‘Se bompo, se, se’ by Martushka Fromeast


Power (or sakhti in Nepali) is a source of a shaman’s fame. Jongge enjoys power competitions a lot. Once, thanks to his sakhti, he opened a new source of underground water in the mountains.


Tyetye Bompo is a natural-born shaman and was taught the craft directly by Devil Forest, the mysterious ghostly being living in the jungle. As a child Tyetye spent half a year in the forest. He never had any official guru, but he won power competitions with other shamans. He claims to be able to change a piece of wood into a cobra.


Dubsang Tamang trains his son to become a shaman. This year during Janai Purima they went to Parvati Kunda, a holy lake linked with the cult of Hindu goddess Parvati, wife of Shiva. The lake is located a walking distance from the village.  For the first time ever Dubsang Tamang’s son was dressed in a full shaman attire.


Rikzen spent 4 months in the jungle. He is strictly against killing animals during shamanistic rituals, pudjas and claims that Bompos who require chicken being killed deal with devils, which is never good. That is why they often drink a lot of alcohol.


Nurbu Tamang has been practicing to become a fully qualified Bompo for the last 3 years. He often undertakes a role of a shaman helper during pudjas run by his guru from Shalgarbeen cast of shamans.


Risowangdi was trained to become a shaman by his older brother. He has been practicing as a Bompo for the last 13 years. Before becoming a shaman he served in the army. Risowangdi’s father was also a Bompo, but he divorced Risowangdi’s mother for another woman. Risowangdi himself married for love at the age of 17 and is a very proud father of three sons.


Kam Dindup has worked as a Bompo for the last 22 years. For him a shaman is a mediator between humans and gods. He claims that we live in the second era of humanity, The Era of Buddhas. The first era, which has ended many years ago, was the Era of Guru Rinpoche, the saint who brought Buddhism to Himalaya.


Shakti of Kami Tamang from Narobeen cast of shamans is famous across the Himalaya. Sometimes he is also called to run pudjas in China.

‘Se bompo, se, se’ is a series of portraits of Nepali Shamans posing in their living rooms by Photographer Martushka Fromeast made during her residency in Syafrubesi. More information on this and other projects here.



One comment

  • Sunday, 15th December, 2013 - 9:37 pm | Permalink

    Nice, so nice …

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