This is a brief introduction to the shamanic world of Siberia, especially
from the perspective of the Mongols. In spite of the linguistic differences
there are overarching themes and images which appear among all forms of
shamanism in Siberia. Indeed, the classic studies of shamanism have given
special attention to the shamanism of Altaic peoples such as the Buryat,
Mongols, and Tungus, creating an image of a “classic” Siberian shamanism.

Some of you may find that certain of the features of Mongolian shamanism
which I describe may not completely be true in all its points for all
Mongolian or Siberian groups. This is the result of the great geographic
area which they occupy and differences in environment and tribal history
which allowed for some variation from the observances or beliefs of their
kindred. Many of you have some acquaintance with the beliefs of Native
Americans, and how their relationship with the world shaped their beliefs
and behavior. This is also true of Mongols and Siberian peoples in general.
Reverence for mother earth and father heaven above as well as for all the
spirits of animals and nature create a way of life which expresses respect
for natural forces and abstains from harm to them whenever possible.

Mongols believe that the goal of life is to live tegsh, in balance with the
world. One stands alone and in power at the center of the world, with
infinite blue Father Heaven above and Mother Earth supporting and nurturing
below. By living an upright and respectful life, a human being (hun) will
keep his world in balance and maximize his personal power (windhorse,
hiimori). Heaven and Earth and the spirits of nature and the ancestors
supply every need and protect all humans. Shamans play an important role in
restoring balance when it is thrown off by disaster or spirit interference.

Forward Page

Books by Sarangerel Odigan

CHOSEN BY THE SPIRITS  Book Description on Amazon:

• Mongolian shamaness Sarangerel provides a hands-on guide for serious students of the shamanic path.• Includes complete directions for traditional Siberian rituals, meditations, and divination techniques never before published.• Shows how to recognize and acknowledge a call from the spirits.

• Offers traditional wisdom for nurturing a working relationship with personal spirit helpers to promote healing and balance in a community.

The shaman’s purpose is to heal and restore balance to his or her community by developing a working relationship with the spirit world. Mongolian shamanic tradition maintains that all true shamans are called by the spirits–but those who are not from shamanic cultures may have difficulty recognizing the call or nurturing the essential shamanic relationship with their helper spirits.

Buryat shamaness Sarangerel has written Chosen by the Spirits as a guide for both the beginning shaman and the advanced practitioner. Although raised in the United States, she was drawn to the shamanic tradition, and in 1991 returned to her ancestral homeland in the Tunken region of southern Siberia to study with traditional Buryat shamans. Her first book,Riding Windhorses, provided an introduction to the shamanic world of Siberia. Chosen by the Spirits delves more deeply into the personal relationship between the shamanic student and his or her “spirit family.” Sarangerel recounts her own journey into shamanic practice and provides the serious student with practical advice and hands-on techniques for recognizing and acknowledging a shamanic calling, welcoming and embodying the spirits, journeying to the spirit world, and healing both people and places.

RIDING WINDHORSES Book Description on Amazon:

The first book written about Mongolian and Siberian shamanism by a shaman trained in that tradition.• A thorough introduction to Mongolian and Siberian shamanic beliefs and practices, which, until the collapse of the Soviet Union, were banned from being practiced.• Includes rituals for healing and divination techniques.

In traditional Mongolian-Buryat culture, shamans play an important role maintaining the tegsh, the “balance” of the community. They counsel a path of moderation in one’s actions and reverence for the natural world, which they view as mother to humanity. Mongolians believe that if natural resources are taken without thanking the spirits for what they have given, those resources will not be replaced. Unlike many other cultures whose shamanic traditions were undermined by modern civilization, shamans in the remote areas of southern Siberia and Mongolia are still the guardians of the environment, the community, and the natural order.

Riding Windhorses is the first book written on Mongolian and Siberian shamanism by a shaman trained in that tradition. A thorough introduction to Mongolian/Siberian shamanic beliefs and practices, it includes working knowledge of the basic rituals and various healing and divination techniques. Many of the rituals and beliefs described here have never been published and are the direct teachings of the author’s own shaman mentors.