The Nepalese Shamanic Path
An experiential guide to the shamanic spiritual practices of the Himalayas shared by a 27th-generation Nepalese shaman.
- Presents step-by-step, illustrated instructions for authentic Himalayan shamanic practices, including physical and spiritual healing, shamanic journeys, and ceremonies
- Includes exercises to meet the ancestors in your shamanic lineage, techniques to use your voice as a shamanic tool, and practices for negotiating the spirit world safely
- Details shamanic chants and rituals, how to create an altar, and the sacred objects of the shaman, along with exercises and techniques for using them properly
There are few areas of our world where shamanic traditions have been preserved in their original context and form. Nepal is one of these rare and special places. In the shadow of the Himalayas Nepalese shamans, known as dhamis or jhankris, are still consulted for healing and divination, as well as for providing comfort and maintaining harmony. Following the devastating earthquake in Nepal in 2015, shamanic teacher Evelyn Rysdyk and 27th-generation dhami Bhola Nath Banstola decided it was time to safeguard Nepalese shamanic knowledge for future generations by recording the practices in a book.
With this comprehensive, experiential guide to the ancient spiritual traditions of Nepal, Rysdyk and Banstola present step-by-step instructions for authentic Himalayan shamanic practices, including techniques for physical and spiritual healing, shamanic journeys, and advanced ceremonies, such as the Kalkracha Katne, a shamanic ritual for removing toxic energies from an individual. They include exercises to help you meet the ancestors in your shamanic lineage, techniques to use your voice as a shamanic tool, and practices for negotiating the spirit world safely. They detail shamanic chants and rituals, how to create an altar, and how to use the sacred objects of the dhami/jhankri, including the mala, the magic mirror, the drum, and the Khurpa, the shaman’s magic dagger. Rysdyk and Banstola also examine the importance of Nepalese cosmology in shamanic ritual and spiritual deities such as Hanuman, Garuda, and the Nagas.
Illustrated with photos and Rysdyk’s artwork, the book also explores the history of Nepal, its culture and myths, and the different ways Nepalese shamans serve their communities. Written specifically to share the traditional Himalayan shamanic method with the Western world, this guide not only preserves these ancient teachings but also reveals how they are still relevant in the modern world.
The Nepalese Shaman Oral Texts
Professor Gregory G Maskarinec wrote a groundbreaking and award-winning book, “The Nepalese Shaman Oral Texts” on Indigenous Khaas people of West Nepal with a specific reference to the Bishwakarmas (the celestial architects as blacksmiths-BK). The BK Dhami Shamans told him the myths how Mahadeva’s consort, Mahadevi/Parvati went to collect cucumber (we have planted pumpkins) but instead, she plucked flowers, pre-mature tender ones, etc. and how that is explained as the cause of untimely, pre-mature transitions in a poetic way.
And then Mahadeva transmits sacred teachings to different people to protect humans from diseases, planetary effects, etc.
“In order to distance the planets I will put Kalu Jaisi, he will calculate auspicious moments, calculate exact time, will calculate the position of planets, will calculate the sign of planets.
I will put Hunya Bahun who will read the stories, will perform a ritual, will recite the Rudri texts, will diminish the effect of planets on men. I will put Ramma Purancan, Jhankri Jhingratam (shaman) who will postpone messenger of death, untimely deaths, untimely children’s crisis, etc”.
In the book “The Rulings of the Night”, an Ethnography of Nepalese Shaman Oral Texts by Prof Gregory, there is a beautiful recital on how shamanic healing is a collaboration between the healer-Dhami-Jhankri and the patient; the regulations to be followed; the harmony to be maintained and promises to be kept. The shaman’s recitations take the patient to visit and re-live the mythical times and recover the memories.
The shaman speaks to the patient after the healing session:
“Did you eat the green grass, the freshwater?
Yes, did you see the nine suns, the nine moons?
Yes, did you cross the seven-star obstructions,
the seven heavenly barriers?
Yes, if you ascend to the sky,
I’ll pull you back by your feet.
If you descend to hell,
I’ll pull you by your topknot”.
Deep gratitude, respect and thanks to Prof Gregory who spent twenty-one years in studying in the field, collecting data, learning the language and sacred teachings. This fetched him one of the highest awards by the government of Nepal and the then King himself King Birendra Bir Bikram Shaha Deva as ‘Birendra Prajyalankar’.
Books on Nepali Shamanism
“If we had a keen vision of all ordinary human life,
it would be like hearing the grass grow or the
squirrel’s heartbeat, and we should die of that
roar which lies on the other side of silence”.
-Trance, Initiation and Psychotherapy in Nepalese Shamanism: Essays on Tamang and Tibetan Shamanism
by Larry G. Peters
This book contains articles of the first-hand experience by the author with a focus on Aama Bombo, Buddhimaya, whom most of you know either by direct contact when you came to study with us in Nepal or through international conferences.
-The Dozing Shaman- the Limbus of Eastern Nepal
by Philippe Sagant.
This is an ethnographic description of the everyday lives of the Limbu group from daily lives to the rituals and after cross-over accompaniment ceremonies. The writer must have used the word, not as a sleepy but the state of deep trance state during life essences recovery scenes.
-Tunsuriban, shamanism in the Chepang of Southern and Central Nepal
by Prof. Dianna Riboli.
With her extensive research in the filed among the semi-nomadic Chepang group, she had presented an in-depth study of social, cultural and religious lives of the people with a particular focus on the healing aspects by local shamans.
-Body and Emotion, the Aesthetics of Illness and Healing in the Nepal Himalayas
by Robert R. Desjarlais
-The writer explores and depicts the world views on health and healing of local people of Yhalmo, the area North-East of Kathmandu. This small poetic expression by the local shaman tells most of the aspect of suffering and sorrows: If we stay, our hearts will ache If we go, our little feet will hurt. The sadness of little feet hurting, to whom can we tell? (Song of pain).
FAITH-HEALERS IN THE NEAPL HIMALAYAS: 1979
Sahayogi Press-Kathmandu, Nepal.
Casper J. Miller
“Jhankri-shaman’s role is complementary to both priest and doctor. The priest (whether Brahamana or Lama) and his services are required for the predictable aspect of man’s relationship to God, with religion as such, and so there is no direct competition with the jhankri who does not deal with life-cycle rituals except in some groups and communities where the jhankri is also a priest. As regards the doctor trained in Western methods of diagnosis and treatment, though he may at first view the Jhankri as his rival, I believe that a closer look would reveal to him that, at least according to the world-view of his villager patients, he the doctor is treating symptoms while the Jhankri is getting to causes. There are a room and need for both. The doctor will certainly realize that a shared world-view between the patient and physician can be a powerful factor leading to a cure; he should also realize that his modern medical education, based on the secular view of the world, has deprived him of this advantage which the Jhankri continues to possess. Idealistic scheme to train Jhankri to a doctor’s co-worker could be a great idea, but the conventional medical system should also learn how the world of the Jhankri shaman’s works”.
This is also a first-hand account of the multiethnic and multicultural district of Doolkha District of East Nepal. Hearty gratitude for the beautiful fieldwork and sharing the experiences during the pilgrimages and everyday lives of the local.
SPIRIT POSSESSION IN THE NEAPL HIMALAYAS:
By John T. Hitchcock and Rex L. Jones, 1976
This book somewhat covers different ethnic group and cultures from East to West Nepal and from the North to the Southern plains. Well researched nineteen articles make this book one of e good references for people interested in Nepal and the shamanic practices.
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