English | Dzongkha Sunday, October 22, 2017

Of disappearing Shamanism

Pema Samdrup, Zhemgang
Jun 30, 2014

DisappearingShamanismThe practice of shamanism could be a vanishing practice in the rural areas of Zhemgang. One of the Shamanic practitioners is 62-year-old Angay Karma, who is from Berty.

Angay Karma said she probably may be the last Shaman in the village. “The young people are not at all interested to learn Shamanism.”  Angay Karma believes that medication can help people only so much. “Sometimes you have to appease the deities and sometimes interact with the spirit world.”

Locally referred to as Pamo, Angay Karma began learning the craft at the age of 21. She said she learned the craft on her own and have performed several rituals over the years. “I perform rituals when people fall sick.”


Angay Karma said she also does astrology.

People from her locality believe that Angay Karma’s skill has helped their village a lot.

A villager from Berty, Dorji Wangchuk, says Angay Karma performs two kinds of ritual: one that last several hours and one that lasts the whole day. “The practice comes from our forefathers.”

And, it costs a villager only a bottle of banchang (local brew) to conduct Angay Karma’s ritual.

1 Comment for “Of disappearing Shamanism”

  1. dokdo

    Science and mystique stays on a balancing beam. One weighs down to make the other less influential. Shamanism and the rituals had their influences in the past but now science has overtaken. It is natural for people to choose the medicines with immediate effect and provided free by the govt than to pay a shaman and HOPE the patient will get cured.
    But there are people that do believe in shamans and rituals and rightly so as the world we are occupying is shared with other 5 beings realm – most of which we cannot see. They do affect us and must be appeased or negotiated only through shamans and ritual masters. However, the service charges are way beyond the normal purse and people are abandoning in light of modern alternatives. It is a business only the performers can correct themselves to stay relevant.

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