As I mentioned in our conversation, I noticed the event of Oiun Adigzsi See Oglu performing a ritual around the holy crown. At first sight, it seems something like a "clash of cultures", as the crown is generally considered to be symbol of monarchy and Christianity. Therefore, I became interested in the background. As you, as far as I know, invited Mr. See Oglu, I decided to contact you.
Why did you invite Mr. See Oglu and what was his ritual about?
I invited See-Oglu Adigzsi to Hungary by my own personal intent. I travelled to the Altay mountains and to the Republic of Tuva in Russian Federation in 1996 first. I was rewarded the title „The young master of Folk art” in 1991. The authentic performing of the Carpathian Basin’s folksong tradition and the preservation of the Hungarian folksong treasury is a key determining factor of my life. Mainly I collect and perform the most archaic folksongs of the Moldavian Csango Hungarians. The eastern sound of these songs turned my attention to the Inner-Asian and South-Siberian area. I discovered familiar tunes between the traditional songs of the inhabitants of the Altay and Sayan mountains and the Moldavian Csango Hungarian folk songs. Therefore I started to collect in South Siberia and at the same time I was also singing Hungarian songs among the Altay people, Tuvans and Hakas groups. For the second time I travelled to Tuva in 2004. This time I reconstructed not only folk songs but the Hungarian Taltos tradition according to my hypothesis. The previous 1996 Tuvan expedition was a major help in this. Mostly the leader of the Tuvan Shamans’ Alliance and the ancient world view hidden inside the nature helped to find my way to the Hungarian Taltos tradition.
I met See-Oglu Adigzsi in 2004 who was my escort during these dangerous expeditions and it turned out that he was a descendant of one of the most famous shaman families and the brother of the famous shaman Aj-Chürek and also his grandfather ordered him to start working at the age of 55. Until that he should not give his power away. Adigzsi started his healing practice four years ago after the tragical death of his sister.
His activity is really interesting and original because he works the way he learned it fom his father and grandfather in the 1960s. Even in the shaman centre, the place the clients ask shamans to perform a ritual nobody have seen his rituals performed at families because the families invite only the healer, the shaman alone for the activity. As he let me make a footage during his work I was the first one to see how he performs his rituals of home-purification, funerals and others. I realized that I had found what I had been looking for in Tuva for years.
The interesting point in the story is
that in 2011 I had known him for seven years. Which is a very important number
in the Hungarian Taltos Tales in the process of the so called becoming a
Taltos. I was in Tuva then for the last time, five years ago. Then it was not
allowed to take any photos in the healing shaman centre sor it cost a lot of
money for foreigners. And also they are annoyed by the contnuous use of photo
and video cameras. But they waited for me back and adopted me in a lot of
places around Tuva. Mainly I recorded 7th and 49th day funeral, home-purification
and nature sacrificial rituals. E.g.: At the Turanian
table at the archeological site Arzhan
I travelled alone since the families that invite shamans hardly let strangers participate in the ceremonies. Therefore no other researchers could take similar photos or videos. After they have made sure that I have no bad intentions they let me join these funerals and other ceremonies. I have also made a lot of ethnographically unique film reports about the living practice of shamans’ healing which material will provide a rare study for the cultural anthropoplogists of the future.
There are two reasons I invited See-Oglu to Hungary:
1.-He introduced me into his homeland the land of the Tuva, their unique cultural heritage, the living shamanism, I also wanted to show him my home, Hungary and its culture. He have not heard a lot about my country. His grandfather who was also a shaman told him he would get to Europe once and see the land of Transylvania, which is similar to the Tuva landscape. When I heard this I decided to give him this Transylvanian journey as a present for his great help.
2.-Certainly I wanted to present his authentic Tuva shaman practice to a professional circle in Hungary. My hypothesis on the basis of my research, the connections with the Hungarian Taltos tradition and mainly with the ancient Moldvan Hungarian belief has been justified by the work of the Tuva shaman.
I have travelled to South Syberia to the Tuvas eight times. I invited him to Hungary in order to prove my research and to present real values and relations against the widespread misunderstanding of Taltos tradition.
Me and See-Oglu visited one of my friends, Harangozo Imre ethnographer who showed See-Oglu a book by Hoppal Mihaly, an expert of sahamanism. In the book there were photos of shaman headpieces similar to the Hungarian Crown. Imre told See-Oglu a lot about the historical background of the crown. He advised us to see the crown. We went there as tourists first. Comming out of the Houses of Parliament See-Oglu said he was another man under the influence of what he had seen.
