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'The Eastern Section of the Great Vasyugan Mire has been nominated for the Unesco World Heritage List'
A.J.Haywood

Shamans rouse the ancient Siberian spirits

By Anna Liesowska
10 September 2014

Stunning pictures as shamans from around the world gather in Sayan Mountains.

'I don't think I even came across a country with as many practicing shamans as Tuva'. Picture: Alexander Nikolsky

A shaman, in the dictionary definition, is 'a person regarded as having access to, and influence in, the world of good and evil spirits, especially among some peoples of northern Asia and North America. Typically such people enter a trance state during a ritual, and practise divination and healing.'

These images - giving an extraordinary glimpse inside this largely unknown world - have emerged of a conclave held this summer over nine days near the village Khorum-Dag in Tyva Republic. 

This festival, named 'Call of 13 Shamans' was held in an area of Siberia that retains great respect for shamans and was intended as a show of unity by the planet's most respected practitioners.

Stunning pictures as shamans from around the world gather in Sayan Mountains

'Call of 13 Shamans', Republic of Tuva. Picture: Alexander Nikolsky

The shamans began by going to different locations in the mountains for three days of meditation, making rites and holding ceremonies.

The timing had been selected to match the natural cosmic cycles and calculations of experts from various theological schools. 

'On these days the sky, as if taking a step toward the ridges of the Sayan Mountains, is getting closer. So the inner eye of the wisest shamans of Earth will open new horizons through communication with spirits, planets and stars of far Black Heaven (Cosmos), comprehension of the mysteries of the interaction of stars, planets and Mother Earth in modern times, and what to expect on our planet in the future,' said the organisers in advance.

The main organiser was Nikolay Ooorzhak, a hereditary Tyva shaman.

The event was held with the help of Mongush Kenin-Lopsan, president of the Tyva shamans, and Irina Daryina from Belarus.

Among the participants was Guillermo Kestenbettsa (Peru), Hivshu (Greenland), Kim Dzhong Hee (South Korea), Otakame Rogelio Carrillo (Mexico), Mariman (Gerardo Arrieta Aranda) (Chili), Zhamsuran Chuluunbaator (Mongolia), Kailash Kokopelli (Sweden), Elvil Chilbiir-Kam (Olard Dixon) (Russia) and others. 

Stunning pictures as shamans from around the world gather in Sayan Mountains

'I hope Tyvan shamanism survives in the modern world', said Mongush Kenin-Lopsan. Picture: Alexander Nikolsky

Photographer Alexander Nikolsky said: 'We came at the site the day before all the shamans arrived. The locals were not very happy about this, because Khorum-Dag mountain is a sacred place and people should not disturb the spirits. As if to confirm their words, a great storm erupted on the first night. 

'Then the shamans came and all became quiet; locals even slaughtered a cow to feed us. 

'The shamans sacrificed sheep, but no one was allowed to make pictures of this. 

'The rite that you see on the photographs was the rite of opening the gates, like an invitation to the spirits. The tension was so strong that shaman Nikolay Oorzhak lost consciousness, though he doesn't like to speak about this. There were moments when I coulnd't shoot, so strong was the feeling of involvement, and there were other moments when my camera stopped working, it just switched off'. 

'I also helped Kailash Kokopelli in his rites and climbed the mountain with him. It was an incredible experience'.

Stunning pictures as shamans from around the world gather in Sayan Mountains


Stunning pictures as shamans from around the world gather in Sayan Mountains


Stunning pictures as shamans from around the world gather in Sayan Mountains


Stunning pictures as shamans from around the world gather in Sayan Mountains


Stunning pictures as shamans from around the world gather in Sayan Mountains

'The shamans sacrificed sheep, but no one was allowed to make pictures of this'. Pictures: Alexander Nikolsky

As shaman Irina Daryina from Belarus said: 'Tyva is a special land, with very powerful mountains and many ancient burial mounds'. 

Nikolay Oorzhak explained: 'I don't think I even came across a country with as many practicing shamans as Tuva. In Kyzyl, which is our capital city, there are several clinics with more than a dozen shamans. There are also shaman clinics all around Tuva, in villages and regional centres'.

'To me it has always been a call of my blood; I felt like I belonged shamans, I always sought more knowledge about them and about Buddhism'. 

Stunning pictures as shamans from around the world gather in Sayan Mountains


Stunning pictures as shamans from around the world gather in Sayan Mountains


Stunning pictures as shamans from around the world gather in Sayan Mountains


Stunning pictures as shamans from around the world gather in Sayan Mountains


Stunning pictures as shamans from around the world gather in Sayan Mountains

Stunning pictures as shamans from around the world gather in Sayan Mountains

'There were moments when camera stopped working, it just switched off'. Pictures here and below: Alexander Nikolsky

'I hope that Tyvan shamanism survives and continues its tradition in the modern world', said Mongush Kenin-Lopsan. 'Today, despite great advances in science and technology, problems and contradictions increase within familes as much as within and between states. This festival was aimed at helping maintain harmony between human beings and the universe'.

Hivshu, who travelled from Greenland, said: 'Shamanism, songs, tambourines - this is part of my life, even though I do not consider myself a shaman. I believe in Christ. Perhaps he was a great shaman, and a very nice person who didn't divide people by rich and poor. 

'I never lost touch with my ancestors, and their culture. They gave us love for life and people, and we want to pass it on around the world. 

'There is little story that I keep telling people; it is about an old shaman that met a bishop and told him that he traveled to other worlds, but never saw hell. 

'The only place that was similar to hell, he said, was on our planet. I want to continue encouraging people to stop treating each other badly and bring more love and joy into their lives'. 

