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

MONGOLIAN COSMOLOGY

THE NATURAL WORLD

THE SPIRIT WORLD

THE SHAMAN

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