Mongolia 4 – Shamans and the White Full Moon Ritual

While waiting for the shaman

While waiting for the shaman

Now it’s time to talk about our main reason to come to Lake Khuvsgul; the Shamans…In a place where time moves so slowly,n we’ve found ourselves in a high speed Shaman world 😀 The first day we got here there was a white full moon and we got the chance to join the “White Full Moon Ritual” which takes place once a year. Munkbhayar, the local shaman here, invited us to her tent.

We were there at 9 pm but the sun goes down later than 11pm here so we had to wait. There are local Mongolians in the tent also waiting for the ritual. We chat with them while drinking our tea with milk and salt. Little kids are looking at us giggling and we are smiling back. The ones know English keep saying “Shaman will come.” An old lady enters the tent after a while and we think that she is the shaman. She sits for a while and then leaves. In Mongolia people keep entering the tents all the time; there is always an action. People come, drink tea and leave. Even sometimes cows try to enter the tents but they are being sent out with laughter. For a moment I feel in a National Geographic documentary being in a tent while looking at the locals sitting across me. But the drum voices coming from around immediately take me away from my thoughts. Now it’s past 11pm. We are waiting for the old shaman lady. The smiling woman who gave us tea and who we taught is the daughter of the shaman and her husband start to take out the things for the ritual from a bag. We think they are preparing them for the shaman. There is a wolf skin right across them. The costume they took out has also wolf bones and fur on it. So we understand that the spirit animal of the shaman is wolf. But suddenly something unexpected has happened and the daughter of the shaman starts to wear the costume. Once again we are lost in translation 😀 They put milk in small cups and take the drum that is hang and the shaman wears her amazing costume with the help of her husband and lay on another wolf skin on the floor.

With playing her drum she got into trance dance. A very impressive moment. We witness the shaman turn into her spirit animal (wolf) with trance dance and connect with the spirits. Then again with the help of her husband she sits on the wolf skin. Sometimes she (actually the spirits she’s connected with) asks for milk and sometimes for cigarette. People who needs guidance are waiting in the tent with their questions. They ask and the she answers. Everybody is listening to her with complete attention. But a local next to me who knows English keep saying “I don’t understand anything.” which naturally confuses me. It comes out that the shaman is talking in an old Mongolian that young people don’t understand therefore her husband translates what she’s saying.

A Mongolian who has never been to a shaman before got so suprised because of the things shaman knows about him and the answers she gave him 🙂 He couldn’t get over it for a long time. They said that in the time of Stalin 30.000 Buddhist monks and shaman were killed and 1000 Buddhist monastery were demolished. Maybe this is the reason why he has never been to a shaman before living in this area, I think to myself.

One of us also ask her question looking for guidance. We got the answers again trying not to get lost in translation again. It’s almost 2am in the morning. We fell asleep with the effect of this experience and the voices of the drums still coming from around. We will wake up in 4 hours to join the “Great Ritual” again taken place once a year. Shamanic World is very active 😀

We didn’t take photo because this was a private ritual…

The Great Shamanic Ritual

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