness in all my body as if my hands were huge but I could not grasp. I could not hold up my hand. ...

{is this "hole" a door opening amidst the air?}

p. 87

[quoted from Sharon 1978, p. 12 : continuation of statement by same shaman] It happened that on one occasion I saw a cat on my left shoulder ... and

{cf. the cat Jo,rmungandr, too heavy to be uplifted by To`rr in the castle of U`tgarda-loki}


I lost the power to hold things in my hand and

{cf. To`rr’s glove}


to stand up. I completely lost all strength.

{cf. To`rr’s dependence upon his belt for his strength}


I could ... walked like a sleepwalker, according to what they tell me."


Sharon 1978 = Douglas Sharon : Wizard of the Four Winds. NY.

pp. 88-89 other inductions into shamanhood as obediences to spirits




[quoted from Harva 1938, p. 453 : statement by Yakut shaman] "I ... began to see with my eyes and hear with my ears things others could neither hear nor see. For nine years I fought against the spirit, without telling anyone what had happened ... . In the end I became so ill that I was close to death. So I began to shamanize, and very soon my health improved. Even now I feel unwell and sick when I am inactive as a shaman over a longer period of time."


[Zulu shamaness (reference : Boshier 1974)] "For three years she was bedridden ... . At night she left her body and visited distant places; in this way she traveled everywhere. ... Then one night her dead grandfather appeared to her in a dream. ... After that, other shamans appeared to her in dreams, ... and called upon her to become one of them. These visions became more and more frequent, passing before her inner eye like pictures on a cinema screen."


[quoted from Watson-Franke 1975, p. 204 : statement by Waxiro shamaness, "asked by her helping spirits to travel with them to the other world."] "My spirits often invite me to go there ... . ... Whenever I turn down such an invitation I develop a fever and become very ill."


Boshier 1974 = Adrian K. Boshier : "African Apprenticeship". PARAPSYCHOLOGY REVIEW, vol. 5, no. 4 pp. 1-3 & 25-27.

pp. 94, 98-99 initiation into shamanhood by means of dismemberment of one’s body {in a dream?}




[statement in the autobiography of sta. Theresa] "To my left I saw an angel ... . In its hand I beheld a long golden spear at the point of which a small flame seemed to flicker. I felt as if ... that spear ... penetrated to my bowels, which were extracted when the spear was withdraw." [quoted from Underhill 1928]


"The Dayak of Borneo has his head severed from his body during initiation. Then the brain is removed from the skull, washed, and reinserted {similar "brain-washing" is a Taoist manoeuvre}, so that the future shaman will have a clear and undisturbed mind. However, it is only after the spirits have blown gold dust {cf. one’s acquisition of a body of gold by means of Taoist internal alchemy} into his eyes that he becomes a seer ad perceives the world of the Beyond. His heart is pierced by an arrow to arouse in him compassion and gentleness toward the ill. {cf. the arrow shot by Erot- (Cupidus) and by Kama-deva} During the actual Dayak ceremony, a coconut is smashed above the initiated." {cf. the custom of cracking open a dead yogin’s head with a coconut (the nut of the god Varun.a)}


"the highest ranking medicine man and sorcerer of the South West African Hain//om, suffered a ... sickness before the age of sixteen. ... It started in his knees and rose relentlessly through the rest of his body. ... he fainted, and for a short time his soul ascended to // Gamab, the supreme deity. ... One day when he was alone in the bush [he] heard cawing sounds and a woman appeared to him. Her name was Khaendaos, and she had been sent by //Gamab. She declared her love for him and ... promised to bear him four children. ... She finally dismembered his body. She took his soul with her to //Gamab’s abode. Five days later she brought it back and [he] emerged from a deep unconsciousness. ... on his chest sat the four children of Khaendaos.{these 4 children were, of course, invisible to non-shamans} While he was unconscious he came to the World Tree where the souls of unborn children and the dead abide. ...


He keeps the four children in a container which he always carries with him when he conducts his healing ceremonies." [reference :- Wagner-Robertz 1976, pp. 536sq]

Underhill 1928 = Evelyn Underhill : Mystik. Munich.

Wagner-Robertz 1976 = Dagmar Wagner-Robertz : "Schamanismus bei dem Haim//om in Su:dwestafrika". ANTHROPOS, No. 71. pp. 533-554.

pp. 96, 99-101 shamanship as being devoured by the deities {in a dream?}


being devoured


In myth, Tantolos "killed his son Pelops and offered him as food to the gods, who thereupon caused the youth to regain life by cooking him."


