National Geographic : 2012 Dec
Nergui is a boo, as Mongolians call male sha- mans. He believes himself to be an intermediary between the visible world and the hidden world of spirits and gods. Mystical gures like him are reviving old traditions throughout Mongolia, Central Asia, and Siberia and nding a recep- tive audience for their charismatic rituals. A er meditation and chants Nergui moved into a trance, the moment when the spirit from the invisible realm would be free to enter his body. "Oh, my spirit, I would ride ten Mongolian cows to see you. Please let the golden cuckoo guide me to the spirit." Eight of us had gathered around, sitting on stools and metal-framed beds pushed up against the walls of Nergui's one-room wooden cabin. Outside, the temperature on this mid-November day was 10°F. It was just a er midday, the "horse hour," according to the Chinese zodiac clock. For Nergui the noon hour is the perfect time to go on an otherworldly ride. "Sky of the wolf, please help me. A man in need, with a heart of peace, has come. Great sky, please come here." Nergui is a slight, unassuming man with a hangdog look that reminded me of the actor Walter Matthau. He was unshaven and dressed in a dull brown del---a traditional Mongolian robe---with a yellow belt and a blue silk sash Nergui stood in the center of the room, swaying from side to side, chanting, "Great sky, please come here." His eyes were closed, and he gripped a cluster of multicolored cloth strips. His voice was rough and the melody repetitive, like an ancient ballad: "Oh, great blue sky, which is my blanket, come to me."