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Sangadzhi Kononov, About Amnya Dolig (Substitute Rituals)

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Churyumov, Anton 
Kovaeva, Bair 


The Kalmyk word for life or soul is amn’. Amnya dolig refers to two different rituals. Ritual One. It is performed when one wants to grant life to a living being which is doomed to death. These include fish, birds (chicken or cocks) or sheep. For example, one can release seven fish into the water, or a chicken or a sheep into the steppe while saying ‘If it is to be that of gods let it be so; if it is to be that of a human being let it be so; if it is to be that of a wolf let it be so; I am granting life (to this living being)’. To mark that they are part of an amnya dolig ritual, the chicken or the sheep should have their neck bandaged with a white or yellow strip of cloth. Ritual Two. It is performed when one falls ill, feels lifeless, or when a woman cannot get pregnant. A sheep is killed and its head is offered to the god of longevity, Ayush Gegyan. The person who performs this ritual buys his/her own life in exchange for that of a sheep. This ritual is very old and was done by the ancestors of the Kalmyks before they adopted Buddhism. In its modern form it has incorporated some Buddhist elements.



ritual, soul, healing, shamanism, Buddhism

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