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,…

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 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…

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

I’m putting together some of my photographic and video work from documenting  shamanic tradition over the last six years. This is the first series, focusing on the shamans of Jeju Island, South Korea in the context of shrine ceremonies. SKIP TO FULL PHOTO ESSAY The shamans of Jeju Island, South Korea, like other shamans across…