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Christa Neuenhofer | profile | all galleries >> Shamans, diviners, healers and fortune tellers in Tamil Nadu, India tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

Shamans, diviners, healers and fortune tellers in Tamil Nadu, India

In autumn 2011 my husband, his daughter Anne and I visited several shamans, diviners, healers and fortune tellers in Tamil Nadu, India. All but one live in the Tirunelveli District of Tamil Nadu.

In a small village we learned to know a male shaman who helps people with family problems. He finds out if a person has cast a black magic spell on his client. Although he told us that he was a Christian, he asked the Dravidian village God Sudalai for advice. He threw some cowrie shells and their position was interpreted by the God via the shaman. E.g., within 31 days the problem will be solved.
Then we visited two ladies who work as diviners. Their main God is Lord Murugan, accompanied by some other Hindu Gods, to whom they pray and offer coconuts, fruit, incense sticks and fire. The first one also helps people with family problems, the second says that she heals some illnesses, as e.g. diarrhea and sleeplessness.
Very interesting was our visit of a Kani shaman`s house in Kanikudiyruppu village in the Papanasam area. The Kani people are classified as tribal, and are considered to be a jungle tribe. The shaman who explained his work to us also has a regular job in the forest department. He works together with his uncle (the Kaniplathi = chief priest). They are the only shamans in their village. The ceremony he demonstrated to us lasts from 6 pm to 3 o`clock in the morning. All the time he plays on his kokkara (see below) and calls 101 Gods to assist him, starting with village Gods and ending with Lord Shiva. In the end he is in a trance and the Gods appear to him and tell him the solution to the people´s problems.
We found the last fortune teller by accident. He sat outside Sri Nagarajar Temple in Nagercoil that we had just visited. For INR 20 he made his parrot pick three cards out of a pile for Anne. On them were the pictures of Ganesh (God of wisdom, success and courage), Lakshmi (Goddess of wealth and beauty) and Saraswati (Goddess of knowledge, music and creative arts). We do not know, whether there were other cards in the pile. But at least these were all positive aspects. Then he offered to read in Anne`s (left) palm for INR 30. What he now said was very much out of the ordinary (no clichés, but facts about her present situation) and astonishingly they were all true.
Have a full preview of my book about Dravidian deities (120 pages with lots of photos ) in German: AYYANAR UND MARIAMMAN, DRAVIDISCHE SCHUTZGÖTTER IN SÜDINDIEN and in English: Christa Neuenhofer, AYYANAR AND MARIAMMAN, FOLK DEITIES IN SOUTH INDIA (see below).
AYYANAR UND MARIAMMAN, DRAVIDISCHE SCHUTZGÖTTER IN SÜDINDIEN by Christa Neuenhofer | Make Your Own Book

AYYANAR AND MARIAMMAN, FOLK DEITIES IN SOUTH INDIA by Christa Neuenhofer | Make Your Own Book

