Introduction to Mongolian Shamanism

Introductory ten-minute video about Mongolian shamanism, revived in the post-Communist decades. Just enjoy the visuals, unless you understand the language. Jenghiz Khan shows up, of course, as does Buddhism.

This well-made video shows the drumming and trance dancing of both male and female shamans. Some of the drums seem to have miniature bows in them — is that a traditional Mongol style?

At about the 1:02 point, however, I had a realization. New Agey esoteric-themed art is a circumpolar phenomenon.


  1. Medeine Ragana says:

    Technically speaking, the “religion” is not called shamanism, as that would mean worship of the shaman, which is illogical. The religion is actually called “Tengerism” which means “worship of the spirits.” If you want to know more, I suggest you get a copy of Sarangarel’s books: Riding Windhorses and Chosen by the Spirits, which you can get at Amazon:

    or go to this website: which has a lot more information. The miniature “bows” that are inside the drums are traditional and the reason for them explained in Sarangarel’s books.

    • Chas Clifton says:

      Color me confused. The word “religion” never appeared in the original post.

      • Medeine Ragana says: defines “religion” as “a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.”

        So, by that definition “shamanism” (or more rightly “tengerism”) would be considered a “religion”, while Buddhism, which does NOT fit that definition, is not.

  2. Chas Clifton says:

    Buddhism in its narrowest philosophical sense might not be a religion, and Gautama Buddha was not a god. but as practiced it does include “devotional and ritual observances,” a moral code, etc. So to argue that it is not a religion is to make a specious distinction, not to mention setting one’s self in opposition to millions of Buddhists.

    However, you might look up “apotheosis” and consider its definition in relation to Gautama Buddha.

    What’s your point, anyway? Did you watch the video? Scholars of religion do more than read dictionaries. Embodied, human practices count for something too.

    • Medeine Ragana says:

      I’m sure that Buddha would be absolutely appalled that people are worshiping him as a god, just as Yeshua Ben Yusef would be appalled that people are worshiping him as a god.

      As far as my “point” is concerned; it is merely to give a different point of view. That is all. No more, no less. Isn’t that what communication is about?

  3. KitchenWitchCO says:

    I remember, years ago, watching a documentory on Mongolia. There are two parts I remember in particuliar. In one a man hiked up to were a spring, a big spring, came gushing out of the hillside. He carried a jerry can of mare’s milk up the trail. Emptied the milk into the flow of water and then bathed in the small waterfall. Stating the spring had healing properties. In the second, another man explained, through a translator, how the Buddhist monks told a shaman he could follow the Buddha or be a shaman but not both. So the shaman abadoned his drum at the river side. That bend in the river was called ‘Shaman’s Drum’. It was the first time I realized that Bhuddist could be as hard on indigenous pratices as Christains or Muslims.

    Thank you for posting this video.

  4. […] More shamanism, this time of the Mongolian variety. (Letter From Hardscrabble Creek) […]