Siberia

                                                                             

SIBERIA IS A LIBRARY OF THE WORLD’S MAGIC,   MYTHS AND LEGENDS   

         ‘The Land of Promise’
                                                    

 
                                  



                                                                 


                                             
             The voice of the wind and thunder from the mountains and prairies are a homage to a race of brave people whose faith and their destiny has led them to a land they may still call their own. Siberia has been known as a land of diverse climates and extraordinary landscapes. At the same time, its widely unknown wilderness and many fascinating cultures of its indigenous peoples have always attracted researchers and visitors to learn more about this part of the world. There is a great variety, with almost every type of landscape: luxuriant meadows, medicinal springs, boundless beautiful lakes, rushing mountain rivers, dusty deserts and snowy chains of mountains. This magical land, land of freedom, land of opportunities, with its majestic eagles flying over and white-winged gulls, the bears and horses and animals, which symbolize nature. Here it is possible to observe amazing contrasts. In the north, people breed deer, in the south camels. A strong flowing river with fish in it, and vast forest reminded me a little bit of British Columbia, Canada. Siberia is marvelous at any time of the year; whether covered with white glittering snow in winter, or carpeted with wild flowers of all shapes and colors during the summer.How can one count all the treasures of Siberia? Whether it’s the ones that men have made or the lovely things that have come down to us through the ages? Nature has filled the earth with beauty, but we have to see it and feel it, each year spring will come and the flowers will bloom. The architecture, art and nature of the world are a glorious inheritance of which we can never be too proud. The people of prehistoric times and primitive cultures have laid the groundwork for modern exploration. Our knowledge of these groups comes from archeological or anthropological observations.


              

  

     I believe that today has its roots in the past, and even simplest action has some link with history. Somehow the stories of the past help us to explain the present, because there is always a connection and interconnection with the past, present and future. They are people who live in a beautiful fertile place, with many striking differences between the people of various provinces of Russia. Yet, today there are places in the 21st century where time seems to stand still, and the people live in much the same way that their ancestors did hundreds, or even thousands of years ago. Russia has a highly developed modern civilization, but yet, back in the wild, there are tribes who are still living in the Stone Age. The old stories become a portion of our ancestors, or understanding. They are like paths, whenever we hear them, it is as if we were physically walking down a particular path that was created for us. Everything we perceive upon this path or around it becomes part of our experience. It’s like a shaman’s mirror. Every story has many mirrors that reflects certain realities that exist around us. Each one of these mirrors is a real picture without the human mask we are sometimes covering our face with. We are like the mirror — a symbol of everything that we have built. Pictures of these stories are without the mask, real, honest, introducing hard working people of the north, people who care for each other, because they need each other. Let us open our eyes as we walk down its path where we can see many images, ready for us, because the fire and the mirror story represent the spirit of the people. It is true to say that various remote tribes in far corners of the world, especially Russia, where people still live their lives through what we call meditative practices. Nature has been linked into their belief. People would pray for sun or rain, whatever was needed in their lives to allow their crops to replenish. They would pray for enough food to eat, for a healthy child or to be free from disease. Again, when we look back on the early art of the world, it was centered around the several religions of the human race. Today architecture, anthropology and archaeology, could be called the ‘parents of all art’, whatever it may be: rock paintings, sculptures or religious figurines.

One of the oldest religions is Lamaism, although not publicly practiced today; it is the belief in reincarnation and the influence of karma. It is sometimes called The Black Faith opposite to the Yellow Religion that the Chinese call shamanism TaoShen.

