Diagnostics and healing methods of Tuvinian neo-shamaness Khovalygma Evtineevna Kuular (summary)

© 2013 G.B. Kopeliovich

2013 – № 1 (5)

Key words: neoshamanism, healing, religious synthesis, spitirual practices, buddhism, diseases classification, ritual activity, psychotherapy

Abstract: In the article the author describes the ways of diagnostics and healing methods of Tuvinian neo-shamaness Khovalygma Evtineevna Kuular, who acquired her healing skills from “spiritual teachers” and from work with emchi-lamas. In the course of the interview, which took place in 2011 during the author’s winter expedition to Tuva, Khovalygma described her own methods of diagnostics and healing, which combine traditions of different religious, spiritual and healing schools.

Shamanic spiritual practices are an integral part of life of the majority of Tuvinian people (for details see Kenin-Lopsan, 1999; Kharitonova, 2000; comp.: Vainstein, 1964, Batyanova and Vainstein, 2001). Shamanic tradition was almost completely forgotten during the time of Tuvan People’s Republic (Tyva Arat Respublik, 1921–1944) and the time when Tuva became a part of the Soviett Union (from 1944). That is why (neo)shamans (for terminology see: Kharitonova, 2006) who appeared as late as at the end of the 20th century, acquired their knowledge from patchy folklorized memories about ancestors-shamans and from spiritual teachers (spirits of ancestors-shamans). These spirits visited a potential shaman at his/her early age and initiated him/her.

In reality the acquired knowledge is a mix of very different beliefs and facts taken from various sources (including fairy-tales and children’s holidays). This idea is stressed by K.V. Pimenova in her article “My hosts have taught me…” who describes the worldview of a Tuvinian shamaness Khovalygmyy Evtineevna Kuular.

Galina Kopeliovich proceeds with analysis of diagnostic and treatment tools used by Khovalygmyy Kuular, whom she met two times during her winter expedition to Tuva in 2011. The author describes syncretic character of her practice, as the shamaness uses traditions of different religious, spiritual and healing schools (including Tibetan Buddhism).


Batyanova, E.P. and Vainstein, S.I. (2001), “Shamanists without shamans: historical and ethnographical aspects of the issue on Siberian materials”, Materials of international interdisciplinary scientific and practical symposium «Ecology and traditional religious and magical knowledge», Moscow – Abacan – Kyzyl, 9–21July 2001, IEA RAN, Moscow, pp. 300–304.

Kenin-Lopsan, M.B. (1999), Tuvinian shamanism, Moscow.

Kharitonova, V.I. (2000), “Shamanic gift in Tuvinian believings”, in  Shamanic gift. For the 80th anniversary of Smolyak, A.V., Kharitonova, V.I. (Ed.), IEA RAN, Moscow, pp. 55–77.

Kharitonova, V.I. (2006), Phoenix from ashes? Siberian shamanism at the centuries’ threshold, Nauka, Moscow.

Vainstein, S.I. (1964), Tuvinian shamanism: Report at the VIIth International congress of ethnographical and anthropological sciences, Moscow.

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