Paiwan people of Taiwan- spirit mediums

The Paiwan are an indigenous tribe of 70-80,000 in Taiwan.  Past generations of Paiwan children went to Christian schools opened by missionaries because there were no schools in their villages, and fewer learned about their native tradition as a result.  Faced with a reduction in their traditional shaman/mediums one woman has received government funding to start a class to train new spirit mediums.


The teachers, elders in their 70s and 80s, are teaching chants, about their gods, and honoring the ancestors. Read more for articles, ritual videos, and art of the Paiwan people:

Taiwan aborigines pass on witchcraft tradition, BBC News, October 6, 2009

Drive launched in township to preserve aboriginal witchcraft, Taiwan news, Sept. 17, 2009


Paiwan’s class to train pulingaw, the Paiwan spiritual interpreters:


A very nice article about traditional Paiwan artist Ljegeay Mavalin : Artist tells stories with coffee cup paintings, 6-10-2009

Maljeveq main-ritual


THE ART OF MAGICAL TATTOOS (Vanishing Tattoo site) also mentions the Paiwan and  tattoos used by their shamans to cure patients of ‘soul loss’.


About the Author

Retired from an environmental protection career in California, and letting her forested land in the Southeast heal itself, Dana is traveling in an RV with her husband throughout North America. As a Druid, she enjoys building connections - keeping seasonal festivals (the Wheel of the Year), honoring places and spirits, connecting with plants (using the Ogham), and visiting with other Druids.

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