Tag Archives: Shamanism

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More Dangsan Namu (당산나무): KTV Documentary in 4 Parts

Since we’ve been on the subject of Dangsan Namu (당산나무) lately, I posting a KTV documentary I found on Youtube about Korean Dangsan Namu.  The documentary is in 4 parts, though unfortunately only the first and second seconds have English subs.  Even so, parts 1 and 2 are enough to a give a sense of the rich variety of legends surrounding the Dangsan Namu in Korean folklore.  Part 2 even includes details on the traditional village ceremonies honoring the Dangsan Namu on Daeboreum (대보름), which I talked about a few weeks ago.   Unfortunately my Korean’s not good enough to make much sense of the Korean narration in parts 3 and 4, but I’m including them below anyways.  If any Korean speakers would like to chime in with a summary in the comments section, I’d definitely appreciate it ;-) read more »

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Events Festivals Gyeongju history holidays photography Shamanism Temples & shrines

Photos: A Dangsan Tree (당나무) on Daeboreum (대보름)

Dangsan Tree on Daeboreum Holiday in Gyeongju

Dangsan Tree on Daeboreum Holiday in Gyeongju

If you’ve checked your calendar recently, you might have noticed that last Monday night was a full moon.  In fact, it was the first full moon after Seollal (설날), or Lunar New Years , here in Korea, which marks it as the holiday of Daeboreum (대보름).   Daeboreum has been traditionally celebrated with a massive bonfire , music, and dancing, making it one of my favorite Korean holidays.  In fact, I’ve already posted twice on Daeboreum, with both photos and video of the Gyeongju’s Daeboruem bonfire a few years back, so I won’t say too much here about the holiday itself. read more »

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Downtown Events Music & dance Shamanism

Fall Concert under the Ginkgo Trees

The other week I posted on an upcoming concert at the Gyeongju Cultural Center (경주문화원) in honor of the changing leaves of  the 500 year old ginkgo tree (은행 나무) on the premises.  As it’s just a short stroll from my house, I manage to pop down there for about half an hour before running to class.  The atmosphere was a little somber as the event seemed somewhere between a cultural performance and religious ritual honoring this ancient dang namu  (당나무),  or tutelary tree spirit.  I actually felt slightly voyeuristic being the only foreigner there.  In fact, aside from the photographers, I didn’t see a single person in the audience that looked younger than 50. read more »

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Buddhist culture history Shamanism Stories, legends & people Temples & shrines

San-shin (산신): The Korean Mountain Spirit

Sanshin Painting,  Sambulam Hermitage, Gyeongju

San-shin Painting, Sambulam Hermitage, Gyeongju

If you’ve been to a Buddhist temple in Korea before, you might‘ve noticed a little shrine to the back of the temple that’s home to the image of a bearded old man with an odd-looking tiger laying at his feet.  This wise and aged being is not some kind of Buddha or Bodhisattva, but rather the San-shin (산신), or Korean Mountain Spirit.  He is a key deity in indigenous Korean Shamanism (무교) and he happens to be one of my favorite figures in Korean mythology. read more »

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Gyeongju Korean culture Shamanism Stories, legends & people Temples & shrines

Dang-namu (당나무): Sacred Trees of the Village

Dang Namu of Sanggu-ri, Gyeongju

Dang Namu of Sanggu-ri, Gyeongju

If you’ve spent any time touring the Korean countryside, you might have noticed a single gnarly old tree standing nearby a farm village here or there. These trees are actually called Dang-namu (당나무) and according to Korean folk religion (a form of Korean Shamanism) they are actually one of the village’s Dong-shin (동신), or guardian spirits. Often these ancient trees have stone alters at their base or a plaque, and occasionally you’ll see them in pairs, representing male and female deities. read more »

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Links: San-shin.org

Korean Mountain God with 8 Daoist Immortals (from san-shin.org)

Korean Mountain God with 8 Daoist Immortals (from san-shin.org)

Like a lot of posts on this blog, I’d meant to get something up on San-shin.org ages ago.  If you’re at all interested in traditional Korean culture, this site’s an awesome resource.  It’s a treasure trove of info on everything from Korean Shamanism and Buddhist culture to folk art, feng shui, hiking and green tea. read more »

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Gyeongju Shamanism Stories, legends & people tips for tourists tombs

Underwater Tomb of King Munmu the Great (문무대왕릉)

King Munmu’s tomb (문무대왕릉)

With friends visiting for the New Year, we decided to make use of our new set of wheels and go exploring a bit.  On New Year’s day we made the 45 min. trek over the mountains to Bonggil Beach (봉길해수욕장) on the East Sea, though were a bit too late to catch the sunrise, as is the custom for a lot of folks on New Year’s morning in Korea.  It was sunny and warm (for January anyhow), so we had a lovely time bumming around on the beach by King Munmu’s tomb (문무대왕릉)  . read more »

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