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Kenin-Lopsan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mongush Borakhovich Kenin-Lopsan

 

 

Shaman.

 

Kenin-Lopsan is an ethnographer, a doctor of history and a researcher on shamanism. He is also a shaman. Kenin- Lopsan travelled around the region to save the heritage of shamans under sometimes very harsh conditions.Without Kenin- Lopsan much of the knowledge that Tuvan shamans have inherited and carried forward through centuries would have disappeared forever.He is the author of many books and papers and through his work the Tuvan literature and language have taken important steps forward. In 1994 the American Foundation of Shamanic Studies gave him the title Living treasure of Shamanism.

 

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The fourth international Expedition to Sayani mountains - Tuva.

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SHAMAN'S GIFT IN CONCEPTIONS OF TUVAN PEOPLE

 

Valentina Kharitonova - the employee of the Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology of the Russian Academy of Sciences talks with the doctor of historical sciences, the leader of shamanic or-ganizations of Tuva Mongush Borakhovich Kenin-Lopsan.

I will answer your questions with great pleasure. Anna Vasiljevna Smoljak is a well-known scientist and a modest person. I saw her in Leningrad (St.-Petersburg). She helped me with a choice of literature in shamanism area. I am grateful to this Russian woman who studied and studies the problem of shamanism of the people of Siberia.

MONGUSH BORAKHOVICH IN THE PREFACE TO YOUR BOOK "TUVAN SHAMANS" WHICH WAS RECENTLY PUB¬LISHED IN MOSCOW, IT IS WRITTEN THAT YOUR GRANDMOTHER WAS A SHAMAN. DID YOU INHERIT THE GIFT OF A SHAMAN FROM HER?

Yes. I will tell so that you don't doubt that when I was nine years old it might seem to be strange I used to run barefoot on snow. People were afraid for me very much. However, nothing happened to my legs. Then they invited a shaman Kuular Handyzhap (Kenin-Lopsan's grandmother), who had a nickname Ulug- Kham-Great shaman. She made a ritual. She would say that the boy would be a shaman originating his power from the source of water. She made a ceremony and announced that the boy would be connected with the Sky; also she said that they should protect him when it was a thunder- storm. When it happened, he would inherit her gift and would become a shaman.
When I grew up I was sent to school. I met my grandmother-shamaness many years later. In 1947 I graduated from the secondary school. I came to my native village Khondergey.
Once I woke up at night and heard that my parents were talking about me. They said that I would go to Russia. Also I heard that they would catch and judge her (my granny) again. My parents said that I should take the black horse. They wanted me to go by mountains, by footpaths of hunters but not ordinary roads. At night that shaman woman really arrived. She was a big woman with grey hair. She had not a drum but she had a shamanic mirror. She made the ritual at night and said that I would leave. She wanted me not to come back during four years. And she had warned if I returned in two years the worst thing would happen to me.
I arrived in Leningrad. I had not gone home for four years. I translated some documents, wrote a novel and translated the Bible. Then 1 burnt all these documents but I regret about it very much. Once I talked with the professor Zhirmunsky. He asked about my religion. I answered him quietly that we had a shaman relig¬ion. Of course we were all modest. Then he said that the Bible had been translated into all languages of the world. He said that my ancestors had created a shaman religion and what is created by a Tuvan language is our treasure. He advised to think about it.
When I was young I used to translate Koran. It was a strange story. Once an academician Krachkovsky organized the reading of the translation of Koran. We experts in Oriental studies were listening to Krachkovsky's translation. It was a wonderful meeting, it was a wonderful event. After that I also translated it but I did not publish it because it was another culture and that culture was created by another language. I also translated some sayings of Buddha. That culture is known to us but as a Buddhist culture it is quite young for us. The first monastery was built in 1772 in Tuva and then people built other monasteries and pub¬lished Buddhist books. We had another path in science- East. Those who were successful were sent to Mon¬golia,
Tibet. There was one lama from the Mongush tribe. He graduated from the Academy there and he founded the Tuvan writing.

COULD YOU TELL ABOUT THE DESTINY OF YOUR SHAMAN GRANDMOTHER?

