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45. Groups Of Spirits

When an adult Tungus dies there is a problem of importance, — to rid this world of his or her soul. As a matter of fact, this must be done with a certain skill by the people who know practical methods of sending the soul to the world of dead people, — buni. These methods will be described in the Part 3. However, some souls cannot be transferred there owing to (1) sudden death without witnesses; (2) accidental death due to various causes, except war; (3) inability of the relatives, shamans, or other people who have to transfer the souls. In such a case the soul remains in this world so to say free and beyond any control, and it may find either a temporary or permanent placing. Yet, some of these souls may become errant souls entering various placings for a short time and always doing harm to the living people. Such souls are called s'irkul in Bir. and Kum. and xutu in Manchu. As shown, by the Tungus and Manchus these terms are sometimes wrongly referred to the spirits and even people, also bong and ibayan. But such categories as s'irkul and xutu are not at all definite, so it is much better to avoid the use of these terms. Those souls which reach the lower world do not cease to exist. They form a special group of spirits, bunil, which live more or less like the people of this world and they also need some attention, at least periodically, for they may visit this world again. These are relatives, clansmen and ancestors.

The importance of the individual soul-spirits is not the same. Some of these spirits may become very powerful — both malevolent and benevolent — some of them may even be used by the shamans. I shall describe them, systematically going from less important to more important spirits.

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ARENGK'I are spirits produced from the souls which did not reach the lower world. Under this name they are known amongst the Kumarchen, Birarchen and also the Tungus of the Amur Gov. [288] Under the name ar'ink’i amongst the Tungus of Yakutsk Gov. (Lam. and Turn.) spirits of the same type are also known, but they are identified by P. V. Olenin with the Yakut abasy [289].

Etymology of this word is that it may be derived from the stem ar — to «revive» (intrans.), e.g. referred to the people [arran (Bin), — he revives], vegetation (after winter), insects, hibernating animals, etc. Since arengk'i is nomen agendi from ar it may be translated «reviver», «one who makes to revive», but not «resurrector». The arengk'i have no body. They are very numerous in the forest and marshes. However, they sometimes penetrate to the store houses erected even near the wigwams. They place themselves in rotten, hollow trees, also sometimes even in living trees. When the Tungus cut down such a tree they may hear: onoi! — i.e. «painful,» screamed by these spirits. Such an accident is sufficient for causing a serious illness with a fatal issue, — the people lose their minds and die. When these spirits stay in the rocks, they may be called kadarn'i s'irkul. — (of the rock s'irkul), or uron'i s'irkul (of the mountains s'irkul). These spirits are numerous on the banks of the Amur River. As a rule they are more numerous near graves. The arengk'i may be seen in the form of light, usually bluish or reddish, also sometimes moving, but when people approach them, they run farther away. They whistle. They produce echo. During great frost the noises produced by ice and trees are ascribed to the activity of arengk'i. Their activity is also seen in the phenomenon of luminosity of soil, rotten wood, etc., — the wood or soil are «burning» because of the presence of the spirit, but there is no heat. During stormy weather their activity greatly increases. These spirits are not very harmful for the people who have strong will power and self-control, hut the fearful people may fall under their influence. So that the echo sometimes may lead the hunter astray and knowing that this is the spirits' activity the man must be very careful in interpreting the significance of the phenomenon, and pay no attention to it. It is evident that when arengk'i introduces itself into a corpse the latter may become bong. They do harm to people by throwing small stones, branches of trees etc. at them. These spirits are afraid of fire which may protect man against them; even a burning match may protect man. The spirits are described by the Kumarchen as miserable beings: they have only skin and eyes; they have no tobacco or meat and thus they are always hungry for in their food they depend upon the people's generosity. Generally speaking they are mischievous, especially where they are found in great numbers, e.g. near graves and particularly in the locality called Orodon, on the banks of the Kumara River, and they always steal meat and make all kinds of trouble for tile people; they whistle, make fires etc. The season of their greatest activity is the autumn, but they are badly affected by the snow from which they must protect themselves. When a person is alone he may see them, but when there are many people these spirits do not show themselves. According to the Kumarchen, they are divided into clans which fight between themselves. Their «master» is inmunkan.

