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76. Spirit Of Heaven

From the list of spirits given in previous chapters it might be seen that some of them can be managed without assistance on the part of specialists, while some other cannot be dealt with by the persons who do not know special methods, at last those spirits which may be managed only by the shamans. Since in the present part I am dealing with the practical methods of managing spirits I shall follow this distinction as a method of classification of the facts to be presented and analysed. Indeed, there are some objections as to such a distinction of spirits, but I do not see any other and better way to present facts. Although in the last chapter we have been confined to the operations with the soul, still we had to touch upon the participation of specialists, like p'oyun and ta saman. As a matter of fact, some spirits may be dealt by both the common unskillful people and specialists, so that even in the present chapter we shall include some performances which are participated by the specialists and sometimes even shamans. The managing of the spirits described in this chapter can be done by individuals as well as groups of them, like families and clans.

I shall now give my description of methods beginning from those connected with the Spirit of Heaven, the best developed and formalised amongst the Manchus. There is no doubt that this complex has been received by the Tungus from the Manchus, quite recently, and the Manchus of Aigun district were evidently influenced by the example of the Imperial family in which this complex had assumed a special importance, as a distinct character of the Emperor's family. Indeed, the ritual practiced in the Imperial Palace by a whole corporation of specialists (saman) greatly differs from that used amongst the Manchu villagers of Aigun. While in the first case we have a system artificially cultivated under the conditions of practically unlimited financial means and stimulated by the vanity, natural for the Imperial court, which had nothing in common with the popular practices. From the point of view of Manchu ethnography, the popular practices are of greater importance as demonstrative of the existing psychomental complex, while the Imperial Ritual ought to be considered only as a potential source for borrowings. To picture Manchu complex with the facts picked up from the written records of this ritual would mean to commit an elementary methodological error [434], so I shall leave it aside.

As to the question how long ago the practice of sacrifice to the spirit of heaven was established we may reply only with a supposition, — this practice seems to be very old amongst the populations of Manchuria. In fact, in the history of the Nuichen [435] we find several indications as to their «religion», the «religion» practiced by the ancestors of the emperors. Although Buddhism was already introduced amongst these populations, still the chief complex comprised the old practice of sacrifices to heaven and earth which was believed to have been originally practiced by the Nuichen [436]. It may be thus inferred that the spirit of heaven was an old practice, but whether it was an original practice of the ancestors of the Manchus or it was borrowed in its turn from the Chinese or Turks and Mongols must be left open for discussion One thing is clear; the practice of sacrifice to the spirit of heaven has not been recently introduced amongst the Manchus As to the ritual it reveals no contrary evidence.

APKAI ENDUR'I (vide supra). The ritual described below forms one of the parts of the bolor'i anzun, treated in the previous chapter, and it is performed on the fourth day of the sacrifice, i.e. when the sacrifice to the clan spirits is over. It does not attract as many people as the sacrifice to the ancestors and many guest-clansmen leave the host, in whose house the sacrifice is organized, on the morning of the fourth day, the day of sacrifice to apkai endur'i. Relative shortness of the ritual and relative poverty of prayers are also indicative of a secondary importance of this complex.

The whole ceremony is carried out in the yard, which in the climatic conditions of Manchuria cannot be regarded at all as a circumstance favorable for growth of the complex. In fact, the ceremony ought to be carried sometimes in the temperature below 30°C, while the spring sacrifice at the present time is practically out of practice.

