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116. Fighting Of Spirits And Souls

Fighting of spirits and souls comprises definite aims of forced neutralizing of spirits and souls of other people, particularly of shamans. I have included into this group all cases whose aim is not «curing» and also cases of «curing» which cannot be regarded as cases of simple «curing» but which use fighting of spirits as a method of «curing». The cases of fighting souls or living people and especially those of shamans ought to be included in the same group. As a matter of fact, as shown, no essential difference exists between «souls» and «spirits». Their properties are the same, and they can be fought with the same methods. However, the souls must be separated Into a special group, for the effect which may be produced on souls and spirits are different.

An open fighting of spirits and souls is usually carried out by the shaman, when their activity becomes harmful for a great number of people, and sometimes for the shaman himself, so that the only radical solution is to do sway with the spirit or soul for ever, or at least to secure a permanent protection. Therefore shamanizing may be performed independently of the current necessity, e.g. in case of direct attack on the people.

The methods used by the shamans are like these used in other cases, namely, with or without the assistance of other spirits, the former being carried out with or without the introduction of the shaman's spirit into the shaman. A new method is now also used, namely, the introduction of the harmful spirit into the shaman and its complete «mastering». I shall now analyse some cases.

CASE 1. The shaman does not use his spirits and has to fight a spirit or a soul. It is done when other means e.g. sacrifice, prayers, etc. are inefficient. The harmful activity of the spirit can be established from the observation of the condition of the affected persons: there may be recurring nervous attacks, inefficiency in hunting, hallucinations, etc. The shaman would then decide to fight the spirit (or several spirits). By nice words and even by a sacrifice, or merely by the promise of a sacrifice the shaman may invite it or them into a special placing. When the spirit is introduced, the shaman takes the placing and throws it far away in a certain direction (road). In order to prevent the spirit from coming back, the road may be cut by means of digging a ditch, or burying sharp cutting things, rarely skins of animals, such as hog or bear s paws, etc. These methods are especially common among the Manchus. The spirit may also be sent off with the river current, as it is often done with the women s spirits kangan (Birarchen). Such are the most common methods, but the shamans may invent some new methods or some variations of the old ones. It should be noted that the shooting of spirits may theoretically be effective, but the shamans avoid it (e.g. among the Birarchen) for the reasons which will be shown later.

Fighting of souls of common people and especially those of shamans is considered necessary when a continuous harm is noticed, produced by other persons to the people, who ask the shaman s assistance, or to the shaman himself. A supposition as to the nature of the harm and the persons doing it is reached in the same way, as it is with the spirits. The diagnosis is facilitated by the fact that the personal attitude of the enemies is known. The soul is called into the placing and can be managed just like the spirits. Another method is shooting, as already described (vide supra Part Three). In both cases the effect is that the persons may die or become temporarily sick, or at least may feel uneasy and will be afraid to renew their harmful activity. From the formal point of view the performance may be very long, lasting several days, with the shaman singing and drumming, but this spirit will not be involved.

CASE 2. The shaman asks for the assistance of his spirits for fighting other spirits and souls. The difference with the previous case consists in a greater complexity of the operation and a greater security for the success. However, there are also negative sides of this method, namely, the shaman's spirit may disobey him and he would come into a conflict with his own mastered spirits. Another negative side is the danger that the spirits or souls which are fought may, in the process of fighting, mix up with the shaman's spirit and may harm the spirits and the shaman himself. The performance consists of two preliminary acts, namely, the calling in of shaman spirit for assistance and for the placing of the spirit that is to be fought, and the act of deporting of the enemy spirit, while the shaman's spirit is left to protect the person or the shaman himself. In this case the shaman's spirit will be left in a special placing or in the brass mirror. Here there may be another way out, namely, the spirit that is to be fought is left alone by the shaman, but the shaman's spirit receives the order from his master-shaman to fight the enemies when necessary. In this way the fighting is carried out between the spirits.

The same is done when the shaman has to fight souls. The effect on the souls is still more complex than in Case 1, for the shaman s spirit may produce continuous trouble to the persons that are to be fought, (cf. «treatment», also supra, saman joyun, of the Manchus). If the shaman leaves his spirits by the side of persons that are to be fought, the spirit may enter them. The spirit may also become «mixed» with the enemy of the shaman's spirit and produce disturbances among the spirits themselves; e.g. the spirit may «eat» other spirits, destroy them; the spirit may «eat» the sacrifice destined for other spirits and consequently produce dissatisfaction of these spirits with the shaman, who will be suspected of neglecting them (no sacrifice).

CASE 3. The shaman uses his own spirit in order to fight other spirits and souls. The difference between Case 3 and Case 2 consists in the introduction of the spirit into the shaman to give him more power for fighting. Sometimes the shaman has to find the spirit whom he cannot see or reach without the help of special spirits. In fact, some spirits are so clever, that they would avoid approaching the shaman, so the shaman must assume the form of one of his spirits in order to approach the spirit that is to be fought. The performance would be most difficult and complicated, the aim being to fight the spirit and to send it off, even to destroy it, if possible — to «eat» it with the help of the shaman's spirit.

In the case of fighting souls, the shaman, with the spirits introduced into himself, can do this easier, because the souls (of a shaman or other people) can be approached the shamans activity being left unnoticed. However, in spite of its relative easiness for the shaman (he is in a state of ecstasy), shamans do not like to apply this method, for it actually means an open war with other people and shamans who naturally belong to other clans. Thus, such a method means inter-clan war carried on for destruction of the psychomental equilibrium of the enemies (i.e. what used to be called during the great war in Europe the «moral»). Such wars between the shamans will be discussed later.

CASE 4. In order to fight spirits the shaman masters them. Such an occurrence is common when a new spirit appears among the population, or some of the old spirits, previously comparatively harmless, become harmful, but can be «mastered». The diagnosis is made after an observation of a great number of ages of the spirit's activity, and the conclusion as to the impossibility of dealing with all cases separately. Then the shaman decides upon the necessity of «mastering». The operation itself consists in the voluntary introduction of this spirit into the shaman. During the first extasy of the shaman the assistants make an enquiry as to the character of the new spirit, its desires, intentions, etc. When this is done, the spirit may be re-introduced, when needed, and in this way the people are liberated from the danger of being disturbed. If the new spirit is not very important, it is «mastered» independently, or it may be submitted to a control by other spirits (usually, the first spirit of the shaman). This practice is very common among the Tungus of Manchuria. Naturally most of these spirits are dona, i.e. foreign (not clan!) spirits. However, the shamans do not like to have recourse to the mastering or spirits, for they must be absolutely certain that they can do it. If a shaman cannot «master» a spirit and introduces it into himself, he may be «mastered» himself by this spirit, i.e. he would become «crazy», might «lose his mind», etc. It is very unlikely that a young, little-experienced shaman would try such an introduction, — it is more likely that he would choose one of the other methods, e.g. the sending off of the spirit (as in the above cases), or the treatment of individual cases («treatment»). Such a performance is very complicated and it may be carried out in different ways — with or without the help of the spirits. It is more likely that it will be carried out with the help of all spirits of the shaman, for they have to agree as to the adoption of «a new servant of their master». Thus there will be a continuous change of spirits introduced into the shaman one after another, and the whole performance will have a quite special form. The introduction of a new spirit — its mastering -may also take place at the annual «feeding» of spirit. In such a case the performance will be still more complex. The «mastering» of the spirit (soul) of a deceased shaman is of course a special case.


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