Shamanism and its local variations are the most ancient form of religion. It may originate as early as the Paleolithic. It is also the most universal religion as it has spread all over the world on all the continents.

With the doïra (tambourine) the folbin or bakkhshi (shaman) summons its own 40 auxiliary rûh (spirits): 20 male and 20 women spirits, all inherited from his/her mother, or from a grandmother, or from a grandfather or aunt, etc.

These souls of deceased people never go away from the folbin as she has been initiated by them during the chilla (the apprenticeship). Before being officially entitled as a folbin, the applicant must offer a complete garment to his/her ustod (spiritual master) who transmitted to the new folbin his/her own powers (dast dodan, literally « by giving him/her a hand »). The master then passes a belt around the size of the novice, as the Sufi sheikhs do to their mourid. You can observe the same phenomenon with the hairdressers, dressmakers, musicians, etc. Once this ceremony is done, their apprentices have become masters in their turn.



However, the spirits do not stay around their protégé 24 hours a day. Therefore, when a folbin or the bakhshi has to deal with a serious or urgent case, the shaman calls them with his/her tambourine on which he/she smeared the blood of a chicken, as soon as he/she cuts the crest.

It only happens during certain rituals, to treat rheumatism, for example. In that case, he/she coats the painful spots of the patient with this blood.

The mirror serves him/her to see the spirits present around her. He/she is the only one able to see them and recognizes them all one by one although they are all old and dressed in a white shroud (except for the head).

The candle is lit because it pleases his spirits (they love the light) and the bowl filled with water, as it reflects that light and makes it even more delectable for the spirits.

Often a notebook is placed near the folbin: it contains the revelations made by the spirits, in a dream, during his/her apprenticeship.

Anyone who tries reading it will immediately become paralyzed.


When the ritual is performed at the request of a sterile woman, she must bring a padlock during the session. The folbin then symbolically opens the road because « the sterility is due to the closure of the road of life for the patient. »

Du’at (prayers) can also be repeatedly recited by chanting a rosary.

The Bulungur bakhshi also works with a « whip » (a kind of wooden stick with a chain). It allows him/her to feel (in the strict sense of the word) the smell of nails or hair lying under the patient’s pillow in order to harm him/her (sterility, ruin, illness, etc.). If the whip starts to smell in the patient’s house, the folbin only has to follow this smell to find and then burn off the incriminated body waste.


That is it for the diagnosis. The folbin then writes the prescriptions that his/her spirits whispered in his/her ear and that the patient must follow (recitations, elastic noodle soup, clean the body with soot, etc.).

The spirits thus communicate with the folbin or bakhshi using the five senses: the sound, the sight, the smell, the touch (when the folbin hesitates, the spirit touches his/her body at the specific spot where the patient’s problem is) and taste (more rarely: he/she also eats the elastic noodle soup).