Stunning pictures as shamans from around the world gather in Sayan Mountains


Stunning pictures as shamans from around the world gather in Sayan Mountains


Stunning pictures as shamans from around the world gather in Sayan Mountains


Stunning pictures as shamans from around the world gather in Sayan Mountains


Stunning pictures as shamans from around the world gather in Sayan Mountains


Stunning pictures as shamans from around the world gather in Sayan Mountains


Stunning pictures as shamans from around the world gather in Sayan MountainsqStunning pictures as shamans from around the world gather in Sayan Mountains


Stunning pictures as shamans from around the world gather in Sayan Mountains

Comments (24)

Please tell me the shaman photo belongs to Tuvan Shaman Kenin-lopsan???
Ayse Azhykmaa, Turkey
12/09/2017 16:44
0
0
It has passed many moons by now but still I'm with the wonder of knowing, is anyone out there who could sign the name of the shamans on this pictures? I feel deeply to name the fire whisper and dancer and the name to a man on last picture. Many blessings
Spring glory, Earth
23/08/2016 08:17
0
0
the sacred breath of this cow in horror was not a divine motion or act of kindness by the so called -shamanic ritual, there is no need for animal sacrifices in rituals, i have done many in my lifetime,sacred artifacts, divine sage and cedars of sacred trees, and many rituals ,never have i sacrificed any animal kingdoms,there are native american tribes that do have burial rituals and go with there favorite thunderbeings across the rainbow bridge into the night that last forever,we can not croos this bridge without the connection to the soul of the animal kingdoms,they are the syberian ghostdancers,THE DUST OF THE OLD ONES SHALL DANCE ONCE MORE, HONORING THE 4 ELEMENTS , THE 4 WINDS AND THE 4 VIOLET RIVERS,RUNNING INTO THE COSMIC SEA OF THE STARLIT 13 HEAVENLY REALMS,UNFORTUNATELY THE BHUDDIST ARE MALE DD
OMINATED,AND DO NOT RESPECT, WOMEN,THE CREATOR OF ALL BIRTH TO BECOME,BEYOND SMOKING MIRRORS,ANUMPESHI 2016
9762
anumpeshi aduddell, venice california usa
06/02/2016 03:09
4
4
Beautiful pictures of such powerful ways of a people; the heart of a race/culture is in their traditional customs and beliefs. Its wonderful to see they still practice their ways. The messages that come through are also important for everyone to take note of.
cherylm, Moose Factory, ON Canada
24/09/2015 01:22
3
2
The ritual is OK., however, I do not agree with the killing of animals, it is not at all neccessary, my grandparents never ate meat, did not go to see doctors and lived well into the 90 S and 1002....all life is precious, no need to kill anything...that is barbaric, and no excuses either! Yyuck!.....I do believe that killing is killing, and promotes killing of people too.........a Doukhabour
Paula Popova , Nanaimo ,BC, Canada
23/04/2015 07:04
14
12
These are stunning powerful photographs,however I could feel the fear of the cow to be slaughtered and wasn't able to connect the prolonged process with the rest of the spiritual ceremonies.
Sandi Badash, Naples, florida USA
26/10/2014 19:07
18
9
This was very interesting I'd like to learn more thank you
martha marceau, duluth minnasota. america
25/10/2014 13:33
1
1
I am moved with tears as I read and look at the very heart moving photography work. And also so very envious of the soul connection with Spirit, the earth... the sacred directions. I am connected and want more and more... The story gives me hope of a day when a nation comes together in honor and with much respect. Thank you! Thank you!
Tami Rogers, Camden, Maine, USA
24/10/2014 19:53
8
2
thank you. and like these wonderful people, perhaps we each, in our own way, can get out of the way, and allow something other to touch us and wake us up, helping us to be smaller and to know that we are part of something much larger. to know that we are not alone, but part of a beautiful community of life.
bill mcdonnell, unionville, ny, usa
22/10/2014 22:05
3
3
PC gone mad. It is not cruelty for an animal higher on the food chain to eat an animal lower in the food chain. It is what we are.
Mea, Los Angeles
22/10/2014 10:05
10
6
Animal cruelty as "spiritual" -- Politically correct insanity beside, we all need to move past it.
june avignone, United States
22/10/2014 03:34
13
14
I have been studying the origins of the Shaman it has deep roots beginning from the 9th, 10th centuries. Through my studies the Shaman gives a good protective foundation from sicknesses and evils, but in later years with the association of Paganism, rivarly grew towards the Christian views seeing Shamanism and Paganism as being termed Witchery. In modern day society the ancient cultural religions are not widely known it is interesting to study and see where the foundations of even our religions have come from. The Luthern religion has worshiped with the Neo-Paganism foundation beliefs, since its beginning's with the Finnish people.
Laurel Anne Barron, Burbank, CA
15/10/2014 06:03
1
11
I have been studying the origins of Shaman it has a deep roots begining from the 9th, 10th centuries. My studies is, that it has a good protective foundation from sicknesses and evils, but in later years with the association of Paganism, which it later grew towards the Christian views towards labels like being a Witchery tarnished has the origins.
Laurel, Burbank, CA
15/10/2014 05:33
1
9
Faith is not a believe in a mental or abstract sense, rather faith is what we do, its spiritual true that we put into action that counts-in a soul development in our search for God.
Lazar, Moscow
25/09/2014 22:36
9
3
Intersting to see when and where doesthis take place?3973
LINA ROMANOU, MARATHON GREECE
15/09/2014 23:13
4
1
12

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