Friday, July 02, 2010

a visit with a Shaman

The title of shaman is passed on from father to son ( never a daughter) but nevertheless it takes twenty years of practice in it's arts before the title is earned. This Naxi shaman, sanctioned as such by the government, is the only one in Lijang, There are about 4 - 5 others in the area.
A Naxi shaman must be expert in the fields of:
Naxi literature
Herbal medicine
Naxi history
musical instruments

We only were privy to a glimpse of the latter, painting. As you can see above, the shaman is well gifted in that. The brick on his wrist is to keep his hand steady. He showed us several publications where his work has been featured and we both got a sense that he was well respected in the country as well as in the town of Lijang.

I asked him about black magic and was told that black and white magic may either or both be used to cure an illness. Herbs, musical instruments and fire may be used to rid evil spirits.
We were told that witchcraft is rarely practiced in the town although it is common in rural areas.

The shaman was a humble and soft spoken man. There was no flamboyance about him at all rather a steadiness that created a calm aura. Despite a truly vicious dog that protected his gate, we left his house with a sense of having met a lovely person.


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