She had the most tragic fate. It is impossible to answer your question without documents. I want to show how Tuvan people suffered on example of one woman.
My grandmother Handyzhap was born in 1885 in June and died in 1963. She had been in prison three times. The first time she was in prison in 1932 because she was a shamaness. She was confiscated everything and deprived her electoral rights. The second time she was judged and offended in 1938. There passed a meeting of counter-revolutionaries - traitors, Japanese spies. Her son was an educated person. He was an ambassador in Mongol National Republic. The reason of her accusation was that her son was "a Japanese spy". Then she was given 5 years: from 1938 to 1943.When I read her documents I found out that she had not seen her son that time. He was in Mongolia that time. Also she had not seen any Japanese and did not know their language. It was dull for me.
Third time she became a victim of communistic ideology. On 27 September 1948 she was arrested. It happened because she served sick children, "she worked against the Soviet scientific medicine" and she is the keeper of shamanism. All this meant that she brought huge harm to the state! I read documents and it was written there that she had not admitted herself to be guilty. My grandmother was 65 years old. The Soviet law gave her 15 years! She was sent through Sayan Mountains to the camp in Chernogorka near Abakan. There was a camp for men and one for women. It is terrible that such an elderly woman was given 15 years for healing people! This is her picture from those years. She was taken all her property. It was forbidden for her children to go to school, and it was forbidden for shaman's daughter's to marry when they came of age, and shaman's sons were forced to work when they came of age. This is the fate of that woman. It was pre­dicted by her that I would have great future.

HAVE YOU SEEN HER ANY MORE?

1 saw her in the camp near Abakan. Once I stopped in Abakan. I came there by train, I had four hours to spare. I lied down and fell asleep at the station. Suddenly someone hit me very roughly. He was a big man, about two metres high. He spoke Russian very poorly. I saw that was a person from the other side. I gave him some money, and he was happy. He said he was from there, from Chernogorka. Then we travelled to­gether and on our way we met each other more closely. He said that his grandfather had remained at home; he had sent him some tobacco and food. The man continued his story: . .once I couldn't get anything. I was told that there was an old shamaness and that I could address her. When I came up to her she said that my grandfather was alive but he only had crossed the river. Then she asked him to leave some tobacco and tea because she smoked. I brought her the things she had asked for and she became very happy. Then she told me that soon we would be freed but she would stay there alone. She also said that she had a dream. "The Sun was silver, then it became amber, then it turned black-black, then a red river flew, the black sky split into two parts. There where it split the red river flew, then a silver rain started to pour, and again a light, light sun ap­peared. Soon a person with the high rank would feel very badly, there would be the end. Two days later we heard on the radio that Stalin got sick and she had predicted that. Then all Tuvan people at the prison were released ahead of schedule, but she remained there for fifteen years.
The man told another story. Once Russian women were talking about an old woman. There was a gen- eral-the head of the prison. He had a sick girl and it was impossible to cure her. He invited the old woman. The child was dying and she started to treat her. The child became healthy. The general thanked the sha­maness for helping and let her go out from the prison. He took her to the city of Chitana by his car. And there she asked him to stop. Then the general went away. The next day she came to the river. She thought "I can not cross the river. She cut the pieces from her boots and threw into the river. Then she came to a yurt of some acquaintances and "fell asleep for ever".

DIDYOU HAVE ANY MORE SHAMAN RELATIVES?

I have also one relative. His name is Dulush Donduk. He was a shaman and he also was a smith. He was the same age as my father. He made a silver coat. It was a gift from the Tuvan national republic for Sta­lin. Such a master he was. Then he was forced to work in constructions because he was a shaman.
The eighth congress of the Tuvan national workers' Party was held in 1929. The decision was taken there. They decided to liquidate shamans, monks and also shamanism and Buddhism. This ideological work began in 1929. According to the census of 1931 there were 725 shamans, real shamans. We did not know about those shamans' destinies. Some of them were shot and some of them died in prison. Then Tuvans were the small number people, about 48 thousand people. One average family consisted of about 7- 9 people.

WHY DO YOU THINK TUVAN SHAMANISM REMAINED ALIVE?

... Even when we were a part of the Soviet Union, they would not let journalists come here. We lived absolutely separately. Therefore Tuvan shamanism remained in its original form.

MONGUSH BORAKHOVICH, HOW MANY SHAMANS DO YOU KNOW TODAY?

