IamA Student who just spent 3 months living with Mongolian Shamans in the Ger District of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. AMA!
Hi! This year I recieved the American Center for Mongolian Studies Field Research fellowship and spent 3 months in Tolgoit district, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia living with Mongolian shamans. Tolgoit is an extremely poor "ger district" which mostly consists of houses built with no city planning, as well as gers (more popularly known as yurts). There is no running water and no paved roads.
I lived in Tolgoit with a family where my older "brother" was a shaman, his wife was his attendant, one sister was a shamaness and one other sister was a bariach (traditional healer), another cousin and a brother-in-law were also shamans. I also was living with and friends with several other shamans around Tolgoit. I had met them a year before over 2 trips to Mongolia and spent my time doing research, attending and partaking in ceremonies, and just living daily life with shamans.
Edit Back!Here is an album of shaman photos to give you an idea of what it's like. Notice most of the shamans are actually really young.
Morning Edit! Back and answering questions again! Seems some people are concerned about the swastika in many photos, The swastika is an ancient symbol that has been used as a good fortune symbol in Asia for thousands of years. Hitler, in his bizarre obsession with the occult, adopted it as his symbol. In Mongolian, it's calls a Khas and it's an important good luck symbol.