          
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Pic.1  Healing (book- Siberian Keepers  Pic.2 - Doctor, teacher and shaman - Mongush Borakhovich Kenin-Lopsan. Pic.3 Ceremonial place, Pic.4 Outside situated picture;clinic in Kyzyl, Pic.5 Shamanic Healing Clinic in Kyzyl is the centralized religious organization. Healing Russian herb http://www.rain-tree.com/artichoke.htm

 

Lamanism was before Buddhism and practiced in an animistic religion called Bon. Many of these rites were peacefully incorporated into Tibetan Buddhism and are still practiced today. One of them called “Shedur” and is for the exorcism of ghosts or dangerous spirits. The six‐day ritual is usually the complex ritual and always begins with the lamas’ invoking a fiercely
protective goddess called a Dakini. The Lama use an effigy, modeled from barley flour and butter, while chanting spells aimed at preventing the ghost obad spirit from a pot. A doll is stabbed with a ritual dagger and the remains are burned in the same pot, by the fourth day the lama and his attendants’ cart the effigy ashes for a burial. The final two days are spent with elaborate crosses to attract the attention of the gods.

        
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Pic.6 Shaman’s concept of Three Selves (Suld, Ami and Suns) - Kyzyl. Pic.7 Shamans burial. Pic.8 and 9 Shaman’s costume and cross drum.
Some costumes are inherited from previous shamans and represent traditional garb. For Tuvan shamans, wearing metal is essential. The custom requires ornaments on the kafta. The kaftan is his “armor” for protection. Some shaman’s wear nine mirrors called “Toli”,pic.8. Mirrors are supposed to frighten evil and turn away bad spirits. Further, mirrors reflect everything, inside and out, including thoughts.

 Pic.10 Old ortz- (Uurts)
 
The old yurt is covered with animal skin and some parts by birch tree bark. In the mind of a Siberian the yurt is always in the centre of universe and microcosm. The entrance faces south. Behind the fire is the most honored spot located on the north side.The left side is for women and right is for men; the right is also where they keep their weapons and ritual objects. The left side is also the cooking area.

 Movement in the yurt is important and must be done in a clockwise direction —this direction is according to the path of sun. The path of the sun acts as a time clock during the day. The centre of the yurt is the most sacred place and is where the fire is located.

 It is place of daughter of Father Heaven, and represents the ancient world, cosmos, time and human beings. The fire follows a precise symbolic order. To the north opposite the door there is the rat, the picker, then seats for the elders. There is the position of the snake, and the place of the servants. The rooster is where strangers and guests sit. There is dog as a symbol of abundance. The pig also has an own place and is the symbol of the product of nature, much like sheep, which are a symbol of wealth. Everything in the yurt has its own place and is revered by the nomads with respect. It’s as though all of nature is part of their home.


Shamanism is understood by some people to be a primitive form of religion or religio-magic practised by the aborigines of northern Asia as well as by all other aborigines in other parts of the world.

             



    















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Siberia has been known as a land of diverse climates and extraordinary landscapes. At the same time, its widely unknown wilderness and many fascinating cultures of its indigenous peoples have always attracted researchers and visitors to learn more about this part  of the world. 

The Republic of Tuva, with its eagles and blue and white mountain peaks covered with melting snow, is gorgeous. The beauty of the region leaves one restless with imagination. Tuva is a testament to the cultural wealth of the people — it is embodied in tradition.The main city, Kyzyl, is far from picturesque and is isolated from the rest of Russia by the mountains, situated in the middle of the Asia.
A unique form of music exists in Tuva commonly known as throat singing or khoomei.
The algysh, a shaman’s song is a very ancient genre of the Tuvan folklore. The music has an impact and visual effect, dances and tricks of a shaman during the rituals created as image of one-act theatre.

