Working with the Elemental Spirits

The Five Elements and Shamanism in Nepal by Bhola Nath BanstolaIn
  • Provides first hand information about Napali Shamanism as well as highlighting other indigenous practices.
  • Includes direct teaching and experiential practices related to the Elements and associated Spirts, the Nagas, Devas and Devis.
  •  Learn how to create an altar, set up offerings, mandalas, yantras, as well as be provided with Mantras for the specific spirits along with exercises and techniques for using them properly.
A Congratulatory Note to Bhola Banstola
It is a well-known fact that Nepali Shamanism has a large following not only in Nepal but also abroad, and dedicated persons like Mr Banstola have been working hard to reach a wider non-Nepali following now linked nearly all over the world. Their quest for the unknown or less known continues amidst celebrations in Europe, the Americas and Asia. His works have borne fruit through unprecedented spiritual awareness, festivals, ceremonies and academic presentations.
It is a highly welcome compendium in the mysterious yet resourceful world of spiritual healing and the relevant philosophy of the integrated phenomenon of Nature, Man and the Beyond. This category of scripture falls in the sphere of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Nepal. Though a personal effort, this book is one brilliant example of this ongoing phenomenon.
This book is the writer’s tribute to Nepal and the spiritual healing practice that needs more support and promotion in the time to come.
Academicians like Bhola carry the essential elements of Nepali culture wherever they go. This feeling, spirit, effort, and the result of such an endeavour result in an incredible compendium like the book in our hands now. The content is lengthy, but each entry has significance in the documentation process of the intangible heritage of Nepal.
That the Nepali shamanic cosmology is more comprehensive and fertile is a known fact. A host of foreign scholars have made several efforts to unravel the shamanic cosmology of Nepal. The vast area remains to be explored further for the benefit of researchers, writers and readers. The world of the Anthropology of Sociology and Healing is extensive; it is getting wider and enigmatic for the Western world. All these years, Bhola has been adding more solid bricks to the philosophical, tantric and practical aspects of the shamanic cosmology of Nepal with an ever-increasing interest and a wider following in Nepal and abroad.
Spiritual healing is the book’s central theme – a handbook, for that matter. The healers know where to create balance among the spirits and elements when a victim approaches them for a cure. The healer then focuses on properly using the tools available so the victim can experience relief. A shaman plays with a host of methods at hand. Methodologically Playing with the Five essential elements – Kshiti or Earth, Aapa or Water, Teja or Fire, Maruta or Air and Vyoma –Sky – he becomes a medium to be reckoned with in the Nepali Shamanic Cosmology.
I wish Bhola success in further documentation and writing for the benefit of all in future.
May this book benefit all who seek shamanic wisdom from a long lineage.
Prem Kumar Khatry, Professor (retired Professor, Tribhuvan University, Nepal)
January 2024, Kathmandu, Nepal

Buy on Amazon

The Nepalese Shamanic Path

An experiential guide to the shamanic spiritual practices of the Himalayas shared by a 27th-generation Nepalese shaman.

  • Presents step-by-step, illustrated instructions for authentic Himalayan shamanic practices, including physical and spiritual healing, shamanic journeys, and ceremonies
  • Includes exercises to meet the ancestors in your shamanic lineage, techniques to use your voice as a shamanic tool, and practices for negotiating the spirit world safely
  • Details shamanic chants and rituals, how to create an altar, and the sacred objects of the shaman, along with exercises and techniques for using them properly

There are few areas of our world where shamanic traditions have been preserved in their original context and form. Nepal is one of these rare and special places. In the shadow of the Himalayas Nepalese shamans, known as dhamis or jhankris, are still consulted for healing and divination, as well as for providing comfort and maintaining harmony. Following the devastating earthquake in Nepal in 2015, shamanic teacher Evelyn Rysdyk and 27th-generation dhami Bhola Nath Banstola decided it was time to safeguard Nepalese shamanic knowledge for future generations by recording the practices in a book.

With this comprehensive, experiential guide to the ancient spiritual traditions of Nepal, Rysdyk and Banstola present step-by-step instructions for authentic Himalayan shamanic practices, including techniques for physical and spiritual healing, shamanic journeys, and advanced ceremonies, such as the Kalkracha Katne, a shamanic ritual for removing toxic energies from an individual. They include exercises to help you meet the ancestors in your shamanic lineage, techniques to use your voice as a shamanic tool, and practices for negotiating the spirit world safely. They detail shamanic chants and rituals, how to create an altar, and how to use the sacred objects of the dhami/jhankri, including the mala, the magic mirror, the drum, and the Khurpa, the shaman’s magic dagger. Rysdyk and Banstola also examine the importance of Nepalese cosmology in shamanic ritual and spiritual deities such as Hanuman, Garuda, and the Nagas.

Illustrated with photos and Rysdyk’s artwork, the book also explores the history of Nepal, its culture and myths, and the different ways Nepalese shamans serve their communities. Written specifically to share the traditional Himalayan shamanic method with the Western world, this guide not only preserves these ancient teachings but also reveals how they are still relevant in the modern world.

