National Paranormal Society NPS FOCUS June 2016 - Page 36

Belief in the world inhabited by spirits stands as one of the oldest forms of spiritualism, so it is no surprise, the origins of Korean Shamanism are rooted in many ancient cultures dating all the way back to 40,000 B.C.E.

Korean Shamanism is a compilation of beliefs and practices mainly influenced by Buddhism and Taoism. The Shamans also known as shaman mudang, tangol or muism, will usually be female. There are two types of shamans, Kangshimu and Sessumu. Kangshimu are concentrated in the central and northern regions of Korea while Sessumu live in the southern part of Korea. This individual is considered to be the authority over exorcising evil spirts, invoking good fortune, curing illness and many other things of this nature.

The shaman acts as an intermediary between this world and the spirit world. The Shaman will perform many rituals such as the Naerim-gut, Doang-gut and the Ssitgin-gut. These are the three main rituals of Korean Shamanism and they can be performed in different ways, using different tools and having different meanings depending on the need.

Exorcising evil spirits is one of the most essential things the shaman will do for their people. Possession in Korean Shamanism is called Shinbyeong also known as

“spirit sickness” and “self-loss." Symptoms of this are loss of appetite, insomnia, unusual behavior and visual and auditory hallucinations. The depth of the symptoms can vary depending on each of the shaman’s clients. The shaman will perform the ritual Naerim-gut to cure the individual of its illness/possession or any evil spirits that may be lurking near. While doing this ritual the shaman becomes one with the God of their choosing given the situation. Shamans usually call on The Mountain God, who is the protector. There is another side to this type of possession called the Shinbyeong; the “dream appearance” is a possession of a positive influence in which the individual sees a god-like spirits usually accompanied by a profound revelation. Although these are two opposite aspects, Korean Shamanism considers both sides to be possession.

Traditionally shamans have low social status and can be discriminated against at times for not truly being in tuned with the spirits of the other world. Koreans from all walks of life will seek out the shaman for a variety of reasons. A shaman has a remarkable skill and is well known for exorcising the negativity from the client and replacing this with enlightenment and peace.

Korean Shamanism

Founder Unknown

40000 BCE

Judaism

Abraham

2085 BCE

Buddhism

Gautama Buddha

560 BCE

Shinto

Founder Unknown

500 BCE

Islam

Mohammed

610 CE

Demonology...

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