Hmong traditional healing practices

For followers of traditional Hmong spirituality, the shaman, a healing practitioner who acts as an intermediary between the spirit and material world, is the main communicator with the otherworld, able to see why and how someone got sick.
After a waiting period, if the sick individual becomes well, then the second part of the ceremony, referred to as ua neeb kho, will be performed, in which joss paper is burned and livestock is sacrificed in exchange for the well-being and future protection of the individual's soul. Studies done within the Hmong American communities show that many Hmong continue to consult shamans for their health concerns. Not everyone gets to become a shaman; they must be chosen by the spirits to become an intermediary between the spiritual realm and physical world. August 10, 2014 By Alisa Xiong Leave a Comment Lue Vang is one of many Hmong Shamans in Sacramento who follow a religious tradition more than 5,000 years old. Today, Vang, 52, and his colleagues are working to blend their traditional expertise with Western medical practices to promote heath and longevity among the Hmong community.
After the spiritual ceremony, Vang was told his sickness was a sign that he had been chosen to be a Shaman.
In 2005, Vang and his family migrated to America, and found their way to Sacramento where there are about 40,000 Hmong. One way to help his Hmong community as a Shaman Master, Vang believed, was to join The Shaman Project  organized by Hmong Health Collaborative in 2006. The Hmong Health Collaborative Project helps bridge this gap between the Shaman world and Western medical practices. South Sacramento considers the White HouseMay 26, 2016 By Burt Clemons Leave a CommentThe turmoil and controversy in this year’s presidential election prompted me to get out into the community and find out what was being said about the candidates and how people were going to vote. This cd is about a healing ceremony held by a 80 years old Black Hmong shaman: jumping while performing in a private hmong house in Lai Chau province, near Sapa. This recording is about a shamanic trance where the shaman is not only intending to 'clean' the body and soul of people but also their house and possibly forecast their future. Hmong refugees have been resettling in California’s Central Valley since the late 1970s, when the CIA retreated from their “Secret War” in Laos.
First the shaman, May Yang, and her husband prepare an altar with offerings of eggs, uncooked rice, paper money and incense. After the ceremony the men in the family took the pig to the garage to prepare it for the feast, while the women cooked in the kitchen and in a makeshift kitchen in the backyard.
The final, and most complicated dish was the trout, which was mostly prepared in the yard while the shaman performed the ceremony in the living room.
Visit KQED’s State of Health blog to read about how Hmong shamans in Merced are being trained in the basics of western medicine. Shuka, Thank you for providing this fascinating glimpse into the Hmong culture’s spiritual practice. Shuka Kalantari is a Bay Area journalist reporting on health, food, culture and immigrant communities in California and internationally. About Bay Area BitesBay Area Bites (BAB), KQED's public media food blog, feeds you visually compelling food-related stories, news, recipes and reviews from the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond.
The first part of the process is "ua neeb Saib": examining the spiritual aura of the situation to determine what the factors are.
Extended family and friends are invited to partake in the ceremony and tie a white string around the wrist (khi tes) of the individual.
According to traditional Hmong beliefs, these symptoms are the result of shamanic spirits (dab neeb) trying to get through to the Shaman-to-be. But the healing they produce is eternal, a bridge between ancient ways and modern techniques.