In front of irjb'e (vide SOM, fig. pp. 94, 95, also above figure) a special fire-place is made. It consists of five stones of pyramidal form weighing each about from ten to fifteen kilograms or even more [437]. A big kettle is put on it for cooking sacrificial meat. Amongst the fe manju prior to the ritual the pig must be prepared by burning the bristles, which is called f'ichx'alaya jali, i.e. «burnt meat», while amongst ichi manju the bristles are taken off by softening of the skin with boiling water. The pig is slaughtered and prepared as it has been described in the previous chapter (vide supra). When the pig is cooked small pieces of meat are taken from all of the sections of the dissected animal, and fixed on the top of the post (tongdo mo) [438] always erected in the middle of igb’e. For this rite five clansmen are selected (sun’a xaia n’ahna) who lower the post while the ta saman attaches the sacrifice. No drum, no music and no singing are used during the performance. The ta saman recites a prayer, in a very fast tempo, and puts some stick incense in front of the post. After having eaten there is performed rite of collecting all bones and water used for cleaning vessels, — xala mokun k'irangi moro ofoyo mauke tuchimbum'e, — «clan bone cups washed water make to come out». The three ribs taken and broken with a hammer or with an ax and all bones and water are thrown in front of the igb'e [439] The dogs are waiting for this moment, — they rush immediately to finish bones and water, while the men hasten to enter the warmed houses.

Amongst some clans instead of a pig there may be sacrificed a sheep the ritual being somewhat different. The sacrificial animal is brought and put on the ground in front of the post (torun mo), so that the forelegs are crossed on the head and bound together, the hind legs are held by the clansmen. The breast is opened with a knife and the heart is stopped by pressing the aorta with a hand introduced through the aperture in the breast. The lower fractions of the legs are cut off and the body is dissected in the same way as it has been described in the case of pig preparation. The breast part (tungan bokton, or chejeri) is reserved as sacrifice and put in front of the igb'e [440]. A vertebra with a bunch of straw is smeared with the fresh blood of the sheep then attached to the top of torun mo which is re-erected. The sections of the sacrificial animal are cooked in the kettle also put on the five-stone fire-place. When they are boiled small pieces are cut off from all sections of the animal and put on the small table in front of irjb’e, together with two small cups of wine and a big cup with millet. All sections of the animal are put together as if the animal were alive and exposed on a table standing in the center of the circle formed by the clansmen sitting on the ground and using no tables, which are not allowed to be used in this ritual feast, for, as the Manchus say, tables were not originally used by them and are an innovation. Neither drum nor music, nor singing is used during the ceremony. The ta saman briefly recites a prayer, the clansmen kneel in front of the igb'e and beat the ground with their foreheads. The women are not allowed to be present at this sacrifice.

Instead of a pig or a sheep, an ox may be also sacrificed. Indeed, the preparation of an ox for sacrifice and its eating requires more time and people, but the rites do not very much differ from that with the pig or sheep [441].

During the days of sacrifice to the ancestors and clan spirits as well as the day of the sacrifice to apkai endur'i also a few days after the last sacrifice the house is tabooed for the people who do not belong to the clan. It is especially strict in regard to people who belong to the «families» where either a death, or child delivery, or illness due to a spirit have recently occurred. For keeping away such «dirty people», — the clan spirits and apkaiendur'i do not like «dirt», — the Manchus hang up on the side of the gate a piece of wood with a bunch of straw, — the sign of taboo, — targa.

The sacrifice to apkai endur'i is also organized on other various occasions, e.g. for declaration to this spirit about important events such as election of a new shaman which will be later discussed, and separation of the clans. In dependence upon the purpose of sacrifice the text of the prayer is changed.

* * *

The complex of apkai endur’i, as I have shown (vide supra) has made its intrusion into the complex of the Tungus of Manchuria amongst whom it is better represented in the groups which are influenced by the Manchus, so it is better represented amongst the groups living near to the Manchus, in villages, and very little known amongst the groups living in the mountains.

Amongst the Tungus of Manchuria it is known under the name of apkai endur'i (or andur) which is a direct borrowing from the Manchus, yet it is also known under the name of julask'i endur'i, and simply julask'i, i.e. «southwards». As shown this spirit may consist of two elements: a male and a female, which have their envoys, so that the spirit may be considered as a complex. In some respects this spirit is comparable to the Manchu apkai endur'i. Amongst the Tungus the sacrifice is made on different but very important occasions, e.g. the separation of the unit into two new exogamic units, — clans; announcement of a new shaman; rarely for regulation of the natural phenomena, such as weather, droughts, etc. when human interests are affected; at last, for helping against other spirits when the latter cannot be fought by men. In some respects this complex spirit, as shown, is a new substitute for buya. which cannot be influenced, in the Tungus mind, by the sacrifice.

