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65. Influence On Spirits Through Their Characters

In the previous sections we have seen the important part of the placings for spirits, sacrifices and various forms of address. These are based upon the knowledge of the nature of the spirits but these methods cannot suffice when the Tungus have to manage spirits, especially in complex cases. We have also seen that the characters of spirits are very different and they reflect, with a greater or lesser fidelity, behaviour of human beings in the given ethnical unit and amongst the neighbours.

As shown, the spirits may possess intelligence in different degrees. Therefore, the Tungus in dealing with the spirits of high intelligence very often use the ordinary method of logical convincing. In this case they state reasons why, for instance, the spirit must leave the body of people attacked by it. These may be, for instance, that the spirit has mistaken the person, that the spirit has misinterpreted human attitude and wrongly wants to revenge itself, that the spirit will not gain from its hostility, and so forth. Some spirits are considered so stupid, as for instance arengki, that no logical convincing of them is possible. On the other hand the spirit buya and some endur'i are supposed to be so intelligent that they do not need to be convinced, — they know themselves everything much better than man does. In dealing with them a simple declaration may be considered as quite sufficient. The group of spirits which may be convinced by logical method may be smaller and larger. The clan spirits amongst the Tungus of Manchuria are the spirits which may be convinced by such reasons and therefore the sacrifice and other methods of influencing are not commonly used.

The spirits who are not believed to be very intelligent may be influenced by deceiving them. For instance, in this case, the Tungus would call them with very sweet words, then they would introduce them into the placing for spirits and when the spirits are there, the latter may be thrown away together with the placings, and so dismissed. The spirit may be also promised a certain sacrifice in the future without actually being satisfied with it. Indeed, the variations of methods of deceiving are numberless, for these methods are invented ad hoc. Their choice is not stabilized. However, there are some common tricks largely used by the Tungus. These are, for instance, promise of sacrifice, sending off by introducing spirits into special placings, etc. In some cases the Tungus do it quite ritually: they know beforehand how they must deceive the spirits.

The spirits which are fearful may be also frightened by shooting at them, crying, beating them when they are introduced into the placings, threatening them with revenge, and so forth. The ancestor — spirits are sometimes managed in these ways, for they are often quite fearful. Such methods are not used for dealing with buya, endur'i and many clan spirits.

Since the spirits are sometimes inclined to vanity the Tungus also may use this behaviour as means to manage the spirits. So that, the Tungus would exaggeratedly praise the spirits for their power, wisdom, etc. without believing themselves in what they say. The spirit may accept the praise and would become benevolent or just neutral.

The spirits greediness for food in general, and especially kinds of food liked by them, is the most common method of influencing them. So the Tungus would make sacrifice and yet sometimes they would only promise it, postponing the performance of sacrifice sometimes for years if the spirit would not be dangerous. Such a policy is especially common amongst the Manchus and Tungus of Manchuria who make the spirits wait for sacrifice until the spirits would manifest their discontent. Indebtedness of the Tungus and Manchus to the spirits very often passes over their power ever to pay the spirits. Indeed, the promises are very often forgotten and the spirits may be deceived. Besides food, the spirits may have special interests, e.g. in having beautiful flowers (amongst the Manchus), incense, beautiful placings, at last in the satisfaction of being regularly looked after and honoured. So the Tungus use these particular inclinations of the spirits for managing them.

There must especially be pointed out two ways of managing the spirits, namely, the submission to the spirits and mastering of them. In the first case the man shows a complete submission to the will and activity of the spirit and, with the postulate of a benevolent character of the spirit, he may hope to get the maximum of benefit from the situation. Yet, the conscious and complete submission may also take place in the case when the spirits are far superior to man in their power and thus they cannot be managed by the above enumerated means. The person may be controlled by the spirits, but it does not mean that this person may not be rid of spirits, — competent people can accomplish this by various means. Yet, in the case of complete submission there always is some chance that the submission may favourably be accepted by the spirit and the latter, even a malevolent one, may become harmless by taking upon itself protection of a weak man.

It is different with the control, or mastering of spirits. This constitutes the art and method of the shamans and will be treated later. Here it may be only pointed out that the mastering makes of them «servants» of the shaman who is their real master and who directs their activity at his own will, as long as he is strong and healthy. Naturally, the man or woman who feel themselves stronger than the spirits can master them, while those who feel themselves weaker than the spirit, cannot do it.

The attitude of the people towards the spirits also defines the methods of speaking and generally communicating with the spirit. The address may be very polite, composed of selected expressions which are used by juniors when speaking to seniors. For these reasons the spirits are addressed as seniors, e.g. ama, am'i, on'o, on'i (in Tungus), i.e. grandfather, grandmother, mother; also in Manchu e.g. beise, («prince»), sagdas'i («old genera — tion»), and various terms for designation of the ranks of high officials. In agreement with this, the speaker call himself by various humiliating terms indicative of his social and personal inferiority, e.g. «your child», «stupid child», «dumb — deaf» and the like. However, the spirits which are not very powerful and whom the speaker wants to frighten, would be addressed by their names or even humiliating names and the expressions may be very rude. Yet, there may be used bad jokes, jeerings, and mockery offending the spirits. In addressing the spirits of no great importance the speaker would abstain from using high style, too. Owing to this the dealing with the spirits whom the Tungus want to expel may begin with very polite and selected expressions and when the spirit is introduced and sent off, the way of speaking may change into a rough form. It may be here noted that in shaman's speech there are met with sometimes humiliating expressions which, however, sometimes are that referred to the shaman himself and sometimes referred by the spirits to themselves, which depends on the situation: whether the spirit is already introduced into the shaman or not. Since the shamans during their performance introduce several spirits one after another, but with interruptions, their speech may change in style so that very experienced assistant — shamans cannot sometimes understand whether it is the shaman speaking for himself or it is the spirit speaking through the shaman. Therefore, the analysis of shamanistic texts sometimes cannot be sufficient for definite the style appropriated to definite spirits.

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