This paper is about folk healers in Kalmykia, southwest Russia, locally referred to as medlegchi, and their eclectic healing methods that combine elements of the earlier religions of Buddhism, shamanism and folk beliefs with modern theologies, ideas and concepts. Although the paper focuses upon the contemporary situation of folk healers, the author also briefly describes the development of Kalmyk folk healing in order to explain its varied and de-centralised contemporary nature. Alleging to receive their healing knowledge directly from their guardian deities (the majority of whom are Buddhist gods), all Kalmyk folk healers are eclectic in their methods, some more so than others. For example, those who are members of the community Vozrozhdenie [Revival], discussed in the paper, differ from many others by the speed with which they absorb ultra-new ideas and anxieties into their healing practices, which today include UFOs, a cosmic god and aliens, among other things.
Inner Asia – Brill
Published: Apr 16, 2018
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