Amongst the Birarchen a post five pr six meter's long is fixed into the ground. To the top of the post, after the sacrifice a vertebra of the animal sacrificed and a bunch of straw are attached. Two anthropomorphic wooden placings, without arms but with two legs, are put on the ground, near the post; these are placings for envoys [442] and after the sacrifice they are thrown away in a southern direction. Sacrificial animals may be either a pig, or a reindeer (Cervus Elaphus); no other animal can be used [443]. Sacrifice is not often practiced, — no more than once a year, and usually rarer, especially when the whole clan is involved into the action. The sacrifice may be given by an individual when he imagines that this spirit may help him and in this case the question is solved individually; the sacrifice may be given by the clan on great occasions when a new shaman is produced, when the whole clan is affected by some misfortune; at last, it may be given by a group of families of different clans, e.g. those living together in a village. The chief difficulty consists in the requirement of reciting a prayer which must be known, naturally, by heart, and in preserving for a while the sacrificial animal, -the pigs are brought from the other people, — the Manchus and Chinese, for the reindeer now being rare is not always available.

The prayer is recited by a man, while two others fix the vertebra and straw and put placings to the post. The prayers are subject to some variation which is evident from the examples given below.

Here I give two examples of prayers, called buachin, from which it is evident what is the character of spirits and for what purpose they receive sacrifice. These prayers may be addressed on the occasion of a sacrifice made by the individuals or families, or clans. If there should be some concrete aim of sacrifice, it would be indicated in the prayer.

1. PRAYER (buachin) ADDRESSED TO JULASK'I; the Birarchen, Malakul clan.

«Male Southern Enduri who seated himself at the gate, Father who seated himself at the door, Mother who seated herself at the corner (of the house), listen to this. Meeting is sure, there is no aimlessness (for coming): a sacrificial pig, boar-pig, is to be given to you, the post inclined (for sacrifice), the ritual sacrifice pushed forward «with straight eyes (honestly). Speaking reasonlessly, insisting honestly do not neglect to listen to one who is «below you praying, one who is bowing in front of you. To all this listen.»

2. PRAYER (buachin) ADDRESSED TO JUIASK'I: the Birarchen, Dunankan clan (6).

«An orphan is babbling nonsense, but stretch your ears for anything which he is saying. Anduri's envoy protecting gate and a warming house (1), South-Father from Southern Region who protects from misfortune (2) and defends from bad (3). Anduri-Father listen. To-day sickness affects family people. When passing along defend from sickness your people from the Lower World. One who is worshipping in front of you, one who is praying in front of you has burnt pure incense. Purify with hot spring water, protect against misfortune. Cure the people of the family of that who is bowing in front of you. Father, send off children's diseases (4) from the one who is praying. Mother, defend from bad the one who is praying. Wash with cold spring water, raise from the pillow (head of the sick people), improve from day to day, make freely to breathe (taking) from the bed. Cure old diseases quickly, clean intestines. Restore eight «generations (5). So at midnight I have in good heart and «with good words everything prayed.»

1 It means «keeping alive».

2. Sickness in man and animals, lack of hunting luck, etc.

3. «Bad» which is produced by the spirits.

4. It is meant here smallpox, chicken-pox, measles etc.

5. «Eight generations» means «all people of the clan».

6. In this translation I have attempted to keep as near as possible to the text.

The first prayer is an invitation of the spirit for sacrifice. It is followed by exposition of needs and request which do not differ from those addressed to the clan spirits. The second prayer is a special prayer containing ex-position of needs and requests addressed to julask'i.