People may have different opinions of shamanism and its music, but nobody can completely ignore this phenomenon. Although music is only one layer of shamanic culture, being rooted in the humanity and folklore images and can be called as a ‘Forefather’ of modern literature as well as roots nature interrelated in all its diversity of centuries. While preparing for a shamanic ritual, the shaman has to throat-sing a sygyt piece. The symbolic essence of sygyt is to help the soul call his spirit-helpers.The shaman sets up a soundscape using the natural setting: rustling breezes, bird calls, voices of domestic animals. Music helps the shaman and other participants in kamlanie to locate and enter the inner world, opening the inner spiritual ear. Secondly, musical sounds call spirits and transport the shaman on a journey. Thirdly, both the rhythm and timbre of the musical sound help the patient through the effects of specific frequencies of the human body and promote healing.Throat singing (Khoomei) is one of many ancient arts. Some people believe that khoomei was birthed from a desire to speak the language of nature, translating the earthly sounds of a whistling wind, rivers and gurgling brooks into human tones supported by spirits. This very unusual singing technique involves a single vocalist producing two and sometimes three distinct tones simultaneously.
          
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There are various techniques of khoomei, some giving the effect of multiple tones by emphasizing overtones.  Some famous groups from Tuva who feature throat-singing are Huun-Huur-Tu, Chirgilchin and the Alash Ensemble and National Tuvan Orchestra

Throat singing styles are endless, but generally Tuvan’s recognize five styles:
1. Khoomei (Xoomei) is a midrange style, featuring a subtle overtone melody. It can be used with singing worlds.
2. Borbangnadyr is a rolling style reminiscent of water in a stream.
3. Sygyt is high overtone whistle.
4. Kargyraa is a low, rumbling style
5. Ezengileer is style that imitates the metallic clanging of ezengi.

Some Instruments:
1. Igil is two a stringed bowed instrument held between the legs. Igil could be like the great-great grandpa of the cello.
2. Doshpuluur is a three-stringed instrument. The front and back are made of skin.
3. Byzaanchy meaning “calf” four-stringed bowed instrument.
4. Mergu is end blown overtone flute
5. Limpi is open side six-hole flute.
6. Shynggyrash is basically bells made from horse tackle.
7. Kengirge is large frame drum. First introduced by Tibetan Buddhist and both sides are made of goatskin.


Musical expressions, the ultimate in portable art, are rich and diverse in the different communities. Folk songs are sung in both Tuvan and Mongolian, with lyrics focusing on family, herding, cultural identity and nature. 
                   
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 Pic.14-Front of the cave of the Holy Mountain. People leave offerings. Pic.15 Each spring has its own healing power and people believe that the springs can heal different parts of the body. The pink, blue and other colored ribbons, called (chalamaas) are all over to give thanks’ to the spirit of the water for its healing and help.



       The historical chapters carry us from the first struggling colonies to the modern powerful time of today. The history of man’s achievements, the life and times of great people, men and women, whose names are known or unknown in this great world of ours. Siberia has had a strong influence on the destiny of the people and on their way of life. Who shall count the treasures of the world that men have made; the lovely things that have come down to us through the ages?

Nature has filled the earth with beauty, sometime, or all the time in the dark hours of the world; it is good to remember that spring and summer have never failed to come and daffodil have never failed to bloom, that June bring white and red roses, and lift up the hearts of man, too, who has made a glory in the world not unworthy to compare with nature in her glory.

It is good to think of all the beauty of the World, its people that enriches our planet. So that our treasure, our inheritance is two- fold. The ancient art is treasured mainly because it is a living emblem of a dead civilizations; where beauty and imagination are revealed in form and color, which satisfy the soul as food satisfies the body, where their nature is hidden deep in mystery of life, than we can think of the spirit, as real as are the physical senses of hearing, sight, touch, taste and smell, reaching out beyond the ideal. These spirit-senses of beauty and imagination are our powers which the human soul has developed through thousand of years of effort to express itself.

 Almost every man is moved by it to the doing of certain kinds of work on which he can stamp his own individuality. Self-expression in lovely imagery, become a driving force that pushed a wedge, so to speak, through the history of their days.

