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114. Treatment Of Persons

When the cause of the trouble has been found, the shaman may refuse to take up the case (pushuku joyun), if it is considered as hopeless, or he may recommend treating the patient with medicines, dealing with the spirits by means of prayers and sacrifices, sometimes carried out without his own assistance, or he may take on himself the task of dealing with the spirits. When the shaman abstains from interference or when ho recommends treatment without his assistance, the function of shamanizing is not involved; these occurrences will not be discussed here, as I confine myself to cases when the shaman performs.

From the Tungus point of view, troubles may be classed in three groups, namely, (1) disfunction of the soul, (2) interference of the spirits without their entering into the person, and (3) interference or spirits with their introduction into the person.

The simple disfunction of the soul is a common occurrence. There may be cases such as, for instance, sudden fear, when the patient is not affected by the spirits. In such cases there is disfunction of the soul, which, as shown, according to the theories, is a complex system. The threefold organization of the soul of the Manchus in this respect went very far in defining the conditions in which there is no smooth correlated movement or souls (vide supra), the true soul, the outer soul etc. The Birarchen, by accepting the theories of the slight stability of the souls, are inclined to see the source or trouble in a temporary or permanent instability of these souls. The situation is still more complicated when lack of correlation between soul and life (erga) is suspected. The treatment of both soul and life would naturally require special combined methods. It is thus evident that we have the same naturalistic theory of the complex of soul and life as the basis of explanation of this group of troubles.

The spirits may produce harmful effects without introducing themselves into persons and remaining outside. This happens often with spirits which frighten the people, particularly the children. The existing theories may help to find out which spirit did interfere. The effect of the spirit's activity is a lasting dysfunction of the soul. Therefore, attention must be paid to the source of the continuance of such disfunction. However, attention will also be paid to the necessary restoration of the normal function of the soul. Naturally the character of the trouble depends on the character of the spirits. This group of psychomental phenomena, which result in the disability of persons in their social functions, is explained by the theory of spirits.

The spirits may introduce themselves into the person with either a continuous or a periodic disfunction of the souls, or the spirit may act only in the presence of an undisturbed soul The explanation of these phenomena is based upon the hypothesis of the spirits self-introduction into the human body.

As I have already shown, on several occasions, the analysis and classification of all these cases from the point of view of psychiatry brings us to the conclusion that we actually have here different kinds of «troubles». The greater part of the case cannot be classified as real psychomental «diseases», but only as conditions of instability; while some of them can be labelled neurasthenia, hysteria, paranoia, and various mania, etiologically due to various causes. The Tungus system actually deals with the symptoms, some of which may be common for different conditions due to different causes. As shown, cases or real insanity among the Tungus are not frequent, while psychomental maladjustment and instability, very often produced by self-suggestion, are common, and their treatment is quite possible.

There are three principal groups of methods used by the shaman, namely, (1) without the help of the shaman's spirits; (2) with the help of the shaman's spirits but without introduction of the spirits into the shaman; and (3) with introduction of the spirits into the shaman.

From the results of the diagnosis and from the knowledge of various methods of curing the shaman may come to different decisions as to the particular cases of interference. Some of them I shall now describe.

CASE 1. Disfunction of the soul by itself, without spirits interference, in which the shaman does not seek the help of his spirits. This is the most common occurrence in the shaman s practice. The shaman finds out the kind of disfunction of the soul, e.g. temporary absence of one of the souls, or lack of balancing of the souls, or a combination of both. In case of absence of one of the souls he will find which is absent; in case of lack of balance (unequal movement of the three souls through the seven holes — a Manchu theory), he will determine which of them is running too fast. Since, the function of the three souls arc different, the characters of disfunction are also different. In fact, the true soul, identified by the Manchus with the individual consciousness, may be overshadowed by the reproductive soul (is it not perhaps connected with sexual complex too?) and by the general physiological-psychological soul; the reproductive soul can be overshadowed by the other two souls, or also one or them may be weakened. The system of the Tungus of Manchuria, although slightly different, explains the same cases of disfunction by the temporal absence of one of the souls [617]. As pointed out (vide supra, Ch. IV) there may be some additional interpretations of the system of the soul, e.g. when the conception of do (Bir.) is introduced. However, this new element does not change the idea of disfunction. How near the Tungus and Manchus come to the actual condition of slight disturbances of psychomental functions is a different question, but one thing is clear, namely, they recognize as a normal condition that, when the psychomental complex is functionally well balanced making a person normal, i.e. like the majority. Lack of balance is seen in the behaviour of the affected person, and the disequilibrium may come from two causes: an increase or a decrease of functional activity of the threefold soul, and even the fourfold and fivefold complex of the human psychomental function. It should be kept in mind that the people believe in the possibility of the regulation of the equilibrium of the components. The shaman also believes in this. In case of disturbance, the shaman may find that the «true» soul (individual consciousness») moves too rapidly and would take various steps for retarding this movement, e.g. the spirits of the clan might be asked to bring quietness, or a sacrifice to these spirits might be offered, or he might talk about the matter, saying that «now everything will be well». These actions produce an effect upon the affected person. Among the Tungus and Manchus, who believe in the instability of the souls of children, the cases of absent soul are cured by means of various methods: special placings are made for the souls of children, sometimes crying and restless (anthropomorphic placings of blackened skin), which are put in front of the child. The attention of the child would be attracted by the movement and so the child would no longer cry. Groups of placings, made of wood and metals, and amulets which, when shaken, produce rhythmic noises, would have the same effect on the hearing as the blackened placing on the sight, and the child would become quiet. If there were no effect, it would be supposed that there were other causes for the discomfort of the child.