How the stories regarding these spirits are formed may be shown by two facts recorded among the Birarchen. (1) Two men were hunting. They were surprised by a very severe storm with lightning, thunder and wind. They could not make a fire and they had no dog with them. The whole night they protected themselves under the hunting wigwam (hemispherical made of bark kum'i). The arengk'i were whistling, throwing small stones, and branches against the wigwam rotten wood was burning. As a matter of fact, to pass a stormy night without fire and a dog (the spirits are afraid of dogs), under a willow wigwam, when at any moment it may be destroyed (e.g. by falling of rotten trees) is not a pleasant experience. (2) «A man who was drunk went on his journey. He saw at night two roe-deer. He shot. The roe-deer did not run (which is indicative that they are not real roe-deer but spirits aregk'i). Then he fell asleep. In the night he saw again four roe-deer. He fired nineteen times but each time missed and the roe-deer did not run away. It is true, he was lucky to kill a big male roe-deer next morning. The next night he again saw (aregk'i in the form of) fire, as big as a human head which moved towards him. Then he screamed and burnt a match; the spirit began to reduce and become reddish before disappearing altogether». Indeed, a case of delirium is evident.

Thus it may be formulated: various natural phenomena like luminosity of soil and rotten wood, multiple echo, errant fires (ignis fatuus) of marshes, noises produced by some physical bodies with the lowering of temperature, also all noises which cannot be understood, are interpreted as activity of arengk'i and their existence is proved by these facts. The cases of fear and imagination, also of delirious hallucinations increase the number of facts for supporting the hypothesis. The cases of delirious insanity are ascribed to the influence of these spirits which are not dangerous for a strong mind, the Tungus believe.

However, these spirits may become stabilised in some localities and become, so to say permanent in making trouble for the people. Such is, for instance, kadarn'i or uro'n'i s'irkul which inhabit rocky places and mountains. This spirit is especially dangerous when the man is alone. First it frightens the man, who being already terrified, falls into the spirit's clutches. The people perish especially often during the winter, because of the spirit called donggnotoco s'irkul (doggnoto — «to freeze»). The spirit also appears in the form of a man who suggests sitting down before a hillock (in frozen marshes) or in front of a bush as though it were a fire. The man then takes off his clothing (as the Tungus usually do), and spreads his hands before the imaginary fire, to warm himself whereupon he soon falls asleep and is soon frozen and so dies. Naturally, the man's soul becomes a new errant spirit. This spirit may lead the people astray by different methods, but chiefly by influencing the mind. So that all cases of loss of one's way are ascribed to these spirits for the Tungus are sure of their own ability of orientation when they are normal. These spirits sometimes take people and keep them for a long time. For instance, a spirit of this kind caught a man, took him to a cave on the banks of the Amur River (near the village Radde), and kept him there for several years; the man returned to his people but he could not explain what he had done and how he had been living. During the hunting these spirits sometimes go ahead of the hunter and send away the animals; in such a case the only way to stop their activity is to give them some «food» (vide infra).

The places where people have perished owing to the drowning, being frozen, killed by the trees etc. are called galegda and the people must avoid them. Any man who should happen to be there would be influenced by the spirits to act in the same way as the people who perished: e.g. to commit suicide by hanging, to go into deep water (the Tungus do not swim very much), and to expose himself naked before a shrub, tree, or a hillock as though it were a fire etc. The Tungus say that in the place where there has been a case of drowning, every one or two years there will be some more similar cases.

Some of these spirits may become quite powerful and influential. They may become «masters» of a mountain small region etc. Such a spirit is called ajelga, or uron'i ajelga (of the mountain ajelga). In the Khingan Mountains there is a peak (mountain) known under the name of borul doksaka. Ajelga is living exactly there. It is black and also its horses. During the hunting, it produces noise and in all possible ways makes hunting difficult. This spirit, after a night of troubles (the spirit used to make trouble on the salty soil especially liked by the cervines) was seen by the Tungus, whence its description is so well known. Ajelga may cause very serious sickness. The only way to manage ajelga is to make a good sacrifice of any animal including the elk (Cervus alces) which may happen to have been killed. This spirit may assume the form of an animal. In fact «a Maakagir man (Birarchen) was hunting and saw a deer which he shot, after which the animal changed into a man. The Maakagir man then fell seriously ill. Since that time the people of clan Maakagir make two wooden anthropomorphic placings about 20 centimetres long, or two hillocks, by which they erect a toro (a post) and an elevated platform (for sacrifice). From them, other people learnt how to do it.»

