Windhorse and Buyanhishig

Shamanism deals with personal power and bringing good fortune into one’s
life. While every day brings an individual into contacts which intersect
one’s personal world with others, the core issues of life lie within one’s
personal universe. In this individual aspect of the cosmos, a person stands
at the perfect center of the universe, supported by Mother Earth and
enveloped in the clear blue vastness of Father Heaven. At the center one’s
cosmic soul (suns) shines as a bright white star, and the body soul (ami)
is a red point of light. One can fly freely within the vastness of space or
travel upon the earth. Because each person has their own path, one is
ultimately responsible for one’s actions.

Personal psychic power is called hii (wind), or hiimori, (windhorse). This
force is housed within the chest and will vary in size according to how one
uses and accumulates it. Very strong windhorse allows one to think clearly
and analytically and see through deception. Windhorse is the power which
allows shamans and other powerful people accomplish what needs to be done
simply and easily. Use of one’s personal power toward harmful ends or to
upset the balance of the universe depletes windhorse, which is one reason
why truly evil people tend toward self-destructive behavior over time.
Windhorse can be increased by actions to restore balance in the universe
and through religious practice. Simple everyday actions foster windhorse,
such as offering drink to heaven, earth, and the ancestors, prayer, and
veneration of the heaven, earth, and the spirits of the ancestors and
nature. Sacred smoke from incense, sage, thyme, juniper, and other herbs
can raise windhorse when done during shamanist worship. Sacrifices are
another way to raise windhorse if done for specific purposes or at the
traditional festivals.

A related concept to windhorse in buyanhishig, which is blessing from
Heaven or the spirits. One can view buyanhishig as being almost like a bank
account which can be increased or decreased according to one’s actions. A
large accumulation of buyanhishig (also known as buyan for short) will
result in good fortune, protection from harm, and happiness. One can also
lose buyan by violating taboos, showing disrespect for the spirits or the
ancestors, or by offending the spirits of nature by killing animals for no
purpose. Personal filthiness also is harmful to buyan. Buyan is increased
through acts of generosity such as giving food and drink to visitors and
donating goods to needy people. Buyan, like windhorse, is also increased
through living an upright (yostoi) life, religious acts, and sacrifices.
Father Heaven and the spirits can also be called through the dallaga
ritual, which literally beckons buyan into one’s life or into the community
when done collectively. It is done by making a circular motion with the
hands in a sunwise fashion accompanied by the words “hurai, hurai, hurai!”

By being conscious of windhorse and buyan one can walk one’s life path in
power, safety, and with good fortune. This attitude toward life creates
self-awareness in one’s actions and consciousness of how individual actions
shape one’s own fate. The ideal person learns to live yostoi (following the
customs), which means living respectfully and not violating the taboos
against upsetting balance in the world.

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