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The Escaping, Calling Back and Transfiguration of the Soul

As academician B.Renchin observed, sometimes, if someone was suddenly and severely frightened, their soul would leave the body. Te shamans say that this soul has escaped. In such cases, the soul flees through the ring finger of the right hand of its master. Thus, the Mongols put a ring of precious metal such as gold or silver, set with precious stones round this finger bar the souls’ escape.

     Any “Serjim” (libation) is made by the finger with this ring to show respect to the soul and Heavenly respectively.

     In this regard, it is noteworthy that an offering of any beverage, such as tea, arhi |wine|, or milk, made by the third finger of the right hand is called “Blood Serjim” and is considered to be commendable. If the same offering is made with the left hand then it is a “Water Serjim” and is useless. Therefore, according to traditional Mongolian Shamanist customs, libations from the left hand were strictly forbidden.

     Moreover, Mongolian shamans carried out some specific rituals to return an escaped soul to its master’s body. This is called the recall. A shamaness of Iljegen origin, Chimediin Balam |1893-1969|, called back the escaped soul of a family member by the following ritual procedures. Offerings such as mutton, milk, Mongolian traditional dairy products, airag, and arhi |vodka, distilled from milk| were placed before the family Ongons. She put on the pull regalia of a shamaness and the belt of one whose soul had escaped was knotted and placed in the shamaness’ drum. Then she turned her drum clockwise twenty-one times, calling on “Lhanag Black Heaven”, to bring back the soul of the person of whichever year in the zodiacal calendar, for example, Rooster or Rat. Afterward, a cap full of milk was taken out the ger through its roof-ring by the shamaness and someone of the same year as the soul’s master received it outside. if none of the milk was split, then the soul was not angry would return peacefully. If a little was spilled, then the soul was very frightened but would come back soon. If all the milk was lost, then the soul did not wish to return.

     In regard to the passing of a dead man’s mental or vital soul into the womb, the Secret History records what Alangua told her sons: “A man with a yellowish-white face entered the ger through its roof-ring and door-lintel on a beam of light. He massaged my abdomen and the light penetrated my womb. When he left the ger, he disappeared on a beam of sun and moonlight, wobbling like a yellow dog upward through the air”. Thus is a clear example of the Shamanist idea that the mental or vital soul of a dead man exists in the dark world through emanating light. 

     In this way after Dobu Mergen’s death, the mental souls of his widow Alangua’s three sons |Buha Hatagi, Buhatu, and Bodonchar Munhag| were created by himself, the bone souls by a young serving-man of Malig Bayud origin, and the flesh-blood souls by Alangua mother herself. This is generally known as the soul transferal or transfiguration process. Hence, the higher descent of Chinggis Haan is traced from Borte Chinua |Greyish white Wolf| of twenty-one generations earlier, but not from Bodonchar Munhag |dull| of nine generations previously. So Black Shamanism considers that the vital or life soul of a man is transferred from one person to another by rays, which are mostly invisible and intangible; only to ones are invisible.

     There is also a so-called “wandering” soul, which wanders to find a particular body of its original master. Experienced shamans are capable of making special rituals using a sooty pot to help it to find and transfer to the appropriate body in order to avoid a possible misfortune. Moreover, shamans consider that the formation and education of a child begin with the transfer of a soul into the fetus in its mother’s womb. Nevertheless, there are many sayings in shaman invocations regarding “rays of light invisible to ordinary men and women”. This requires serious investigation from future generations of researchers into Mongolian Shamanism.

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