God of Ancestral Roots(本鄕)

God of Ancestral Roots

Headword

본향 ( 本鄕 , Bonhyang )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Folk Beliefs > Shamanism > Shamanic Deities

Writer HongTaehan(洪泰漢)

Bonhyang is a god that signifies one’s origins, generally referring, in a shamanic ritual, to the god that oversees the ancestral roots of the family that has commissioned the rite.

Bonhyang, in Korean folk religion, is an abstract deity, one that does not appear in shamanic paintings. The myriad gods in Korean shamanism each have their responsibilities, practicing their goodwill directly on humans, but Bonhyang does not come in direct contact with them. The term is also used to refer to one’s roots or the place where one’s ancestors came from, as in the question routinely addressed in a shamanic ritual, “Where is your bonhyang?” In rituals of the Seoul area, invocation of Bonhyang takes place at the beginning of the mountains god segment (sangeori), or in the ancestral gods segment (josanggeori), prior to the invocation of Gamang (God of Origins), Malmyeong (God of Deceased Ancestors) and Daesin (Shaman Ancestor Goddess), the shaman holding up her rattle and the prayer sheet for Bonhyanggamang (God of Ancestral Roots), calling to request the descent of the deity. Since the mountain gods segment invites the local gods from the well-known mountains around the country, calling out to Bonhyang at the beginning of this segment signifies a quest for one’s regional origins. The same can be said of the order of invocation in the ancestral gods segment. Gamang is a god of origins, responsible for opening the channels of the ritual to allow the gods and the humans to meet at the ritual venue. That Bonhyang is called before Gamang underlines the significance of this deity.

God of Ancestral Roots

God of Ancestral Roots
Headword

본향 ( 本鄕 , Bonhyang )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Folk Beliefs > Shamanism > Shamanic Deities

Writer HongTaehan(洪泰漢)

Bonhyang is a god that signifies one’s origins, generally referring, in a shamanic ritual, to the god that oversees the ancestral roots of the family that has commissioned the rite.

Bonhyang, in Korean folk religion, is an abstract deity, one that does not appear in shamanic paintings. The myriad gods in Korean shamanism each have their responsibilities, practicing their goodwill directly on humans, but Bonhyang does not come in direct contact with them. The term is also used to refer to one’s roots or the place where one’s ancestors came from, as in the question routinely addressed in a shamanic ritual, “Where is your bonhyang?” In rituals of the Seoul area, invocation of Bonhyang takes place at the beginning of the mountains god segment (sangeori), or in the ancestral gods segment (josanggeori), prior to the invocation of Gamang (God of Origins), Malmyeong (God of Deceased Ancestors) and Daesin (Shaman Ancestor Goddess), the shaman holding up her rattle and the prayer sheet for Bonhyanggamang (God of Ancestral Roots), calling to request the descent of the deity. Since the mountain gods segment invites the local gods from the well-known mountains around the country, calling out to Bonhyang at the beginning of this segment signifies a quest for one’s regional origins. The same can be said of the order of invocation in the ancestral gods segment. Gamang is a god of origins, responsible for opening the channels of the ritual to allow the gods and the humans to meet at the ritual venue. That Bonhyang is called before Gamang underlines the significance of this deity.