Notes on Conversation with a Shaman from Mongolia
Conversation with Zorigtbaatar Banzar, Shaman from Mongolia
William C. Gough; Cynthia Larson; Richard Hiersch; Bett Martinez
September 5, 2004 6 p.m. to 3 a.m. &
September 6, 2004 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
1. Zorigtbaatar Banzar is a shaman from Mongolia who discovered the 21st International Conference on the Study of Shamanism and Alternative Modes of Healing on the internet and expressed a desire to attend.
2. Zorigtbaatar leads the "Shid-Boo" Shaman Center, Bayangol District, Ulaangaatar, Mongolia (Telephone: 99152987 or 9929890; E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org). Before 1989 the Mongolian society under the communist regime didn't recognize any alternative medicine or traditional thinking including shamanism. After 1989, people gained their freedom of thought and alternative thinking and all kinds of religions were allowed.
3. Zorigtbaatar treats from 30 to 40 patients a day at his center in Mongolia. He is one of the most recognized shamans in his area for treating patients and clients. He charges no fixed fee, but accepts donations. His wife, Bayarmaa Osor, who he has trained as a shaman does the diagnoses and he serves as the "rural doctor." It is obvious which people need healing because they have dark energy rather than light energy, and the places that require healing show up as dark.
4. Many times during the evening while the Shaman was talking, his wife would also begin speaking. Her simultaneous input to the conversation seem to be adding information. There was never in her voice a tone of correcting him, and he didn't seem impatient with her speaking on top of him -- it was just "how they do it."
5. Jamba Luvsan was our translator for the evening session. During the afternoon session there was no translator. Jamba, who is from Mongolia, is a business graduate from Dominican University. He met Zorigtbaatar "by chance" in the cafeteria and offered to translate for him. Since his grandmother was knowledgeable in the native shamanic practices he proved to be an excellent translator who could not only speak fluent Mongolian and English but understood the deeper meaning of the shaman's words. Kaye Griffin saw Jamba easily conversing with Zorigtbaatar and invited Jamba to join us at the conference in the Santa Sabina Center -- which he did. Zorigtbaatar then said to Jamba that he would really love to talk to some of the conference attendees. Thus, Jamba approached Bill Gough and the conversation began as others joined in to participate.
6. Zorigtbaatar Banzar gained his shamanistic skills through direct "knowing." It appears that in shamanism, through the force of one's intent (conscious or unconscious), one becomes the vehicle for the energy. That's why, although the Shaman learns from all he observes, including from those who give teachings, the Shaman does not need a specific teacher or guru.
7. When doing healing work, Zorigtbaatar works with spirits from a time when people were more interdependent, and had a strong interpersonal interwoven fabric of support, encouragement, and respect. Their energy was therefore purer in comparison to our current modern-day practice of standing alone like a single thread, easily broken, and not associated with others. Unlike his ancestors whom he calls upon, we are disconnected from others. This disconnection is hurting us, and also damaging our civilization. As a shaman he is trying to reestablish the harmonious relationship his ancestors had with Nature and each other on the earth. Zorigtbaatar's mission for coming to the United States is in hopes of reuniting the peoples of Earth into cohesive groups that will care for and nurture each other, as was the case in the past, for the preservation of humanity.
8. He does not want us to follow the path of ancient civilizations like Atlantis and Mu whose inhabitants had great power and learning. However, they had problems, as disconnecting from personal relationships became the norm, just as is occurring in our current societies. This caused the fabric of existence of these ancient societies to weaken. The result was the downfall and loss of their civilizations.
Nature of Energy
9. Everything has energy in it. The rocks, the grass, the trees ... everything. There are three primary kinds of energy: Galactic Energy, Human Energy, and Earth Energy. We are all immersed in a sea of galactic energy. Galactic energy includes the energy of the Sun, the Moon, and the stars. Science has an incomplete and imperfect idea of how things work, because scientists do not observe from a shamanic viewpoint, and therefore miss a great deal. Thus, energy is more than just the "ability to do work." It contains an information content -- there is no word in our western science to recognize such a distinction in energy types.
10. We are all in touch with the Absolute. We don't need to go through Jesus, Buddha, etc. For example, in Buddhism a person learns to meditate in order to see energy. This enables them not to come into conflict with energy inappropriately. Practitioners of traditions like Buddhism do not work as actively as a shaman does to rearrange energies. A shaman actively directs or pushes the energy and also shape-shifts to direct spirit energy.
11. When he does a healing ceremony, Zorigtbaatar wears a large eagle on his back. The eagle is a pure and powerful spirit that cooperates in his healing and represents one of his totem animals. Wearing it brings it near, so it's spirit can attack the illness and make it go away.