Among other clans the sacrifice is simplified, but as a placing for this spirit, two small hillocks are used. In former days, according to the Birarchen, they carefully observed preventive methods for avoiding bringing out ajelga when they stayed near large mountains and graves. After sunset they did not make any noise, did not cut trees, stopped the children's crying, and so on. If it were attracted it might become like a seven. Such a case occurred with a shaman of Malakul clan, this spirit was mastered by a shaman who now (1916) lives in Puli (near the Sun River) and ajelga became seven. Naturally, since that time danger from this spirit is greatly reduced, (cf. also supra, Chapter XI).

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XUTU. I have already pointed out that this term is not applied to a definite group of spirits but it may be used in the same broad sense as s'irkul. Yet, perhaps it is still broader for the Manchus admit that even endur'i and mava can harm the people in which case they also may be called xutu. However, the Manchu language possesses no special term for spirits of the class like the above discussed arengk'i and others. Perhaps, the term sula is one to which reference is made. Sula literally meaning «free» «unemployed», produce very great harm when they introduce themselves. However, this term is rarely used and the Manchus usually specify the kind of sula, or xutu.

The Manchu say that any fojengo which did not reach the world of dead people is a xutu [290]. Such a spirit may appear when the clan spirits are temporarily absent or when they do not take care of the people, vochko karmaraku taraku, i.e. «vochko guardian does not catch, stop (- the spirit).»

Xutu may originate from the souls of people who committed suicide in any form or from the people who died through poisoning; but since the soul cannot cross rivers, e.g. the Amur River, the souls of those Manchus who die on the Russian side of the river remain as xutu (Here it is presumed that the way to Manchu Hades lies on the Chinese side of the river!); balju xutu [291] are formed from the hairs of corpses [292]; fazeme puceye xutu (fasime bucexe xutu, Manchu Writ.) are formed from the souls of people who have committed suicide by hanging; b'ira xutu (i.e. the river xutu ) are formed from the souls of drowned people; moroskun puceye xutu are formed from the souls of people killed (even in case the body is buried) and the most common case is that of puceye xutu (dead people xutu ). The number of these spirits may be increased by addition of other spirits, but the Manchus are not sure as to their origin. These are e.g. mangga mo xutu («oak tree»), jagda mo xutu («pine tree»), bana xutu («place») etc. Therefore it is not recommended to bring home trees that have been cut near cemeteries. The Manchus have succeeded in observing these spirits, so they describe them as being very short in stature (less than three feet tall) with flat noses and very small lower jaws, dressed in short coats like those of the Dahurs,

These spirits fear men much more than women, so that when the latter are alone the spirits produce all kinds of noise. Generally, they begin their activity in the dark when the lamp is blown out. For the reason of the existence of these spirits the Manchus never cut off their nails, — the xutu may use them. These spirits are more numerous in the villages than in the cities. One of the peculiarities of xutu, as well as other Manchu spirits, is that there is no shadow (from light) (the ibayan naturally has a shadow.) These spirits may cause strong headache, if one meets them. They frighten the people; even some disturbances of mind may occur which are not, however, very dangerous. These spirits are not usually treated with sacrifices but they are frightened by the human voice and usually run away. Also, they do not like the light. However, they may become very dangerous when they succeeded in introducing themselves into a corpse. Then they become ibayan xutu (vide supra Section 94). Indeed, it is also different when these spirits turn into powerful spirits, as we have seen among the Birarchen. In this form they are called by different names and are treated in an entirely different manner, This will be described in the following part.

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OJAN. Ojan is a special group of spirits among the groups investigated known under this name only among the Barguzin and Nerchinsk Tungus. Ojan, in so far as I can see, means merely «master». Their history, according to a Barguzin shaman, is as shown. «In olden times the earth was burnt [293]. Nothing was left. The buga remained alone, two children, — a boy and a girl, — two domesticated reindeer fawns, two (?),[294] two reindeer (Cervus Elaphus). The boy grew up and the girl grew up. They began to multiply. Buya came. So they lived and became about thirty people. Then they were ashamed, — too many people is a shame [295]. They said, 'Let us hide [296] fifteen children without reindeer.' They left fifteen children in a bad place, in a stony region, among the rocks. They (the hidden children) became like buga; — we cannot see them. They help us. From those fifteen who left we have originated. So it was.»

Since that time the ojan live in all three worlds. In the middle world (earth) they choose the places with stones and rocks, useless for the Tungus. For instance, they live on the tops of mountains which surround the lake Baunt (in Northern Transbaikalia). In the valley of the river Usoi (a tributary of the Great Amalat) there is a cave with an entrance descending almost vertically to the bottom that cannot be seen, — the Tungus found very often roe-deer's bones left near the entrance, and even once a hunting bag; these were evidence of ojan 's activity.