The English book also exists in a low-cost version as an ebook . ISBN: 978-1457955617: http://store.blurb.com/ebooks/417542-ayyanar-and-mariamman-folk-deities-in-south-india
This Christian shaman practises with the help of the Dravidian God Sudalai. Tirunelveli District, Tamil Nadu.
This Christian shaman practises with the help of the Dravidian God Sudalai. Tirunelveli District, Tamil Nadu.
The powerful village God Sudalai. Tirunelveli District, Tamil Nadu.
The powerful village God Sudalai. Tirunelveli District, Tamil Nadu.
The shaman fights against black magic that troubles the life of this couple. Tirunelveli District, Tamil Nadu.
The shaman fights against black magic that troubles the life of this couple. Tirunelveli District, Tamil Nadu.
The shaman throws cowrie shells to find out what to do. Tirunelveli District, Tamil Nadu.
The shaman throws cowrie shells to find out what to do. Tirunelveli District, Tamil Nadu.
7 open cowries, 5 face down: the God says, in 31 days the problem will be solved. Shamanism in Tirunelveli District, Tamil Nadu.
7 open cowries, 5 face down: the God says, in 31 days the problem will be solved. Shamanism in Tirunelveli District, Tamil Nadu.
If the cock keeps lying for some time (it does), God Sudalai will cure the illness of a client. Tirunelveli District, Tamil Nadu
If the cock keeps lying for some time (it does), God Sudalai will cure the illness of a client. Tirunelveli District, Tamil Nadu
The shaman gives some leaves and ashes to be boiled and drunk at home. Tirunelveli District, Tamil Nadu.
The shaman gives some leaves and ashes to be boiled and drunk at home. Tirunelveli District, Tamil Nadu.
Diviner with offerings for the Gods on her altar. Tirunelveli District, Tamil Nadu.
Diviner with offerings for the Gods on her altar. Tirunelveli District, Tamil Nadu.
Diviner praying to the Gods, before she starts a ceremony. Tirunelveli District,Tamil Nadu.
Diviner praying to the Gods, before she starts a ceremony. Tirunelveli District,Tamil Nadu.
Diviner praying to the Gods, before she starts a ceremony. Tirunelveli District,n Tamil Nadu.
Diviner praying to the Gods, before she starts a ceremony. Tirunelveli District,n Tamil Nadu.
Diviner (with incense sticks) communicating with the Gods. Tirunelveli District, Tamil Nadu.
Diviner (with incense sticks) communicating with the Gods. Tirunelveli District, Tamil Nadu.
Diviner cutting a coconut. Tirunelveli District ,Tamil Nadu.
Diviner cutting a coconut. Tirunelveli District ,Tamil Nadu.
Diviner reading the Gods` answers in the open coconut. Tirunelveli District, Tamil Nadu.
Diviner reading the Gods` answers in the open coconut. Tirunelveli District, Tamil Nadu.
Diviner informing a client what the Gods foresee for her life. Tirunelveli District, Tamil Nadu.
Diviner informing a client what the Gods foresee for her life. Tirunelveli District, Tamil Nadu.
With the help of God Murugan this diviner cures illnesses. Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu.
With the help of God Murugan this diviner cures illnesses. Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu.
Even a doctor came to this diviner in Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu.
Even a doctor came to this diviner in Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu.
The diviner`s altar for Lord Murugan in Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu.
The diviner`s altar for Lord Murugan in Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu.
Kani shaman preparing a ceremony. Tirunelveli District, Tamil Nadu.
Kani shaman preparing a ceremony. Tirunelveli District, Tamil Nadu.
Kani shaman preparing a ceremony. Tirunelveli District, Tamil Nadu.
Kani shaman preparing a ceremony. Tirunelveli District, Tamil Nadu.
Kani shaman. A banana leaf with ashes and 7 leaves with 1 rupee 25 paise each are needed for the ceremony. Tirunelveli District.
Kani shaman. A banana leaf with ashes and 7 leaves with 1 rupee 25 paise each are needed for the ceremony. Tirunelveli District.
Kani shamanism. 2 kokkaras and a bamboo stick are needed for the ceremony. Tirunelveli District, Tamil Nadu.
Kani shamanism. 2 kokkaras and a bamboo stick are needed for the ceremony. Tirunelveli District, Tamil Nadu.
Kani shamanism. Before the ceremony grains of rice are poured down the kokkara. Tirunelveli District, Tamil Nadu.
Kani shamanism. Before the ceremony grains of rice are poured down the kokkara. Tirunelveli District, Tamil Nadu.
Kani shamanism. Before the ceremony grains of rice are poured down the kokkara. Tirunelveli District, Tamil Nadu.
Kani shamanism. Before the ceremony grains of rice are poured down the kokkara. Tirunelveli District, Tamil Nadu.
During the ceremony the shaman uses an iron nail to make music on the kokkara. Tirunelveli District, Tamil Nadu.
During the ceremony the shaman uses an iron nail to make music on the kokkara. Tirunelveli District, Tamil Nadu.
Fortune teller in Nagercoil, Tamil Nadu. The parrot picks three cards out of a pile.
Fortune teller in Nagercoil, Tamil Nadu. The parrot picks three cards out of a pile.
Fortune teller in Nagercoil, Tamil Nadu. The parrot picks three cards out of a pile.
Fortune teller in Nagercoil, Tamil Nadu. The parrot picks three cards out of a pile.
 At a fortune teller in Nagercoil, Tamil Nadu. The parrot and its cage.
At a fortune teller in Nagercoil, Tamil Nadu. The parrot and its cage.
At a fortune teller in Nagercoil, Tamil Nadu. The parrot has picked three cards.
At a fortune teller in Nagercoil, Tamil Nadu. The parrot has picked three cards.
Fortune teller in Nagercoil, Tamil Nadu. What will the cards tell us?
Fortune teller in Nagercoil, Tamil Nadu. What will the cards tell us?
Fortune teller in Nagercoil, Tamil Nadu. The main card shows Saraswati, goddess of knowledge, music and creative arts.
Fortune teller in Nagercoil, Tamil Nadu. The main card shows Saraswati, goddess of knowledge, music and creative arts.
The fortune teller can also read palms. Nagercoil, Tamil Nadu.
The fortune teller can also read palms. Nagercoil, Tamil Nadu.
The fortune teller sees astonishing truths. Nagercoil, Tamil Nadu.
The fortune teller sees astonishing truths. Nagercoil, Tamil Nadu.