Shamanism cannot be fully understood without understanding the meaning of shamanic ritual instruments, just as the spirit cannot be understood without matter.


The sacred tools of a shaman can be of different types. Many include sacred plants, special stones, animal parts, drum, musical instruments, masks and costumes.

For the shaman, these objects not only represent the sacred, but embody the spirits, sacred cosmology, and the origins of the shamanic world. An altar created with such objects becomes an interface or a door between spirit and physical matter.

The following is a short list of some of the many ritual objects and unique terms used in Nepalese shamanism.

Thaan, New100
The shamanic altar or the diagram of the shamanic cosmos. It is a sacred space created by the shaman with all his ritual objects and instruments. Its form can be a reflection of the traditional culture of a shaman, it can be structured on the basis of the guidance provided by the divinity protecting the shaman or be the result of a shaman's journey, a vision or a dream. The thaan is a meeting place between the ordinary and the spiritual kingdom.

Shila Dhunga
It is usually a transparent quartz crystal that represents a celestial mountain, connecting the lower world, the middle world and the higher world. This axix mundi can become the home of the healing deity of the shaman or a way to "see" the spirits that cause shamanic disease. These stones are also called Dhami Dhunga or Jhankri Dhunga, which means "shaman's stone", and can also be white crystals.

Shaligram, New
This black fossil ammonite represents the cycles of birth and annihilation. These stones support the shaman to descend into the lower world and rise to the higher world. Having a spiral shape, these also represent the divinity of the naga that opens creation and holds the earth. In some folk traditions they are considered the "scales to paradise".

Vajra Dhunga
These meteoric stones are called "thunderstones" or "lightning stones" and are closely associated with the symbolism represented by the shape of a vajra or dorje. Representing the fire element, light and lighting, they protect against every external attachment, illusions and support balance and harmony.

Chhatri / Chata
Known as a "spiritual umbrella" or "wire cross", the Chhatri can be used for two purposes. It can capture and trap evil spirits or serve as a tool for retaining energy and healing protection. They can be made up of various shapes using yarns of different color depending on their purpose.

The Nepalese term for the immortal soul. "The soul is the beautiful garden of the higher self and the flowers with which it decorates its sign, the linga, are the expression of what is growing inside. It is the thoughts, hopes, desires and dreams that blossom within us. Therefore you should sacrifice the most beautiful and freshest flowers, preferably from your own garden."

Saato, New
The Nepalese term for the "mental soul." It's the part of us connected to the higher world. This aspect of the soul is what can be lost or taken away by other entities. In the Nepalese language the loss of the soul is called Saato Jannu and a recovery of the soul is called Saato Bolaunu.

Mutu / Mukhya / Mul
The Nepalese term for the "heart-centered soul", which is connected to the average world and to the present times. This soul is connected with the primary spirit teacher.

Hangsa, New
The Nepalese term for the appearance of the soul that is centered in the umbilical region. It is connected to the lower world and holds our emotional way of being. It can also be the seat of emotional poisons such as anger, envy and hatred.

A divine symbol that includes the three worlds, the three moments of birth, death and rebirth, the three aspects of the god Shiva (Brahma, Vishnu and Mahadev), the three states of creation, preservation and destruction for reconstruction. The trident also represents the fire element and the lighting state.

Kalasa, New
A jug of sacred water that is believed to hold the elixir (amrita) of the immortality of life. Shamans divert one of their souls into the kalasa before embarking on a healing journey.

Peacock feathers
The symbol of shamanic power, the flight of the soul, travel, healing and dissipation of ignorance or darkness. They also represent spiritual and physical purity.

Thaal and Nanglo
Thaal is the dish that normally contains rice, in which all sacred objects are stored. It's the center piece of an altar. The Nanglo is the bamboo dumping basket, where you can create an altar or in some cases make certain offers.

Incense burner. It can be made of clay or any metal in which the extracts/incense of the sacred plant turn into divine smoke purifier.

Khurpa / khurmi / Thurpi / Phurba
The magic dagger. Like the trident, this represents the three worlds, three times and three emotional states (happy, gloomy and sad). They are found in different forms and iconographic representations, they are used for healing, rooting, protection and the creation of harmony.

Dumsik Kanda
Hertrice's spike. Used for the protection of self and the home, for better concentration and as a link between birds and mammals. It is a way for the shaman to stay in touch with the spirits of the middle world.