I started to think about applying for a license to sing for him in front of the crown but I was told that I might wait for the answer for a month and it could be a reject, too. Hendrey Tibor, the leader of the Tibet Supporting Association, with whom I organized See-Oglu’s Hungarian invitation after hearing my request arranged an interview with See-Oglu by the Szent Korona Radio in the Houses of Parliament. It was on the 21st of March. I did not let them suggest any political intentions on the record.
Therefore I rejected the interview first. But later when I was promised that our official license neither would not be linked with any political parties nor appear on the record we accepted the invitation.
See-Oglu dressed up for the interview and went to the crown and performed a spontaneous purification ritual while I was singing. However a crown guard provided the license I was sure that a non-earthly power approved that activity in those minutes. Therefore there is no political message in this ritual. The Tuva shaman payed reverence with his drum to St. Istvan’s Hungary and also remembering Koppany.
It appeared to be a spiritual event as well as a kind of political demonstration. What should it show to the Hungarians?
- As I mentioned before the ritual had no political message by our side but some historical message could be suspected. However we did not intent to have any. We did our job in an sudden situation. He, as a Tuva shaman and me, his host as a Hungarian singer. On the record I am singing an archaic Hungarian based Maria-chant improvisation. I am asking Babba Maria, the ancestress of Hungarians to bless the Hungarian nation and to help us. In Transylvania, the Gyimes Csango Hungarians still call Babba Maria. They think that the Moon is Babba Maria.
- Many said thanks after the case. First we had no intention to publish the record but after we decided to upload it on Youtube. Hendrey Tibor, the leader of Tibet Supporting Association who organised the invitation of his holiness the Dalai Lama was a big help for us those days. He was able to treat objectively the appearance of a this sacred case and sacred leader in our modern world. I guess you can see by now that in See-Oglu, we can meet a sacred leader of Tuva.
- It was so surprising that suddenly so many started to speak about what happened. The average Hungarians’ only idea about Syberian inhabitants is the extreme cold weather or the one time labour camps. No information about the Tuvas. Unfortunately a lot of people even mix the meaning of the two words shaman and satan. Tv journalists tried to mispresent the occasion with no background knowledge. The suggested the Fidesz party in the background of the invitation
- but that wasn’t true. It is interesting that during the days following the Parliament ceremony no one called me up, there was deep silence. However in today’s Hungary there are a lot of Taltos tradition communities who refuse the „real world” operated by politics. The knew what was happening and warmly welcomed Adigzhi, who performed traditional fire rituals at many places. Anyway, he is a fire-eater shaman, who eats ashes during key rituals for the best outcome of the ceremony. Then, he eats three handful of glowing ashes, he chews them and swallows. Similarly to how it is written in our folk-tales when the seedy horse eats ashes three times then flies by supernatural power towards the Sun, the Moon and the stars.
As far as I can judge (unfortunately I don't understand any Hungarian), you art is the spiritual folk song, but you also seem to have a message. Do you consider yourself a political artist? If so, what is your message?
-Yes, certainly there is a message of my art. The Hungarian folk-songs, archaic prayers, healing says and illness ousting paternosters preserve the reminiscence of a once flourishing Taltos tradition in the Carpathian Basin. These relics operated the Hungarian literacy not separatedly but whole.
I’m not considering myself as a political artist. I stand above politics with my art.
However, as you might know it, during the 2006 Budapest autumn demonstrations I was singing many times and I used the above mentioned traditions in my songs accompanied myself with a Taltos drum. The policemen with shields who guarded the Parliament house hearing my singing put down their shields.
This was not about any commitment to any Hungarian parties. I just tried to help the miserable people with my art by my own will. A lot of them could not hear my song. In my opinion there is a simple reason for this. The uniqueness of my art and the power transmitted by haven’t appealed to any Hungarian parties or political system so far. Because I sing about a different kind of power from what they try for. Briefly: God has stronger power than the Authority.
But I have to pay a big price. Although the cultural department sometimes subsidizes my collector, artist and researcher work I hardly get any art performance opportunities in Hungary. So I have been completely cut off from make a living. My art is withold undeservedly, none the less my singing art is a big success in Russia.
