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Observations placeholder

Symbolism - Korean mystic shamanism - Door [and Munshin]



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

The Door is symbolically the door to the spiritual world, the entrance to spiritual experience, the concept is personified in the Korean system by Munshin.

Munshin (Hangul: 문신, Hanja: 門神, is literally the Door god, known in the southernly Jeju Island as Munjeon (Hangul: 문전, Hanja: 門前).  The worship of Munshin is strongest in Jeju Island, where Munshin (known as Munjeon) is one of the most-worshipped deities; however, the worship of Munshin also exists in the mainland.

Other spirits such as those of disease are thought to enter via this Door, and there are myths woven around this idea.  According to the history book Samguk Yusa, the Door god successfully repulsed the disease deity. After the repulse of the disease god, the people of the kingdom of Silla attached portraits of the god on their front gates to ward off disease.

In other words, the symbol was made literal. 

In the Munjeon Bonpuli myth, Munjeon acts as the main character. This myth shows how the seventh son of Yeosan Buin became the door god.  If one views the Map of the Egg, there are seven levels and layers of ascension [once one has passed the Elements], and thus the myth is attempting to show that the seventh layer Guardian guards the door to the spiritual world.

The photo shows Jeju shamans performing at a public kut in Jeju City. The hanging papers are known as kimhae and are often inscribed with the names of spirits.


The source of the experience

Korean mystic shamanism

Concepts, symbols and science items

Science Items

Activities and commonsteps