International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online)

A Shamanic Korean Ritual for Transforming Death and Sickness into Rebirth and Integration
Nami Lee, Eun Young Kim

Abstract
Shamanism is still a popular form of spiritual practice despite the recent socioeconomic and technological development in Korea. This article discusses Korean shamanic tradition, major mythical characters, and a Korean shamanic ritual, Sitkimgut, from a psychological standpoint. Sitkim refers to the act of purifying and soothing the dead spirit, while gut means ritual. The psychological motifs of Sitkimgut are venting, cleansing, purifying, transforming the participants’ negative emotions and trauma into more meaningful experience by going through symbolic death and rebirth. Mythological motifs of Sitkim are observed in many religions, myths, and fairytales in other world. Shamanic rituals, if carefully handled and applied, may help healing the wounded, resolving conflicts, and reconnecting with the numinous realm.

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