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Concept - Korean mystic shamanism – Destiny and Rebirth



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

Korean Shamanist Ritual - Symbols and Dramas of Transformation - Daniel Kister

A sense of the sacred mystery of individual destiny suffuses the mudang's life. When participants in any kut expect extraordinary signs from a mudang, they do so in part, because they stand in awe of the greater wonder of what is perceived as the mudang's life-destiny.


"The fear felt prior to and during the initiation is suppressed by means of physical pain; this, sharpened to the point where it is unbearable, subsequently abates, resulting in a sense of rebirth" (Hoppal 1992:154- 155).

More essential to the mudang's initiatory process are the pain and suffering of the long years of the spirit-illness. The pain of these years can nurture a sympathy for human suffering that is essential to one born anew for service for others.

Marked out by the destiny of a god's call, an initiatory mudang has suffered the pain and alienation of dying to the ordinary patterns of human life and now lives anew in the service of the gods, the ancestral spirits, and human beings in distress. In the best of cases, the initiatory process yields a person who humbly lives the prophetic existence identified by Balthasar: that "of a person who in faith has been divested of any intent to give himself shape, who makes himself available as matter for the divine action" (1982:I.36).


…..all drama presents human existence in terms of a forward movement toward destiny (1953:3O7, 348). Tragedy presents this movement as shaped by the necessity of "fate"; comedy presents it as shaped by the vagaries of "chance" or "fortune" (1953:331-334).


The source of the experience

Korean mystic shamanism

Concepts, symbols and science items


Science Items

Activities and commonsteps