Valentin Khagdaev: I’m a traditional shaman, and was born in a yurt. My grandfather was also a shaman. I was raised by him and my grandmother. I was born with a sign—six fingers. A Mongolian shaman said: “Shamans with an extra bone are born only once a century, so this is proof of a real, true shaman.” I’m the only one in our region with six bones. It’s like a diploma from the Sky.The local tea sometimes contains Saagan Dalya—a low-growing evergreen shrub found on the shores of Lake Baikal. It is believed to be a cure for almost all diseases.Alina Desyatnichenko
Boris Khungeyev: My ancestors were shamans, on both my mother’s and father’s side. At 55, I began to perform the rites. Not everyone is able to do it. Only those with udha, or genealogy, can perform them.
Shamans believe that after death a person’s soul moves to the ancestral tree, from where, in the shape of a white-headed eagle, it reaches the “supreme world,” which is home to the deities Tengri and the Sky Father.
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