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Siberian Shamanism


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Table of Contents

Foreword by Itzhak Beery

Foreword by Dashinima Dugarov

Introduction by Virlana Tkacz


Bayir Rinchinov

My beautiful homeland
Great Mother Earth
Great Father Sky
Listen to me, hear me well.

The Sacred Grounds

On a good day
At a good time

Mountain trees were pulled out with their roots.
Mountain trees were cut at the root.
Each leaf was made golden.
Each branch was silvered.

The Ritual Objects

The beautiful instrument that I hold
Was crafted, made by
The heavenly white smith.

The Cleansing

I ask for
White cleansing waters strong as a storm
For this Golden

The Offering

It is a great offering.
I give breath to it and silver it
With white mother's milk
I chant and give breath to it.


The Ongon Spirits

Great ancestors of my family tree

Descend and thunder

Volodya's Shanar

Great, uh . . . ancestors . . . of my family tree.
Listen to me . . . hear me well.
(Volodya: What comes next?)

August 20, 2000

The Fading Light of a Golden Afternoon

August 21, 2000

The Fog Rolls In

August 22, 2000

A Cold Wind Blows


Bringing up the Dust

Giving Thanks

Blessings and happiness have descended!
Joy and happiness have descended!
May the children live beautifully forever.
The ritual is complete!
The ritual is complete!




Suggested Readings

About the Authors

About the Author

Virlana Tkacz, the recipient of two Fulbright Fellowships, is director of the Yara Arts Group in New York. Since 1996 she has worked with Buryat artists to create theater pieces based on Buryat stories, poetry, and songs. Sayan Zhambalov is a Buryat writer, actor, and singer. He performed with the Yara Arts Group and heads Uragsha, a traditional music ensemble that has performed at the World Music Institute in New York. Wanda Phipps is a poet, translator, and founding member of the Yara Arts Group. A recipient of a New York Foundation for the Arts Poetry Fellowship, her work has appeared in more than a hundred literary journals and anthologies.


". . . we see that shamans are ordinary people with extraordinary perception of the world. The same can be said for the book itself. . . . This most certainly is no ordinary book. It is unique, in some respects more experience than narrative, a place where form and content merge, where the story becomes the message and the message is the reason for telling the story." * John Perkins, author of the New York Times Bestseller Confessions of an Economic Hit Man *
"This glimpse of Buryat culture does not aim to be comprehensive, but it will be fascinating to those interested in Eastern religions and anthropology. Of particular note are the hundreds of full-color photographs that grace the handsomely produced volume; there's also a useful glossary." * Publishers Weekly *
". . . fascinating book. . . . With coauthors Zhambalov, a Buryat actor, and Phipps, an African American poet, (Tkacz) gives a vivid and detailed look into this ritual and, more generally, into this rarely discussed culture. . . .This book provides enough information about the culture to place the ritual in context, but it is not meant to be a scholarly treatment of the Buryat culture. The 175 accompanying photographs by fashion photographer Alexander Khantaev are beautiful and convey a sense of color that is not typically associated with this region." * Library Journal *

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