White Shamans

White Shamans – The Buryat and Yakut peoples of Mongolia and Siberia distinguish between two types of shaman: black shamans and white shamans. Although the distinction is never entirely systematic or absolute, white shamans do not enter trances but seek benefits from upper-world beings for their communities and animals. Piers Vitebsky notes that they may be called “priests” in other places. Caroline Humphrey (informed by Urgunge Onon and citing Galina Galdanova) notes that white shamans are comparable to the ritualists, bagchi, of the Daur Mongols in distinction from their shamans, yadgan, except that Daur bagchi are not shamans whereas white shamans are. Avariety of distinctions in the performance, costume, and social roles of the two groups is also evident. Black and white are not equivalent to “good” and “bad,” unlike the Amazonian distinction between curing shamans and dark shamans.


Historical Dictionary of Shamanism by Graham Harvey and Robert J. Wallis 2007


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