Shaman in Mongolia

In the movie/documentary, The Horse
Boy, a man and his wife are on a mission to cure their son who was
diagnosed with autism. They initially took the traditional western
approach with medications and hoping it would lessen the blow of his
actions. When they saw how calm he was with their neighbors horse it
dawned on the father to eastern treatments. Once he learned about the
Shaman in Mongolia, they went on an expedition.. In the ritual, the
shaman prayed and learned that an evil spirit had enter the mother
when she was giving birth so she had to cleans herself. They also
said the mother’s grandmother’s spirit was attached to the son and
was the reason he was having so many problems. After a serious of
whipping the parents, washing, and eating various items, the ritual
was over. The couple saw a change in their sons behavior. He began
speaking, interacting with the travel guide’s son, and had not had a
crying/nervous tantrum for a few days. While some of their same
problems came back, his social skills did not stray. During their
travels, the mother and father kept repeating the rituals the Shaman
had ordered them to do. The parents were trying not to be so hopeful
that a change would occur that they would settle with small victories
instead of 100% remission. When they arrived to the second group of
Shaman, they were told that after the Shaman spoke to the ghost
overnight, they would tell them if they could treat their son. They
were able to go through the rituals the next night where the Shaman
told them that the next day the problems would no longer exist. The
parents do believe that the Shaman cured their son because for the
first time ever he did defecate in his pants and wanted to play with
a large group of children instead of with his parents.

 

In this film the Shaman were the
healers and used a series of rituals to heal people. They would first
pray and speak to the spirits to determine what needed to take place.
From there, they would eat certain foods, or wash themselves facing a
particular direction, whipping in which they could not cry or yell,
and chanting by the Shaman. The interaction between the Shaman and
the people they are healing seems to be quite personal, they sit with
you and speak directly with you. There is no need for a chain of
command and their seems to be more of a family like feel.

 

This form of healthcare would fall
under the Folk sector. It uses the family to help with treatment and
recognizes the spirituality of the illness. They are only recognized
in certain cultures, and uses more holistic approaches for
treatments. The body and symptoms are seen more as vessels to a
spirit that has encompassed their body and needs to be removed. In
this arena of healthcare, people seek out the help of the Shaman and
the rituals are practiced outside in the environment. While the way
people seek out treatment is no different than one going to the
hospital and family doctor, the treatment varies greatly. It takes
into account other variables that our culture does not such as the
spirit of the person being treated and the deceased family members
that may be involved. It is not a problem for just the one whom is
ill, it is a treatment in which the entire family participates.

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