Chaesu Kut: A Korean Shamanistic Performance
ByJohn A. Grim
Pages 23

SHAMANISTIC performances in Korea are still actively performed byfemale shamanesses (mudangB}) and by male shamans (paksumudang N#B}). These ritual performances (called kut), can be identified as shamanistic because the professional practitioner, or shaman, invokes a spirit-power and manifests the radical change in personality and behavior associated with possession. During this altered state of consciousness the shaman is said to have had his or her personality displaced by the evoked spirit. The spirits residing in the body of the shaman are capable of transmitting efficacious power or of withholding their harmful presence in response to a ceremonial request by a patient or client. Financial transactions are a significant element in the arrangement of a kut-performance, but these exchanges of money are traditionally understood as a payment to the spirits through the shaman, who is a channel for power. According to a Korean shamaness, if spirit-power is to be efficacious, it must be correctly solicited and purchased.