A Guide to Shamanism on Jeju Island, Post Nine: Snake Shrines

Snake deity worship is not limited only to the pantries and gardens of Jeju Island homes. There are also village shrines dedicated to the worship of serpents—whose origins differ from that of the Chilseong gods. These deities play the role of shrine deities, like those found in all Jeju villages. In the case of these…

A Guide to Shamanism on Jeju Island, Post Three: The Door God’s Epic

The Munjeon Epic—The Door God’s Myth (simplified plot) The following is the plot of Munjeon Bonpuri, the Door God’s epic, which relates to us the foundation myths of the household deities introduced in Post One. Keep in mind that the the following is the plot of the epic, not a direct translation of the epic itself. While some…

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.

Jeju Island’s Haenyo: A User’s Manual, interview with a young diver

The truth is, I am the same person in the water and out of the water. I’m just a person trying to make a living like everyone else. Don’t think of me as a woman diver. Think of me as a person. I want people to know that I’m not doing this work because I couldn’t go to school or was born poor. No, that’s not it. I’m a woman diver because I chose to be a diver.

* 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…

Breath: Have the Diving Women of Jeju Island Been Using World Record Holder (Iceman) Wim Hof’s Cold Exposure Method for the Last 1500 Years?

July 6, 2016 joeyrositano Haenyo, Jeju Island, Uncategorized, Women DiversAnthropology, Asian culture, breath hold diving, Cold endurance, Diving, free diving, Haenyo,Hyperventilation, Iceman, Jeju Island, Korea, Shamanism, South Korea, Sumbisori, Traditional Culture, Vim Hof, Vim Hof Method, Woman Diver, Women Divers In the winter of 2015, I first saw Wim Hof, the incredible Iceman, on Vice.com. Hof is known for an amazing array of feats, many of which involve withstanding extreme arctic temperatures while experiencing little or no negative…