In eastern Taiwan, a Bunun shamaness finds her successor

An octogenarian Bunun shamaness in eastern Taiwan has transmitted her powers to a septuagenarian novice in order to hold to the traditions of the indigenous Taiwanese people group against the flow of modern society.

Hu Jin-niang, now 73 years old, became the oldest novice shamaness of the Bunun tribe in eastern Taiwan's Taitung county after an unusual ceremony. Through the ceremony, 87-year-old Chiu Ah-ju passed on to Hu her full powers.

Chiu is Wulu village's oldest sorceress and the most powerful of them all. With her health in decline in recent years, the need to pass on the tradition was her foremost preoccupation but no one in her family wanted to follow in her footsteps.

Three years ago, Chiu had a dream which showed her that Hu was the heir to her calling. She found the woman and did her best to convince her to assume the role. Recalling the moment when Chiu came to her, Hu said she was full of fear.

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Chiu Ah-ju, right, transferring her powers to Hu Jin-niang during the ceremony.
© Huang Li-mien

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