Evil Force(煞)

Evil Force

Headword

( , Sal )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Folk Beliefs > Shamanism > Concept

Writer LeePilyoung(李弼泳)

Sal is a term used for vile and evil forces that harm people and cause destruction.

Sal can also refer to severe damage caused by evil spirits, including diseases, accidents, conflicts or severed ties, which can result in great unhappiness. In other words, sal can be understood as a folk concept for explaining terrible misfortunes that are impossible for humans to solve or comprehend.

Every human is born with a certain curse, brought on by evil force which can be interpreted through folk divination, shamanic foresight, or the four pillars of destiny (saju). According to the four pillars, there are around 190 types of sal, encompassing different periods in life from childhood to marriage, and those related to one’s good fortunes and bad. In Korean folk religion, however, as interpreted by shamans and sorcerers, fewer numbers of bad fortunes afflict human lives, a total of 21, according to some shamans.

The major curses include the ghost curse judangsal, which is to be avoided especially at weddings. If a judang ghost has invaded a person or a house, a repelling rite (judangmullim) is carried out by chasing away everyone standing under the eaves as the bride enters the ritual venue. Another common curse is the death gate curse sangmunsal, which can strike if one improperly witnesses the lowering of the coffin into the grave, resulting in illness or even death.

To prevent such damage, a shaman or sorcerer is hired to perform curse-undoing rituals called salpuri, and there are also myriad folk customs aimed at prevention, one of which is for infants born with blood on their bodies, and to undo this bad omen, the family sends their kitchen knife to the butcher, or shows the newborn scenes of cattle being slaughtered.

Evil Force

Evil Force
Headword

( , Sal )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Folk Beliefs > Shamanism > Concept

Writer LeePilyoung(李弼泳)

Sal is a term used for vile and evil forces that harm people and cause destruction.

Sal can also refer to severe damage caused by evil spirits, including diseases, accidents, conflicts or severed ties, which can result in great unhappiness. In other words, sal can be understood as a folk concept for explaining terrible misfortunes that are impossible for humans to solve or comprehend.

Every human is born with a certain curse, brought on by evil force which can be interpreted through folk divination, shamanic foresight, or the four pillars of destiny (saju). According to the four pillars, there are around 190 types of sal, encompassing different periods in life from childhood to marriage, and those related to one’s good fortunes and bad. In Korean folk religion, however, as interpreted by shamans and sorcerers, fewer numbers of bad fortunes afflict human lives, a total of 21, according to some shamans.

The major curses include the ghost curse judangsal, which is to be avoided especially at weddings. If a judang ghost has invaded a person or a house, a repelling rite (judangmullim) is carried out by chasing away everyone standing under the eaves as the bride enters the ritual venue. Another common curse is the death gate curse sangmunsal, which can strike if one improperly witnesses the lowering of the coffin into the grave, resulting in illness or even death.

To prevent such damage, a shaman or sorcerer is hired to perform curse-undoing rituals called salpuri, and there are also myriad folk customs aimed at prevention, one of which is for infants born with blood on their bodies, and to undo this bad omen, the family sends their kitchen knife to the butcher, or shows the newborn scenes of cattle being slaughtered.