An Overview of the Model of Mongolian Shamanism

In the previous few sections I have presented the basic ideas of Mongolian shamanism. The essential characteristics can be summarized as follows

* Living beings live happy productive lives by promoting balance in the world and observing the customs of respect toward Father Heaven, Mother Earth, and the spirits

* The world is a circle oriented toward the south, with Father Heaven above, Mother Earth below; the right side is male and the left female

* The sacredness of fire

* One’s personal power can be increased by living a yostoi life and revering the spirits and living things

* The presence and protection of the spirits of the ancestors

* Humanlike sentient spirits in the heavens, animals, trees, mountains, and other natural features

* Power and totem animals

* Human beings are a combination of 3 souls in addition to the physical body

* There are three worlds, the lower, middle, and upper worlds connected by the World River and the World Tree

* Shamans have a special helper spirit that initiates him and empowers him to restore balance to the world

* The use of the drum, ongons, shaman staffs, dalbuur, sacred smoke, hallucinogens * Shamans’ chief duties include healing, invoking protection, blessing, divination, hunting magic
and weather magic

* The causes of illness are due to spiritual forces disrupting a person’s souls by either intruding into the body or stealing one of the souls. This requires expulsion of the foreign spirit mor soul retrieval