Artemisia grass. It is used as an offer, for cleaning the environment, as incense and as a medicinal plant.

This is a banana or a plantain. In the rites of shamanic healing it represents the tree of the world that connects all realities. It can also be used as an agent of sacrifice in healing rituals and rituals, when a container is needed for a negative spirit.

Bans, New1005
This bamboo is also known as "the grass of all the multipurpose worlds". Bamboo and its different parts are used in healing rituals, birth rites and death rites, as food for humans and animals. It is widely used in the construction of houses, in the construction of fences, boats, bridges, etc.

Totalako Phul
The seeds and flowers of the flower of Datura or Brugmansia (Trumpet flower). The seeds coated with white fiber, hidden inside its long bell-shaped fruit, are considered the "most sacred and pure flower". The shaman calls it the "flower of the soul", it is offered after the recovery of the soul or the recovery of power.

The sacred basil plant. It is used for cleaning, healing and as a medicinal plant, thanks to the considerable oxygen it produces.

Janawar Ko Singh and Dara
Animal horns and teeth. The horns and teeth of some animals have great healing effects and are also included in the preparation of protective amulets and talismans. Many times they are present in the shamanic altar.

Khurungi people
The curved scythe. This tool is handled by female deities and is used to eliminate spiritual nodes and extraction processes.

Dhanus / Kand
Bow and arrows. They represent both the weapon and the symbol of the divinity that inhabits the forest (the "sikari"), as well as some deities and irate spirits; It is used to reverse the effects of food poisoning (antidote), spiritual attacks and for extreme and targeted concentrations.

Dhyangro, New1000
Two-headed drum of the Nepalese shaman. Covered by the skin of a deer or a wild or domestic goat, with a handle with different iconographic representations.

Gajo, New1001
Drum-beating tool, curved and "S"-shaped.

Jhyamta, New100
The double cembali used to accompany the drum.

The bells in the shaman's call, which are worn along with the prayer pearls and malas of the shaman.

Necklaces of prayer grains or rosaries. Shamans in the Himalayas mainly use the natural seeds of the sacred plant called Rudraksha (Eloeocarpus sphaericus) and black seeds of Rittha (soap nut plant). Most malas have 108 pearls, but they can also be 78 or 54. They are for protection, to honor deities and harmonize body pressure.

Sankha, New1
Shell. Its sound evokes primordial memories and awakens the dormant emotions deeply rooted in the unconscious.

Nalihar, New
A human forearm bone. Used as a trumpet in some rituals to call healing spirits.

Sarpa Malla
Rosary made of snake vertebrae. It represents the Naga Godhead, the guardian of the Lower World and the kingdom of Earth. He also reminds the shaman that everything is driven by transformation and change.

The long skirt of the shaman, with 108 folds.

Bhoto, New
The shaman's shirt

Pagari, New
The headband to wrap the shaman's head. Most often red and white.

Patuka, New New100
The shaman's red belt.

The divine broom: the end of this plant is not only used to clean the houses, but also to clean the spiritual body of the sick person. They are also called the "witch plants" but when shamans use them they not only transform the dark energies into light, but also mutate normal water into healing waters: amrita!

Chammar, New1001
The tail of the yak. It is used to purify the spiritual body of the person and give clarity to the mind. In the Middle Ages the chammar was used as a symbol of royalty. Statues of gods and deities are purified and fed by the tail of yaks in various temples and families.

Akchata, New
Raw rice beans. When rice grains are used as offerings in altars, they represent the earth mother. They are also used in healing and transference.

Supari, New
Betel nut. It can be used as an offering and as an invitation for deities to take their place in the space of the sacred altar.

Tapari, New
Dishes made with leaves of sacred plants. These vegetable containers are used for offerings in sacred places or altars, or as part of offerings to spirits.

Sata-Byu, New
They are the seven types of sacred grains. They can be used as a means of offering or transference or depossession in the sacred mandala. They can also be offered directly to Mother Earth.

Pala-Byu, New
Different types of flowers, leaves and vegetable offerings.

Khadko / Khadga
Ritual knife.

Khadga Puja
Ceremony to remove obstacles.

The circle of time.

Kaal-chakra Katnu
Cut/transmute/annihilate the dark cycle of time.

Seha sarnu
Transfer disaharmoniable planetary affections.

Chokhyaunu / Puchnu
Purify or purify an object, person, or structure from impurity.

- Etc. Etc. Etc. -

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