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Shamans

For many of Russia’s 100+ ethnic minorities, shamanism is a big part of the culture and religion. Originally most of these groups had exclusively shamanist-animist religions. They held the spirits of natural phenomena, places and animals sacred. They visited their local shaman for help with problems. While some of the remotest groups have kept these old religions, many have now converted to more mainstream ones. In southern Siberia this is often Buddhism while in northern and western Siberia it is Christianity. However, almost all of them have kept their belief in shamans.

The main Buryat deity from the Upper World is known as The Eternal Blue Sky. All our lives depend on it. Only shamans can form a communication link between that Upper World and the Middle World of people. Many people go to a shaman first before thinking of visiting a doctor. This mix of shamanism and Buddhism is typical of the Buryats

 

who live on the shores of Lake Baikal. In one village they may have a Buddhist datsan, a shaman and an ordinary medical clinic.

Many of our tours have a shaman ceremony at the start. A shaman meets the group on the shore of Lake Baikal and does a ritual dance with his buben drum. During the ceremony he asks the Buryat gods for protection for the travelers. This can be a truly extraordinary cultural experience and a great photo opportunity. We run trips to practitioners of this ancient tradition on southern Baikal, on Olkhon Island and on the northern shore.

For a more in-depth experience we run private study trips. Guests can live with and learn from one of the greatest Buryat shamans. Please get in contact through this site’s contact page to ask about these trips. Alternatively click on one of the tours below, all of which include brief visits to shamans.

 

For many of Russia’s 100+ ethnic minorities, shamanism is a big part of the culture and religion. Originally most of these groups had exclusively shamanist-animist religions. They held the spirits of natural phenomena, places and animals sacred. They visited their local shaman for help with problems. While some of the remotest groups have kept these old religions, many have now converted to more mainstream ones. In southern Siberia this is often Buddhism while in northern and western Siberia it is Christianity. However, almost all of them have kept their belief in shamans.

The main Buryat deity from the Upper World is known as The Eternal Blue Sky. All our lives depend on it. Only shamans can form a communication link between that Upper World and the Middle World of people. Many people go to a shaman first before thinking of visiting a doctor. This mix of shamanism and Buddhism is typical of the Buryats who live on the shores of Lake Baikal. In one village they may have a Buddhist datsan, a shaman and an ordinary medical clinic.

Many of our tours have a shaman ceremony at the start. A shaman meets the group on the shore of Lake Baikal and does a ritual dance with his buben drum. During the ceremony he asks the Buryat gods for protection for the travelers. This can be a truly extraordinary cultural experience and a great photo opportunity. We run trips to practitioners of this ancient tradition on southern Baikal, on Olkhon Island and on the northern shore.

For a more in-depth experience we run private study trips. Guests can live with and learn from one of the greatest Buryat shamans. Please get in contact through this site’s contact page to ask about these trips. Alternatively click on one of the tours below, all of which include brief visits to shamans.

 

Visits to shamans on Lake Baikal