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Based on Kim's story The Portrait of a Shaman it tells the story of Eulhwa a female shaman whose son tries to save her from her world of spirits and demigods and convert her to his own Christian beliefs The conflict between mother and son with its shattering conclusion reflects the deeper conflict between the ancient Shamanism of Korea and Christianity

13 thoughts on “The Shaman Sorceress Korean Culture Series

  1. says:

    This short novel The Shaman Sorceress Eulhwa the name of the shaman 1978 is often described as an expansion of the author’s much earlier short story “The Portrait of Shaman Munyeodo 1936 and that’s pretty much what it is Both have the same constellation of characters though differently named and the same simple plot The novel fills in backstory and adds dramatic scenes but does not go off in any significant new directions From a cultural POV the most interesting additions are vivid accounts of religious practices both Catholic and shamanistic Among these is a long description of a shaman ceremony or gut the centerpiece of which is the performance of the shaman song that recounts the story of the mythic proto shaman Paridegi Princess Pari or Bari Whether the author heard it first hand or got it from a scholarly book or recording the song seems authentic and also rather different from the standard version and should catch the attention of any reader with an interest in tradition Korean culture

  2. says:

    35 Reading this story I got caught up in the idea of a conflict that in the end I am not so sure the book was as interested in resolving as I was as if the idea of how ideology bears not only a psychological and emotional dimension but a practical one as well can be so easily resolved I read for a statement rather than a story and a story is what I got with a lot to think about The story is not representational of a debate It involves lives and the hurt and hope of families in changing times I thoroughly recommend it

  3. says:

    In spite of a less than flowing translation this story told by an omniscient neutral witness does pull the reader in immediately and carries us along tumbled by the relentless force of his simple descriptions and a conflict that rages yet around usWhere does the shamanistic impulse originateand why is it still such a threat to organized religion? I was intruiged by the shaman's analysis of Christianity When her son tries to explain the idea of Jesus amd the essential teachings of the Christian creed she has this to say Well that's really interesting So that's why fools flock to do do the JesusThis book has the feel of an old classic so it is surprising to note that it was published in 1989 and that it is not feudal society but modern Korea being depicted