KATHMANDU, Nov 5: Hundreds gathered at Boudhanath Stupa on Sunday to welcome 13 indigenous “grandmother” shamans from across the world to Nepal for their first visit as a group.
The spiritual elders - including Nepal´s Tamang healer, Aama Bombo - are touring Nepal for the 12th gathering of the International Council of 13 Indigenous Grandmothers.
The Council was formed in 2004 to promote alternative medicine, shamanism, indigenous culture, and the urgent need for social change across the globe.
“The world is shaking. We must listen to the prophecy,” said Jeneane Prevatt, spiritual director of The Center for Sacred Studies (CSS), an US organization and church that formed the Council. “We´re here to learn about Nepal´s culture, talk to your children, honor Nepal, and spread the message about the urgent need for world peace.”
The 13 female shamans from countries like Mexico, Brazil, Africa, Tibet, and the US will spend the next week discussing conflict issues in closed council meetings.
They will also visit Bhaktapur and Aama Bombo´s birth village of Melong in the Bagmati region, which she left at 16 when she married and migrated to Kathmandu.
Bombo - born Buddhi Maya Lama - is best known for her healing practices and for being one of the first female shamans from the Tamang community.
There are 700,000 shamans in Nepal but only 2 to 3 percent of these are women, said Mohan Rai, founder of Shamanistic Studies and Research Centre.
“It is becoming more popular among women in Nepal but it is hard for them to be selected as a shaman by the spirit,” said Rai.
Shamanism is becoming controversial in some sections of the country as more and more people embrace Western medicine.
“We are standing at a moment in history where we need a realistic dream, a comprehensive vision, and a common voice,” said Ganesh Tamang, former ambassador of Nepal to Japan.
“I am confident that the bonding of grandmothers in Nepal will remind us of the ancient ties and history that binds us.”
Bombo and the other grandmothers were blessed at Boudanath Stupa and gifted numerous presents at a crowded welcoming ceremony.
“Grandmother Aama is quite humbled by it. She considers herself as just a woman from a rural area with not a lot of education,” said Darlene Hunter, executive director of the CSS.
“We don´t necessarily consider ourselves feminists but we do believe in the importance of the mother and those women who take care of a village.”