I know only 11 old shamans. They are the oldest ones. One of them lives near Mongolia, in the vil­lage of Kungurtug. She was 84 years old when she died this year. I could not go their because of my health.
Americans made a film about her life. This work was made by the Finnish professor Heimo Lappalainen. Unfortunately, I have no copies of the film. He wanted to make a copy, but he died. I had no contact with him.
She was a famous old shaman. When the collectivization began she went to Mongolia. But in the end of 1940s collectivization took place in Mongolia too. So she had to go from there again. She stayed to live on the border of  Tuva and Mongolia. She knew Tuvan and Mongolian languages, she made rituals in both lan­guages. She had 9 children but only one daughter survived. Her daughter was an educated person. She had graduated from the university and she worked as the chairman of one of the Tuvan villages. She died this year.
Today we have only 130 shamans. I am not counting other shamans who work in the countryside. I think they should study and get more experience.

HAVE THESE SHAMANS PASSED INITIATION?

Only those who have passed initiation have a right to make rituals.

WHAT ABOUT THOSE SHAMANS WHO REMAINED ALIVE?

1 can name only one person who lives in Ovur region, Khandagaity. He is 90 years old this year.

IS HE STILL WORKING AS A SHAMAN?

Yes, he is. Everyone respects him and he has been here. He is the oldest shaman. There is a picture of him with me.

HOW FAR DOES HE LIVE?

Not far from Kyzyl. If we leave in the morning we will be there by the evening.

CAN A RITUAL BE MADE IN ANY OTHER LANGUAGE OR ONLY IN TUVAN LANGUAGE?

It can be made in any language because a person of any ethnicity can be a shaman. Shamanism is a part of human nature. Every man and every nation have this telepathy, this energy but some countries are civilized, they have developed faster. The root of shamanism has remained here.

DO ALL YOUR SHAMANS USUALLY WORK WITH A DRUM?

It is possible to work either with a drum or with shamanic paraphernalia.

WHAT KIND OF ATTRIBUTES DO THEY USE?

There are different subjects: shaman's mirror, shaman's stick... Also there are the other attributes. For example, I have a skin of burbot. Sometimes people have insomnia. If you make compress with the skin of burbot it will help with insomnia. Blood circulation will be in harmony too. Also we can make glue from this skin. The Tuvans are nomads, every nomad should have a saddle, and it is necessary to fix it with this glue which is steady and waterproof.
As I am a man, I do not make any paraphernalia. I think women should do it. There are a huge num­ber of shaman's attributes. It is necessary to write an encyclopaedia on them. I have written the book about herbs.

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN TREATING PEOPLE WITH HERBS?

When I was young I used to be a bone-setter, I used to help pregnant women to deliver their babies. My father was professional at this. Here Russian specialists know an arrangement of the baby badly. There are three positions: normal, abnormal and cross-section. For example, I feel any position at once.

ARE YOU INVITED TO WOMEN'S LABORS NOW?

I was invited last year. I came to these people. One old woman was crying. They did not say any­thing but crying. Then I asked one woman what the matter was. She replied that one young woman had al­ready been in the hospital for three days but could not give a birth. Doctors said that the mother and the baby would die. They were going to make a surgery. However I saw that they would live! Then they visited me in March with presents and said that everything went well with the baby and his mother.

WHICH ILLNESSES DID YOU TREAT?

1 often had to meet with mad people. Very good shamans died from taking medicines.

DO YOU WANT TO SAY THAT THEY WERE TREATED AS MADMEN?

Psychiatrists do not understand that they are the future shamans. And if you take medicines (psycho­tropic preparations) you would die.

WAS IT POSSIBLE TO AVOID MEDICINE INTERVENTION IF A PERSON HAD SUCH SIGNS?

If they come to me I will send them to a shaman. If a person gets to the hospital he would not be­come a shaman, he would stay a sick person.

DID YOU FEEL UNUSUAL FEELINGS AFTER YOUR GRANDMOTHER HAD PREDICTED YOU ABOUT YOUR FUTURE LIFE? DID YOU HAVE ANY SO CALLED "CHANGED CONDITIONS OF CONSCIOUSNESS"?

I feel it two times: in autumn and in spring.

HOW IS IT EXPRESSED?

1 was in a very bad condition. Sometimes I even did not want to eat anything.

DO YOU HAVE ANY VISIONS?

I can tell you only one example because it is a secret of each shaman. So I was going to leave for Taiwan. I legalised papers and I was supposed to go there in 9 days. One day when I was walking by the post office suddenly I saw something extremely bright in the sky. I felt very easily like a flying bird. Even my feet did not reach the ground. At home I made a decision not to fly to Taiwan. Nobody at home objected. I handed the ticket back. It turned out that there was an earthquake in Taiwan. I had predicted it. I always have presentiments.

DO YOU SEE SOME PICTURE OR YOU DO YOU FEEL SOMETHING?

