This video profiles a female shaman named Enkhtoya. She is considered to be one of the most powerful shamans in Mongolia. She graciously allowed us to film an entire ceremony over the course of one morning.

Produced in partnership with the Vanishing Cultures Project (

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Comment by Fabian Graham on January 3, 2013 at 4:39pm

Hi Lauren ...

Many thanks for the reply.

You can find videos about spirit mediumship in Taiwan and Singapore on my youtube channel at:

and on my blog:

Comment by Lauren Knapp on January 2, 2013 at 11:13pm

Hi Fabian -

We actually interviewed the shaman for about an hour. It was very difficult to do the interview as 1) we were working with a translator and 2) she was quite terse. I don't know anything about the Chinese practice, but my guess is they're a bit different. The crux of Mongolian shamanism is that spirits inhabit the world around us - water, mountains, animals, etc. The shaman is a medium through which we can access those spirits. Each shaman will work with a handful of specific spirits who will come to her/him regularly. People will ask questions about specific ailments, but also things like college and monetary issues. Shamans serve as counselor and doctor. We tried to get her to talk more specifically about the religion and why things are the way they are, but she did not have much to say. Shamans gain respect based on how many students they have - she has several who come from UB to study with her (a long journey).

Hope this helps!

Comment by Fabian Graham on December 30, 2012 at 8:12pm

A very well made video. But what is the purpose of this ritual? I am also curious whether you would make a distinction between shamanism and Chinese spirit mediumship - are they in your opinion completely different practices, or are shaman a form of spirit medium or the other way round. Also curious what they heal? The things she was saying weren't particualrly profound. I am not denying that she may be powerful, but am curious on what basis  she is thought of as one of the most powerful women shaman in the region.


Hope you can find time to answer ...


Many thanks ....


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