Category Shamanism in Mongolia

The History and Work of the Foundation for Shamanic Studies By Michael Harner

By Michael Harner 
© Shamanism, 25th Anniversary Issue 2005, Vol. 18, Nos. 1 & 2

Page 4 (continued)

Preserving and Helping Revive Indigenous Shamanism

A distinctive feature of our programs for indigenous peoples is that the Foundation responds to requests for help rather than initiating assistance, because we do not want to be in a position of being yet another outsider imposing something on an indigenous culture.

The purpose of the Urgent Indigenous Assistance (UIA) Project is to preserve and to offer opportunities to restore, foster, and develop shamanism among indigenous people worldwide...

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A Multiplicity of Souls, their Form and Function

All humans and animals possess more than one soul; multiple souls are
required in order to inhabit a physical body. Throughout Siberia and
Mongolia it is believed that all humans possess at least three souls; some
groups such as the Samoyed believe there are more, four in women and five
in men. Animals also possess two souls, the ami body soul and the suns
soul, both of which reincarnate. For this reason, the game animals possess
souls which return again and again to their habitat and must therefore not
be offended. Human beings possess the following three souls (for simplicity
I give only the Mongolian names):

  • The suld soul, which resides in nature after death
  • The ami body soul, which reincarnates
  • The suns soul, which also reincarnates

The three souls reside in the field of energy that enve...

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Introduction in Mongol shamanism

This is a brief introduction to the shamanic world of Siberia, especially
from the perspective of the Mongols. In spite of the linguistic differences
there are overarching themes and images which appear among all forms of
shamanism in Siberia. Indeed, the classic studies of shamanism have given
special attention to the shamanism of Altaic peoples such as the Buryat,
Mongols, and Tungus, creating an image of a “classic” Siberian shamanism.

Some of you may find that certain of the features of Mongolian shamanism
which I describe may not completely be true in all its points for all
Mongolian or Siberian groups. This is the result of the great geographic
area which they occupy and differences in environment and tribal history
which allowed for some variation from the observances or beliefs of t...

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Healing and Causes of Illness

he root cause of all illness is imbalance of a person’s souls caused
either by intrusions by foreign spirits or outright soul loss caused by
spiritual or physical trauma. Shamans are aware of the fact that the
physical symptoms of illness must also be treated, and herbal medicines are
administered by shamans in addition to the spiritual healing. The spiritual
aspect of the illness however is important because the physical symptoms
alone are not the true problem. Spirit intrusion and soul loss suppress the
body’s natural capability to heal itself, so unless the spiritual ailment
is cured the physical disease will never truly be healed.

Spirits that cause illness may be chotgor, hostile ancestor spirits,
burhan, or evil shamans. Chotgor, ancestor spirits, and other less powerful
nature spirits...

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rumming, Hallucinogens, Paths to Ecstasy

Although shamans are noted for going into trance for doing their work, not
all rituals require it and the shaman performs many tasks in an ordinary
state of consciousness. When an altered state of consciousness is required,
however, there are many techniques which boost the shaman into the ecstatic
state of mind that allows him to take on the qualities of a spirit and
become clairvoyant and capable of spirit travel. Most rituals employ
several of these techniques together in order to bring the shaman to

The setting of the ritual is crucial to the effectiveness of a ritual.
Shamanizing at night is conducive to achieving the trance state; in fact
many spirits are not as effective when called during the day. The people
attending the ritual can help the shaman reach a trance state by echoin...

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