Black Shamanism

   Caroline Humphrey cites the 19th-century Buryat scholar Dorji Banzarov as saying that there was no indigenous term for shamanism, but that a recognizable complex of practices and cosmology had come to be called “the black faith,” har shashin, as a “direct contrast with Buddhism, which was called the ‘yellow faith.’” However, the Buryat and Sakha peoples of Siberia also distinguish between “black shamans” and “white shamans.” Black shamans enter a trance and descend into the underworld as part of their work as healers who combat various illnesses. Unlike the Amazonian distinction between curing shamans and “dark shamans,” black and white among the Buryat and Sakha peoples are not equivalent to “good” and “bad.” However, this contrast is made and elaborated by the Duha Tuvinians and Tuvinians in Mongolia and in the Republic of Tuva, among whom black is associated with malevolence, “evil deeds,” and pollution, according to Benedikte Kristen.

Historical dictionary of shamanism. . 2007.

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