Sometimes I feel, and sometimes I see but I do not speak about it because I do not want to frighten people.

IF YOU SEE BAD EVENTS IN PERSON'S LIFE DO YOU WARN HIM ABOUT IT?

One young man worked as an editor-in-chief in one of the publishing houses. There worked an edi­tor-woman. I told that a young man should stay at home that year. I also advised him to sleep. She laughed at me. Then in two months it turned out that he disappeared. His corpse was found near the bank of the river. I have had presentiments from my birth.

IS IT CONNECTED WITH YOUR GRANDMOTHER'S INITIATION OR MAY BE IT IS AN INHERITANCE?

My grandmother found the person with qualities of a shaman. Strong shamans usually find people who have shamanic gift.

ARE THERE ANY SIGNS THAT A PERSON WILL BECOME A SHAMAN?

I collected materials about it, but I have never written about it. An unusual man who differs from others gives the first sign after three months of his conception, and then he gives signs again after five, then after seven months. The signs would be different: he can be silent, or he can sleep a lot. An unusual person always gives some signs but a normal person doesn't.
Tuvan people have their own concept about the origin of a future shaman. Perhaps, these are more an­cient sources of concepts about the origin of the future shaman. If the first movement is very sharp in the third month it means that there will be an unusual child. This child could be the future shaman. There is the second period - the fifth month. When the child makes movements such as cross-section or round it is the second period. And it is very difficult for mothers to sleep and walk. A normal child never shows such diffi­culties.
The seventh month is an unusual month too. When the future child meets with his mother his move­ments can be tender or sharp. Mother's behaviour plays a huge role. If a mother is happy her child will be happy too. If she is afflicted her baby will make sharp movements. His movements differ from the move­ments of other children.
The ninth month is the final month. When the first fights come to an end, mum feels terrible pains, and she is even ready to shout and cry. It is very difficult. Then we invite people who can help them. The Tuvans always invited good bone-setters.
The child is born. He shouts and cries so that the whole world will hear him: it is a voice of a future shaman. The child who has just been born is one year old. This child cries almost every night. The child will periodically cry. He cries when he is hungry, he cries when he is not hungry. It will last for three years. In Europe it will be for two years. Afterwards he calms down but he will keep complaining and so on.
There are also other signs, for example, birthmarks. These marks may be on shoulders. This sign means that a child's father or mother was touched by the energy from the black sky. It means that this child will be the shaman who has originated his power from the Sky. The future shaman will show his abilities until he is seven. He can hear a voice which others do not hear. He can see something which others do not see. Sometimes he will talk with invisible beings. These are the signs of the future shaman.
The process goes for nine years. I think boys at the age of nine are independent enough. Girls are very good helpers for their mothers. They usually do things very well. Nevertheless this boy and this girl differ from others. For example boys can go barefoot on snow in winter. He likes to go barefoot in summer. In general, it is necessary to go barefoot in summer. It is our medicine. The person receives enormous energy from the Mother-earth, and this energy gives the person health, strength and well-being. He drinks water and usually prefers tea because his organism differs from others. It is also the force of the future shaman. Usually their behaviour is very good until they are 13 years old. If a boy does not have any signs they will appear at the age of 25, 37 or 49.

ARE THERE ANY OTHER SIGNS?

No more signs. However there are other symbols that he will be the shaman. Sometimes a person might feel the necessity to walk around woods, mountains. There he meets representatives of the animal world. I will give one example. A well-known shaman Dongak Kaigal in the village of Khondergei used to live before my birth. Once he had gone hunting and had not returned. His friends looked for him but did not find him. Three days passed... Then his elder brother found him under a larch. He became a victim of light­ning. He was alive but without any movement. They immediately invited a shaman who made a ceremony. The shaman said that the injured man had swum in cold water. Also the shaman said that after that accident he opened shamanic gift in himself. He became an extraordinary shaman. He could do unusual things. He could "chop off' man's head but the person would remain alive. Also he could cut himself with a knife but he would not die. He would make someone shoot in his chest. When the person did so, the shaman fell, his blood shed but the shaman did not die. Also he could find things which had been lost several years ago. It might have been an axe or a lasso or something else. Some magic power from the sky helped him. In this case we talk about a shaman of the sky origin.

IN YOUR BOOK "TUVAN SHAMANISM" YOU TELL ABOUT SHAMANS WHO HAVE ORIGINATED NOT ONLY FROM THE SKY...

