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115. Settling Of Souls And Their Management

Finding of errant souls after death, their management and transportation to the place of settled life in the lower world are important aims of shamanizing. As shown, the souls of dead people may produce various troubles: the souls of persons who are not buried according to the rites will remain in this world and will, in some cases at least, introduce themselves into the living people, or they may annoy living people with their continuous requests for attention, food, etc. The shaman has to find the souls and to satisfy them, until they are settled in the lower world. Indeed, this is sometimes done by the common people too, but not all know the methods of finding souls and localising them in temporary or permanent placings, so that the shamans are usually called to do this, especially if the death occurred far away. When the soul is transferred to the lower world — which operation requires the shaman's art in some cases — the souls may again disturb the people by their requests and needs. The management of souls in the lower world, their return to this world, and their reinstallation into the lower world are operations which are usually carried out by the shamans. These operations are different, because the common people, without the help of special spirits, cannot go to the lower world without running a great risk of remaining there, i.e. of dying. When pressed by need, common people may call the souls from the lower world; but there is again a great risk that these souls will not return and will continuously disturb the peace of living people. Owing to these conditions, the common people prefer to leave these operations to the shamans.

From the character of the souls of dead people at least four aims of shamanizing result: (1) finding the souls and managing them in this world; (2) sending them to the lower world; (3) managing them in the lower world: (4) bringing them into this world from the lower world.

Just as in the cases of treatment, the shamans may perform with or without the help of the spirits, whence different forms of shamanizing originate. In fact, when the shaman and the people are certain that the shaman may see the souls, call them, and manage them with his prayers, sacrifices, and «nice words», he would do this without disturbing his spirits. If he is certain that the soul would directly and without difficulties go to the lower world, i.e. when all customs are observed, the deceased person was not particularly attached to the living persons, the deceased person was old, and the living persons have accepted the fact of the death — then he might not call his own spirits. However, when he has to deal with the lower world, or to bring souls back, he must have the assistance of his spirits.

It should be noticed that among different Tungus groups all dealings with the souls are not of equal importance. This depends on two conditions: firstly, on the idea of how far the souls are active in the lower world and of how far their influence may spread in this world; and secondly, on the idea of how difficult their installation is in the lower world. From the psychological point of view souls may occupy the place of other spirits as the cause of psychomental disequilibria, which may be produced by conditions independent of the existing theory, but may depend on the physiological condition. The groups which hold the souls responsible for various troubles would pay much less attention to the activity of other spirits, and vice versa. The «ancestor worship», «filial piety», etc., when transferred into the Tungus complexes, may strengthen the idea of the souls' influence on living people. Among the Manchus the cases when people are disturbed by the souls are therefore much more frequent than among other Tungus groups, and particularly the Tungus of Manchuria, who are disturbed chiefly by the souls of unburied people and burkan. The souls of unburied people disturb the living people among the Tungus of Transbaikalia still less. The second theory, namely, the degree of difficulty of sending souls off to the lower world, is much stronger among the Goldi, than among the Tungus of Manchuria. As shown, a great part of the shaman's energy (great shamans!) is used in sending off of souls. In this operation the Manchus use no shamans, while the Tungus of Transbaikalia only occasionally use them. So, we have some instances when the shamans are almost free of the trouble of going to the lower world, as it has been observed among the Birarchen.

GROUP 1. Finding the souls of dead people and managing them in this world can be done by the shaman without the introduction into himself of the spirits, i.e. the performance may be confined to the discovery, without extasy, of the whereabouts of the souls and to the calling them by various means - e.g. drumming, calling by their names, «feeding» (sacrifice), etc. The Goldi have much more trouble in this respect, for it is presumed that it is difficult to find the souls — they escape, they want to remain free — and a special art is needed for finding them with the help of the shaman's spirits. When they are found, they must be temporarily located in a special placing (fan'a). Whence there has been created a complex performance of neutralization of souls of dead people before their settlement in the lower world. This is done to prevent the self-introduction of souls into the living people and the disturbance of their calm psychomental functioning.

GROUP 2. Sending off of the souls to the lower world is carried out among some groups by shamans without the introduction of spirits, e.g. the Tungus of Transbaikalia (I think all of them), and those of Manchuria. However, in a great number of cases there is no need to ask the shaman for assistance — the souls proceed to the lower world by themselves, if they are provided with the necessary equipment. Among the Manchus the Chinese complex of sending off of souls does not require any special assistance of the shaman. It is different with the Goldi — the souls. (I do not think that it is true of all souls, but only of those which belong to adults, and middle-aged people) are not easily carried into the lower world. The shaman must therefore introduce his spirits into himself and go through all the hardships of visiting the lower world.

GROUP 3. Managing of the souls in the lower world may be carried out in the form of prayers and sacrifices, even without the shaman s assistance. However, when the souls become very troublesome, the shaman may interfere and carry out prayers and sacrifices without introducing his spirits into himself. This is done when the desire of the souls is well known to the shaman. However, there are cases when a personal meeting with the souls by the shaman is needed. In this case the shaman must himself go into the lower world: he introduces certain spirits, after great preparations, as described in the preceding chapter. In individual cases among the shamans and among different ethnical groups the forms of shamanizing and of direct impulses for performing it are subject to numberless variations.

GROUP 4. Bringing souls back into this world is always carried out with the assistance of shaman's spirits. This is a most complicated and difficult task. Two cases may be distinguished, namely: (1) the case when the soul is needed for its re-installation in the body, i.e. the revival of the corpse, when the other souls are still near to it (it is supposed that the corpse is not yet decomposed, i.e. the matter, animus, and some souls are present); and (2) the case when the soul is needed for being placed in this world. The first case is rather simple: the soul is found and brought back by the shaman; it is re-installed in the corpse and the person, supposed to be dead, is revived. Moreover, bad cases may also occur, namely, the other two souls may become loose, or they may lose their equally regular movement (Manchu theory), so that even after the reinstallation of the soul the person may suffer from psychomental trouble, in case of failure (e.g. when death has really occurred), the shaman makes no more efforts, for it may occur because of the actual decomposition of the corpse or the holding of the soul by the spirits of the lower world. Naturally, the performance is the most elaborate and difficult. The second case is much more complex for there may occur different situations, e.g. the soul may be brought back for its permanent location in a special placing and for further care, or the soul may be mastered by the shaman.

The shamanizing may be directed toward one of the aims, or it may be included in a more complex shamanizing. This would depend, as in other cases, on the given conditions, on the individuality of the shaman, and on the practices which exist in the given ethnical units (or group).

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