Mudang spiritual experiences – The traumatic life of the mudang Park Myung-soon
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Korean Shamanism – Muism – Dr Kim Tae-kon
Actual Case Histories of Shinbyong
The female mu, Park Myung-soon (then 53 years old and living in Seoul, Yongdungp'o-gu, Sadang-dong 17-3) was interviewed on March 11, 1968. She related that she was married at 15 and had her first child, a son, at age 18.
This baby died suddenly at night before it even reached the 100th day after his birth, which greatly distressed and stressed her.
From the third day after the baby's death, she began seeing several paintings of mu spirits passing her when she closed her eyes. Following that, she saw mourners in hemp cloth garments whenever, even though she was fully awake, she closed her eyes. To treat these symptoms, she had a blind Sutras Reader come in and read sutras. At that time, she saw an image of herself in an attic, in front of a candle, in the posture of a suppliant.
That night she had a dream in which many shillyong (spirits) riding horses, came into her house, waving flags and swords. [This signifies in Korean folk lore that one is being possessed, as any house/castle in a dream symbolizes one's body.)
As she reached 20, she had a dream in which she received rice from an elderly gentleman, when she went to the mountains to pray. She would then fly to heaven with the rice, and give it to the birds and other animals.
She had another dream in which she visited the Sea God's palace in the Eastern Sea, and walked on the ocean that was glittering with golden colors and went to what was told her was Cheju Island.
On another day, she had a dream in which she received a large book from an elderly gentleman.
After these dreams, her husband became addicted to gambling and illicit affairs, depleting all their resources. Naturally, her relationship with her husband deteriorated. She was told by a fortune teller that she was destined to receive a spirit.
One night, when she was 52 years old, her stomach suddenly felt "uneasy," so she turned on the light. Her body began to tremble and shake; she thought that her deceased aunt (her aunt was a mu) was possessing her body. She laid down but suddenly got up, and put on a new skirt, and shouted, "Kwansongjegun" ( the name of a powerful tutelary god) and "Yoltudaeshin,"l) as she opened her door. She again laid down and went to sleep. Suddenly she awakened and got up and went to pugundangs) building, on Wonhyo-ro(which was a ceremonial site of Muism located directly behind the house in which the deceased mu aunt had lived).
As she opened the door of the pugundang, she again shouted, "Kwansongjegun,"and called upon the names of spirits as she thought of them. After this, she set a date and brought a mudang to do kangshingut (Initiation Ceremony) so she would receive the spirit. Since she never learned to perform kut, she could not act independently, so she functioned as an assistant mu to assist at kut.
After receiving the spirit through the kangshingut, her mental and physical state became normal