If I was a political artist I surely would get lots of insignia during the past years. I didn’t. So, as an artist I awarded myself with the Inanna Primissianatta award. With the reference of the goddess of Veszto-Magor. She is a 6000 year old goddes sculpture. It was found in the outskirts of Veszto village on a settlement-mound. Inanna was a Sumerian goddess with whom I have a good art relationship. I hope you understand this irony.
More generally, do you consider the Táltos culture as of political significance? If so, what is the message?
I don’t find the Taltos culture politically significant. When its time comes it would be able to do much greate things. The question is if those who are interested in it nowadays will be able to create a unity and if the ’Taltos’ phenomenon will prosper from our cultural heritage, from our roots.
This would be really important. As I see, lots of people discovered the opportunity for a revival of the Taltos culture. I guess some political parties will try to use the greeat community-building power coming from it. Yes, this have happened already. They are trying to exclude the key persons who are able to teach the original Taltos tradition. Lots of fake Taltos are coming which is not the real value. However, in my opinion the key Taltos are hiding protected by their own and the nature’s power.
Generally, Hungarian historic tradition is seen as Christian since aout 1000 years. Would you disagree with this view? Do you see Christianity as a hostile force or do you aim at a integration of Christian and traditional shaman-Hungarian values?
Yes. The Hungarian historic tradition is seen as Christian since about 1000 years. However, a crucial fact is not mentioned. This is a group of people, who even after a 1000 years managed to preserve the tradition of their ancestors living before a 1000 years. The Virgin Mary, who is present in the religious faith of the Hungarian people in various names, such as, for example, Nádi Boldogasszony, Sarlós Boldogasszony, Gyümölcsoltó Boldogasszony, Babba Mária, which are omnipresent goddess-archetypes in even today’s national belief-system. Harming forces, such as, for example, wicked women who carry bad wind, women who spit harmful spit…etc. are demons of sickness, who are responsible for illness according to the people’s belief, and are cleansed and healed by the power of the Boldogasszony, as well as the power of the spoken word. A huge collection of our national prayers can be found in etnographer Zsuzsanna Erdélyi’s book entitled Hegyet Hágék, Lőtőt Lépék. These prayers were not allowed in catholic churches. The Hungarian intellectuals really started to pay attention to the archaic tradition of prayer in the seventies-eighties. The morning and evening prayers were many times performed while kneeling before the sun by the women. They exercised their healing prayers at home only. Aside from that, they also went to church to pray. The Hungarian women have been practicing the healing of various illnesses to this day, despite the prohibition of the Church. They have passed the faith from before the times of St. Istvan down from generation to generation, from mouth to mouth, trough songs, chants, says. However, a few years ago the church issued a statement about their new viewpoint, which is that these incarnations of Mary are no longer associated with the christian Virgin Mary, who brought Hungary and its people under her protection. I do not see Christianity as a malicious force in the least.
I myself go to church. I learned this practice from the Moldavian Csángó women. In fact, I sing Mary songs, I find relief in them whenever I go too far with the so–to-say Táltos-type of singing. On the other hand I have to mention, that I did not go to church as a child, despite me being baptised. We were taken in pioneer-camps, where I sang the pioneer-songs, as an elderly villager sings his wide variety of folk songs. This is a pretty big contrast, getting to this point, having a discussion with you on the current. What are your thoughts on this matter?
Many of the Hungarian christians, however, acted resentful and spiteful towards the Hungarian visit of See-Oglu Adigzsi. Certain voices did not fathom why the curch did not protest the shamanic ceremony around the Holy Crown. Please allow me not to quote any of the insults written on the Youtube comment-section. They talk about the love of Jesus, while at the same time their words spout hatred towards the culture of a small number of people, who preserved Shamanism for the world, the oldest religion of mankind. The belief of people living under the reign of nature. Which is, according to See-Oglu, is not a religion, but a culture, a way of life. See-Oglu humbly listened to the attacks in silence. He came abroad, to Europe for the first time in his life. He said, let them argue, the pieces will fall into place eventually, the tension will evaporate and they will calm down. I took See-Oglu to several Catholic churches, by the way. Also, I took him to the already mentioned Transylvanian Csíksomlyó place of pilgrimage. I introduced him to the Klarisszás sisters there. They respected each other’s culture and faith. A catholic priest in Békéscsaba welcomed Adigzsi with great hospitality, he provided accomodation, for which a number of people berated him. We participated in the new-year worship as well, which was held by the county bishop. After the ceremony, we were invited to the luncheon. However, believe me or not, all of a sudden I realized we were not set for the priest’s table, altough we were invited there, they had another table arranged for us in a separate, smaller room, because some priests were not comfortable with sharing a table with the shaman. I felt ashamed for them. Jesus did not teach this. This kind of act is a representation of malicious force, in my opinion.
