Gods of Korean Shamanism

Learning about the gods of Korean Shamanism? Discover more about the religion of Korean Shamanism and the gods associated with it...

The gods of Korean Shamanism originate from a combination of different belief systems popular in Korea. As a combination of Buddhism and Taoism this belief system eventually evolved into a popular and widespread system of its own in Korea.

The Korean shaman tries to intercede with the gods of Korean shamanism to ask for divine help in different matters. From looking for relief from a disease to abundant harvest and prosperity, the gods of Korean shamanism bestow their grace on mortals when they are called upon. The shaman is actually a person and most commonly a woman who is considered an intercessor between mortals and gods of Korean shamanism.

Basic Precepts of the Gods in Korean Shamanism

Those mortals who require the help of the gods of Korean shamanism use the assistance of shaman women to obtain good fortune or cures for diseases bestowed on them by the gods of Korean Shamanism.

This is done by performing a ritual to remove any evil or wandering spirit, which may have attached itself to the mortal and is thereby causing them distress. Therefore, the job of the shaman is basically to guide any lost spirit back to the heavenly abode.

Basically there is a myriad of disorganized gods in Korean shamanism and there seems to be one for every element on earth. There are, for example, gods who live in trees, stones and sacred caves.

Furthermore, there are some gods that are considered earthly spirits that wander from place to place. There is another set of gods in Korean shamanism that are considered to be tutelary gods for religious sites or households.

Decline and Spread of the Shamanistic Belief System

It is interesting to note that even the Christians and Buddhists who originate from Korea have returned to shamanism at different times because Koreans have been eclectic in their religious leanings. Although this belief system has diminished greatly the remaining practitioners hold on to the lost practice and still conduct different rites and rituals. These typically include prayers for a good harvest nowadays. However, since Korea moved away from being an agricultural land, the use of these practices is also dying down.
Women are reluctant to enter into this profession and often do so as a result of having suffered so called possession by spirits. Once they’re established in a location they do end up making a lot of money by conducting different rituals designed to help other people.

This religion is practiced in different places and can be considered as similar to the Ryukyuan religion as well as some practices in Japan and the Jeju Island, which is, in fact, the center of shamanistic practice.

Application of Shamanism Today

Rather than functioning as a widespread belief system, today the practice of shaman rituals is now considered more of a superstitious belief. To minimize its persistence the government has taken many actions.

However, even though it declined from the 1970′s onwards it is still routinely utilized to deal with psychological problems and psychiatric issues rather than functioning as a religion.

 

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