From Krasnoyarsk Emre and I moved to Abakan.
Abakan - is the capital city of the Republic of Khakassia, Russia with area about 120 sq km and about 190.000 inhabitants.
As we first moved to a rented flat and saw the view from our window, we thought that the city is totally ruined. But that was only till the moment when we met Ivan. Ivan is a local citizen, a co-founder of a sushi restaurant and a member in the Baptist's church. Thank's to him we saw nice sides of Abakan. We have spent five days in that small and calm city, where we also met with six shamans.
Our first shaman was Karagay (Black Moon) a black shaman and his wolf clan Ah-Puur (White Wolf) a white shaman. At the same time we also met Alexei, a man who traveled from St. Petersburg to start his journey in becoming a shaman with the guidance of Karagay. We had a night of knowledge share verbally and visually where we could learn about their shaman diseases, their first contact with the spirits and body defects which describes the path they meant to take. One of the initial steps to take a shamanic journey is the shaman disease (kind of epilepsy) and the second one is the discovery ritual (initial ritual) by the spirits by ripping you off each one of your bones from your flesh to see any kind of bone or muscle defects. This would confirm that, you are a shaman to be…
After the night of our first introduction to shaman’s journey, we have met Victor Ivanovitch Kishteev in a cafeteria in the center of Abakan. He was not very convinced or motivated for an interview or neither for photography. We are not sure if it was because of his ego for being interviewed by professors of Oxford University earlier (it’s what he repeated several times during our talk) or he was just too worried to be exposed to the western society. Will we ever discover it? Who knows… Or maybe he still scared of Soviet Union times where being a shaman was a crime and some of those we have met on our journey lost their relatives by a bullet just in front of their eyes.
At the same night we have been accepted by Ljudmila Vasilievna Kobezhikova . What a lovely woman. She barely talked about other shamans or told us stories to impress us. We just felt very relax and comfortable next to this white shaman. This lovely long conversation ended around 2am. We said goodbye to her until our next meeting in Ustuu Khuree Festival in Chadan (Republic of Tuva).
Until the 13th of July everything was quite ordinary. Long and interesting conversations with unordinary people. But on the 13th of July we have met Svetlana and Viktor Butusovy, two shamans, two energy cubes. When we arrived to Svetlana’s house in the village Chapaevo that is 15 km from Abakan, we had a little Khoomei session and cleaning ritual using artysh (Juniper it is believed that the smoke of this herbs sends the bad spirits away). After our cleaning from the bad spirits, a table with cheese, tomato, cucumber, deer blood vodka cocktail and frozen raw red deer meat with vinegar sauce was waiting for us. Viktor took his hunter knife and cut thin slights of meat for us to dig into the vinegar sauce with pepper which Svetlana calls “Russian Wasabi”.
After our feast we have been to the yurta where the ritual to cure and bring back Ivan’s soul would begin. Ivan lost his soul and felt into a bad depression. Svetlana took him to a long night ritual starting from 18.00 to the next day 14.00 o’clock. Ivan started to prepare the offerings for the spirits where he would hide his wishes inside and align over the fire before setting it up for the next hours. It was a nice place next to the Abakan River except the mosquitos. Not sure if they also took part in this ritual by feasting on our blood. Ivan hanged ribbons on the sacred tree, walked around it three times clockwise and kneeled in front of the Eeren, a doll which would be Svetlana’s protector and helper in this journey. Tambourines started to sound, spirits have been summoned around the fire.
After the ritual we were exhausted, Svetlana and Viktor were exhausted too. Afterwards she ordered us to clean ourselves in the cold and restless river Abakan. When we were kind of falling asleep she came with a mysterious photo where Eeren’s mouth and eyes were wide open and we still keep investigating to understand how this could have happened.
On that day Yuriy had his birthday. 33 years old. What a party. More than 30 slepless hours full of new experience. We are curious if Ivan has been cured. Time might show him the path to be better from his suffering.
Our next destination - Republic of Tuva!
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