3. PRAYER (buacin) ADDRESSED TO JULASK'I; the Birarchen, Maakagir clan.

A. [A sacrifice is given]

«Southern God (1) who is moving and ever thinking, I bring forward a blood sacrifice. I erect two posts and bring forward a blood sacrifice. Take up the blood sausages; drink blood; eat soup. Listen to one who is reciting (his) prayer, who is bringing forward blood sacrifice, and who is erecting posts to the Southern Enduri (2). Listen carefully to your kneeling man from the lower world. As I am worshipping you they (people) are praying from the time when the ancient ancestors lived, from the very beginning and ending with this (time). Make clean from spirits the wigwam in taiga and house here (in the village), constantly love, and think of everything outside and inside (3). Protect from misfortune, do not allow infections to enter, and so on to the end.» (4)

B. [Continuation: a request to give hunting luck]

«Push forward, send good luck. Add some more benefit to one who is running along the edges of mountain ridges. Send forward in front, do not protect anything (5); on the top of mountains — the male roe-deer, in the small passes — the female roe-deer, on the northern slopes of the mountains — the Cervus Elaphus, on the rocks bordering rivers — the roe-deer fawns. In this way send. That the other people do not see, do not send them anything (6). Wherever I should go do not protect anything. Carefully listen: me, an orphan, I pray [??] go to the place jakso, and remain in the place birg’e (7). When in the heights (8), listen and continue as usual. God has gone.»

1. Buya of the text I translate as God. However, «Southern buya» is a combination of an old idea and of a new idea.

2. Here instead of usual andur'i. the Manchu term enduri is used. The reason is that a prayer to this spirit is a very important matter, so that to use a Manchu term is «good»; the Manchus are a source of ritualistic innovations.

3. «Outside and inside» there are meant two groups of diseases.

4. «On to the end», i.e. «for ever».

5. This spirit may send animals if he does not protect them; if he protects them, the hunter cannot kill them.

6. In the Tungus complex this request is somewhat unusual. In fact, the ides is to eliminate other Tungus-competitors which is in conflict with the Tungus social ideas and their idea about regulation of hunting. The man from whom I have recorded this prayer was not a man of average Tungus behaviour. Some of his nets were decidedly disapproved by other Tungus.

7. jakso, jaso, joso is a special place where the spirits are living; birg’e is a place where buya remains. No details could be found. Seemingly these terms are not of Tungus origin.

434. Although a ritual such as that of the Manchu Imperial Family might grow only in the Manchu-Chinese complex, it was not typical of the Manchus I point out this case as one where we can still see how the error may be committed by an historian and ethnographer when they wish to identify practices of political chiefs, emperors, kings, very rich people worthy of attention of their contemporaries with the «popular practices of the epoch». Unfortunately a great number of pseudo-historic descriptions of past civilisations are based upon the facts of this class. What documental value they may have is evident.

435. Cf. Histoire de I'Empire de Kin ou Empire d'or, translated from Manchu Aisin gurun i suduri bitxe by Ch. de Harlez, Louvain, 1887.

436. Ibid., p 136. As to the state of Nuichen vide infra.

437. The five stones of fire-place is an interesting fact for during the excavation made by us on the banks of the Amur River in 1916 in many dwelling sites there were found five stones exactly in the center of dwellings and with evident signs of fire effect. Near the stones there were usually found broken earthware, ashes, charcoal. The exact dating of dwellings, usually pit-dwellings of underground type, sometimes presented certain difficulties. However all of them may be connected with the dwellings which are mentioned in the Chinese chronicles as typical of early population of Manchuria. It may be also noted that amongst the ichi manju the five stone fire-place is made for sacrifice to mafa (vide infra p. 232).

438. In former days the Manchus used to have only torun (cf. Tungus turu, toro; vide infra) or tongdo mo (tongdo, — «straight erected»), as it is widely used amongst the Tungus and some Mongol groups The ingb’e is an innovation and according to the Manchus it is erected for making «very nice» and it is borrowed from the Chinese.

439. The same performance can be carried out without any participation of p'oyun saman and ta saman

440. The breast section of a sheep in the Mongol complex is an important element in the ritualistic performances. It is also a part of honour. Together with the animal it seems to be an element of a non-Manchu origin.

441. The ox sacrifice was mere practised in former days than at the present time. The chief cause of change in practice is probably «poverty factor» and numerical decrease of clans. I had no chance to observe it myself, but the description given by the Manchus reveals no new elements in the complex.

442. These placings are called omute, literally «hook», but the etymology is not certain.

443. Amongst the Kumarchen the roe-deer can also be used. The same is true of the Khingan Tungus.

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