"The apprentice shaman of the Ammassalik Eskimos (eastern Greenland) ... looks for a large grinding stone with a flat surface, against which he rubs a smaller stone. Crayfish and other crustaceans are often placed between the two stones. ... After a certain period, ... a bear rises from the sea. The bear is so emaciated that all its ribs can be seen .... It devours the apprentice alive, but only to vomit him up again. ...


He continues feasting and rubbing the grinding stone every summer until he has accumulated a sufficient number of helping spirits. During this period of training and initiation, the apprentices are taught a special language by the spirits – the secret language of the shaman." [reference :- Thalbitzer 1908, p. 452sq]


"The North Alaska Eskimos speak of a "worm rest." Worms eat the flesh of the adept {in dreams?}, whereby he is internally cleansed and begins to glow.

A similar belief is found among the Aivilik Eskimos.

In western Greenland the apprentice permits all sorts of worms to drain his blood". [reference :- Blodgett 1978]


"The initiates of the Saint Lawrence Islands Eskimos ... receive from the spirits and the forces of nature ... shamanic knowledge and powers. Without sleeping, he beseeches the spirits, asking them for "the power to bring the dead to life." In the course of his lonely wanderings, the initiate five times breaks the bones of a bird which he has to restore to life again". [reference :- Murphy 1964, p. 58]

Thalbitzer 1908 = William Thalbitzer : "The Heathen Priests of East Greenland (Angakut)". PROCEEDINGS OF THE 16TH INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS OF AMERICANISTS. Vienna.

Blodgett 1978= Jean Blodgett (ed.) : The Coming and Going of the Shaman. Winnepeg.

Murphy 1964 = Jane M. Murphy : "Psychotherapeutic Aspects of Shamanism On St. Lawrence Island, Alaska". In :- Ari Kiev (ed.) : Magic, Faith, and Healing. NY.

pp. 103-105 Australian aboriginal dismemberments by spirits {in dreams?} as initiations into shamanhood




"The Corrobo`ree poets of the Australian Unambal ... contact ... the dead of the underworld, the Shadows or Bangumas. These helping spirits protect the poet, show him the way to the other world and return him to his body after the journey to the Beyond. ... His soul (jajaru) sets out to seek the spirits of the dead. If the poet meets such a spirit (who, in turn, was dispatched to look for the poet), he says that he lost his way in the underworld ... . The spirit ... then helps him; he calls many other spirits who chop the poet’s soul to pieces. Each spirit takes one of the pieces to the underworld, where the soul is reassembled." [reference :- Lommel 1959]


"the Northwest Australian Ungarinyin have a devil doctor who is initiated by Agula, the shadow skeleton of the dead. ... The skeleton spirits ... drag him to the spirit realm, take his brain out and replace it by a new one which renders him capable of seeing the new Agula himself. They, too, teach him songs – Corrobo`rees – which he communicates to the members of his tribe". [reference :- Petri 1954, p. 248sq]


"In Dampier Land in the area around the Lower Fitzroy River medicine men are created by Rai spirits who slit open the initiate’s body and hang up his entrails as well as his lungs, heart, liver, and kidneys. His body


is placed in an earth oven with magical cooking slabs of stone. Later his entrails and organs are replaced and the body is closed up again. Therefore he can fly through the air like a bird and travel to the innermost regions of the earth. Magical stones are placed into his navel and between the eyes and ears. The Rai also equip him with the "inner eye" that enables him to transcend time and space." [reference :- Coate 1966]

pp. 105-108 Siberian dismemberments by spirits {in dreams?} as initiations into shamanhood




"Among the Buryat the shamanic apprentice is visited by his Utcha, his shamanic ancestors. They take his soul (amin) to heaven and place it before the assembly of the Saajtani, who [engage in] poking around his belly with knives, cutting whole chunks of flesh off him, and throwing them about. During these [actions] the shaman can hear his heart beat, but his breath subsides and his skin becomes dark blue. The spirits cook his flesh to "ripen" it. The initiate acquires his inner knowledge during this procedure and thus becomes conversant with the rules of shamanic wisdom." [reference :- Ksenofontov 1955, p. 208sq]


[Tungus] "the spirit of a dead shaman selects a successor from the people within his clan ... . The dead shamans then train the neophyte. They abduct his soul, dismember it, and grill its flesh over a fire or on a spit. ...