Buy on Amazon

The Nepalese Shaman Oral Texts

Professor Gregory G Maskarinec wrote a groundbreaking and award-winning book, on Indigenous Khaas people of West Nepal

with a specific reference to the Bishwakarmas (the celestial architects as blacksmiths-BK). The BK Dhami Shamans told him the myths how Mahadeva’s consort, Mahadevi/Parvati went to collect cucumber (we have planted pumpkins) but instead, she plucked flowers, pre-mature tender ones, etc. and how that is explained as the cause of untimely, pre-mature transitions in a poetic way.

And then Mahadeva transmits sacred teachings to different people to protect humans from diseases, planetary effects, etc. “In order to distance the planets I will put Kalu Jaisi, he will calculate auspicious moments, calculate exact time, will calculate the position of planets, will calculate the sign of planets.I will put Hunya Bahun who will read the stories, will perform a ritual, will recite the Rudri texts, will diminish the effect of planets on men. I will put Ramma Purancan, Jhankri Jhingratam (shaman) who will postpone messenger of death, untimely deaths, untimely children’s crisis, etc”.In the book “The Rulings of the Night”, an Ethnography of Nepalese Shaman Oral Texts by Prof Gregory, there is a beautiful recital on how shamanic healing is a collaboration between the healer-Dhami-Jhankri and the patient; the regulations to be followed; the harmony to be maintained and promises to be kept. The shaman’s recitations take the patient to visit and re-live the mythical times and recover the memories.The shaman speaks to the patient after the healing session:“Did you eat the green grass, the freshwater? Yes, did you see the nine suns, the nine moons? Yes, did you cross the seven-star obstructions, the seven heavenly barriers? Yes, if you ascend to the sky, I’ll pull you back by your feet. If you descend to hell, I’ll pull you by your topknot”.Deep gratitude, respect and thanks to Prof Gregory who spent twenty-one years in studying in the field, collecting data, learning the language and sacred teachings. This fetched him one of the highest awards by the government of Nepal and the then King himself King Birendra Bir Bikram Shaha Deva as ‘Birendra Prajyalankar’.

Books on Nepali Shamanism

“If we had a keen vision of all ordinary human life,
it would be like hearing the grass grow or the
squirrel’s heartbeat, and we should die of that
roar which lies on the other side of silence”.
-Geroge Eliot-Middlemarch


Trance, Initiation and Psychotherapy in Nepalese Shamanism: Essays on Tamang and Tibetan Shamanism

by Larry G. Peters

This book contains articles of the first-hand experience by the author with a focus on Aama Bombo, Buddhimaya, whom most of you know either by direct contact when you came to study with us in Nepal or through international conferences.


The Dozing Shaman- the Limbus of Eastern Nepal

by Philippe Sagant

This is an ethnographic description of the everyday lives of the Limbu group from daily lives to the rituals and after cross-over accompaniment ceremonies. The writer must have used the word, not as a sleepy but the state of deep trance state during life essences recovery scenes.


Tunsuriban, shamanism in the Chepang of Southern and Central Nepal

by Prof. Dianna Riboli

With her extensive research in the filed among the semi-nomadic Chepang group, she had presented an in-depth study of social, cultural and religious lives of the people with a particular focus on the healing aspects by local shamans.


Body and Emotion, the Aesthetics of Illness and Healing in the Nepal Himalayas

by Robert R. Desjarlais

The writer explores and depicts the world views on health and healing of local people of Yhalmo, the area North-East of Kathmandu. This small poetic expression by the local shaman tells most of the aspect of suffering and sorrows: If we stay, our hearts will ache If we go, our little feet will hurt. The sadness of little feet hurting, to whom can we tell? (Song of pain).



Sahayogi Press-Kathmandu, Nepal. Casper J. Miller

This is also a first-hand account of the multiethnic and multicultural district of Doolkha District of East Nepal. Hearty gratitude for the beautiful fieldwork and sharing the experiences during the pilgrimages and everyday lives of the local.

“Jhankri-shaman’s role is complementary to both priest and doctor. The priest (whether Brahamana or Lama) and his services are required for the predictable aspect of man’s relationship to God, with religion as such, and so there is no direct competition with the jhankri who does not deal with life-cycle rituals except in some groups and communities where the jhankri is also a priest. As regards the doctor trained in Western methods of diagnosis and treatment, though he may at first view the Jhankri as his rival, I believe that a closer look would reveal to him that, at least according to the world-view of his villager patients, he the doctor is treating symptoms while the Jhankri is getting to causes. There are a room and need for both. The doctor will certainly realize that a shared world-view between the patient and physician can be a powerful factor leading to a cure; he should also realize that his modern medical education, based on the secular view of the world, has deprived him of this advantage which the Jhankri continues to possess. Idealistic scheme to train Jhankri to a doctor’s co-worker could be a great idea, but the conventional medical system should also learn how the world of the Jhankri shaman’s works”.


By John T. Hitchcock and Rex L. Jones, 1976

This book somewhat covers different ethnic group and cultures from East to West Nepal and from the North to the Southern plains. Well researched nineteen articles make this book one of e good references for people interested in Nepal and the shamanic practices.