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

Let’s start with the home. Most lectures (as given by the handful of experts on the shamanism of Jeju Island) on the deities that reside within the Jeju Island home, start out with an illustration that looks something like this: It’s a typical Jeju floor plan (in the spirit of not being too formal—I’m going…

Jeju Island’s Most Beloved Shamanic Shrine Tree has Perished due to Typhoon Winds and Careless Behavior from ‘tourists’. The Island is Mourning the Loss of the 400-Year-Old Tree.

This past Saturday, October 6th, perhaps what is Jeju Island’s best known and beloved shamanic shrine tree fell due to high winds. I found myself tearing up throughout the day Sunday when I first heard of the incident, as I have been visiting the shrine for almost a decade now. I wasn’t the only one…

The Traditional Village Shamans of Jeju Island, South Korea: PHOTO ESSAY

The book is out! Order Jeju Island’s Haenyeo, A User’s Manual for kindle and other devices. Interviews with three generations of Jeju Island’s sea women. Ever since Jeju Island forged its way onto the international tourism scene, its women free divers, called haenyeo, have taken center stage as both cultural symbol and tourist attraction. The…

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…