Mystical Amulets-A shaman is a healer or a priest with the power to enter an altered state of mind to access and influence the spiritual world. Throughout history, shamans around the world have been responsible for curing ailments, prophesying, revealing hidden truths, and interacting with both good and evil spirits. Shamanic mysticism is one of the oldest practices in the world tracing its origins to ancient native cultures, including Siberian, Native American, Indian, and South American Shamans. It revolves around the belief that everything has a soul, whether living or not. Historically, shamans have relied on their mystical amulets and their carefully-crafted ritual attire. Let’s explore some of the world’s most popular shamanic and magical amulets around the world.
Mystical Amulets in Shaman Costumes
Generally speaking, costumes are one of the key sources of the shaman’s strength. The belief is that they provide protection from evil entities and facilitate travel to subtle worlds. Just to illustrate this, in the eighteenth century, it is said that a Tungus shaman lost all his powers after researchers stole his costume to conduct further studies and prove the validity and existence of Shamanism!
It is important to note that shamanic costumes do not merely indicate tribal affiliation but are magical tools that represent their religion and help shamans undertake their ecstatic journeys.
Upcoming shamans also have various influences, such as mentors or ancestors who were shamans. They would guide them on how to make their costumes. These mentors or ancestors could also leave ornaments or amulets to the shaman’s family for use during costume-making. Apart from seeking guidance from ancestors and mentors, shamans also consult spirits.
Some of the charms within the costume directly depict animal attributes that the spirits allow him to use while transcending to other worlds. Even after the shaman assembles his costume, the spirits never stop giving hints and guiding every decision he makes.
Experts reveal that the costume-making process and wearing the complete costume give the shaman immense power to conduct his rituals. In this regard, seasoned shamans discourage their colleagues from wearing their costumes casually and save their attire for important rituals that require tremendous energy.
Here are some of the mystical amulets in Shaman costumes and what they represent:
In most cultures, the shaman’s headdress is a special part of the costume and contains lots of ornaments and details. For example, a shaman’s hat would have hornlike decorations that look like deer antlers. Yenisei shamans believe these antlers depict the deer spirit animal that helps him run swiftly in the Underworld or outrun evil entities.
Mirrors in a shaman’s costume come in the form of metal disks and could be made of either iron or brass. Among the Nganasan shamans, a mirror is typically an ice breaker when one intends to go down into the Underworld. Mirrors in the Goldi culture are believed to help shamans hold good spirits and easily spot lost spirits.
On the other hand, other cultures believe mirrors will chase bad spirits away as they fear their own reflection. The shaman would place the mirror over the heart or the navel. That said, the placement and composition of the mirrors also tend to differ from one shaman culture to the next.
Some shaman costumes contain iron amulets that dangle from the headdress. The noise emanating when black smiths create the talismans and when the shaman dances vigorously are said to ward off evil spirits. Examples of iron amulets include animal shapes, teeth, six-fingered hands, reptiles, and breasts.
Another interesting element of the shaman’s hat is the fringes they make using beads, fur, tassels, or leather. The shamans would individually sew these dangling pieces to the front of their headdress to cover their faces and protect themselves while they visited the Underworld.
One of the most dominant symbols on a shaman’s costume is a symbol of an animal. In fact, there are birds and animals that capture the attention and awe of young shamans-to-tobe. They are believed to possess mystical powers. By the time a shaman becomes of age and completes their apprenticeship, they already know what totem animal will be displayed in their costume. The image of a totem animal plays an important role in protecting the shaman from evil.
Mystical Amulets in Shaman Rituals
Apart from the ritual attire, symbols and amulets in Shamanism also possess great power and can help the priest transcend from our world to the spirit world. These amulets also make shamans more efficient in their rituals or day-to-day activities such as love magic or gambling. There are generally two main types of rituals, namely healing and diagnostic ceremonies:
Here are some of the mystical amulets in Shaman rituals:
Some Islamic scholars possess shamanic powers and integrate both Quranic and non-Quranic symbols into their charms and use them to perform rituals. This was popular among the Tuareg, a Muslim community in West Africa. In this community, the shamans would write down verses from the Quran on paper and place them inside envelopes or rather, lockets made from silver or copper. A silver envelope was used to symbolize joy and happiness, while copper acted as a shield to protect the shaman.
Among the Wixarika from Mexico, there were singing ceremonies that would last all night long. During the ceremony, shamans would place circular mirrors on their mat, or itari, and use them to monitor the sun’s movement in the Underworld. The mirror would also come in handy when shamans went to the Wirikuta desert to pray to the peyote.
Color in Shamanic Rituals
Color psychology is just as important in Shamanism as in the modern world. For example, Korean shamans, or mansins, wear red during rituals to help those struggling to find marital partners or have unfulfilled desires of getting children. Tuareg diviners associate the color blue with spirits, who guide them as they perform their shamanic rituals and descend into the world of the dead.
In a nutshell, shamanism has remained strong even today, despite facing restrictions and backlash from modernism. In fact, some of the shamanic and mystical amulets are now used by many around the world to attract good luck and protect against evil.