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A Study of the Folk-beliefs

Seokhee Kim 1

1경희대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Shamanism, the object of fear as well as comfort for humans, was ousted under the name of superstition, but it offered to the public the consolation that science could not and it intuitively reached the horizon that modern science could not. The behaviors, such as ‘Gohsooreh’ in Korea, salt throwing into a fire in China, ‘Mamemaki’ in Japan and Rusalka expelling with wormwood in Russia, now remain only in the realm of customs, but still present themselves in numerous movies and literary works. These shamanism behaviors that may have been initiated for the purpose of blocking misfortunes or ghosts, however, do not belong to the area of shamanism any longer. They exist in the expressions of common feelings or in the contents of cultural traditions. Superstitions were not superstitions in the beginning. Before modern times, they were a part of shamanism that was fulfilled under the social allowance and agreement, and a kind of tradition to communicate and sympathize with nature. But since then, in the wake of rapid westernization, the shamanism in the East Sea Rim was regarded as the antonym of ‘science’ and ‘civilization’. It became the object of ‘eradication’ and hence disappeared fast. A series of ‘developments’, including recent oil development in Siberia, are good examples in which ‘civilization’ replaces shamanism. The fact that shamanism meant communication with nature is being witnessed in the scenes where those who have lived a nomadic life quite long with reindeer are turned into the nature’s destroyer in the absence of shamanism. Along with shamans, the spirit of loving nature and treasuring the lives within is in danger of disappearance.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.

This paper was written with support from the National Research Foundation of Korea.