In a far Yakut village there lives one of the last real shamans of Yakutia. The one, surrounded by legends. I know that he is a follower of the great Verkhneviluysk shaman Nyykan, Buruustaakh Zakhar, the great Evenki udaganka Matrena Kulbertinova from Iengra and the most famous Tungus shaman Savey. He went through all the stages of becoming a shaman, relying on the experience of Yakut and Tungus shamans.
This year Fedot is getting 55 years old. According to Yakut standards he is still young. It was not easy to get an audience with the guardian of shamanistic secrets. He is a rather modest person and prefers to stay in the shade as it is usual among powerful shamans. He does not like to talk with reporters and this is his first interview. He also does not like to talk about shamanistic wisdom and if he does not like the question then he immediately lets you know about it.
- Fedot, how did you find out about your mission?
- When I was a kid I was different from other children what made me feel embarrassed. People like me were considered ancient knowledge holders.
I went to school in 1971. One day my elder brother came up to me and offered to catch a bird. After some hesitations I agreed and joined him with a strong feeling than I shouldn’t. On our way to a place where the bird was supposed to be something strange happened to me. A tiny little flame landed on my shoulder with thunder. I got very scared and my brother took great pains to calm me down. It turned out that this is the way your shaman powers get unleashed.
Later, when I was a 4th year pupil I heard stories told by Niyykan about a talented boy who was different from other pupils and I realized those stories were about me.
Zhemkonskaya land was always famous for strong shamans. Such healers as Vladimir Kondakov which I know personally is from here.
In 1981, I secretly from everyone went to Verkhnevilyuysk to Nyykan. Then I was only 17 years old. I told him that the villagers believe that the very boy he spoke of was me. The old man laughed and said: "Yes, it was you that I had in mind." The granddaughter of Nyykan, Zoya Pestryakova later said that her grandfather constantly spoke about me, but at the same time he never spoke by name.
In 1982 on the advice of Elder Nyykan I received the blessing of Sahaar who practiced healing with songs in the traditional Yakut way. Healer Sahaar lived on the May site in Mayik village. Sakhaar hid his occupation. Apparently he remembered the troubled times of persecution of shamans.
In 1995 I visited Iengra at the 106-year-old Tunguska Matrena Kulbertinova. By the way, she spoke Yakut better than you and I. Her grandmother was a saha. Oh, she really was powerful! She knew very well that in one year, at the age 107, she would leave the Middle World.
In 2000 I was invited by the shaman Savey from Iengra. We have been in close contact with him for 13 years. I participated as a cuturuxut in shamanistic ritual and treatment several times. Kuturuxut is a shaman’s helper. It can be any person. At the beginning Nyykan was also a kuturuksut. Every year I went to Savey and helped to heal. By the way, Savey did not know the Yakut language at all.
So, I received the blessing of four important people. Now, thanks to their blessings and insistencies I continue to treat people.
Being given directions while asleep it took me a month to make a shaman’s costume when I was 16 and when I was 21 I made my own tambourine. Since then I started practicing shamanism.
- They say that Niyykan did his rituals in Tungus language. You learnt from powerful Evenk shamans. Does it mean you had a “Tungus school”?
- There is no difference between Yakut and Tungus school. A Yakut shaman can train a Tungus shaman and vice versa.
- Who do you think is the last shaman of Yakutia?
- No doubt, it is Savey. The great shaman Savey is the strongest. He is one of the last who the Universe has given great knowledge to ... In principle, I do not like the word “shaman”. Also, I do not approve of the word “shamanise.” I am not a shaman, I am a Yakut healer. I treat with the help of herbs, massage, blessings. On the stage of the theater the shaman is shown as a madman with crazy eyes ... I do not like this at all. It is already embarrassing.
- Each person has his own destiny. Shamans are the same. I do not divide shamans into “strong”, “medium” and “weak”. I do not pay attention to this. After all, this is not my personal business. This does not bother me. I did not become a healer in order to prove something to someone.
- Is it necessary to be a chosen one to become a shaman?
- A shaman is chosen by spirits. Only after that he devoted himself to the secret knowledge of nature.
- Are there shamans who practice ceremony of offering sacrifices these days?
- - No. Nowadays shamanism has greatly transformed and weakened. Now there are no such powerful shamans who could teach the basics and secrets of the profession.
- Are you going to train other shamans?
- I'm still young. The time will come and they will tell me when to start. It will happen before I leave for another world.
- What can you say about the spirit of the time?
- Without any exaggeration, I can confidently say that the current time is not very good. Natural disasters, raging elements are becoming commonplace: forests are burning, the quality of food has deteriorated, because of this, new diseases have appeared ... The burden of capitalism.
Hard times for small-numbered peoples. Soviet power was truly popular. In Brezhnev’s time, for example, attitudes toward healers changed - it became more loyal. I don’t know what happened before.
But Elder Nyykan loved and praised Soviet power.