The Shamanic Spiritual Life of Jeju Island, South Korea’s Traditional Women Free Divers. Short Documentary: The Youngdeung Gods Visit Jeju Island

Every year the Youngdeung Gods visit Jeju Island, South Korea bringing with them strong spring winds. These deities replenish the sea life as they travel their coarse from village to village along the coast. In Hamdeok Village, the shaman Young Cheol Kim presides over the ceremony, a ritualized banquet at which Jeju Island’s famed women divers…

Scherzando Park, South Korean fashion photographer (interview)

Scherzando Park is part of a new generation of Korean photographers and models that are challenging South Korea’s beauty standards. She prefers emphasizing natural aspects of the Asian form, rather than much sought after Western beauty features. Her photography ranges from gorgeous and mature to playful and humorous. Scherzando recently allowed me to use one…

Pagans We Are does TEDx (video inside)

  This past November, I gave a TEDx talk on Jeju Island, where I’ve been documenting shamanic shrine culture for the past five years, as you well know if you follow my blog. I talk about my video and photography work and the importance of preserving sacred spaces, many of which are in danger on…

Jeju Island’s Haenyo: A User’s Manual, bil-le, bil-le, beach of death

“Back then, many people had been killed by the national government’s forces,” the woman informed me. “Many of the bodies from neighboring villages washed up on Pyeol-ro-Neo-man-ri’s shore. The bille was strewn with bodies. The women of our village were offered a deal. If they cleaned up the corpses, then they’d have the rights to the neighboring village’s territory.”

And clean up the bodies they did. The women of Pyeol-ro-Neo-man-ri, many in their twenties and thirties at the time, some much younger, scoured the jagged bille, combing over each and every surface for the remains of the neighboring village’s dead.

* visiting Jeju w/ daniel paul marshall

Originally posted on The Friday Influence:
photo by Joey Rositano This week’s post features a poem by Daniel Paul Marshall. Marshall writes about the Haenyeo, female divers from the Korean province of Jeju. The Hangul for the word, (해녀)roughly translates to sea women, and serves as the title for this poem. When I informed Marshall I…

Field Notes #2: Saewa Village’s Shamanic Shrines Were Burnt to the Ground

During the Anti-Superstition Movement of the 1970s, over one hundred of Jeju Island’s shamanic shrines were burnt, along with many holy relics. President Park Chung Hee’s government had implemented the misin-tapa as part of the movement for the modernization of South Korea. The aim of the misin-tapa was to eradicate traditional religion from rural communities, replacing it…

Field Notes #1: “Solstice.” (Video)

My documentary on Jeju Island’s shamanic culture (Sprits: The Story of Jeju Island’s Shamanic Shrines) will debut this September. I’ll be sharing plenty of extras on my youtube channel . I’ve been researching and filming the project for five years, so there is plenty to come. This clip is from a series I’m calling ‘Field Notes’. In…