Spirits from the Edge of the World

Classical Shamanism in Ulchi Society

Spirits from the Edge of the World is a compilation of oral shamanic history gathered from 1994 to the present.

The Ulchi are Manchu-Tungus speaking peoples who gave the word shaman to the world. These people have inhabited the regions of the Amur River since the Neolithic epoch. Their oral histories recount their earliest beginnings in the midst of the Pleistocene landscapes of southeastern Siberia.

This book reveals the essential and comprehensive teachings of Classical shamanism. Wonder tales of enchanted animals, legends of the first ancestral shaman, creation stories, ways of nature, and the intimate relationship between humans and spirits are explored and discussed from in-depth conversations with the elders and last remaining shamans of the Ulchi people.

Table of Contents

Born on a cold shore
And tried by the harsh cold
Only now have I learned and am able
To warm people’s hearts
With a singing voice

— Leonid Laptsuy

GOGA DUVAN, ca. 1940, page 5
GRANDMOTHER TIKA VALDU ANGA WITH HER DOG, BULAVA VILLAGE, page 13
GRANDMOTHER NADIA DUVAN ROWING ON THE AMUR RIVER, BULAVA VILLAGE (BACKGROUND), page 20
KULJAMU SAVENS, BULAVA VILLAGE MUSEUM, page 59
GRANDMOTHER NADIA TYING WAIST STREAMERS ON GRANDFATHER MISHA FOR KASA RITUAL, SONOMA COUNTY, CALIFORNIA, USA, 1996, page 123
BULAVA VILLAGE, KHABAROVSK KRAI: IN SPRING, page 132
GRANDMOTHER TIKA AND PERSONAL SAVENS OUTSIDE HER HOME, BULAVA VILLAGE, page 164
GRANDMOTHER AMA ECHA AND HER OWL PONGA SAVEN, page 194
KUYSALI CLAN YAMPA, page 228
GRANDMOTHER ALTAKA OLCHI (SECOND FROM LEFT) WITH HER FAMILY, BULAVA VILLAGE, page 241
GRANDMOTHER YETCHKA DRUMMING, BULAVA VILLAGE, page 259
GRANDFATHER MISHA DUVAN, BAINBRIDGE ISLAND, WASHINGTON STATE, USA, 1995, page 282
GRANDMOTHER INDYEKA DJAKSUL IN FRONT OF HER HOME, SOPHISK VILLAGE, page 290
GRANDMOTHER TIKA VALDU ANGA, page 307
WOMEN PLAYING ON UDJAJU (LOG DRUM), 1934, page 347
GRANDMOTHER NADIA DUVAN, page 367

I do not know, but forgive me here as I sing my song and dance my dance

Here I stand on the edge where the ocean begins

Here I stand on the edge where the sun falls

Here I begin my journey

Here on the edge where my father’s path begins

There where the sun falls

Rolling and tumbling and traveling with the yellow cloud

Traveling with the blue cloud

Catching up with the red cloud, I begin my journey

My relatives were great shamans

Great shamans

Great tiger spirits

Black nature spirits

That is where its home begins

Taking me along with it

— Grandfather Misha

Personal Journey for the
Shaman and Group

page 400,
Spirits from the Edge of the World

Preface
Ways of Nature
Creation Myths
Upper World
Middle World
Lower World
Rituals for the Home, Travels, Hunting, and Tree Ceremonies
Nature of Spirits
Shaman Autobiographies
& Memories from the Elders
Legends and Foundations
of Ulchi SHamanism
Initiation and the
SHaman's Path
Shamanic Tools and CLothing
Shaman Wars, Weather Magic, Nature Encounters, and Prophecy
Shaman’s Procession, Village Healing, & the Shaman Purges
Shamanic Healing
and the Soul
Elements of the Shamanic Journey
Shamanic Landscapes
and Dream Portals
Shamanic Narrative Songs

About the Author

J. Van Ysslestyne, M.A. is a fluent speaker of the Manchu-Tungus language spoken by the Ulchi culture. She lectures on Classical shamanism through the University of Washington, Burke Museum, Antioch, and Bastyr University in Seattle, Washington. Her publications have appeared in both Shaman's Drum and Sacred Hoop magazines. She is a contributing author to the book First Fish, First People, Salmon Tales of the North Pacific Rim, University of Washington Press. She continues her research into the pre-technical medical practices of indigenous cultures in the territories of southeastern Siberia.

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"This book is a rich repository of commentary, elders’ memories, personal and cultural narratives, all given life and skillfully strung together by an author who appropriately has little presence in the text.
"The book itself is easy to read, with language accessible to all skill levels. When reading this book, one of the first things that became apparent to me was how much of the actual text was direct quotes and commentary given by the elders and shamans of the Ulchi people. I finished this book feeling more like I had just participated in a timeless dialogue, or a lengthy and pleasant conversation over an intimate meal, rather than turning pages in a book.
"Academics, students, lay scholars, and the curious will all find something to value in this book. Those interested in healing will perhaps find something that sings intensely to their souls."

"An excellent book on this unique topic of Siberian shamanism in the Ulchi society. This book was created based upon the author’s many years of discussions and experiences with Ulchi shamans, plus her own collection of rare original source information. The book includes many original photos. A well written and organized book, which I believe will become a classic reference on the subject. I recommend this book to any serious student or researcher."

Publication Date: August 11, 2018
Pathfinder Communications
498 Pages / US $39.95
ISBN-10: 0692104291
ISBN-13: 978-0692104293
Publication Date: August 11, 2018
Pathfinder Communications
498 Pages / US $39.95
ISBN-10: 0692104291
ISBN-13: 978-0692104293
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