When adult people are supposed to have lost one of their souls, the shaman calls it back by ordinary words or by singing and makes rhythmic movements to re-introduce the soul. Instances have already been given of the ritual of finding and re-introducing of souls. If a person affected by disequilibrium is not actually sick, all of these methods may be quite effective, as would be any other forms of suggestion and hypnosis. However, if the person is left without the shaman's help, the condition may gradually lead to that of complete social disability.

Thus, in these cases, the shaman may give the patient an analysis of his psychomental condition, which may suffice to correct «the balance»; he may recommend some mechanical method of various complexity having effect on the sight and the hearing to lull or to concentrate the attention of the child; he may carry out a hypnotic operation, or make a strong suggestion. In all of these cases which, let us emphasise, are frequent, the shaman could stop the further increase of the psychomental instability.

CASE 2. Disfunction of the soul by itself, in which the shaman brings forth some of his spirits without introducing them into himself. These are cases which in the eyes of the shaman are more serious, involving the affected persons and their relatives and in which the shaman would decide that he himself could not succeed in curing. He would then call one of his spirits, and with a prayer, or even a sacrifice, would ask the spirit to help him. In this case one or several placings for the shaman's spirits would be left with the affected person. Such a placing may even be the brass mirror used as one of the important components of the costume. There may be made a placing for the spirit and it will always be carried on his person. Periodical small sacrifices may also be prescribed. Naturally, the shaman would assure the patient or his parents (particularly the mother of the small child who is still suckled by her) that there will be no more trouble. The effect is evident: all these measures would act as a continuous hypnosis and suggestion, while in the case of the suckling child the mother would become quieter and the child too. Such occurrences are also very frequent [618] and the effectiveness of the treatment is more common than failure. In the case of a, wrong diagnosis other means can be used.

CASE 3. Disfunction of the soul by itself, in which the shaman introduces into himself one or several of his spirits. These cases are much rarer, even comparatively very rare, and they are very serious in the eyes of everybody. In this case shamanising would be performed, the shaman would introduce into himself spirits and would act with their special power. After the shamanizing, the shaman would leave one of his spirits to remain with the affected person. It improvement of the condition results and the person is young, his name would be changed and that of the spirit would be adopted. This measure would be explained by saying that the person was being «protected» by the spirits From the psychological point of view, during impressive performances and with the presence of a powerful spirit in the shaman, the patient is, at least for a while, deprived of his will power and becomes more susceptible to the suggestion. If the remembrance of the performance is renewed by periodical sacrifices, prayers and even by a new name, the suggestion may become continuous. The person, formerly affected, may be restored to social life. The variety of forms of performance is indeed great, for it depends on the choice by the shaman of a spirit which may help, and the spirits are very numerous.

CASE 4. Disfunction of the soul caused by the spirits without their self-introduction into the affected person, in which the shaman does not use spirits in his treatment. These cases are frequent, although in some groups they are rarer than those of Case 1. It may be so when the patient shows signs of being disturbed by the spirits and cannot accept the idea that the condition of disfunction depends upon himself or herself. In the diagnosis some hints are found as to the kind of spirits: the person may see or hear them, or may behave as though he or she can see or hear them. Apparently, there ought to be included all cases in which the shaman guesses (he may be unconscious of it) that the person cannot understand his trouble without supposing the presence of a spirit. The shaman may use a prayer to the spirit-disturber, a sacrifice to this spirit, a strong intimidation of the spirit and its introduction into a placing which, together with the spirit, is thrown away. When the spirit is neutralized, the shaman may restore the equilibrium of the soul, if it is found to be in disequilibrium. Thus the performance may consist of two actions: the elimination of the spirit's activity and the restoration of the soul's normal function. After the performance some paraphernalia may be left for maintaining the belief in the disappearance of the spirit. A still more complex case is that in which the disturbing spirits must be localized (women's spirits, etc.), or when the spirits which cause the trouble must be transferred to the lower world, etc. In such cases a very complex operation is needed, which requires the introduction of spirits into the shaman. But there are special aims of regulation of the relations between the spirits and the people, and these cases will be treated later.

