A Guide to Shamanism on Jeju Island, Part Two: Post Five: The Banished Deity

A curious feature of bonhyang shrines, including those shrines dedicated to Baekjuddo and Seocheonguk’s sons, is the banished deity. Often, in Jeju Island’s shamanic shrines, one finds the male or female deity of a pair, to be banished to the far end of a shrine, or even from the shrine entirely. Take the case of Seocheonguk himself. For the sin of his greed, or at least his inability to manage a farm, Baekjuddo split with him. He went to be enthroned as the deity in Lower Songdang Village. Seocheonguk resides in that location to this day. In the case of Weoljeong Village, it is the Grandmother Goddess who was banished for the crime of eating taboo meat. Sometimes, the reason for the gods living separately is a voluntary act. In the village of Sangwi-ri, the gods live apart by contract, on either side of a dividing wall that is maintained by villagers. In many cases, the eating of taboo pork is the act that leads to the gods deciding ‘to split the land and water’—in other words break-up.

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