There are also other shamans. There was a shaman-woman Segelba. I saw her and she had a black stain on her forehead. People respected her and also were afraid of her. She was able to speak with any ani­mals and pets; also she knew the language of birds: if the raven shouted she would predict the possibility of a storm and if the raven shouted the other way she would tell the probability of snow. This shaman is origi­nated from the spirits of earth and water because she knows everything that happens on the earth. She could meet a spirit of a dead person. We can meet souls of dead persons too. It is everyday occurrence for us. For example, a man died forty years ago. And this man could appear riding a horse and suddenly he could disap­pear. Of course, the science denies all these phenomena but Tuvan shamanism absolutely does not deny them. These unusual phenomena happen. They are closely connected with a special type of shamanism- spir­its of the earth and water.
The hereditary shaman is the other category of shamans. This tradition will be continued during sev­eral generations. There will be the fifth generation, the seventh, even the ninth.... When a future shaman-boy is born he looks like his grandfather, a girl looks like her grandmother. It is a usual thing for us. This tradi­tion proceeds till nowadays.

YOU ALSO TELL ABOUT OTHER PHENOMENA IN YOUR BOOK - ABOUT THE COMMUNICATION BETWEEN SHAMANS AND MASTER-SPIRITS AROUND US.

One more case. There was Sarygyr Tapojo. Once he met a mermaid. He was playing near the river bank in spring and he met an inexpressible beauty. He played there every day. Then they said goodbye to each other. He did not know where she lived. People of the village noticed that he absolutely changed. He did not eat, and he liked to go to the river, he did not talk to anyone. His parents knew the reason for it. They invited a great shaman Tangak Bairan and told him about the boy. The shaman made a ritual and banished the water-nymph. That person did not die but he did not become a shaman. If the great shaman did not make a ritual that person would become a victim of a water-nymph. He remained alive. He could hear conversa­tions of invisible people, he could see dead people and he could predict what and when would happen.

WHAT ARE YOUR MERMAIDS LIKE?

The water-nymph - "albys" is of a female origin. She is beautiful. She lives near loose sand, in an enormous white yurt. Sometimes this yurt appears. Once I saw it myself. It was a palace of great steppe wa­ter-nymphs, more truly, river-nymphs, because they live near the Yenisei river. They gather there. They play there in the evenings. There is a beautiful horse near the yurt. Mermaids have breakfast and start singing songs which can be heard by passers- by. If a person meets them he will never leave them. At least, his heart will knock in another way. The Tuvans will not accept him as a shaman, they will call him a mad man.
And there are some bad spirits. These devils exist in any area; they could be in steppe or they play in cemeteries in the evenings. There could be a group of bad spirits and lonely spirits. There are shamans origi­nating from the bad spirits. They are very courageous, impudent, sharp and rough. This is the fifth category of shamans. It is connected with an ancient concept of knowledge of Tuvans about different natural phenom­ena.

HOW DOES A MAN BECOME A SHAMAN ORIGINATING HIS POWER FROM BAD SPIRITS? AND HOW CAN HE MEET THEM?

Once there was a very good herder. One day two horsemen came to him. They were very elegant, beautiful and rode good horses. They said that their leader had invited him and that he needed to be a good horseman. Suddenly that man found himself somewhere, his horsemen disappeared. He did not remember how he had arrived home. His behaviour was absolutely abnormal. It was noticed by people. Then his rela­tives invited a shaman who said that the man would be a shaman taking his power from the bad spirits. The herder became a well- known shaman. He lived a long life. His death was very mysterious. His wife was milking a cow in the evening. The herder wanted to go to the place where bad spirits lived. Once he went there. Later he was found near the yurt. He died without saying anything.

DID SHAMANS WHO TOOK THEIR POWER FROM BAD SPIRITS DO SOMETHING BAD TO PEOPLE?

Sometimes they helped people, they stopped thieves. For example, someone stole my horse. I invited such a shaman who sent his invisible scouts to a thief and attacked the person who had made this larceny. The shaman said that the thief s horse would be killed or he would be paralysed. It is a method of such sha­mans.
Our country has a law. A person should not lie and he should not steal. But this law is broken every day. But if shamans forbid larceny everyone must follow this law. I think it is a national specificity, national perception. Perhaps, even outlook. The legal laws can not stop the Tuvans from larceny but the tradition of shaman culture could help.

