Animism and Shamanism in Korea
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© John Holstein
For more on shamanism in Korea, read Seoul's Shaman Village.
Stone upon stone, wish upon wish. One of the hundreds of cairns that you'll spot on any mountain trail in Korea. How do these cairns alongs mountain paths and temple approaches stand year after year against the wind and rain? (Buseok Temple, North Gyeongsang Province, 2000.) See more cairns here.
A shaman's spirit pole. (Gireum Market, 2005)
Rites are conducted annually to the spirit in this tree. You can read more about this tree (and other Korean trees) here. (Andong, North Gyeongsang Province, 2006)
Protecting the shop and bringing it fortune. (Restaurant, Donam-dong, Seoul, 2004)
A shaman's logo. Showing the strong connection between shamanism and Buddhism, this shaman calls herself Bodhisattva Seon-woo. (Jeongneung 4-dong, Seoul, 2005)
A store selling paraphernalia for animist devotion and shaman rites. (Gireum Market, Seoul, 2005)
Inside Hyewon Temple. These paintings of the Mountain Spirit (left and middle) in a Buddhist temple are evidence of the syncretism of animism, Taoism and Buddhism, which exists throughout Buddhist Asia. For more on the mountain spirit, see "Mountain Spirits Still Watching Over Korea." In Korea we can see signs of animism even in Christianity. (Pyeongchang-dong, Seoul, 2005)
Kuksadang, formerly the state's shrine to the nation's guardian deities. See more about Kuksadang and Mount Inwang's Shaman Village here.
Heaven Guardian and Earth Guardian, still the guardians of many villages in South Cholla Province. (2006)
The village shaman performs a rite every year to the spirit in this tree, for protection and prosperity of the village. To learn more about the power of trees in Korea, read "The Multicentenarians." (Mulgeon-ri, Namhae, South Gyeongsang Province; 2006.)