Ritualizing Written Texts in Seolwi-seolgyeong, the Korean Shamanistic Recitation of Scriptures
Seolwi-seolgyeong is a Korean shamanistic ritual in which shamans recite scriptures while being seated. This ritual suggests a comprehensive way of performing scriptures; scriptures are recited, written and materialized so that their sacred status is secured and their power is maximized. The recitation is the nucleus of this ritual. Though lay participants do not understand the meaning of recited scriptures, they regard the recitation as effective because the gods and evil spirits are thought to understand it. For seolwi-seolgyeong to be most efficacious, the recitation of scriptures should be supported by the materialization of scriptures. Evil spirits become frightened by reading the paper banners on which the names of gods and other words of scriptures are written. Geometric paper figures that depict gods visually scare evil spirits and those that reflect the scriptures’ cosmology can hedge them in and trap them. In this ritual process, scriptures are privileged and distinguished as sacred beings in several ways. First, scriptures are ritualized when shamans and other participants in seolwi-seolgyeong treat the scriptures as no less than the words of the gods. Second, reciting the scripture is equated with the proclamation of divine words. This ritualization is considered more effective when scriptures are recited more skillfully. Third, the contents of scriptures are also ritualized when they are considered so sacred as to subdue evil spirits and heal patients and when shamans materialize the contents into paper figures on the basis of their interpretation of the cosmology and theology in scriptures.
———. 2010a. “Chungcheong-do Anjeungut Jikyeo-on Gono Gyeonggaeng-ui Hanseureon Chugwon.” Minjok 21(5): 146–151.
———. 2010b. “Gyeryongsan Samsindanggut Mugyeong-ui Gujo-wa Uimi.” Urimalgeul: The Korean Language and Literature 50: 129–159.
Bell, Catherine. 1992. Ritual Theory, Ritual Practice. New York: Oxford University Press.
Gu, Junghoe. 2001. Gyeryongsan Gutdang Yeongu. Seoul: Gukhakjaryowon.
———. 2009. Gyeongchaek Munhwa-wa Yeoksa. Seoul: Minsokwon.
Han, Jeongdeok. 2017. “Seolwi-seolgyeong-gwa Gyeongjeon.” Interview with Yohan Yoo conducted on May 18.
Jang, Inseong. 2013. “Chungcheong Jiyeok-ui Anjeungut-gwa Jeong-ilgyo.” The Journal of Humanities Studies 93: 341–360.
Kim, Yeongjin, Hyejeong Park and Sanggyeong An. 2012. Chungcheong-do Anjeungut. Cheongju: Chungcheongbuk-do Munhwa Yusan Yeon-guhoe.
Kugel, James L. 1997. The Bibel As It Was. Cambridge, MA: Belknap.
Lim, Seungbeom. 2009. “Chungcheonggut-ui Seolgyeong Yeon-gu.” Korean Shamanism 18: 83–107.
———. 2011. Taean Seolwi-seolgyeong. Seoul: Minsokwon.
Oh, Munseon. 1997. “Buyeo Jiyeok-ui Anjeungut.” The Journal of Korean Historical-folklife 6: 91–121.
Oh, Munseon. 2016. “Beopsa.” In Han-guk Minsok Daebaekgwa Sajeon (Encyclopedia of Korean Folk Culture). http://folkency.nfm.go.kr/kr/topic/%EB%B2%95%EC%82%AC/2168
Park, Hyejeong. 2014. Yangban Go-eul Yangban Gut: Chungnam-ui Anjeungut Eumak. Seoul: Minsokwon.
Park, Jong-ik. 2010. “Daejeon Anjeungut Munyeo Songseonja-ui Gyebo-wa Seolgyeong.” The Journal of Humanities Studies 79: 63–88.
Patton, C. Kimberley. 2009. Religion of the Gods: Ritual, Paradox, and Reflexivity. Oxford: Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1163/156852712x630842
Peters, F. E. 2007. The Voice, the Word, the Books: The Sacred Scriptures of the Jews, Christians, and Muslims. Princeton: Princeton University Press. https://doi.org/10.1515/9780691190471
Schipper, Kristofer and Franciscus Verellen, eds. 2004. Taoist Canon Vol 2. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/s0021911807001465
Seo, Daeseok. 1991. “Dokgyeongsinang.” In Han-guk Minjok Munhwa Daebaekgwa (Encyclopedia of Korean Culture), Volume 7, edited by Han-guk Jeongsin Munhwa Yeonguwon, 42–44. http://encykorea.aks.ac.kr/Contents/Index?contents_id=E0015943
Watts, James W. 2006 . “The Three Dimensions of Scriptures.” Postscripts 2(2–3): 135-159.
———. 2017. Understanding the Pentateuch as a Scripture. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.
Wimbush, Vincent L. 2012. White Men’s Magic: Scripturalization as Slavery. New York: Oxford University Press.
Yi, Neunghwa. 1989 . Joseon Dogyosa. Seoul: Boseongmunhwasa.
Yoo, Yohan. 2010 . “Possession and Repetition: Ways in which Korean Lay Buddhists Appropriate Scriptures.” Postscripts 6(1–3): 243–259. Oh, Munseon. 2016. “Beopsa.” In Han-guk Minsok Daebaekgwa Sajeon (Encyclopedia of Korean Folk Culture). http://folkency.nfm.go.kr/kr/topic/%EB%B2%95%EC%82%AC/2168
© Equinox Publishing Ltd.
For information regarding our Open Access policy, click here.