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Path of the Manshin

Since moving to Darwin I have been accompanied by two new Guides. Usually I work with animal spirits but every now and again at important junctures in my life, I have people from deep cultural backgrounds join me. They resonate with my energy and my journey and are a presence to help guide me in the right direction.

My newest lady has had me head scratching. I hadn’t a clue as to where she was from or what time period she belongs to. Hers is a history I am completely unfamiliar with and I have had to do an immense amount of research to find her and understand her messages.

In my vision of her, I could see her wearing a simple, wide brimmed black hat with pink and red flowers. Under the hat was a black strip over her hair, a covering if you will. She wore simple deep mauve robes and she had red lips. She was sitting at a table in a tent surrounded by important men that all had lots of things to say. She intently focused her energy on me and smiled. Her message was to ignore the chatter of others and focus on me and my journey because it is much more important than what they are doing. She is a strong female, one that resonates with more of a masculine energy. This matches mine, more or less.

After many hours of research I found that she is a Korean Shaman. Muism or Sinism pre-dates the introduction of Buddhism (4th century) and Confucianism (5th century), and the influence of Taoism, in Korea.

Korean shamans-priests or mu are known as a Mudang, but they themselves tend to prefer Manshin. The role of the Mudang or Manshin is to act as intermediary between the spirits or gods, and the human plain, through rituals, seeking to resolve problems in the patterns of development of human life.

Manshin are women who communicate with God, spirits of the dead and the powers of nature, in order to heal, solve problems and divine the future. What sets her apart from other healers and priests is her ability to move at will into trance states. During a trance, the shaman's soul leaves her body and travels to other realms, where helping spirits guide her in her work. The mu provides healing on many levels: physical, emotional and spiritual.

The traditional way in which a person becomes a Mudang is by having some mystical experience or suffering a prolonged inexplicable illness, called Shinbyeong - "spirit sickness". It is felt that the only way to fully recover from the Shinbyeong is to accept the presence of the spirit and to embrace the path of the Mudang.

The primary function of a Mudang is the performance of an elaborate ritual called Gut in which the Mudang will act as the mediator between the spirits and the people. The objectives of a Gut can be various. They may aim to bring mental or physical healing to an individual client, to ensure the birth of a son, to reconcile the living with those who have departed, to placate the troubled and restless spirits of those who have died with unresolved problems, to bring blessings and good fortune to a family, a business or a community, to ensure a bountiful harvest for farming communities, or protection at sea for fishing boats.

My Manshin Guide and I have parallels beyond measure. For those of you who know me, I have suffered with M.E or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome for years. As mentioned above, it is a prolonged inexplicable illness, called Shinbyeong - "spirit sickness". It was at this time that I began to understand more about my connection and my abilities. I have since accepted the presence of the spirit and like her, have embraced the path of the Manshin.

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