A Guide to Shamanism on Jeju Island, Post Four: The House Gods in Ritual Context

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The Munjeon Bonpuri is told as part of many shamanic ceremonies on Jeju. One important example is the ritual ceremony employed when blessing/ consecrating a new house, business or other structure on the island. This sort of ceremony, called seongjupuri, involves the extended family, and often, whoever wishes to stop by from the neighborhood. As one shaman, from the village of Hamdeok, who is expert in the seongjupuri, put it, “the seongjupuri is a party. It’s not like other ceremonies where the atmosphere can be quite serious.” Perhaps, because of this levity and new businesses being so common these days, the seongjupuri is one sort of ritual that even newcomers to the island have had performed when opening a new business. This has been the case in some instances, but some shamans have complained to me that newcomers don’t hold such ceremonies very often.

Traditionally, an offering was made to the Munjeon as part of wedding rites and, most commonly, a table is set for him during ancestral worship rites.  All Jeju Islanders are familiar with this practice, and still make offerings to the Door God today. The Hearth Goddess is also an important deity on Jeju. She is venerated in both in shamanic and Buddhist practices. A table of offerings is often set for her during Confucian ancestral rites, as well. Her presence is even recognized during many village level Confucian rites.

Mother and daughter-in-law preparing an offering for the Hearth Goddess, Yeosan Buin, in the kitchen during traditional jesa rites. After first offering to the Hearth Goddess, the table will be carried to the front door and offered to the Door God. Photo Joey Rositano

Joey Rositano is a writer and visual artist currently based in South Korea. He has produced a documentary on the shamanism of Jeju Island which is available now.

Help support the project!

Spirits the documentary is now available on gumroad for download for $5. Follow the link below and you will arrive.

https://gumroad.com/l/zSfqc

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