Living in a Thailand refugee camp after escaping from Laos following the Vietnam War, Vang became sick.
In California, Vang quickly learned he could not practice exactly as a Shaman would in Thailand or Laos. After working within the project, Shaman Masters can decide if their patient is spiritually or physically sick. So far, Vang has performed around 800 spiritual ceremonies for his Hmong community in Sacramento. Xiong is an on-camera interviewer for the Hmong Report on Crossings TV, and is continuing her studies at California State University, Sacramento. My questions were basic: What do people think about this election, and whom are they voting for?
Graswich Leave a CommentSacramento Voices celebrated its 2016 class graduation in April at the Sacramento City College Cultural Awareness Center. You must have JavaScript enabled in your browser for some features of this website to work correctly.
To ensure a better experience on our site, we recommend using a recent version of Internet Explorer, Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox. The eggs, the shaman explains through an interpreter, are toys for the shaman spirits to play with. The chicken, cut in half, represents the separation of the mother and baby’s spirits and is part of the ceremony.
As they head to the front door, the shaman is gifted a bag filled with dozens of steamed pork and cabbage rolls to take home to her own family.
She's reported for Public Radio International’s The World, BBC World News Service’s Outlook, Philosophy Talk, Vice Magazine.
However, due to conflict between the two very different beings, the deity Saub had blinded the two from being able to see each other. If during ua neeb Saib the shaman observes something seriously wrong with the individual, such as a soul having lost its way home and caught by some spiritual being, the shaman will end the first part of the ceremony process by negotiating with the spiritual being ("whoever has control of this individual soul") to release the soul; most of the time this will do.
The strings are blessed by the shaman and as each person ties it around the individual's wrist, they say a personalized blessing.
Typically, there is a strong chance for an individual to become a shaman if their family history contains shamans.
For those that still practice Shamanism, they're able to recognize these symptoms and cure their loved ones by helping them develop into full fledged Shamans. He decided to adapt in part to Western ways while maintaining strong ties and deep respect to his culture’s traditions. In return, I taught the doctors about how I can heal human souls by doing spiritual ceremonies,” Vang says. It was not until late 1960s, during the Vietnam War, that Western medication was introduced. They have left hospitals before surgery and sought a Shaman Master to perform a spiritual ceremony at home. But if anybody ever asks, yes, I can heal anybody of all cultures and ethnicity,” Vang says with a laugh. Her passions are photography and community service, and she is uniquely interested in telling stories about the Hmong community. The event celebrated the journalism, poetry and personal narratives that emerged during the nine-month course in community journalism — a remarkable production of work from an outstanding group of writers.

The ones who left China in the 19th century have re-defined various cultural identities since then, but musically speaking, the mouth organ remains their main distinctive instrument.
Most arrived with few personal belongings, but they did carry their cultural practices with them — and their recipes. The Hmong believe that mother and daughter are joined in one life, and soon before birth you must split them into two lives. It is the place, wherever a household decides to place it, where worshiping, offerings (joss paper, animal, etc.) and rituals are done. This is due to the belief that ancestral spirits, including the spirits of shamans, are reincarnated into the same family tree.
For those that are blessed to become a Shaman and do not want to practice Shamanism, they often turn to crazy Christian exorcism, western medicine, and psych wards.
Her volunteer service includes assisting My Sister’s House, which provides shelter to women escaping violence.
If you travel down Broadway it serves as a hallway to the center of the city’s heart.
At a traditional Hmong ceremony in the small town of Winton, a few dozen family members gathered to honor a young, pregnant Hmong woman — Leena Yang.
Family members then spread a plastic sheet across the living floor, and carefully laid a slaughtered pig on the sheet.
A shaman’s real job is to “reproduce and restore belief” not really the physical health, although it may seem so. In addition, Shamans also have their own personal altar that holds their special instruments and dag neeg. The ceremony was to ensure the healthy birth of the baby and a safe delivery for the mother. The pig had a rope wrapped around its belly that led to another rope, wrapped around the belly of a pregnant woman. Rituals, which serve as a treatment, might include herbal remedies or offerings of joss paper money or livestock. During a ritual, or when a shaman is under a trance, it is prohibited to walk between the altar and the shaman when the shaman in speaking directly with the otherworld. Usually the amount of time for a shaman to be done with training depends on the spiritual guardians that guide the shaman in the process of performing the rituals (dag neeg). For the next two hours the shaman chanted while she swayed back and forth and played ceremonial bells. In cases of serious illness, the shaman enters a trance and travels through the spirit world to discern the cause and remedy of the problem, usually involving the loss of a soul. The shaman welcomes the baby soul to the world,” said Changvang Her, a Hmong translator. The chants, she later explained, are prayers to the spirit world, offering the slaughtered pig as a sacrifice in exchange for a healthy birth. Throughout the ceremony, the shaman’s husband burns pieces of the paper money as offerings to help the shaman pass through different spiritual levels, or realms.

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