 The more we cultivate on sense of beauty, the more shall we show the marks of our breading. The history says for us the things we cannot say for ourselves, as our feeling for beauty grows, we realize that history speak for us in other ways, immeasurable in their power- because is like outwards and inwards fragments of human wishes and hopes, held forever in a golden web. 

 eagle -petroglyph

So far very little is known about the spiritual life of Mesolithic (Middle Stone Age 8000-3000BCE) man. His settlements were on sandy soils, which preserved only stones, and no burials have yet been discovered. It is very hard to believe or imagine that the art of the period should have perished entirely, but very little has been found. Only very few traces of art have been discovered, probably because of the less durable materials (bone and wood), that were used in this period. Little blades – triangles, crescents, little round scrapers, and many other small-sized implements are typical of this stone Mesolithic culture in Siberia.

The Paleolithic and Mesolithic man lived in passive dependence on the forces of nature, whereas Neolithic man made nature work to his advantage, in a development often referred to as the “Neolithic revolution.” These were the earliest farmers. Animal worship during the Middle Stone Age period was intertwined with hunting rites.

 Today, we can found, all over the world the Mesolithic images incised in rocks, by prehistoric people. These images have deep cultural and religious significance for the societies, especially shamans. Links between shamanism and rocks-art, amongst prehistoric people, is dated from day one. Between shamans, there is believed that rock has also a consciousness.

Thousands of petroglyphs (rock carving) can be found in Siberia. Many represent animals, birds like show picture. Some experts believe, that they have played a role in ceremonies, and in a spiritual significance. Once a year, representatives from each clan would gather at the ceremonial place, derived from teaching that most deities arrive from the sky and moving into the water. For hunters-gatherers communities, high mountains were often considered the domain of supernatural ancestors and spirits. Hunting and magic are closely related to the shamanic power, shows examples of the records of the important events, during historic times. Rock art (Native visual expression) is also linked with the search for helping spirits, healing and prophesy, along with the vision quest.

 



The republic of Tuva, with an area around 170,500 sq. kilometers, is one of the least known regions. Mountains surround Tuva: the
Sayani in the North, the Tannu Ola at the South and the Altai in the West. There are rivers that flow into the valleys and then flow into three of the main rivers: Kaa‐Khem, Bi‐Khem and Khemchik (Khem, Means River). They created the Ulug Khem known as Yenisei Great River.                                                                       




Tuva or (“Tyva” as the natives call it) southern Siberia it is made of absolute extremes, like Beauty and the Beast. The Beast of the republic and biggest threat to the culture is a poor economy, unemployment, corruption, government bureaucracy like visa registration in Kyzyl, and alcoholism. This can be seen throughout the region and goes hand in hand with poverty. Everything from corruption, dishonesty, crime and
violence are threats to Tuvan’s society especially towards women and children. In this way, there is a lot of work that needs to be done for the people to create many new opportunities. Preservation of the unique culture and the sake of the people are fundamental for generations to come. There is no question that part of the beauty of the culture is its uniqueness. For me, however, I would like to concentrate on the positive side of Siberia — the better one, loving, caring, healing and nurturing one. To what people and the province are offering, with an evidence of long history of the Tuvan people. The people of the great eagles, who are overpowering the long and cold winter, harsh weather, they live in it over the centuries. The beauty and good, the positive and love always overpower the Beast and Bad, because there is belief, that the whole universe is the base of love and positivity.
For thousands of years native people over the world have told stories about the power of revered landscapes and spiritual directions of mysterious places. The sacred places of the land include cliffs, rivers, hills and mountains, where their meanings are also preserved in the narratives and memories. Siberia is a land of myth and magic, microcosm of the timeless and blessedness.
 Many Native people all around Siberia and in Siberia live in harmony with nature and appreciate its blessing. For hundreds of years, the grasslands, mountains, rivers and wildlife co‐existed in harmony, harmony between nature and men, and the traditions that play an important role in our lives, because we need the past to connect with the future. The present, future and past are similar like the lower, middle and upper worlds, which are connected. Without the one element we can be never completed. 

Link to tribes.....    http://www.eki.ee/books/redbook/  

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