[statement by a Tungus shaman (quoted from Ksenofontov 1955, p. 211sq)] "When I shamanize, the spirit of dead ... (a brother, who was himself a shaman) comes and speaks through my mind. I was forced to become a shaman by my shamanic ancestors. ... The sickness that forced me to become a shaman caused my body to swell up and I frequently fainted. ... After that, my ancestors made me into a shaman. They set me up ... and shot arrows at me ... . They cut the flesh off me. They separated my bones and counted them. My flesh they ate raw. When they counted my bones, they found that there was one too many."


"Another shaman ... also had to suffer dismemberment. ... Because his soul was brought up in the lower world, ... his animal mother, who cares for the egg containing the shaman’s soul, traveled to the middle world to dismember his body. In this way [he] won his helping spirits. His main helper is a dead female relative but he may also call upon a bear and a wolf." [reference :- Ksenofontov 1955, p. 132]


"A shaman of the Avam Samoyed was seized by a gigantic blacksmith in the underworld and torn into small pieces. His bones were boiled for three years in a cauldron until all the flesh fell off them. The blacksmith fashioned the shaman’s head on an anvil, instructing him at the same time how to heal people. Later the blacksmith reassembled the bones, covered them with flesh, and gave him new eyes to make him see better. His ears were pierced with the intention of making the conversations of plants audible to him." [reference :- Lehtisalo 1937, p. 9; also cited in Nachtigall 1952]


"When the shaman of a clan of the Siberian Evenk dies, his soul (chargi) travels downriver to the clan territory of the spirits of ancestral shamans in order to inform Mangi, the oldest of the dead ancestors. Mangi then orders the spirit of the ancestral shaman, whose turn it is to reenter life, to travel upstream and choose a suitable young man or maiden from among the members of the clan. The person chosen ... escapes into the forest. ... His soul journeys to the mountain of the shamanic ancestral spirits, to the roots of the shaman tree. There he is swallowed by his animal mother, to be reborn as an animal ... an animal double which later becomes his protecting spirit and lives in an isolated tree in the vicinity of the clan’s abode. The shaman himself is dismembered and reassembled by the animal’s mother." [reference :- Friedrich 1955, p. 52]


"The Yakut, however, say that a shaman can only cure those illnesses whose evil spirit has partaken of the shaman’s flesh during initiation. ...


If, during the {dream}, the spirits devour the leg of the shaman he will later treat diseases of the leg. During the actual dismemberment {in the dream}, his flesh and bones are divided among the spirits themselves. If there is not enough flesh for all the spirits, the shaman will not be able to heal all illnesses. Any illness, the spirit of which did not partake of the shaman’s body, may only [be] treated once by him. ...

Mighty shamans, on the other hand, are dismembered several times." [reference :- Ksenofontov 1955]


[statement by a Sagay shaman (Dio`szegi 1968, p. 61sq)] "They chapped me up and then threw me into the kettle and I was boiled. There were some men there : two black {dark elves?} and two fair {light elves?} ones. ... While the pieces of my body were boiled, they found a bone around the ribs which had a hole in the middle. {Vertebrae (except the coccyx) have a tunnel through them.} This was the excess bone. This brought about my becoming a shaman. ... One looks across [through?] the hole of this bone and begins to see all {cf. seeing through a telescope in the world of souls of the dead (according to the Iban)}, to know all, and that is when one becomes a shaman."

Lehtisalo 1937 = T. Lehtisalo : "Der Tod und die Wiedergeburt des ku:nftigen Schamanen". JOURNAL DE LA SOCIE’TE’ FINNO-OUGRIENNE, No. 48. pp. 1-48.

Nachtigall 1952 = Horst Nachtigall : "Die kulturhistorische Wurzel der Schamanenskelettierung". ZEITSCHRIFT FU:R ETHNOLOGIE, No. 77. pp. 187-197.

Friedrich 1955 = Adolf Friedrich : "Da Bewusstsein eines Naturvolkes". PAIDEUMA, 6, H. 2. pp. 47-53.

Holger Kalweit (transl. from the German by Werner Wu:nsche) : Dreamtime & Inner Space. Shambhala, Boston, 1988.