Hereditary Shaman(世襲巫)

Headword

세습무 ( 世襲巫 , Seseummu )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Folk Beliefs > Shamanism > Concept

Writer ChoJunghyun(曺鼎鉉)

Seseummu is a shaman who inherits the calling as part of a family trade passed down through generations.

The practice of inheriting the shamanic role was prevalent in regions south of the Han River, and hereditary shamans did not experience possession but carried out the role by training in the skills of the ritual.

Hereditary shaman communities around Korea include the dangol shamans of Jeolla Province; the byeolsingut (village ritual) shaman community of Gangwon and Gyeongsang provinces; the community of male shamans called hwaraengi in southern Gyeonggi Province; and sinbang of Jeju Island. These communities pass down the shamanic tradition through mixed lineages of both patriarchy and matriarchy and also through exclusive dangol ties formed between a shaman and her followers.

Hereditary shamans designate the various duties of ritual staging to members of their communities instead of hiring musicians or other professionals, and many of them are highly skilled in the performing arts, including song, dance, music and acting, which are their main channels of communicating with the gods. This does not mean, however, that hereditary shamans never experience possession. In the byeolsingut shaman community of the east coast, many shamans have been initiated through possession rituals or have been through experiences similar to those of possessed shamans. It can be concluded therefore that in Korean folk religion, the tradition of the hereditary shaman, which involves training in the shamanic practice, and the tradition of the possessed shaman who experiences direct contact with the gods, are naturally interconnected.

Hereditary Shaman

Hereditary Shaman
Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Folk Beliefs > Shamanism > Concept

Writer ChoJunghyun(曺鼎鉉)

Seseummu is a shaman who inherits the calling as part of a family trade passed down through generations. The practice of inheriting the shamanic role was prevalent in regions south of the Han River, and hereditary shamans did not experience possession but carried out the role by training in the skills of the ritual. Hereditary shaman communities around Korea include the dangol shamans of Jeolla Province; the byeolsingut (village ritual) shaman community of Gangwon and Gyeongsang provinces; the community of male shamans called hwaraengi in southern Gyeonggi Province; and sinbang of Jeju Island. These communities pass down the shamanic tradition through mixed lineages of both patriarchy and matriarchy and also through exclusive dangol ties formed between a shaman and her followers. Hereditary shamans designate the various duties of ritual staging to members of their communities instead of hiring musicians or other professionals, and many of them are highly skilled in the performing arts, including song, dance, music and acting, which are their main channels of communicating with the gods. This does not mean, however, that hereditary shamans never experience possession. In the byeolsingut shaman community of the east coast, many shamans have been initiated through possession rituals or have been through experiences similar to those of possessed shamans. It can be concluded therefore that in Korean folk religion, the tradition of the hereditary shaman, which involves training in the shamanic practice, and the tradition of the possessed shaman who experiences direct contact with the gods, are naturally interconnected.