The Tungus have many «facts» supporting their hypothesis. So for instance, «A young shaman, twenty eight years old, was not recognized by other people. Once there were many people in the wigwam. An old man, weak and tired, suddenly appeared and said, 'How do you do! There no more place (to sit).' The shaman took one of the men away the seat and invited the old man in. The old man sat down. The shaman ordered the slaughtering of a reindeer and served the old man with meat. The old man ate and wanted to leave (the wigwam). The shaman told the people present: 'Take him out with honour.' They replied: 'But there is nobody here.' Then he, himself escorted the old man out and coming back to the people gathered said 'Why did you not do it?' The shaman was happy.»

Another Barguzin Tungus saw on the top of a treeless mountain near the sources of the Cina River (a left tributary of the Vitim) a hollowed place, ashes, a teapot, cups etc. There he saw the ojan but was unable to communicate more details for he lost his mind.

A Nerchinsk Tungus was very drunk and after a night of trouble caused by ojan at day-break saw a man of unusual size. When the man began to approach, the Tungus fell down and lost consciousness. After that time he lost his mind. The man of unusual size was ojan.

Generally, when a person meets ojan, the person becomes abnormal, — losing his mind. Therefore one must avoid the ojan. The Tungus must not descend into the above mentioned cave for they would be destroyed by the ojan. They must not go far from the camp after sunset, for the ojan might steal them. These spirits always attack the shaman during his performances, by shooting arrows which may hit the shaman unless he turns his back protected with iron («placings») toward the flying arrows or catches the arrows with his hands. In former days there were some cases in which those spirits killed the shamans. The ojan as other spirits of this group very often lead the people astray and the Tungus lose their way.

The mode of life of these spirits does not differ from that of the Tungus, — they have their wigwams, their reindeer, which cannot be seen by the common people, and they hunt animals. But owing to the original mischief done to them (leaving them among the rocks) they are not friendly to living men. Sometimes they make difficulties in hunting, they frighten the people, they catch the people, they make the people lose their minds. On the other hand, the same spirits may help the man in his undertakings and they are protectors of the reindeer. In fact, if a Tungus does not treat the reindeer kindly the spirit may kill such a man. It is especially strict with the slaughtering of the reindeer in which a gun must not be used.

These spirits have no special placings. When the Tungus want to make these spirits benevolent they give them some «food» (sacrifice) and generally when the Tungus eats or drinks, he throws into the air small pieces of food or a few drops of liquid (tea or spirits) as the usual sacrifice, almost automatically performed. Many troubles which lately have occurred amongst the Tungus are explained as due to the neglect of these spirits. In former days the Tungus very often used to offer sacrifices of reindeer to these spirits, but at the present time (1912-1913) this is rarely done. In case the spirits become too annoying the Tungus address themselves to the other spirits — irlinkan and nalkan which are supposed to be masters (dayacan) of ojan. The spirits must not be called ojan (It is understood when the Tungus speak to them, especially in the night time when the spirits may respond to their name even without being addressed.) but they must be called am'i (father) or am'itisal (fathers).

288. The Tungus of Saxalin Island and Amur Gov. use this term for the souls which have not received special church services, - Requiem of Russians. Indeed, this is a new function.

289. In the dictionary of the missionaries, e.g. Lamuts, ar'inka is translated as «devil» «tempter». The missionaries in the Enissy Gov. used the same stem ar for forming a series of words for «resurrection», «resurrected Jesus Christ», etc.

290. The Manchu compare it with the Chinese kai. However xutu may also be called (and it will be a polite form} nai («of the earth) torg' i (winner part», «inside») [cf. dorgi (Manchu Writ)] n'ahna («people»); but the Manchus would add n 'ahna aku («not man»). Let us remark that although the man (n 'a/ma) is living on the earth he cannot be called nai n 'ahna, but wejyun, — i.e. «living», «alive».

291. I. Zaxarov's translation does not seem to be correct, at least for the present time.

292. This xutu is regarded as one of the harmless «home» xutu (the etymology of balju xutu is not clear). During the night, it approaches the people (the Manchus sleep on the heated beds with their heads turned toward the inside of the room and feet toward the outside walls) and pulls out their hair. The head gradually becomes bald. The spirit may be seen as light (compare arengk'i), but one cannot catch the spirit unless one puts on one's shoes backward which the xutu do not like. If one succeeds in catching the light one will find one's own hair

293. Cf. the same idea amongst the Tungus of Manchuria and other groups as well.

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