MONGUSH BORAKHOVICH, THERE IS THE CONCEPTION THAT SHAMANS HAD SKY SPOUSES, THAT SHAMAN'S SPIR­ITS ACTED AS THEIR SPOUSES. DO THE TUVANS HAVE SUCH CONCEPTION? YOU TOLD ABOUT MEETINGS WITH THE MER­MAID, FOR EXAMPLE...

We have such concept: there is a shaman and it does not matter what category he belongs to, he can not live without love though he has a wife and children. Probably it is our genealogical tradition. I would like to show you one example.
One man was hunting on northern Sayan Mountains. It is a territory of Sut-Khol region. Once he was coming back to a fire and on his way he found a white yurt. There lived a beautiful lonely woman. She made tea for him and he spent nights there. After that for some strange reason the hunting was always successful.
The man's companions did not know about it and thought that he had disappeared. Once he saw that the woman was squeezing milk from her breast and made tea. He understood that she was an unusual woman. He came back home to his wife and children. He felt very unusual. His sense of smell worked very well. He behaved very whimsically. He did not say that somewhere behind the mountain there was a beauti­ful yurt with the woman. Then he became a shaman. He cured any illnesses; he could even cause thunders, hailstones and storms. And the reason for it was his meeting with the mistress of the high mountain.
Ghosts often appear to shamans. One shaman is still alive, she lives in Todzhu area. A group of people were going home. The motor was destroyed. It was cold in the car. Suddenly the shaman who was there saw a wolf through the window of a car. She told about it to her neighbour and began to look for the rifle. But the neighbour couldn't see anything. Then the wolf turned into the horseman. He was very elegant. He had very beautiful Tuvan boots and beautiful silk belt but his feet were invisible. When the driver had struck him with the hammer the man disappeared. It was a ghost. It was an ecologically pure place. Probably, ghosts appear in the places with clean energy. It is true what I told you. I was in Belgium with that woman. I gave lectures there. She is still alive. Her name is Chigzhit Tatiana. She is a young capable shaman and an interesting per­son.

WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT "SHAMAN ILLNESS"?

Illness and behaviour are two different things. The behaviour of the child differs from others. The child jumps, falls. It is not illness, it is superhuman energy. The sick person can not be a shaman. We have not such a concept in our language.

ARE ANY LINES OF BEHAVIOUR PERCEIVED AS ILLNESS?

In such meaning - yes. From outside it could be perceived as an illness. Such person is perceived to be either abnormal or fool. I do not deny it but I do not feel it as in a natural kind of it.

BEHAVIOUR OF THE SHAMAN IS CONNECTED WITH THE SO-CALLED CHANGED CONDITION OF CONSCIOUSNESS...

I absolutely agree with it because some of the shamans can even remove boots during hysteria, they reach such physical condition that can dance barefoot on a fire. It is a usual thing. For example, there was one man in the Hajtyn-taiga. He always showed such things. He could light a fire and swallow it. While a fire burnt in his mouth he could sing songs. People look at him and some of them were scared, others were silent and the third were surprised.

POSSIBLY, THE SAME HAPPENS, WHEN A PERSON PASSES TO A CONDITION OF CLAIRVOYANCE. YESTERDAY I OB­SERVED AIDA ZAHAROVA WORKING... PROBABLY SHAMAN 9S WORK IS CONNECTED WITH CERTAIN WORK OF A BRAIN?

When we spend a seven-day or forty day ritual after someone's death we get signs from a dead per­son. His language is not simple one. We have mysterious signals.

WHAT SHOULD A SHAMAN DO TO CATCH THESE SIGNALS?

We cannot do anything in our usual condition.

HOW IS TRANSITION IN THESE UNUSUAL CONDITIONS CARRIED OUT? WHAT SHOULD THE SHAMAN DO FOR THIS PURPOSE?

Shamans do not tell anyone about it. It is important for him how and when the person died. Our sig­nals differ from each other. The morning signals are rare but very exact. The night signals are restless. As for the afternoon signals they are weak. I know that my ancestors were illiterate people, but they knew nine planets. Though they did not see them they felt blows of Sky energy. Now my shamans feel it very well. We receive blows from the Black Sky. We can see somewhere - there is the Black Sky. It might get angry and it might terribly offend people. This mighty energy presses so much! Because of it there are so many snow­falls and floods on the earth. Strong shamans knew it and they were big professionals.

DO YOU THINK THAT PEOPLE LIVED IN CONTACT WITH NATURE AND CONSEQUENTLY PERCEIVED ITS SIGNALS BET­TER?

