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Christa Neuenhofer | profile | all galleries >> Meghalaya – an old shaman foretells the future tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

Meghalaya – an old shaman foretells the future

In March 2008 we visited Northeast-India again. This time we went to Meghalaya and Assam (North Cachar Hills). In Meghalaya we were lucky to meet an old shaman of the Lyngam tribe, one of the few that have not converted to Christianity. He still practises the rites of his traditional religion. If people ask his advice, e.g., because they want to know the reasons for an illness and how to cure it, or if they want to know, if things they plan to do will turn out fine, they can come to him. With an oracle he is able to give the people help or advice.
For people who are ill, he uses the kauri snails oracle. He is throwing some snails on a piece of cloth and according to the way they fall, he knows what is wrong with the patient.
More complicated is the cock-oracle. We were conscious of the fact that when this 89-year old man dies there will hardly be anyone left, who knows the old rites. So we wanted to document the ceremony. We asked him about the outcome of our journey. Would there be any problems or would we get home healthy? My husband made a video and here are some photos. After a long time of praying and singing he sacrificed the cock. There was a kind of altar where he put some blood and feathers. After that he opened the cock´s body and pulled out the intestines. We were amazed that they were absolutely clean. And he was happy, because the oracle had foretold us a good future.

You can find an in-depth coverage of our tour in German at: http://www.neuenhofer.de/guenter/.
a kauri oracle
a kauri oracle
singing and praying for a good outcome
singing and praying for a good outcome
preparations for the oracle
preparations for the oracle
a cock is sacrificed
a cock is sacrificed
blood and feathers are stuck to a pole
blood and feathers are stuck to a pole
more feathers
more feathers
the intestines shall foretell the future
the intestines shall foretell the future
clean intestines good predictions for the future
clean intestines good predictions for the future
arrangement of the sacrifices
arrangement of the sacrifices
the old priest
the old priest
happy about the good predictions
happy about the good predictions