CASE 5. Disfunction of the soul caused by the spirits without their self-introduction, in which the shaman uses his spirits. These cases are rarer than those of Case 4. The essential difference is that the shaman must use one of his spirits, in order to fight the spirit-disturber, or simply to protect the person. The actions of the shaman may consist in a prayer to his spirits and in charging them with a duty. If the spirit is left with the person (in a placing, including the brass-mirror), periodical sacrifices and prayers may be offered by the affected persons or their relatives and there may also be a change of the name. The performance may become quite elaborate and long, but it will not become a great shamanising. In such a case a more powerful influence on the person is used during the action (the spirits), and the effect may be made continuous.

CASE 6. Disfunction of the soul caused by the spirits without their self-introduction, in which the shaman uses introduction of the spirits into himself. These cases are rather rare. The shaman would act as in Case 3 and Case 5 combined. A performance of great shamanizing is rather complex, even in the simplest case, but if special methods of dealing with the spirits are needed, shamanizing may assume new aims concerning the fate of the spirits.

CASE 7. Troubles produced by the self-introduction of the spirits (to which disfunction of the soul may be associated), the shaman acts without the assistance of his spirits. These cases are not frequent but usually the shaman does not at once succeed in curing. They are more serious than the cases described in Case 4. The aim of the shaman is to suppress the activity of the spirit and, if possible, to send it off by the same means as in Case 4; but the spirit must be first dislodged.

CASE 8. Troubles produced by the self-introduction of the spirits; the shaman uses his spirits. These cases are not frequent and usually they form a preliminary step. The shaman acts as in Case 6, but more skill is required, for the need of dislodging the spirit is impending.

CASE 9. Troubles produced by the self-introduction of spirits in which case the shaman introduces into himself one or several spirits. These cases are very rare and usually occur when the procedures of Case 7 and Case 8 do not produce the necessary effect. Such a great shamanizing usually comprises an act of dislodging the spirit and sending it off, or even its mastering by the shaman, in case of a new, unknown spirit. Therefore other aims usually appear in the shamanizing.

From the description of these nine cases it is evident that the shamanizing may be quite effective, if there is no deep pathological condition underlying the trouble. Practically, the greater number of cases treated by the shamans are of such a nature that the various forms of suggestion and even hypnosis are quite sufficient for relieving persons of their disability. It can also be seen that there is a great variety of methods employed by the shamans in conformity with the diagnosis. In the simplest cases an explanation of the disfunction to the patients, who may afterwards influence themselves by self-suggestion, may be used; hypnosis is produced by simple drumming and singing, and afterwards suggestion of prompt or continuous action may be employed; a permanently influencing remembrance of the suggestion may be left; when the case is difficult the person may be impressed by a sudden action of spirits, which may restore the usual behaviour, and at that moment the shaman may make his suggestion.

There is no doubt that all these methods have been empirically worked out and established as practices well adapted to the needs of the ethnical units, where they are preserved by the mechanism of tradition. Naturally, when the shamans are performing their treatment, they are not conscious, in the same way as are European neurologists and psychiatrists, of what they are doing. Neither are the patients, who give credit to the shamans conscious of their actual condition. All of them follow certain practices adopted by the ethnical units in which they live. She full credit given to the shamans extremely facilities their work. The whole system of treatment, as shown, is based upon the theory of the complex nature of the soul and the hypotheses as to the spirits. Whether these theories and hypothesis are accepted or not, is a different question, but as a form of Tungus (and Manchu) adaptation they are, in some instances, a more effective approach to the practical goal of curing and enabling patients to restore their social efficiency, than are some very learned modern theories and methods of treatment of psychomental disequilibria. These theories and hypotheses have resulted, on the one hand, from a penetrating analysis of the facts and, on the other hand, from their practical empirical application, correction and verification. Let us also remember that the shamans, as stated, do not always take the trouble of treating, not always can they correctly diagnose whether a treatment is possible or not; also not all shamans possess equal ability in diagnosis and they are not equal in their art of treatment. In all the above indicated cases there may be failure due to an error, either in the diagnosis, or in the practical application of methods.

617. Unfortunately my understanding of the system of the Reindeer Tungus of Transbaikalia was not so complete as it was in the case of the Tungus of Manchuria and the Manchus, so I cannot tell how they conceive the condition of disfunction. That they have this idea is evident from the treatment of such cases.

618. This is not the shaman's privilege: the existence of special woman's spirits (placings kangan, najil burkan, etc.) is of the same order.

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