These are only my assumptions. Earlier Slavs also felt nature as well as the Tuvans feel nature now, Then you lived in other civilisation, especially after acceptance of Christianity. Then the greatest town- construction began... This culture separated you from the ability to feel the nature without any techniques. This culture has not reached us yet. Such a nature has remained in our place because the earth and the air are not spoilt by factories. It depends on the state of nature.
Americans advised me not to build many-storied houses, power stations in Tuva... I recommended it to our government. They also suggested preserving Tuvan nature in purity.

MONGUSH BORAKHOVICH, WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE IDEA OF AMERICANS THAT EACH PERSON CAN BECOME A SHAMAN IF HE DEVELOPS HIS ABILITIES BY MEANS OF SPECIAL TECHNIQUES?

I understand it in another way because I am a person of practice. Each nation has gifted people, each nation has shaman representatives. Not everybody can become a shaman.

DOES IT MEAN THAT IT WILL BE JUST AN EXTERNAL IMITATION OF SHAMANISM?

Yes, it does.

AND HOW DO YOU LIKE THE IDEA OF DEDICATION TO SHAMANISM? FOR EXAMPLE, MICHAEL HARNER WAS DE­VOTED TO SHAMANISM AT INDIANS AND HE CONSIDERS HIMSELF TO BE A REAL SHAMAN.

I will not deny it. A person of any ethnos can become a shaman. We even had shamans who received dedication at other ethnicity. It is a usual thing and I can't deny it. Therefore when others come to us, they should pass some practice, I usually give them some inquiry.
I noticed that people from Europe have very good practice for creation of harmony and also they have very good ways to restore those people who fall in depression. They have a wide experience. Each shaman should have musical abilities. I can not read notes and play the piano, but I have a musical hearing.

IS IT SO THAT A PERSON CAN BE BORN WITH THIS TALENT OR HE CAN DEVELOP THE TALENT AFTER HE BECOMES A SHAMAN, FOR EXAMPLE, AS A RESULT OF A MEETING WITH THE MERMAID OR ARE THERE ANY OTHER WAYS?

Talent and abilities should be inherent. For example, you planted a water-melon in the spring, it grows, grows, grows, and in August it is so ripe it should be cut and eaten.

MONGUSH BORAHOVICH, IS IT IMPORTANT TO HAVE POETIC GIFT?

Yes! You feel it right. I read works of our great scientists. They recognise that a shaman is a poet, a shaman is a musician, a shaman is a composer and a shaman is an executor-actor. In the history of mankind shaman's drum will occupy its important place: it is, maybe, the most ancient musical tool. Drum is the king of all musical tools. After drum there will be a guitar, then the violin and a violoncello. Drum is the first mu­sical instrument because its sound goes through woods, mountains and steppes. Earlier we did not have tele­graph. Then the drum sound was always the gathering signal.

WAS A DRUM USED FOR THE SIGNALLING OF ANY INFORMATION?

Yes, it was.

MONGUSH BORAKHOVICH, DO YOU MAKE RITUALS WITH A DRUM ?

Not badly. I have heard well-known shamans and their melodies. They had different sounds in my ears. The drum sound is not monotonous, it is various.

DOES EVERY SHAMAN HAVE HIS OWN VARIANT OF SINGING?

Yes, he does.

WHEN THE SHAMAN EXECUTES HIS SHAMANIC SONGS-ALGYSHES, DOES HE ALWAYS IMPROVISE OR CAN HE RE­PEAT HIS OWN SONGS?

Each shaman should know improvisation very well - without it he is not a shaman. Certainly, he knows some lines, but in the basic hymns he composes himself. There are wide-spread hymns that all the shamans sing. They are used at cult ceremonies. Such ceremonies as a cult ceremony devoted to a baby's birth, a cult ceremony devoted to spirits of a native small river or a cult ceremony devoted to a place where your father was born, your grandfather was born... The melody sounds differently. The melody is our invisi­ble book. Unfortunately, the science has not had time to keep a melody of our shamans yet.

BESIDES SHAMANS YOU HAVE MANY DOCTORS. ANNOUNCEMENTS OF RECEPTION ARE EVERYWHERE. WHO ARE THEY?

Shaman is a universal person for Tuvan people. I feel and assort medicinal herbs too. I can establish the diagnosis from behaviour of pets and wild animals. There are a few shamans who know it. It is a great secret. They do not leave any descendants. If a shaman is not engaged in medicine, he is not a shaman for the Tuvan society. For the Tuvans shamanism is a universal profession. A shaman has to be professional at his work.

