Sunday, March 15, 2009

Khorchin Shamans 3.

The next day we bought some presents and went back to the shaman's house. A middle aged man opened the door, and we said that we were looking for Mr. Shaman (lets call him this way). He did not say he was the shaman, just invited us into his living room where he'd been sitting with his wife. First I thought he must had been a younger brother of the shaman since we'd heard he was in his mid-late fifties. We told him that we wanted to learn about Khorchin shamanism and ask Mr. Shaman to show his paraphernalia. He said that he would call his spirits and perform a ritual so that we can see him and the paraphernalia in action and ask our questions. Before that, we wanted to ask some general questions concerning how he had become a shaman, his spirits etc., but he said that we had to ask all of our questions directly from the spirits. It was around one o'clock daytime and Mr. Shaman told us that rituals can only be conducted after sunset so we decided to go back to the centre and come back around six. He said no and took us in his car to his apprentice Mrs. Shamaness who lived in the centre. I guess except for her master and her close relatives and friends nobody knew in the township that she was a shamaness. As we experienced it most of the locals was not aware that shamanism was actually flourishing in their neighbourhood.
Mr. Shaman, and Mrs. Shamaness took us and some relatives of Mrs. Shamaness to a restaurant where of course we had to order all of the food and they didn't allow us to pay for even the salads. We were embarrassed and promised that next time we would invite them for anything they would like to have. Mr. Shaman told me that he would take us to other shamans as well and we would not have to pay anything for it. I said it wasn't right and I almost besought to let us pay at least for the fuel, but he was uncompromising. Me and my wife thought it just wasn't right and agreed on giving him some money and presents at the very end.
After the lunch we all went back to Mrs. Shamaness's home where they started to prepare themselves for the ritual. Mr. Shaman announced that we had to wait for his son in law whom he wanted to record the ritual with his camcorder. It took him three long hours to come. Around six o' clock the ritual finally started; Mr. Shaman and Mrs. Shamaness brought in their costumes and tools and put them on the kang. they arranged everithing with meticulous care then stood next to eachother and started donning their costumes with orderly motions. There was only one light bulb in the room without a cover, which made it very difficult to make a footage of satisfying quality.
The shamans performed two rituals that evening, each lasting a bit less than an hour. Mr. Shaman was the first to get possessed by his spirits and Mrs. Shamaness assisted him.