We’ve come to Naryan-Mar to ask Nikolay, a local shaman, some questions about his life.
Nikolay was born in 1969 and grew up in the orphanage. He studied in several technical secondary schools but he never received his diploma. After long years of looking for his place in this life, he settled down outside Maryan-Mar to open guest tents which are highly popular among both local people and people from other regions of the country. He’s not married.
On the way to the shaman’s tent.
The shaman owns five tents and two dogs. The man treats his guests with venison, cloudberries and fish. People will also have a chance to take a deer ride and make a wish which fulfillment is Nikolay’s responsibility.
A lot of people here in the North live in cone-shaped tents like his. This tent shape is the most convenient for the North because it doesn’t let snow pile up on the roof and makes it steady. The side of the tent depends on the money the family has. It is also a bad sign to touch the poles supporting the tent.
Nikolay was also granted an apartment.
In the middle of the tent there is a stove to heat the tent and cook on. Near the “chimney”, he dries deer skins for tambourines.
Tambourine carcasses. It is very difficult to make a tambourine and one should have much knowledge and skills to make it.
To make a tambourine, he pulls a wet deer skin on the carcass, dries and paints it.
When you enter one of his tents, you should follow the traditions (one of them is eating venison with your hands).
They watch their stoves attentively because if it goes out, it gets as cold inside the tent as outside in just 20 minutes.
These deer skins are for those living in the tent to sleep. Adults and kids sleep separately. There are also places in the tent which noone is allowed to step on.
They wash their hands and faces with this device.
They store deer skins outside.
The shaman has two very smart husky dogs.
Telling about the power of the tambourine.
People often come to the shaman with questions and he’s always ready to help.
The tundra of today.
The shaman doesn’t charge people for his help. Each person leaves food or money he/she wants.
Performing his rite.
There was a wedding party in a neighboring tent so the shaman would sometimes put on his national costume.
This man’s pretty good in fortune-telling.
By the way, he once took part in a TV show and it was a success.
While some people sincerely believe in the shaman’s supernatural powers, others think he is crazy, drinks too much alcohol and needs medical help. Nevertheless, those who happen to visit Naryan-Mar, try to call on this man and you will be amazed at his attitude to people and life in general.