HOW DOES A SHAMAN-DOCTOR USUALLY WORK?

He usually works at certain periods of a year: in summer, in autumn, in winter. Herbs, animals, birds help him. For example, it is very good to collect cedar nuts this year. Nuts give very good impulse, very good medicine for nervous system. It is very good to receive blood from wild animals: pure blood of a deer, a goat and a bear. We know and we can distinguish blood, if it is dirty or pure. It is very good medicine. Cer­tainly, for scientific medicine it is wildness. Also it is very good for us to gather berries. It is possible even when you go hunting. You don't have to take tea with you because wild plants and herbs are better, more nutritious and purer.
German scientists asked me to tell which medicines and roots are used. Usually we do not give any lectures, but I will think about it. It is a compound particle of our shaman work for us. The sky, the planets, the sun and the moon will help us this year. We feel in advance: something will happen.

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THOSE HEALERS WHO ARE NOT SHAMANS?

They are shamans too. Only they are subsection of shamans. For example, 1 told that I am a good bone-setter and a good doctor. It would seem that I am not in touch with medicine. However, according to our ancient specialisation it is our profession. There are shamans who are able to bleed; blood-letting of ani­mals and people is the most delicate work. However, I can not do it. We had one shaman who could do it. Unfortunately, he died. A shaman should look at a palm to take blood - bad or pure: all the necessary infor­mation can be found there. Certainly, I studied Oriental subjects in Leningrad, but they have the other mean­ing. I am an expert. I can see what kind of person is in front of me and how long he will live.

DOES IT MEAN THAT TUVAN SHAMANISM INCLUDES ALL VERSIONS OF MEDICINE?

Yes, it does. And we can make the diagnosis.

ARE THERE ANY OTHER METHODS OFFERED IN YOUR CITY: MAKING DIVINATION USING CARDS OR SOMETHING ELSE? WHAT IS YOUR ATTITUDE TO IT?

We do not accept it; our shamans are not engaged in it. I would like to say that Tuvan shamanism is perfect, it contains human knowledge. Shamanism is our academy. It is the Academy of our ancient civilisa­tion.

DO YOU THINK IT IS POSSIBLE TO COMMUNICATE WITH THOSE OLD SHAMANS WHO STILL LIVE IN REMOTE AREAS? AND IS IT POSSIBLE TO INVITE SOME OF THEM TO A SYMPOSIUM?

Hardly. The people are frightened. Shamans were destroyed. It is a wound, from which blood is still exuding...

HOW COULD YOU COLLECT IN "SHAMAN HOUSES" SO MANY SHAMANS FROM THE REMOTE AREAS?

I feel, who is gifted, who has abilities, and invite them to work. And this boy (he nods at Kara-ool Tulushevich Donchuk-ool, the head of «Dungur"), and I found Ai-Churek. She is a very strong shaman.

HOW MANY SHAMANS ARE THERE IN SHAMAN YS ASSOCIATION?

So... There - 15, here - 2, in "Dzhungadzhur" ("Mirror") - 35... Well, there are about 110 of them. There are such associations as «Tos-deer", "Solangy", "Dungur" and "Dzhungadzhur". The main of them is "Dungur". Some of my shamans do not have any place where to live in.

WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT FOR YOU IN YOUR PRACTICAL WORK WHEN YOU MAKE RECEPTION?

According to our ancient tradition one's planet is very important. For example, the girl came up to me and I felt that has the same planet as me. I can have a presentiment approximately for hundred metres, whom I meet: negative or positive, I can understand it at once. This culture is from my parents and from my ancestors. We always work with planets.

WHAT CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT OUR TIME?

We have the Black sky. It is situated far from us. This sky can swallow all mountains, even cities. It bombs our earth, our sun and the moon this year. It was a very bad year. Fortunately, it goes away. In our imagination the Black sky does not have a bottom and there are some holes on it. If the energy of the Black sky strikes someone, he will become a great shaman. He will be the shaman of the Sky. In general the Black sky dominates this year. When the Black sky gloats bad things are expected near oceans. And there will be heat in the North. On the contrary snow can fall in the South. Everything is chariging. Person's character is changing too. We have such a year. There will be a lot of victims this year, more than in the war - from dif­ferent acts of nature. This year is the most severe year for us. A friend can deceive his own friend.

Подробнее  Тува. Шаманы. Экспедиция: icon Expedition to Tuva July 2012_Russian (446.25 Кбайт 2012-02-14 16:56:25)

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