I would like to add that in Tuva, amongst the families, when I filmed See-Oglu, on several occasions I sang a Mary-song at the end of the ceremonies to the shamans as well, who told me it has relaxing properties. They did not understand the lyrics, however, for it is in Hungarian. How difficult is the task of explaining the meaning of the song of Boldogasszony Mária there? To the Tuvan shamans. What do you reckon I do in such a situtation? I would believe I do a missionary’s work, I bring the name of Mária, the Boldogasszony to the nature peoples, radiating trough the Hungarian Táltos tradition. It is obvious there are a lot of unanswered questions here.
In short, yes, I would like to achieve the integration of the Christian and the Hungarian traditional Táltos values. Maybe I already reached this goal. However, I would not like to convert the Tuvan people to Christianity.
The Táltos culture is considered to be connected to the traditions of other peoples, especially in Central Asia. As these traditions are nearly unknown in the West, could you give a short summary on the special values of this culture?
The Táltos culture, just like the Hungarian folk-songs belong to the so-called Prairie Nomad culture, which is a unified culture extending all the way to the Atlantic. This includes the Central-Asian people, as well as the native people of Inner Asia and North-Siberia. The symbolism of our folk-art is just as present in the folk-art of the Turkic peoples: Kazakhs, the Kyrgyz, the Altais, Khakassians, Tuvans, Bashkirs as in the folk-art of the Finno-Ugric peoples: the Khanty-Mansi, the Maris, the Komi people, as well as in the art of the Altai people. Wherewer I went and sang, I received warm welcomes and they felt a connection with our Hungarian songs. They hold Hungarians as cousins. Whenever I sing a Hungarian folk-song among these people, they instantly sing a similar song. A Moldavian Csángó Hungarian woman sings a lullaby on the slopes of the Eastern Carpathians using the same overtone-singing technique as an Altaian Kazakh woman by the Siret River. A Hungarian lullaby from Central Transylvania starts with Beli buba… and a lullaby of the Jugar group living on Chinese territory starts with Beli,bele... . The Hungarian Táltos tradition is just as part of the collective Eurasian cultural civilization as the folk-songs and the ornamental art. My assumptions based on the results of my past researches, naming that the Tuvan shamanic traditions are in relation to the Hungarian Táltos traditions, especially to the ancient mythology of the Moldavian Hungarians, are completely made certain by the work the Tuvan shaman has demonstrated. As I mentioned before, aside from researches among South-Siberian native peoples, I conduct constant fieldworks on the Moldavian Csángó Hungarian field, I compare our folk-songs, ancient mythologies with the traditions of our assumed relatives, who to this day keep the relation to their Hungarian cousin in the Carpathians in evidence, as well as I give reports on Hungary trough our Hungarian folk-songs to our distant cousins.
From the archaic folk-chants I suppose that a ceremony is performed by Hungarians as well, following shamanism-researcher Vilmos Diószegi’s statement. See-Oglu Adigzsi, the Tuvan shaman, - kám, baski, csajakcsi in Tuvan- mostly uses his purification techniques to cleanse the corners of the room, the area behind the curtains, behind the cupboards, the lavatory with ”artis” insense (Mountain Thuja), while drumming, dancing, etc. He predicts with stones, similar to the the Moldovan Csángó tradition of predicting with beans. Moreover, he searches for the „disturbing” object with a method similar to the Csángó „vízvetés” („water-flinging”). I witnessed one of my greatest moments as a researcher last year; I took Tuvan shaman See-Oglu to the Moldavian Csángó Hungarians in Pusztina village, and the almost 80 years old Anna László and See-Oglu has shown the common heritage before the cameras. We had Mongolian companions as well that time, they were looking for Hun relics for their documentary. Well, what better place to look for such things, than in Hungarya?
Yours truly: Éva Kanalas
Singer, fieldworker, ethnomusicologyst
Translated: Bíró József and Boros Csaba
I would greatly appreciate if you cold answer my questions within the next two or that days. Thank you and all the best.