12. During the healing process last evening, every movement had a meaning. It was not just a dance. He was shaking out the fear in the person, then the pain, then doing a healing. This shaman looks for the key on how to enter into the person. The shaman told us that the ability to find the key to unlock each illness separates shamans from most other healers and intuitives. Most healers can see a malady but only treat symptoms or take on the disease themselves to provide temporary relief for the patient. The shaman who holds the correct key can unlock the illness and separate it from the patient.
This shaman works with a vast range of tools and spirits, and sings in harmonics, subharmonics and high harmonics to coax the spirit's interest in healing and to unlock and destroy disease. Zorigtbaatar sings to bring out and focus the energy where he sees it needs to go. He uses many techniques to get the patient to release the disease once it is unlocked. This might include startling the patient, tricking the patient, and jolting the patient back to a state of confidence. However, some people feel they need their disease and do not want to be healed. In his demonstration to the conference, he took out the person's deadened soul and put it back, revived. This is why he hit the two spots -- back of the neck and the base of the spine. The patient needed to reestablish confidence, to want to live and eat, and to feel positive about their body. To bring a recently deceased person back to "life" that person must love their body. If the spirit finds that you do not love your body it will not return to that body, as it would be unattractive.
13. The state of one's energy condition is observable by looking into the patient's eyes. This is where Zorigtbaatar looks for his diagnosis. To the shaman it's like a gauge or a meter reading on the person's energy condition.
14. When he uses plants, he does not use them via ingestion but rather invokes their energy on the outside of the body. This means that there is really no need to ingest plant material to derive benefit that can be energetically transferred. The shaman believes in asking the plant how it feels, and eliciting the plant's help in healing.
15. During the evening while Zorigtbaatar was talking, he would place his hand on or over parts of the body of both Bill and Cynthia, who were sitting on either side of him. Although seldom looking at them directly, he appeared to be doing an energy healing.
16. The spirit or soul of the about-to-be-born child enters the body at the time of conception. This is the only time it can enter. To enter, the spirit requires a set of conditions that involve the air, temperature, cosmic energy, and body rhythm. You breathe it in, and the spirit then enters at the crown chakra. Some people are consciously aware of the time when this happens. Bett Martinez is one of them. Dr. Ruth-Inge Heinze noted that Buddhism absorbed many shamanistic thoughts and that the concept of the soul entering the fetus at the time of conception is a part of the Buddhist tradition especially in Mongolia.
17. When you die where does the spirit go? At the time of death you have a choice about whether you will come back or not. This choice is available to you regardless of whether you have been a good or bad person during your lifetime. If the spirit exits the mouth at death, it will certainly return back to earth when a body becomes available. If the spirit leaves the body through the crown chakra at the time of death, then it may not reincarnate as a human, nor mingle with human energies, but goes on to join galactic energies. If the spirit leaves the body through the heart at the time of death, then it goes to a place from which no more human incarnation is possible. Sometimes spirits hang around the earth in the physical until released. Galactic energy was further divided into the Sun (strongest), Moon (reflected, therefore weaker), and stars (more distant, therefore weaker).
17A [The following contribution from Jamba Luvsan is based upon his translation of Zorigtbaatar's book "Shid boo" or Magic Shaman of Eternal Heaven, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia: Tsogt Print Publishing Co. Ltd., 2003, pp.83-85.] Solar energy or "father soul" with 55 positive powers "sits" on one's right shoulder, while on the left shoulder "sits" moon energy or "mother soul" with its 55 negative powers. The human soul is the "sun" of our body and resides on the top of the head or in the bottom of the heart. With the last breath the soul can leave through the chakras of the human body. A traditional belief of the Mongolian people is that the spirit "lives" in the human body, and in it’s bones. After death the soul can stay in the body during the first seven weeks (49 days). But the soul can stay up to three years in human bone after death. So according to this tradition, the first memorial service will be held after 49 days, and the last service after three years.
18. There are occasions when someone has physically died, yet it is still possible to bring a newly deceased person back to life. It is necessary to call back their spirit, and to help their spirit see that the body is still attractive. If the body is not attractive to their spirit, the spirit may choose not to re-enter. That is why it's important to maintain the body as being as attractive and healthy as possible. The example that Zorigtbaatar Banzar gave was of two hunters in the woods from the same tribe. One inadvertently died from a fall or misadventure. The other hunter, finding him, brought the spirit back to his friend's body so he could live again.
19. The anchor points for holding the spirit in the body are located at the back of the neck (C-7) and at the base of the spine.
20. It is easy to bring in spirits and enlist them as helpers in healing. The more difficult task is reading the energy of the spirits and the person. It is like reading a book of a person's life. We all have access to this information about the past and future, and can learn to see it. Being discerning when asking for spirits is all important. One needs to bring in good spirits for effective healing. Junk spirits will result in junk healing.
21. The reasons that men and women get married are: 1) to lessen their fears; 2) to be procreative; 3) for financial advantage, and 4) for the convenience and pleasure of living together. True love between men and women increases their positive energy, which affects their ability to create wealth, and their well being.
