A Guide to Shamanism on Jeju Island, Part Two: Post One: The Shrine Gods

Let’s depart from the familial home and move out into the village. Now, we’ll look at the deities residing within shrines, the gods who make themselves available for healing, to receive prayer and issue blessings in each of Jeju’s villages. The history of each shamanic shrine is detailed. Each village has its own myths. Furthermore,…

Jeju Island’s Haenyo: A User’s Manual, Should I Stay or Should I go? Interview with a young person who left Jeju Island, Feminist Journalist R.L.

Should I stay or should I go? It’s a question virtually all the youth of Jeju Island have to ask themselves at some point. For many, especially academic achievers, to stay isn’t really an option. Good schools and opportunity lie elsewhere—the mainland or abroad. This is the second of a mini-installation of interviews in the Jeju Island’s Haenyo: A User’s Manual series of posts about the younger generation of Jeju women and their choices. I spoke with R.L., who is a twenty-eight year old journalist, writing for one of few South Korean publications that offer cultural criticism as a mainstay. R.L. talks…

A Guide to Shamanism on Jeju Island, Post Five: The House Gods Redux

The Gods of the Munjeon Epic Redux: Yeosan Buin—The Hearth Goddess, protects Jeju women in their daily lives, gives them strength to manage their work and their families, her epic serves to reinforce the independent spirit needed to overcome hardship and survive as an island woman Namseonbi—the compost shed god, the father of the Munjeon…

Jeju Island’s Haenyo: A User’s Manual, the diver who tried to die at sea

The traditional free diver, Ok-sun Lee, was born in the very waters in which she planned to carry out her own drowning some 85 years later. Her life-long friend and fellow diver, Man-bok Kim, seeing the practicality of her choice, aided her in the attempt. The two women survived much together—over seventy years of work at sea, the…

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…

Jeju Island’s Haenyo: A User’s Manual, a young diver tells her truth—of her love affair with the ocean and environmental decline

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.

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…