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Bugadyl in the Evenki Religion

By Yuri Klitsenko

In the Evenki religion “bugadyl” (plural) are very small invisible personal spirits of any person. Multitudes of “bugadyl” reside on a human’s body, clothes, personal things. Personal “bugadyl” are alive even after the human’s death. Thousands of “bugadyl” belongs to a particular person, and they can be very dangerous for others.

I gave Evenki drunkard a bottle of vodka for showing me to a fallen labaz (stilted storage). Labaz is neither a shaman place nor a grave, so I expected no problems. And yet Evenki showed me direction but refused to approach the labaz themselves. “I don’t know what kind of “bugadyl” are dwelling at the things in the storage” – Evenki explained his refusal.

Evenki woman told how she has fallen ill after she occasionally touched clothes of old lady - illness was work of "bugadyl".

Evenkis avoid the use of properties of unknown persons and "second hand" clothes because of “bugadyl”. However sometimes they use "second hand" clothes of close relatives.

At the same time in the forest, there were huts for common use with some food and matches for fire but I think that these huts are a Russian invention. In one of these huts a hunting and fishing man lives who avoid meeting other humans - certainly he's an escapee from prison, but since a man was not doing something harmful, nobody informed the police.

Well, lets substitute the word “bugadyl” (small invisible spirits) with the word “bacteria” – there are typically 40 million bacterial cells in a gram of soil and a million bacterial cells in a millilitre of fresh water, there are approximately ten times as many bacterial cells in the human flora of bacteria as there are human cells in the body, with large numbers of bacteria on the skin - or could we say multitudes of “bugadyl”? I am not totally sure that "bugadyl" are indeed "bacteria", yet some parallels between religion and science can be interesting.

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