22. The Shaman spoke about the 12 "signs" in the year and the 12 colors. He was using the oriental astrology system. Since Bett and Bill are both "Horses", he made signs that appeared to relate to vitality and then gave us our colors. He said the color of the Horse sign is yellow, but Bett has orange in hers. He said we can evolve our color. He did the same for Cynthia who is a Tiger. He said that her color is red, but he then pointed to several red shades including a magenta shade and he said that she can shift from one to another. It seemed that he could see our colors, and that he wasn't acting from a book formula. Mr. Zorigtbaatar states in his book that "Human energy or spirit has nine colors. Five bright colors are from the eternal energy of heaven, and four light colors are from the earth" (pp. 89-90 as translated).
23. Zorigtbaatar Banzar mentioned that we each have minute quantities of trace elements in the body. It is the individual profile of these trace minerals that confer on us our unique abilities. The level of gold and silver in the body determines the spiritual level of a person. The body can generate these elements internally. In ancient Egypt they used to check the ashes from a body to determine the level of spiritual evolvement.
24. Today’s societies are not in harmony with Nature. We were meant to be all connected, yet our economic systems causes relationships to be severed. This results in a weakening and loss of the fabric of humanity. Also, the earth is a living organism. The removal of gold from its rocks and soil is having a negative effect on rainfall and weather, among other things. We are in a downward spiral and therefore people have less of the precious elements in them at this time. It is a natural course of cosmic events, and there will eventually be a rebirth cycle. Thus, there is no judgment regarding our current downward cycle -- it is just how things are.
Before including the comments from Zorigtbaatar and Jamba in our draft write-up, I went to Wilbur Hot Springs for a meditative retreat. In the evening I walked into their library. On the top shelf prominently displayed with the cover facing me was the book The Religions of Mongolia by Walter Heissig. The book had originally been published in German in 1970 and translated into English by Geoffrey Samuel in a 1980 edition by the University of California Press. The following quotes are from the book and its cover.
"Professor Heissig is mainly concerned in the present book with those beliefs and concepts which belong to the non-Buddhist folk religion of the Mongols. Scholars have in recent years discovered original Mongol texts and documents unknown till now, and Professor Heissig's own researches in European libraries have revealed more than seventy-eight manuscripts, containing prayers and invocations from the folk religion, all of which provide essential material on the non-Buddhist religious conceptions of the Mongols. His philological work on these Mongol texts is the basis for this account of the ancient religious ideas of the Mongols. He begins by describing the Shamanism of the Mongols, then gives an account of the spread of Lamaism (Tibetan Buddhism) and the subsequent Lamaist suppressions of Shamanism. The main part of the book is devoted to a study of the Mongolian folk religion and its pantheon, which includes heavenly beings, the ancestor god, the deity of fire and equestrian deities." (cover)
"From the very earliest historical reports concerning the Mongols, from the time of their confederation into a state, right through to the reports of present-day travelers, we meet with accounts indicating the presence of a religion whose essential traits are ecstasy and the ability to combat harmful powers and forces and to look into the future in order to interpret and prophesy, through the help of spirits which have been made subservient." (p.6) --- "True shamanism, as one may call these older religious beliefs in contrast to the more recent types of 'mixed' and finally' Lamaized' shamanism, is shown in this way to have derived from ancestor-worship. The spirits of the ancestors are worshiped because they promise help against the constant dangers threatened by the powers of nature." (pp. 8-9)
The shamanic costume worn by Zorigtbaatar Banzar had a shiny reflecting plate on the front. I wondered about its significance. The Heissig book states: "Even in cases where the rest of the ceremonial dress has already been forgotten, the ceremonial apron and mirror-hanging still play a prominent role. --- A shaman once explained to me personally that the white horse of the shamans lived in the mirrors. Often, however, mirrors are also worn on the breast and on the back. These mirrors have a multiple function. In the first place, the mirrors are meant to frighten evil powers and spirits. --- A further symbolic function of the shamanistic mirror is that it reflects everything, inside and outside, including the most secret thoughts. Through the power of this mirror the shaman acquires the status of an omniscient being. Finally, the third task of the mirror is to turn away the hostile invisible missiles of the evil powers and thus to protect the shaman from the injuries they cause." (p.19)
Zorigtbaatar visited the meetings of the Foundation for Mind-Being Research on September 24th and 25th. Edie Fischer, a Hungarian, was interested in the relationship between her ancestors the Huns and the Mongol Empire. She therefore asked Zorigtbaatar about reincarnation and when Genghis Khan would reincarnate. His reply was that reincarnation times vary, but for someone of the power and uniqueness of Genghis Khan it would be 1,000 years before his next reincarnation. Heissig points out that because in Mongolian shamanism the spirits of the forefathers are worshiped, Genghis Khan naturally received such worship after his death. According to the Mongolian tradition, shrines for the sacrifices in memory of Genghis Khan were originally erected in the thirteenth century. (pp. 59-62)