Village Guardian Deity(守郎)

Village Guardian Deity

Headword

서낭 ( 守郎 , Seonang )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Folk Beliefs > Shamanism > Shamanic Deities

Writer RyuJongmok(柳鍾穆)

Seonang is the guardian deity of a village, responsible for preserving the welfare and prosperity of the community, and for treating illnesses and eradicating bad fortune as well.

The name Seonang is believed to have come from Sanwang (Mountain King), another name for the mountain deity Sansin, and its worship was aimed at using divine powers to protect the communal sites for hunting, farming and cattle-breeding in ancient societies. Built on these sites were altars made of stone stacks (nuseokdan), which served as the location for the descent of higher spirits and as residence for Cheonsin (Celestial God), as well as a venue of worship, called seonangdang. These shrines, which function as a village guardian facility, are located at the entrance of the village, the foot of a mountain, or flat, open spaces. Today, seonangdang are generally comprised of a stone stack altar, some with a divine tree (sinsu) as well, the tree marked with five-colored ribbons (osaekcheon). Seonang worship shares many similarities with ovoo (heap) worship in Mongolia, which might have served as an influence, along with the Chinese Cheng Huang (City God) worship.

Seonang worship is observed in all parts of Korea. Rituals are held either as private rites or as the Confucian communal rite seonang je, or seonanggut, officiated by a shaman.

Since Seonang worship is a faith that seeks divine powers for the protection of the village, it promotes solidarity and cooperation in the community, and seonangdang served as facilities to guard and protect the village with the help of divine powers.

Village Guardian Deity

Village Guardian Deity
Headword

서낭 ( 守郎 , Seonang )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Folk Beliefs > Shamanism > Shamanic Deities

Writer RyuJongmok(柳鍾穆)

Seonang is the guardian deity of a village, responsible for preserving the welfare and prosperity of the community, and for treating illnesses and eradicating bad fortune as well.

The name Seonang is believed to have come from Sanwang (Mountain King), another name for the mountain deity Sansin, and its worship was aimed at using divine powers to protect the communal sites for hunting, farming and cattle-breeding in ancient societies. Built on these sites were altars made of stone stacks (nuseokdan), which served as the location for the descent of higher spirits and as residence for Cheonsin (Celestial God), as well as a venue of worship, called seonangdang. These shrines, which function as a village guardian facility, are located at the entrance of the village, the foot of a mountain, or flat, open spaces. Today, seonangdang are generally comprised of a stone stack altar, some with a divine tree (sinsu) as well, the tree marked with five-colored ribbons (osaekcheon). Seonang worship shares many similarities with ovoo (heap) worship in Mongolia, which might have served as an influence, along with the Chinese Cheng Huang (City God) worship.

Seonang worship is observed in all parts of Korea. Rituals are held either as private rites or as the Confucian communal rite seonang je, or seonanggut, officiated by a shaman.

Since Seonang worship is a faith that seeks divine powers for the protection of the village, it promotes solidarity and cooperation in the community, and seonangdang served as facilities to guard and protect the village with the help of divine powers.